A landing page is a page on your website that is created with one specific goal – to persuade your visitor to convert into a customer by making a purchase, completing a form, signing up for a newsletter, giving you a call, or any other action that you consider to be important.
Unfortunately many website owners (and even web developers) don't really "get" the importance of landing page design.
The purpose of a landing page is to encourage and guide visitors to take a specific action (your Call to Action), resulting in a conversion. If your landing page is well optimised, you can expect higher conversion rates, if your landing page is poor then your conversion rates are very likely to be significantly lower than they could be.
I've outlined below seven of the most common mistakes that site owners make when developing a landing page. If you take a close look at your own landing pages, there is a very good chance that you would find at least one – if not many – of the following problems.
1. Unclear Call to Action
The call to action is the reason that this page exists, and it needs to be VERY obvious what the next step should be. If your visitor has to hunt to see what to do next then you have failed. Load up your landing page – look away – and glance back at it. If your call to action doesn't jump out at you in this glance then you probably need to review the design.
2. Too many choices
Clearly if there are multiple options on your page, it reduces the chance of the visitor choosing the primary Call to Action that is important to you. Your landing page should be as simple as possible – ideally with just a single option. For a landing page – 2 choices is usually too many.
3. Asking for too much information
This is relevant for online forms, if you are asking for a users details for registration, make sure that you ONLY ask for information that is absolutely necessary. Ideally this should be limited to name and email address. The larger and more complex the form is the lower your conversion rate is likely to be. If you really do need extra information try splitting the form into several steps, so by the time that you ask the "hard question" they have already invested some time into the process and are more likely to complete it. Insisting on providing personal details like Date of Birth or Income is a very good way to cause your conversion rate to plummet.
4. Too much text
Too much content on your landing page is also generally a bad idea. If your visitor needs detailed information to be "convinced" to buy or sign-up, then you should consider including that information on other pages – as a part of the funnel to get to the landing page – or as supporting content which they can access if they need more information.
5. Not keeping your promises
Whether people arrive at your landing page via an internal link, a PPC Ad, or via some other source, if the page doesn't meet their expectations by providing the information they were looking for, then you have failed. A classic example of this – which still occurs far to often is with PPC Campaigns – where users are directed to the sites home page, and are expected to find their own way to the (for example) "blue widgets" page. Clearly the PPC Ad relating to "blue widgets" should use the Blue Widget page as the landing page instead.
6. Visual Distraction
If your landing page is too cluttered, or if there is one or more elements on your page that draw your visitors attention away from the call to action, then you have failed. Animated images (which are thankfully less common these days), photos and high impact graphics, can all distract users from your primary intent.
7. Lack of Trust and Credibility
Although these days people are more used to interacting online, they still need confidence in your site before they are likely to pass over their details. Poor design, spelling mistakes, and layout glitches can all harm your credibility and reduce conversion rates. If you are asking for private or confidential information such as credit card details – it is critical that you use secure protocols (such as https) to protect the users data.
Optimising your landing page, is a critical step to improving your conversion rate – and hence the effectiveness of your website. If your websites landing page suffers from one or more of the above problems, it is very likely that your conversions can be significantly increased by fixing them.