Landing pages are your chance to make an excellent first impression on site visitors. Getting them just right to meet the needs of your target audience takes time and perseverance. Unfortunately, the efforts to tweak a landing page to perfection can also lead to big mistakes.
In a survey, 45% of small-business owners admit they don’t yet have a website. The ones who do may not be utilizing their landing pages as well as they could.
One of the best ways to improve landing pages is by studying the successful websites of other companies. Here are 11 deadly landing page design sins to avoid and examples of how to create stellar results.
1. Offering an Unclear CTA
You can have a great headline, beautiful images and an aesthetically pleasing design, but if you don’t clearly present the offer, the user won’t be sure about clicking on the call to action (CTA) button. Instead, focus on the words, so the user knows what the next step in the process is and what happens when they move forward.
2. Creating Boring Pages
There are approximately 1.78 billion websites, although the number changes by the second. People are used to the same format and structure. If you don’t do something unique, you risk losing the attention of site visitors. Boring pages don’t have a lot of images or visual stimulation.
SSI Aeration grabs user interest with a relevant video of one of its systems streaming in the background. It adds an overlay of its logo, name and tagline above the fold. Note the muted colors of the video, so the focus is on the text, but the images still grab interest.
3. Ignoring Responsive Design
People use their phones to connect online more frequently. Statista recently found that about 78% of Facebook users used mobile exclusively to access the social media site. While figures vary slightly for websites versus social media, the numbers show a shift in the way people use their smartphones to get online.
4. Overlooking Custom Error Pages
Custom error pages are a vital component of your overall design. Although a different type of landing page, they create a bridge between bad links and the rest of your site. They should be more general than a landing page in purpose but direct the user back to the main area of your site so they can continue gathering information on your products or services.
Brett Terpstra offers a 404 page and provides some suggestions for things the user might have been looking for. The recommendations personalize the page and ups the odds the person will click on one of the links to navigate to another area of the site.
5. Paying No Attention to Trust Factors
When a consumer lands on your page, it may be the first time they’ve heard of you. They have no reason to trust you or that your product does what you say. You must win their confidence by sharing indications others believe in you. Some of the ways of achieving this include adding customer reviews, sharing testimonials and adding badges for organizations you belong to in your industry.
6. Neglecting the Call to Action
The entire purpose of a landing page is to encourage the user to share their email, download a free book or make a purchase. However, while sharing information, making sure visuals are great and driving the site visitor forward, it’s easy to forget they need to move to the next step of the journey.
Think of calls to action as doorways on your website. You wouldn’t build a house without doors leading to different rooms. You must make paths through your website walls as well.
Movement Mortgage does a good job of highlighting its CTA above the fold and in a color contrasting with the rest of the page. The user’s eye tracks to the CTA, and it’s clear what the purpose of the page is — to get you to click on the button and move forward.
7. Using Passive Language
Have you ever landed on a page and felt you didn’t particularly care one way or the other? The culprit could be in the wording. Look for opportunities to use action words in the headlines and also in your CTAs. Ideally, your CTA will use first- or second-person wording to personalize the offer a bit.
For example, “Software for free” is rather passive and boring. However, when you adjust the phrasing to “Start my free trial,” the button becomes more actionable and explains precisely what the user gets. Run split tests on different versions and choose the best wording for your audience.
8. Expanding the Focus Too Much
Does your landing page try to accomplish too many things at once? Ideally, your page has a singular focus or directs users to a more specific area for their needs. It’s better to have multiple landing pages than to cram massive data onto a single page. Narrow your focus and create more of them if needed.
Abattoir Vegetal is a vegan bistro and small grocery store located on Rue Ramey in Paris, France. Note how it breaks up the different types of offers, so users don’t face too many choices at once. It starts with a hierarchy of bistro, grocery and recipes. Under each of those areas, it creates a narrow focus for visitors interested in each type of service.
9. Slowing Down Your Site
A slow website equals high bounce rates. People are impatient and won’t wait around for your pages to load. While you want enough images to draw interest, you must also optimize them and ensure you use methods such as caching to deliver content as quickly as possible. Talk to your web hosting server about ways to speed up the backend of your site. Run speed tests through Google and Pingdom and pay attention to the suggested areas for improvement.
10. Skipping Buyer’s Journey Steps
Every person landing on your page is at a different point in the sales cycle. Some are just acquiring info, and others may be ready to take action. Collect information as they land on the page to guide them to the appropriate part of the sales funnel. If they are still in the awareness stage, you must move them toward consideration. If they are already in the consideration stage, then move them toward a decision.
11. Forgetting to Test Regularly
If you’re like most website owners, you try different tactics and make tweaks to your site. While it might seem brilliant to add a splash of red behind your CTA button, if it doesn’t result in increased conversions, the idea might fall flat. Make sure you run A/B tests anytime you make a change, no matter how minor. See how your customers respond to each shift, and be flexible enough to revert to the old version if it performs better.
More Than Good Design
Good design is a vital component of a high-performing landing page, but many other factors work together to make for a successful effort. Creating buyer personas helps you understand the user’s needs and provide a website effective at solving problems. Dig into the psychological aspects of web design while keeping good aesthetics in mind, and you’ll find your conversion rates exceed averages in your industry.