Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Optimising landing pages

First impressions are important; as the quote goes “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. The first impression a potential user has with your website could decide whether they stay and look around or dive straight for that backwards arrow on their browser window.

Your sites landing pages could be one of, if not the, most important page of your site. Here’s a few simple Do’s and Don’ts with the aim of helping lower bounce rates and up returning visitors.


Have a clear call to action:
The aim of a landing page is to clearly prompt towards a certain action or results. Whether it’s purchasing an item, registering or signing up for a newsletter or even simply encouraging visitors to explore your site more, it’s important to stay focused on that goal.

Your aim is to make the trip for your visitor as simple as possible, the easier or more enjoyable you make it for your customer to get to the end of their user journey through your site, the more likely they are to stick to it.

Use brand validation:
If you’ve got some big clients on your list, don’t be afraid to name drop and put their logos out there. Association can be a powerful tool and increase trust in a company, and as we mentioned when looking at site usability, trust can be a very important factor online.

Most people are familiar with social media, the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and such. Based from the common mantra that the easier something is to do, the more likely people are to do it, putting in social share icons will help spread your site around. Statistics dictates that more likely than not, the more visitors to your site then the more conversions you’ll make!

Keep coming back to your analytics and looking at your sales conversions, you might find that certain keywords are pulling in customers and others less so. Of course these can change constantly, so it’s important to keep doing it! After a while you’re sure to find the combinations that work best for your market, so keep reviewing.

Be design and user conscious: 
Of course, with scroll bars on windows, your site can technically be as ‘long’ as you want it, but resist the temptation to go crazy! It’s fairly well acknowledged that most people don’t pay much attention to content ‘below the fold’ (anything that users have to scroll down to view). So don’t hang around and get straight to the point at the top of your page.

Keeping basic aesthetics and consistency is important throughout your site. A design that looks cheap and obnoxious doesn’t help a company’s credibility, and a poorly built site will not encourage users to stay and look around.

Cater for different platforms:
Smart-phones are everywhere, and now tablets too! Of course this can depend on your target audience or what your aim is for your landing page, but with more and more people browsing through their mobile devices, it’s something many companies need to take into account. There are plenty of different approaches you can take with this; from responsive design to a completely optimised website, or even a mobile application.


Go overboard:
Simple designs are best; furthermore make sure your page loads quickly. An image heavy landing page may look great on paper, but in practice anything that takes longer than a few seconds to load is going to lose visitors.

Whilst we’re on the topic of design, try and keep a smooth consistent flow from page to page on your site, whether its colour palette or visual elements, you don’t want to confuse your visitor by convincing them they’ve stumbled into something entirely new the moment they stray away from your landing page.

Make it too complex:
Depending on the aim of your landing page, you might have some kind of simple functionality on it, such as a form to sign up for a newsletter and so on. Keep it simple! The quicker and easier it is the better, let the user tab between fields, use check boxes rather then drop down menus and auto-populate where you can. Avoid asking for too much detail if you can, it might be a deal killer.

People love kittens (or puppies, if you prefer) but you don’t need one on your landing page (unless maybe you’re selling kittens? In which case I guess you could get away with it...), a bit of creativity isn’t a bad thing, but you don’t need to distract your customers from their goal.

Furthermore you certainly don’t want to give your user the wrong impression; nobody likes to waste their time. Try and avoid content on your page that doesn’t ultimately point towards the visitors intended destination.

Now of course there are plenty more odds and ends that you can incorporate when looking at optimising landing pages, this is just a quick overview. Even then some of these points may be more heavily weighted then others, depending on the aim of your particular landing pages. If you'd like to read more about optimising and usability from an e-commerce point of view, then take a look at last month's light hearted take on it.

If you're interested in learning more about how Rocktime can help you, from sites to search marketing or mobile to bespoke development then why not get in contact and drop our sales team a line.

Author: Alice Cheetham


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