About the post.
I’ve now been running my design and development company for 3 years and cofounded Landing Page Guys around 2 years ago.
Since starting the company, my partner Andy Haskins and I have grown an extensive team of the best designers and developers in the world in our chosen market.
Our team have created thousands of landing pages, and in order to sell these to our clients, I have to be an expert in my field.
I’ve studied every single page we’ve ever created, working closely with our lead clients to monitor their performance, and by doing so have managed to build a real “formula” and “checklist” of standards that every single one of our pages must meet.
Of course you have some pages that don’t convert as well, but the majority of our landing pages convert at a VERY high rate, and it’s in large down to our fantastic team that follows the checklist I’m about to reveal.
This very checklist is the reason we sell thousands of unique landing pages each and every year, turn over hundreds of thousands of pounds, and most importantly generate our clients MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of dollars!
Do NOT underestimate how important each and every one of these points are:
Page speed is everything. If your landing page loads slow, then it’s not even worth trying to promote. You need to make sure your page is fully optimised for loading times. It needs to be as “light” as it can possibly be. The tool we like to use to check our pages is: GTmetrix
Your visitors will have a very limited attention span, pair this with the potential for slow connection speeds depending on their scenario and you could be paying for traffic that never even has the opportunity to see your page.
I don’t care if you’re just throwing desktop traffic at a page, and neither should you. Somewhere along the line, someone is going to be viewing it on a tablet or device. Hands down one of the MOST important factors of your landing page is how responsive it is. It’s also important to make sure you’re responsive layout is correct. Always place your forms and call-to-actions above the fold on mobiles and tablets. The best way to check this is by viewing it on your devices, but you can also check on: Responsinator / Chrome Inspector
Cross Browser Compatibility
So the landing page may look great on your browser, but have you tried it on other browsers? Other versions of browsers, etc.? You may be losing a large amount of your conversions if your landing page isn’t optimised for ALL browsers, and most importantly ALL browser versions. You’d be amazed at how many people of the older generation still use an ancient version of that god awful thing called Internet Explorer. Be sure your page is set up to view correctly on all browsers, and doesn’t have any bugs or conflicts that stop it functioning to get the most out of your traffic. You can check your browser compatibility here: BrowserStack
If you’re not aware, W3C validation is the worldwide web’s standard of code. Basically, it’s the law when it comes to coding your landing page. Not being W3C compliant doesn’t mean your page won’t display correctly, but it can bring complications. In a world where it’s my page against yours, I’m in a better position if my W3C code is validated as best as it can be. The quality of your code will have an effect on different browsers and the way people view your landing page. Clean up your code and check for errors here: W3C Validator
Another type of validation – one that’s super important yet you’d be amazed at how many pages I get sent without it – is form validation. If you’re getting paid for a specific type of lead or form submission, then you want to make sure that form is 100% valid. Not only will this help you filter out useless leads, but will help keep you and your buyers happy with higher quality, filtered prospects. Make sure you install the standard form validation, and also you may want to look into form lookup services. Basically, this stops people from entering incorrect or dummy data or skipping fields on your form. At the Landing Page Guys we work on custom validation but there are some free, effective alternatives available. Check out some basic form validation code here: Parsleyjs and some decent lookup services here: Xverify
ALWAYS ABOVE THE FOLD! Again, you’d be amazed at how many clients send me their old landing pages and ask why they’re not converting. Then, I see their form somewhere merged at the bottom of the page after about 6 hours of scrolling. If your form submission is the most important thing, give it to the user straight and put it above the fold where they don’t even need to use their lazy index finger to scroll to it! Yes – by all means – include another form elsewhere, but put it ABOVE THE FOLD! Got it? Ok…
If you’re using a form on your landing page, then you need to clearly accent it and establish it from the rest of your page. A few ways we like to do this is to make the form a completely contrasting colour from the rest of the page. Also, we normally use a large arrow pointing the user exactly to that very form we need them to fill out. You have to make it SO simple for them. Another nice tip is to add a small stroke or border/shadow to your forms to make them “pop” slightly more.
Call to Action
You MUST always have a strong call to action. Whether it’s to “buy now”, “book an appointment”, or whatever your page may be selling, you have to have that call to action above the fold. There’s no use whatsoever in making your user scroll halfway down the page or to the bottom to action something. They will more than likely just get bored and leave. Always have a STRONG call to action, and by that I mean, outline what it is you want your visitor to do and make it so clear in whatever form it may be that they can’t miss it!
Repeat Call to Action
As I mentioned in the point above, the call to action above the fold is crucial, but so is repeating it throughout your page. If you have a longer form landing page, then be sure to add multiple buttons, text links, call to actions, and more as your user scrolls down the page. You don’t have to make them look SPAMMY. Just subtly add them in so that the user never has to stray too far away from your page to get to where they need to be. Also, use auto scrolling buttons that take the user back to your form when further down your page. DON’T use jumping buttons. They will think something’s broken!
Again to speak on past experiences, you’d be amazed at how many new clients show me their pages and have their steps in the wrong order, have no steps at all, or just have things so wrong. What’s the most important thing when you’re creating a landing page? To capture a lead! So why on earth would you place the lead capture form on the same step as the payment form? It’s a common mistake I see all the time and one that can improve your front end conversions by up to 50%! Always gather and store the user information first, then take payment because what you will find is more people will fill out step one and leave. However, I’d MUCH rather capture that lead’s information to retarget, rather than have them see the payment form from step 1 and leave anyway!
Use Critical Elements
This one goes without saying, but it’s easy to forget some of these critical elements. When creating your landing page, the following things should always be in place and normally above the fold:
- Headline – Get the user’s attention with a bold statement that relates to their issue.
- Outline/Description – Provide the user with an explanation and solution to their problem.
- Supporting Image – A picture paints a thousand words and can have a drastic impact on conversions.
- Call to Action – Make the user take action and tell them exactly what they need to do.
You only have a very short window to capture a visitors attention, otherwise they’ll leave and move on to the next website so make these critical elements count.
Remove ALL Distractions
Have you ever clicked on an ad for something, visited their site, and then found yourself surfing through totally irrelevant pages aimlessly and wondering how or why you got there? This is due to some people not removing distractions from their pages. I forever find myself repeating the words “Direct Response”, but that is ultimately what you need to aim for. What this means is NEVER, EVER put anything on your page that distracts your visitor from that response you’re paying for. Your landing page should NEVER have any sort of navigation, no navbar, no footer links (besides the legal stuff), and even those we put in ON PAGE pop outs. Don’t let your traffic leak anywhere but back to your page. This is a crucial mistake I see all the time! Remove all outbound links. If you have to link to content, put it in an on page pop out and keep that traffic to yourself!
Less is More
It’s an old cliché but never has it been so true. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid! I’ve seen so many people do it wrong trying to stuff their pages FULL of information, graphs, diagrams, images, content, and more, when really all they’re doing is prolonging their users’ misery and affecting their conversion rates. Keep everything simple from design, to content, to spacing and fonts. The best pages are those that you can tell exactly what it is from the moment you visit it. Don’t overcrowd your pages with things that don’t need to be there, and focus more on the essentials and making the most out of highlighting them. If you require multiple sections to highlight the benefits and features of your service or product, make sure they’re clean and to the point with a strong use of imagery and short statements.
Similar to the above, less is more. If you’re running a lead generation campaign that only asks for email, name and number, then ONLY include email, name and number. You want to keep your forms and steps as small as they can possibly be to maximise the potential of people completing them. The more information you ask for the more drop off you will experience. Only ask for those things that are 100% needed.
Trust and Social Proof
I would always advise – where possible – including trust and social proof factors on your pages. Normally, this can be achieved by putting trust certificates or icons besides your form or by having social proof throughout your landing page in the form of testimonials and/or endorsements. It’s good practice to include both of the above as it removes the user’s anxiety and allows them to relax more knowing you can be trusted. Also, always include Terms and Conditions, etc. on your forms, ensuring that you are perfectly transparent and trustworthy.
One of the most crucial but overlooked pointers in the landing page industry today is A/B testing. It would amaze you if I told you how many people have dramatically increased their conversions on some of our landing pages by doing some of the most stupid yet clever A/B tests – simple things like changing the colour of the call to action or swapping out the hero image for something different. TEST EVERYTHING, and when you think you’ve found the winning page, TEST AGAIN. The best tool on the market for A/B testing can be found here: VWO
This service will allow you to quickly and easily make changes that could have a drastic effect on your conversion rate and effectively your downline.
Everyone of the above goes towards giving you the best possible start when creating a new page for your campaign.
If you need any extra help or any custom work with your landing page or websites you can contact my team at Landing Page Guys.
Best of luck and happy testing!