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To many internet users, your landing page is the face of your website: the first encounter they have with your company. This is good news, because a successful landing page either converts a visitor into a customer by persuading them to take the page’s intended action, or entices them to navigate further into your site.

A landing page is an extremely important factor in generating business, because the focus on a single offer is more persuasive and less distracting than a full website with multiple offers. But for this reason, even slight discrepancies can mean the difference between a sale and page abandonment. Landing pages should be strategically designed, tested and adjusted to maximize their performance.

The best way to start is to test the current success of your landing page so you can decide what needs to be changed. Here is an overview of what should be tested to give you the opportunity to optimize your landing page.

Speed

In today’s fast-paced world, don’t expect users to wait long for your landing page to load. Site speed is often overlooked when working on improvements, but it is a key contributor to conversion rates and search results ranking. After all, landing pages are all about good user experience, and the fastest way to please users is to deliver results to them quickly. Conduct a site speed test, and see how your conversion rates are affected after you improve your speed.

Bounce Rate

When it comes to measuring bounce rates, you don’t want to see a high number. A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors that view a page and either don’t complete its intended action, or don’t travel further through the site. A good bounce rate is under 30%, but if it’s over 60%, your page has a big problem.

If you track your bounce rate and the results seem high, there are a few basic landing page functions that have a big impact on bounce rates that you should analyze and improve if necessary.

  • Clear purpose
    A landing page should have one purpose, offer or goal. It should lack any distractions from that purpose, so make sure it is obvious to the user.
  • Ease of Navigation
    A good rule of thumb is to include the most important information above the fold, so users don’t have to scroll to figure out your page’s purpose or intended action.
  • Call-to-action
    The proposed action should not only be clear, but it should be easy to do. Make sure your call-to-action is easily clickable and user-friendly.
  • Consistency
    Match the keywords of your landing page to your online ad. Visitors come to your page with a goal in mind, so make it relevant to their needs by keeping your ads and pages consistent.

SquareSpace’s landing page makes its purpose clear by prioritizing information and balancing imagery with text. The call-to-action is eye-catching and obviously clickable, so it’s tempting to take the next step.

1

Treehouse’s landing page does an excellent job of communicating relatively complex information through video, titles and easily digestible paragraphs – all with a clear call to action.

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The clean aesthetic of Over’s landing page does everything right to invite visitors to enter its website. Though it provides all necessary information, the combination of quality photography, white space and a strong call-to-action balances page layout.

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Conversion Rate

A conversion is when a visitor completes the action that your landing page is meant for. This could be filling out a form, registering for an account, buying a product, etc., or simply choosing to travel to your website. The higher conversion rate you have, the better. This means that a high percentage of people that land on your page convert into customers, as opposed to clicking away. To calculate your conversion rate, simply divide the number of successful conversions by the number of visitors.
Conversion rates can be radically influenced by even small changes in the design of your page. To see which changes will have the most weight in converting your visitors, use A/B Testing.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a straightforward indication of what works best for increasing conversions on your landing page. It allows you to pinpoint how a specific change in your landing page will affect your conversion rate. It takes the guesswork out of page editing and tests two variations of a landing page to see which one is received better by users. This is a good way to efficiently improve your conversion rate and track how precise changes affect it.

Before You Start A/B Testing

As you get started with A/B Testing, keep these things in mind:

  • Make sure to run your live, original landing page long enough for it to be indexed by search engines. That way, you’ll generate enough traffic to your page to gain test results worth analyzing.
  • Ensure that the “B” version in your test does not get indexed. This is important for a couple of reasons: if you have two copies of a live URL, search engines send traffic to whichever version they choose arbitrarily because they can’t tell which one is more important. And because of the similar subject matter between the pages you’re testing, the duplicate content will downgrade the SEO of your original page.

You can make sure version “B” doesn’t get indexed by including the meta tag, “No Index” in its head, and/or applying a canonical reference to version “A” to indicate its original and more important status.

What You Should Test

Resist any urge to test every little thing on your landing page. A/B Testing takes time, and its ultimate goal is to deliver significant results, as opposed to miniscule changes in conversion rates. To get the most useful results, focus on testing these key variables:

  • Calls-to-Action
  • Headlines
  • Images
  • Form length
  • Testimonials, client logos and other social relevance

Use Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a great comprehensive metrics tool that can measure virtually every aspect of your landing page so that you can efficiently gauge its success. It also has a Visual Website Optimizer for A/B Testing. It’s extremely user-friendly, with specified steps like setting up a conversion goal, creating an experiment and checking and adding code to make variations. If you’re new to this tool, refer to this analytics guide for step-by-step instructions to help you improve your website functionality.

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Case Study

37Signals experimented with headlines on the sign-up page for the launch of Highrise. Testing two variations – “Start a Highrise Account,” and “30-day Free Trial on All Accounts” – revealed a 30% difference, with the latter version gaining the most conversions. This demonstrates how effective A/B Testing is in identifying how specific details contribute to conversions.

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Tools

Now that you understand the importance of testing your landing page, here are some tools to help you start testing.

  • Fivesecondtest: Test the design of your page on users by establishing questions you want answered about your design, showing it to users for five seconds and receiving answers to your questions based on their quick look.
  • IntuitionHQ: Get actionable results by tracking where users click on your page to refine it into a user-centric design.
  • BrowserLab: An important part of increasing conversion rates is making sure your page is optimized for all devices. Adobe BrowserLab enables you to preview your design on different browsers and operating systems to make sure it appears and functions the way you intended.
  • Google Analytics As mentioned, Google Analytics provides a comprehensive service that tests many important aspects of your landing page. It measures things like site traffic, conversion/bounce rates, time on site, page views and Hostnames metric – to name a few. It’s not only a great tool to get started, but it’s a convenient way to continually measure your results.

Luke Clum is a graphic designer and web developer from the great Northwest. He loves diving into UI design and is an avid hiker and climber. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum


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2 Comments

  1. Nice article!

    I am biased, but I thought I would also mention clickthroo.com – a landing page marketing solution we have recently launched.

    It is a landing page builder, tracking platform, optimization engine, segmentation engine, and A/B split tester all in one.

    Had to mention it :)

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