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The Ultimate Guide to Landing Page Creation: How to Build Webpages That Convert

| Posted in category Search Engine Optimization

Convertable airplane landing Every savvy SEO knows that the overall success of an SEO campaign is not measured by PageRank or site rankings, and neither is it measured by conversions. It is estimated according to the ROI, which is Return on Investment.

About the last stage of the sales cycle, that precedes ROI, is CONVERSION. Conversion means getting the prospect to perform a certain action on your website, for example, to download a whitepaper, request a free quote or place an order.

Therefore, it's critical that the visitors who come to your site actually convert. In other words, even if you drive hoards of traffic to your website, but those people do not turn into customers - consider your SEO campaign a failure.

What's a landing page?

In SEO, webpages that are used as entrance points for arriving visitors are called "landing pages". A landing page is actually just another webpage of your site that's optimized for particular keywords (so that it ranks highly for those search terms) and is INTENDED to be the first page that visitors see when they show up at your resource.

Internet marketers try to make their landing pages as nice and appealing as possible. This is because the goal of a landing page is to grab and hold the user's attention, and, ideally, to encourage the user to perform a particular action.

Thus, it's important to create not just any kind of landing pages, but landing pages that convert. But, before we get down the practical stuff, let's see what types of landing pages there are.

Types of landing pages

1. Homepages

Well, pretty much everyone knows what a homepage is. Such landing pages are normally the richest in info and contain quite a lot of stuff below the fold. They also serve as portals to other important pages of the site. Here is a good example of a homepage that is a landing page. Please, note the "click here to show and read the rest of this page" little yellow button.

2. Product pages

Product pages describe a product that's normally sold (sometimes just marketed) online, and contain the product's image, description, price and, most likely, an order button.

Here is an example from the official HP website.

3. Click-through pages

Click-through pages are designed to hook up users who arrive at them, and steer them towards the main site or the order page. The characteristic feature of most click-through pages is that they'd normally have some sort of a hook, in most cases, a freebie, to encourage the audiences to proceed to the next step.

Here is a nearly classical example of the click-through page. 😉

4. Viral pages

These are created for different viral campaigns. It could be a page where the viral video is located, where the viral contest is hosted, etc. They are meant to be shared, encourage commenting and get famous!

The characteristic feature of such pages is that they are fun, easy-to-remember, and, in many cases, stunning!

For example, here is the viral landing page we did for our Halloween contest this year.

5. Squeeze pages

Uff, I don't really like the name, but, even though they sound evil, such pages help Internet marketers a lot. They are meant to collect (or squeeze) certain information from the user.

What's typical of squeeze pages is they ask you for your email (or other details like phone number, home address, however this is rare). For instance, take a look at this page.

Ok, so now that we know what landing pages there are, it's time to explore how one actually makes them work. As I said earlier, the goal of a landing page is to make the users perform a desired action. So, let's see what helps you achieve the goal.

How to make landing pages that convert

Clean it up

First, a landing page should be free of any clutter. Try to keep it to the minimum.

For example, you'd sometimes see an affiliate blog that has a category cloud, a special offer widget, a handful of flash banners, cut-out coupons and other stuff in the side bar.  Duurrr. Don't attempt to kill too many birds with one stone. The general rule that applies here is "one page – one point". Make it easy for visitors to grasp what your page is about.

Sizzle it up

Ok, once you manage NOT to scare the users away from your page, capture them. What can an Internet marketer do to lasso their clients further into the wonderful world of their websites?

Create a clear, catchy and compelling HEADLINE.

Use eye-pleasing and unambiguous VISUALS (images, video or infographics).

Write easy-to-read, well-structured SITE COPY. By "easy-to-read" I mean shorter sentences, simple language and imagery. By "well-structured" I mean that one should make use of paragraphs, bullets, different fonts, etc.

Make yourself clear

Once the user stays on your page, mesmerized by all the "sexy" stuff on it, it's time to bring your cards to the table and point out to the user what's expected from him/her.

You do it by carefully breaking your call to action. I say "carefully", because whether or not you succeed would depend on how you formulate the call to action. And, perhaps, that would depend on where you put it, too.

Ok, a CLASSICAL CALL TO ACTION consists of the "What" part and the "Why" part. That is, you tell people WHAT you want them to do on the page and WHY they should do it.

Bad examples:

Click to read more – too general

Visit our sales and offers page to find out about our terms and conditions – too long and boring

Good example:

Click here for a free SEO software download

Facilitate user's action

Thing is that, even if you concoct a sleek and cool call to action, but your users simply ignore it - means all your efforts were a waste.

It is important to guide the visitors from the moment they "land" on your page to the point they are ready to see and click on your call to action.

Your webpage's layout should be not only clean (we spoke about it earlier), but also well-structured and non-confusing. This is what it should approximately be like:

Landing Page Scheme

You'd be surprised, but the call to action button in my scheme is orange for a reason. Many IMs believe that BIG (mind you) ORANGE buttons perform best. Well, I think this recommendation should be taken with a grain of salt, as, for example, if your site is on Zen, a sleek minimalist button might do better.

Also, check if any parts of your site appear to be clickable, while in fact they are not. Hint: you can track this using a heatmap.

And, as most people do not bother to scroll, it's best to keep all the vital parts of your landing page above the fold, providing additional info below it.

Build trust

Trust is crucial to the success of your landing page and cannot be overestimated.

Use testimonials (normally provided near the bottom of the page) to prove to the visitors that your company/brand/merchandise is trustworthy.

You can also come up with something more creative. For instance, you may suggest that your clients call a loyal client of yours for references. Probably, not that many people are going to call. But the sheer fact that you suggest that will add substantially to your credibility.

Most marketers also recommend including a line about your privacy policies, like, "your email address is safe with us" or similar.

And, remember, the most important thing you can do to hone your landing pages is to keep on testing. Test different headlines, images, fonts, calls to action, etc. etc. Then measure how your conversions change and make the necessary improvements. This is how you will be able to create landing pages that convert. 😉

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