I look a lot of landing pages, and I notice a common shortcoming. A lot of landing pages don’t have enough content.
Here are some examples.
Not counting the menu, this landing page has 19 words.
Here’s another landing page with less than 100 words.
This landing page has nice flow, and some content. But it’s only around 150 words! The product that they are trying to sell costs tens of thousands of dollars!
I didn’t cherry-pick these landing pages for their paucity of content. I simply searched for some high-competition keywords, and opened up these pages.
Are these landing pages successful? Maybe. But could they be more successful? Definitely.
How? By having more words.
The case for the 500-word landing page
In most cases, I think that landing pages should have more words.
Keep in mind that I’m not talking about homepages. The homepage for KISSmetrics, for example, has 30-some words. That’s not a lot, but that’s okay, because it’s a homepage, not a landing page.
Home pages may or may not have a lot of content. It depends on the product and audience.
In this article, I’m discussing the landing page — a page distinct from the main website that has a single, focused objective: conversions.
Too many landing pages are really short on content. And that’s a problem, because content is what converts. More content produces more conversions.
I suggest a minimum of 500 words for your landing page. Why 500 words? At this length, you can provide enough information to create a strong case for your product, provide sufficient information, and help persuade the reader.
The whole point of a landing page is to create a conversion, and the best way to do that is by giving the user content.
Here’s what you need to know about more words.
More words are persuasive
Users are persuaded by the words that you write. When they read copy, they will want to convert.
Many times, a user will be prepared to convert without reading anything. But more often than not, the user needs to be persuaded. You can’t do this successfully unless you have plenty of content.
What about images? Images are persuasive, too. Obviously, you should have plenty of pictures on your landing page. But pictures cannot completely replace content, no matter how great those pictures are. Pictures and words work together, but you can’t completely neglect the copy.
More words mean that people are more likely to act on what you say.
More words provide information
Why would a user clickthrough to your landing page in the first place? What is their intent?
In most cases, a user has one of two objectives.
Objective 1: The user wants to buy.
If all the user wants to do is buy, your job is simple. All you need to do is give them a CTA. You might need a headline or a bullet list, just so they know that they’re in the right place. But in most cases, all they want to do is convert. Do you need 500 words to achieve this? Probably not, if it’s just the conversion you’re going after.
But let’s hold on for just a minute. How did the user get to the point where they want to buy? No one shows up at this point in the buy cycle, with her credit card out, ready to drop money on a product or service. Somehow, someway, this user had to find out information about the product or service.
Where did that information come from? It could have come from a friend or social media or some other source. Most of the time, however, this information came from a landing page or website.
In other words, the user who wants to buy was, before that, a user who wanted to find out more information. Which leads me to the second type of landing page visitor….
Objective 2: The user wants to find out more information.
These types of users comprise the vast majority of clickthroughs. Your ad intrigues them, and they want to find out more. Thus, your landing page is the place where they can answer their questions. If your landing page doesn’t provide sufficient information, then you won’t gain their conversion. Your landing page fails, because you haven’t provided enough content.
The best way to sell products and services is to to add as much information about them as is possible. Pages and pages and pages, videos and images. It’s true that 79% of people won’t read it all, but 16% read everything! That 16% is your main target group.
More content is essential, regardless of where the user is at a given point in the buy cycle.
More words show the benefits of the product or service
Buyers today will be persuaded by the benefits of your product or service.
An article in the summer 2012 issue of Harvard Business Review, explained that today’s consumers and B2B purchasers are no longer persuaded by salespeople who sell solutions. Instead they are persuaded by the solution with the best benefits.
Buyers already know what the solution is. Why would they need to be sold on this? They care more about the benefits than anything else.
So, show them the benefits. How do you do this?
You do it with content — and you probably can’t do it with less than 500 words.
Showing benefits involves a process of listing and explaining.
For example, Buzzsumo’s page ticks off a whole medley of benefits, unleashing around 500 words, not counting words in images, to do so.
Here’s what it looks like — a full overview of the service’s benefits.
More words cultivates trust
Words can build the user’s trust. More specifically, information cultivates trust.
There’s one thing that every landing page visitor is craving. They won’t state this explicitly, but they want it, even if they don’t realize it.
They want to trust your site.
There’s only one true path to cultivating trust, and that is through content.
An article on Crazy Egg, 10 Idiot-Proof Ways To Generate Trust, emphasizes copy as the means to improving trust. It’s all about the words that you use.
Even for the conversion-ready user, more content helps. Sure, their primary intent is to click on the CTA and convert. But they still want information and copy. Here’s how it will help them.
- More copy builds their trust in the product or service.
- More copy gives them greater assurance post-purchase, and prevent returns or exchanges.
- More copy improves their overall trust in your brand and business.
However you turn it, more copy is going to build trust. My infographic on “The Anatomy of a High Converting Landing Page” explains how copy and will help to enhance trust and drive up conversions.
More words brings the user through a persuasive process of thinking
If you’ve read a novel, then you’ll be able to relate to this. The author of a novel takes the reader through a process of thinking. The author is able to create curiosity, anticipation, excitement, and engagement.
Landing pages aren’t novels, but they should be designed to do the same thing — to bring the reader through a process of thinking. The only way you can accomplish this level of persuasion is by having plenty of copy.
Here are a few things that you should do with your copy.
Curiosity — the strong desire for knowledge — is a major force in the compelling power of a landing page. You can build curiosity with your copy.
Many times, users will have internal or mental arguments against your product or service. A successful landing page uses words to meet these objections head-on, then destroys them.
A successful landing page also needs to hold the user’s interest. Again, it’s the power of skillfully-written copy (and enough of it) that creates this kind of engagement.
More words mean better SEO
Landing pages aren’t necessarily designed to amp up your SEO. You should work your SEO magic through other strategies such as your blog.
Nonetheless, you can’t go wrong with an SEO-friendly landing page. In fact, if your goal is organic landing page traffic, SEO is essential.
If you’re familiar with SEO, you should know that it doesn’t happen without plenty of content.
Your Guide to Creating a 500-Word Landing Page
If you’re ready to create your 500-word landing page, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Here’s your quick start guide to creating a 500-word landing page.
500 words is the lower threshold.
Don’t go any lower than 500 words. You can go higher, of course. Some of the most successful landing pages that I’ve seen have 3-4k words.
Don’t go overboard.
Can you go too long? Yeah, probably so.
I’ve seen landing pages with upwards of 30,000 words. By comparison, that’s about half the length of the Harry Potter book, Philosopher’s Stone.
By that point, you’ve probably written more than enough.
Organization is everything.
Just as important as the length of your landing page is its organization.
If you throw up 500 words as a raw and impenetrable wall of text, you’ll drive users away, rack up bounce rates, and enrage visitors.
Put on your UX hat, and shape your 500 words into a scannable, breathable page that flows smoothly. Use headings, bullet points, images, and lots of white space.
Break it up.
Reading is like talking. Every once in a while, you just need to stop and take a breath.
That’s why the English language has sentences and paragraphs. Break up your content into brief chunks that a user can scan if she wants to, or read if she wants to. Breaking up your 500 words is the best way to amplify its power.
Images are just as important.
Use a mix of images and copy. As I explained above, images and pictures work together. Use pictures, diagrams, illustrations, or icons that enhance your copy.
Don’t just write words for the sake of writing words. Write real, substantial, engaging, persuasive content. You may want to hire a skilled copywriter for this process.
This entire exercise of expanding your content to 500 words is going to be wasted if you skimp on content quality.
Use a variety of methods.
There are all kinds of copy. Your landing page will be more successful if you use a variety of persuasive styles.
- Emotional persuasion – Persuade users using emotional language and discussion.
- Analytical or data-driven persuasion – Feature charts, graphs, statistics, and data to persuade users.
- Information persuasion – Give users as much information as possible to help them make a decision
The more types of persuasion you use, the better chance you’ll have of gaining a conversion.
Lots of copy is the path to landing page success…most of the time.
What I want you to do is to test more copy on your landing page. Assuming you implement it correctly, you could very well improve your conversion rates.
But keep in mind how I opened this article — “In most cases, I think that landing pages should have more words.”
The only way to find out is through conducting A/B tests. Give it a try, and see what you discover.
What do you think? Will having at least 500 words on your landing page improve conversions?
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