8 Landing Page Essentials that Most People Totally Forget

by Neil Patel

Last updated on August 7th, 2017

You’d think that by now we’d have a pretty good handle on what makes a good landing page and what doesn’t. Still, there are still quite a few people getting it wrong.

Do you ever wonder if your landing page is getting it right? Here’s the checklist of the most left-out features. Make sure that you’re covering all your bases, and you can be sure you’re getting your landing page right.

1. Explain everything clearly.

This is one of the most frustrating things that I’ve noticed regarding landing pages. The page does not explain the whole reason or point of its existence.

When a user accesses your landing page, they must receive answers to their questions. Design the landing page around these two issues:

  • Who – Identify who is coming to this landing page. If possible, segment your audience in order to tailor landing pages to each one. (An interesting way to do that is by “buyer modalities.”)
  • Why – Understand why a user clicked to your page.

Once the user is on a landing page, they have questions of their own.

  • What is this page about?
  • Why should I care?
  • What am I supposed to do?

You should answer these questions as clearly as possible.

Here is an example of a page that does not successfully explain anything clearly. My query for “conversion optimization” produced this ad:

image001

The ad copy is preparing me for several things:

  • This is going to be about conversion optimization
  • This page will tell me how I can increase my conversion rates by 40%.
  • The page will be about testing.
  • The page will have something to watch.

Here’s what I see when I click through.

image003

A brief glance at the page doesn’t answer my questions. Instead of information about conversion rates, I read a paragraph that discusses the merits of Humana, a health insurance company.

The image, which is the first thing I notice, does not serve to explain anything. I don’t recognize the individual in the image. It seems to be an outtake from a video, but it’s not a video.

The value of the landing page is not apparent. There is a long form with many fields, and I am invited to submit a lot of information simply to watch a video.

It’s unlikely that a page like this will get a ton of conversion rates. Why not?

Because there is no clear explanation. Even the headline is lengthy and indirect. Rather than spark my curiosity and engage my interest, it leads off with the name of a different company.

Compare this with another ad in the same set:

image005

The ad leads me to this landing page:

image007

This landing page is much simpler, and it is also much clearer. I understand in just a few seconds that I’m on a landing page to test out a conversion optimization tool. By filling out just four fields, I can test the tool.

This is what I mean by “explain everything clearly.” Optimizely’s landing page is simple, short, to-the-point, and very clear.

2. Use big images that advance the purpose of the landing page

On a landing page, images are optional. You can have a successful landing page without using any pictures as the example above proves.

If you do use images, make them count. Here are the qualities of images that help to reinforce a landing page’s purpose

  • They add a layer of depth and meaning to the point of the landing page.
  • They are big.
  • They are obvious.

A great example of this is the Apple Watch landing page.

image009

The image is big. It is obvious. It adds an obvious layer of depth and understanding. I get to see the very product, its features, its shape, and its color.

One successful landing page technique is to use hero images — large graphics that occupy much of the screen. As long as these images clearly add meaning to the landing page, they are a great enhancement.

Radius provides a helpful example of such a landing page:

image011

3. Maximize the use of your headline.

The headline is the number-one tool for creating a powerful and compelling landing page. In order for the headline to be powerful, it should have the following features:

  • There should be a headline
  • The headline should explain the benefits of the product or service
  • The headline should cause the user to stay on the page to learn more.

The headline for the landing page below fails to use the full power potential of a landing page.

image013

The headline doesn’t provide any compelling information. Sure, it states the theme of the page (slightly opaque), but there is no benefit, other than the cliché word “solutions.”

The landing page for Treehouse, by contrast, clearly informs the user of what they’re getting (the benefit) and compels them to stay on the page to go deeper with their experience.

image015

4. Make it intuitive.

A landing page must be intuitive. What do I mean by that that?

To be intuitive, the user should automatically know what to do next.

A landing page is a single stop in the journey towards conversions. In order for the conversion to take place, there should be absolutely no question in the user’s mind regarding their next action.

Someone who is searching for mortgage information would know what to do on this landing page. The next step is intuitive.

image017

The same is true for the following landing page. A user who is interested in becoming a business coach will either 1) watch the video or 2) “Learn more.”

image019

Good landing pages don’t require the user to do mental calisthenics. The point is clear, simple, and obvious. Simply do what the page asks you to do.

5. Tailor the page to the user and their query.

Some companies with deep pockets and a careless approach to landing pages commit this error:  They bid on ads that have nothing to do with the landing page.

A successful landing page should be geared towards the user’s search. Every search has an intent. A successful landing page speaks to that intent, by matching the query or keyword to the content of the landing page.

Amazon makes an obvious mistake by failing to connect the right landing page to its corresponding ad.

Here’s the ad:

image021

And here’s the landing page:

image023

Not exactly what I was expecting.

The following ad copy/landing page combination is better. Here is the ad:

image025

And here is the page:

image027

The better aligned your ad and landing page are, the greater likelihood you have of converting visitors.

6. Feature your CTA.

The CTA is the hero. It’s the central figure of the whole story. The entire landing page has a single purpose, and that purpose is summed up in the call to action.

You should pack all your creative and strategic power into make your CTA as strong as possible.

The landing page below falters on this point. Instead of a compelling CTA with a more inspiring action, they use the word “submit.” Submit is a very weak word to use on a CTA button.

image029

Here are a few of my tips for improving your CTA buttons:
  • Make the color different from the surrounding page and design.
  • Use a simple button. No weird shapes or images.
  • Make it big enough (but not too big).
  • Reduce choices.
  • Make it look like a clickable button.
  • Make it obvious that they are supposed to click on it.
  • Keep the copy short.
  • Make the copy powerful.

Conclusion

Your landing pages can be better than they are right now. You should be using common sense, and giving users the best experience possible.

At the same time, it’s important to split test landing page features to see which converts the best.

What are some landing page features that you sometimes forget to implement?

Read other Crazy Egg articles by Neil Patel.

4 Comments

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Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg and Hello Bar. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue.

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  1. June 29, 2015 at 1:46 am

    lol. great point, Quincy.

  2. Quincy says:
    June 17, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    #5 is the truth, you would never place use title and meta tags that accurately describe the page with which they were associated, so why send visitors to a page not affiliated with their search? Such a wasted opportunity (and money).

    • Quincy says:
      June 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Wow, that came out horribly!

      *you would never use title and meta tags that didnt accurately describe…

    • June 17, 2015 at 9:00 pm

      lol. great point, Quincy.

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