Landing pages often count for a lot more than they’re given credit for. First, they’re far more than a just a page. ‘Landing pages’ are actually groups of 3-25 pages of targeted content focused on a segment of traffic (and can be known as landing pages, land and jumps, microsites and conversion paths).
So, how can we design conversion-focused landing pages?
1. Choose Wisely
Choose the right kind of landing experience for the task. It's mostly dependent on two factors: the source and specificity of the traffic being driven and the nature of the product being sold. For example, if you have very specific traffic, a landing page might be the best option, whereas if you have more vague traffic a conversion path might be more suitable to provide varied content to visitors without resorting to long, and poor-converting pages.
2. Be Easy
First impressions are without a doubt highly important as no visitor is going to expend much effort to decide whether your landing page contains the information they want. When they don’t see what they think they are looking for, they bounce.
Four point design checklist:
* Does the page load in three seconds or less? That includes Flash content. Page load time affects your visitors, but equally importantly it also affects search engine quality scores of the page in question. Google in particular will really penalize your score, resulting in higher cost-per-click for your client and lower rankings.
* Is everything important visible without scrolling above the fold? Your dominant visual, headline and call to action all need to be above the scroll line. Make sure that everything important is high up on the page, so that visitors can scan and get what they want with very little effort.
*Is your headline explicitly in line with whatever they clicked on to get to this page in the first place? In other words, does the message of your external content's (whatever it was that drove the user to your landing page) call to action match the message of your page headline? The tighter the visual and message relationship is between that and the page itself, the more effective your page will be. You can almost instantly judge this by looking at the bounce rate (and time spent) on the first page of your landing experience.
* Is your text as clear and legible as possible? Forcing a visitor to read small text or long blocks of barely legible fonts will most likely lead to a low-conversion rate. The majority of highly successful landing pages don’t have a huge amount of text on them. And the text that is there is at least 12px in size, with well-proportioned line spacing to make it easy to understand.
3. Embrace testing
The best design for your landing page will be the one with the highest conversion rate. You should test by using a random group of visitors and giving them alternative experiences. The one with the highest conversion rate produces the most business and is therefore the winner.