30+ principles to a better landing page design

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After hundreds of landing page optimization projects, we wanted to share few of the lessons we learned when creating a successful landing page. We hope that you will find this article helpful. Also, please consider subscribing to our RSS feed or leaving a comment.

There are four basic components to a successful web page design: Research; Design; Copy and Testing and Modification. It is important to devote adequate resources to each component – they form a chain that is only as strong as the weakest link. For instance, if you fail to properly research your audience, then the greatest design will never be able to save the campaign. But it’s not always that easy to balance each, so we’ve compiled a list of 30 design principles for a better, more successful, web page.

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1. Know Your visitors: Understanding the visitors you are targeting on a particular landing page is one of the most important elements in its success. The problem with understanding visitors is that many developers, designers and marketers talk about it, but very few actually implement it. You must understand the motivations, desires, fears, and concerns these customers have when it comes to your product or service. Only then, you will be able to create a landing page that focuses in its entirety on converting these visitors to customers. It is typical for us to spend anywhere from two to four weeks on understanding visitors during the initial stage of a conversion optimization project.

2. Getting to the roots of your visitor: Below is a brief excerpt of the marketing questionnaire we submit to clients as we begin any conversion optimization project. Answers to these sorts of questions will focus your attention on the details that are critical to your landing page’s success. (Click on the image to view larger version)

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The topic of customer research is beyond what we cover in this post. The series on persona creation can serve as an excellent starting point to getting to know your customer.

3. The images: Carefully chosen graphics will enhance the design of your landing page. A basic guideline is to use graphics and colors that are similar to, if not the same as, those used in any other promotional creative relating to your page. Changing the graphic approach and/or the color scheme with which your customer has become acquainted can cause confusion and lead the customer to click away.

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4. Value proposition: A value proposition is very often, misunderstood to be a single stated statement on a website (such as the tagline). However, successful companies are able to transcend their value proposition in the copy, the elements, the overall design of their landing page and campaign, and even the tagline.

The value proposition will help establish trust and gives a sense of congruency throughout the page.

5. Give visitors what they are looking for: You also need to make sure that customers arrive at the exact information they expect. That it is why it is important that your promotions lead visitors to relevant landing pages, and not the home page of your website. With only seconds to keep their attention, you cannot risk losing your customer’s focus by forcing them to search for the information they need from your home page.

6. Consistent message: A landing page’s design should match the related promotional creative as much as possible. If a user clicks on a PPC ad: “10% off lawn mowing service,” they expect to see the same headline on the landing page. If the user clicks on an ad with a blonde model dressed in a red cashmere shirt, they expect to see that same blonde model as they arrive on the landing page.

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7. Remove distractions: Do not crowd your page – keep it simple. Even the ubiquitous navigation bar, found everywhere else on your site, could undo a conversion by providing a means to click away from your page – consider removing standard navigation bar on your landing page.

8. Don’t ask too much of your visitors: The goal is to make the conversion as easy on the customer as possible. Concerning purchases, this may mean not requiring users to register with you, but allowing them to order as a guest. If there are online forms to complete, they should be as quick and easy to fill out. For example, it helps to have the input cursor jump to the next field in the form on its own. In addition, have the fields auto-populate if possible. Focus only on the absolute essentials. Only request the information that is necessary for your purposes. The less time users must spend on your conversion activity, the less time they have to change their mind.

9. Don’t get carried away: Resist the temptation to use the latest web graphic effects merely because they are the latest. Many times, simple is better. The focus of your page needs to be completely on getting visitors to perform the desired action. Using too much technology will distract them, and your message may be lost. Consider also the increased loading time of a page that is multimedia-heavy. Visitors do not want to wait for a page to load.

lp410. Build their trust: It’s always risky to enter into an online transaction with someone you don’t know. People may fear giving you money or their personal information because they do not know you. How can you get potential customers to trust you without ever meeting them? Trust is established through credibility.

11. Privacy: You need to promise your clients that their privacy will be guarded. Make sure your privacy policy is clear and easy to understand, and be sure to direct your customers to this policy. Let them know that you have taken the time to create safeguards for their information. Place a link to your privacy policy, an icon that shows precautions have been taken or a simple statement such as “Your privacy is important to us”, in close proximity to calls to action.

12. Testimonials: Never underestimate the power of a strong, credible testimonial, but be sure they are concise and on point. When your prospects read testimonials from past customers, they will be more likely to feel at ease doing business with you. User testimonials should speak of the benefits of your services and be relevant to your target audience. For a good testimonial, it is preferable to include a full name, location, or even photo of the customer. Video testimonials are even more successful in converting visitors to customers.

13. Satisfaction guaranteed: Can you reassure potential customers that your product or service come with “Satisfaction Guaranteed”? Give your customers a warranty for products, or trial period for services. For example, you can give 30 days to try your product risk-free, and if not satisfied, they can get a full refund. You may also suggest free consultations for new clients to get a feel for your services without spending any money. This will encourage readers to convert because you will have minimized their risks. Make sure visitors to your site can easily see and understand your warranty or satisfaction policy.

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