It is amazing how little some online marketers know about their landing pages. Like a tourist in a foreign country, a marketing newbie often gets a standard set of conversion optimization tips that normally include: "unclutter-unclutter-unclutter", "use compelling titles and images", etc.

But is there more to these tips? Well, the more one learns about conversion optimization, the more one realizes it's a well without a bottom, and the ideas for things you can do with your website are endless.

At the same time, it is important to know where to look when improving a landing page, because, for a month-old site owner, analyzing their pages' performance can be similar to a fairy hunt – one needs to know what they are chasing in the first place.

Hence is this post, which you can use for a landing page vision check and see whether your sight of your page's potential and its possible problems is clear.

Are you using the right keywords?

You have probably optimized your page for the keywords which, in your opinion, people will use to look for your page. But then, are they really the right keywords?

Look into your analytics and see what keywords searchers actually used to find your site. Did anyone search for man in a green shirt, which happens to be the title of one of your images? If so, you should probably use image titles and image alt texts that suite your page's topic better.

Another metric to look into is whether your page is attracting visitors with the right searcher intent. Was anyone looking for night clubs Hong Kong, but ended up on your page about a Hong Kong golf club? Luckily, there are technologies like Zenya that help you discover keywords with just the right searcher intent.

Are you visible to the search engines?

Even if you check your rankings when you page goes live, this doesn't mean it will continue to rank the same for good. Search engine algorithms change, new services appear (think Google's Knowledge Graph), new players come to the market, etc. So, it's important to keep an eye on your search engine visibility at all times.

Besides, it is also important to make sure that the page from your site that ranks for a particular keyword is actually the "right" landing page that should be ranking for it. And, we have just put together a quick tutorial on how you can check that with Rank Tracker.

Do they click on your page in the SERPs?

When your page is displayed in the search results, how often do people click on it? You can find this out by checking out the number of times your page was served in the SERPs (impressions) and the number of clicks it received (clicks) in Google Webmaster Tools.

If the difference between the two is drastic, consider making your pages title and meta description catchier (but not spammy!) – just avoid moving around/removing your target keywords, if possible.

What does your page look like on mobile?

Do you know how many people have visited your page from mobile devices? You can see this in Google Analytics, just check under Mobile and see what your bounce rates from mobile are:

If your mobile bounce rates are way higher than your non-mobile ones, see how your page renders across different devices. You can use a tool Google developed for this purpose.

How high are your bounce rates?

Web marketing newbies often ask: what's a good bounce rate? However, the right question to ask probably is: what's a bad bounce rate? The answer to the latter would be "100%". Everything else pretty much depends.

Over time, you're likely to determine an average value that would define your perfect bounce rate and take it from there. Then, if your bounce rates go up, this indicates a problem. To get to the core of it, check the landing page performance indicators further in this post.

Is your page copy scaring people away?

One of the reasons people leave your site immediately upon arriving on it could be that they don't like the copy on your page. First off, people will barely read a copy written in the stream of consciousness technique (that is, with no subheadings, no bullet points, etc.)

Second, it a fine line between your copy being lively and overly aggressive. Better avoid using what I call SHOUTING graphical means and avoid making unrealistic claims, such as that your product or service is "the best in the world", unless it really is. (I also recommend reading this post that talks about the terms to avoid when describing yourself on LinkedIn – I think many of these points apply to page copy as well).

Is your selling proposition that unique?

The secret to winning your visitors' hearts and minds often lies in the ability to stand out of the crowd. This is why marketers believe any online offer should contain a unique selling proposition. In other words, you should be uniquely positioned in the market compared to your competitors.

I like how Mint break their unique offer:

Can they see your call to action?

A lot has been said about the call to action on the Internet: that it has to be a really big orange (!) button, that you should split test different designs and wordings, etc. This is all very true. Just one thing I'd like to add: do not be afraid to repeat your call to action as many times as appears natural. Some people may dislike buttons or dislike the color orange – you never know. So, provide additional links that lead visitors to perform the desired action(s) throughout the page.

Is your navigation straightforward?

I once came across a site on the Web that seemed to have many links on its home page, but those "links" were actually underlined text that did not lead you anywhere. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the site, but the fake links had quickly gotten annoying and I felt like leaving the site, even though it was rather good.

To get insight into how visitors interact with your site's links, images, text, forms and other parts, you can use click tracking software (like MouseFlow, for example).

Do you provide shortcuts to checkout?

As I said earlier, not all people will want to read your entire copy (even if it's well-structured). So, can they see clearly where to go to get what they came for?

For example, here is what SiteBuiltIt! did: they provided a plan for their landing page with breadcrumbs right at the top of it. If one wants, they can just go ahead and take SBI! for a test drive right away:

Then, at the end of the shorter version of the page, there is another start-trial button and a bright yellow line that invites you to click if you'd like to read more about the product:

Does your signup section look like a tax return form?

When it comes to forms on a page, the general rule is the shorter, the better. Ive been noticing mostly forms that ask for one's name/email these days. However, sometimes you might want to exclude poorly qualified segment of subscribers who are unlikely to become paying customers or other bring you any value. If that's the case, it's wise to include more fields into your form. But then keep in mind that you will probably get fewer signups.

Does your page inspire trust?

Perhaps you've seen Amit Singhal's list of 24 questions a site owner should ask himself/herself about their site. Some of these question concern trust:

  • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
  • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
  • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?

By honestly answering these questions about your page, you should get an idea of the level of trust it inspires in people.

When visitors are about to give you their personal data or money, they want to be sure that (A) it's safe and (B) they'll get the value they expect. Hence, include proof that your company is real (address, phone number, etc.), add testimonials and, if possible, a money-back guarantee.

Why do they actually leave?

Now, when you have looked at all of the above metrics, how do you tell which one is the reason people don't do what you want them to do on your site? Even though there is no way to know this for sure, you can get closer to solving this mystery by looking at your abandonment rates in Google Analytics (you find them under Conversions -> Goals).

This way you can see what Goals on your page do not get completed and try to figure out why.

Are you Web 2.0 compatible?

Does you page have sharing buttons? If it doesn't, get some. You can use the old-style design or get something "sexier" than that.

Web 2.0 compatibility also means that you host your videos on YouTube. In most cases, it's better than hosting videos on your own site, because YouTube videos are easier to rank on both Google and YouTube and let people comment on, share and add videos to playlists in a familiar way.

Do you have a positive ROI?

The ultimate question to ask about your landing page performance would be: does it drive positive return on investment (ROI) in the end? If it doesn't, you might want to see how it is connected to other elements of your Internet marketing campaign and analyze them together.

For instance, paid ads could be cannibalizing your organic traffic, but how do you know that? I really like this method offered by Brad Geddes, which helps you to figure it out.

Conclusion

Have you tested your landing page vision using the 15 questions? There is just one more thing I'd like to leave you with: don't take any tip from any Web marketer for granted – they could be judging by their experience. Always test things to find out what works on your site and for your audience.

For example, some marketers say pop-ups are a no-no. I don't agree. I've seen pop-up forms, chats and other types of pop-ups work out for many website owners. So, don't jump to conclusions and don't believe anything before you test it and see the results with your own eyes.

 

Image credit: foshydog via Flickr.com

 

Alesia Krush

Alesia Krush is a blogger and digital marketer at Link-Assistant.Com, home to the industry's best SEO and SMM tools. The company's most recent initiative has been the release of the revolutionary BuzzBundle social media management tool that helps Web marketers manage their brand's reputation and establish presence at social networks, blogs, forums, Q&A sites and other social platforms.

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