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Ultimate Guide To Building A Better Landing Page – 4 Tips To Keep To Heart

Ian Blair

 

“Be really serious about your

landing pages” – Tom Leung, Google

Have you found what you need to build a high-converting landing page?

Surprisingly, the things you need to optimize your landing page are just under your nose. Once you implement the tips below, you’ll not only drive visitors to your page but you’ll also engage them, and turn them into qualified customers.

The web is littered with millions of landing pages that do nothing other than waste people’s time.

Creating another landing page isn’t the problem, because there are at least 1,000 landing page creators (software) out there.

Ultimately, the challenge associated with building a landing page is ensuring it delivers on your set goals.

Data from WordStream found that, “80% of traffic goes to the top 10% of landing pages.” It’s your responsibility to get your landing page onto the top 10% list.

wordstream landing page

Your landing page needs to convert. According to Econsultancy, “only about 22% of marketers are satisfied with their conversion rates.”

You might want to think out-of-the-box for better optimization ideas. For example, Blurb increased average registrations from 7% to 13% with localized, dynamic landing pages.

Without much ado, I want to share with you the 4 tips you can put to work right now and take your landing page conversions up. Yes, some of tips you already know but their impacts can never be neglected.

There is truly no secret bullet to optimizing a page for conversions. At the end of the day, split testing is the only way to ascertain what works and what you MUST ignore.

So let’s get started:

1.     Remove unnecessary navigation menu bar

Distractions must be eliminated from your landing page.

Whether it’s the top navigation, footers, social media links, sidebar navigation – anything that distracts viewers from filling out your form or clicking on your button should be ignored on the page. Get rid of it.

Derek Halpern’s landing page is a typical example. There are no obstacles to the call-to-action.
no navigation social triggers

The BIG DIFFERENCE between a landing page that converts a handful of leads into customers and a high-converting landing page is “simplicity.”

If your landing page has a clear value proposition, and nothing is obstructing user’s navigation, then you’re going to see a huge bump in conversions.

The #1 mistake that guarantees your landing page will fail is when you cluster it with navigation menu bar. Come on, there is only one purpose for every page – to get people to take the next action.

Every element of your page has one purpose too. The headline attracts people, and leads them into the subtitle, the bullet points and call-to-action.

You need to remove friction from your landing page. Navigation menu bar causes friction, and hinders people from taking the right action at the right time.

So many landing pages still have unnecessary navigation menu bar. According to Impactbnd, “only 16% of all landing pages are free of navigation bars.”

marketing sherpa

 

People often stuff their landing pages with so many extra features, colors, information, buttons, forms, checklists, copy, bullets, videos, options, questions, and headlines.

At the end of the day, the ultimate goal of increasing conversions isn’t achieved. Instead, it gets swallowed up in the mess.

Adding too many elements in your landing page can lower user expectation. It can lead to lost customers, lost conversions, and lost sales.

Remember that when people hit your landing page, they might not see the reality, but what they perceive is where their expectation lies. And that’s exactly what brings about happiness, and repeat customers.
happiness formula

And there are so many reasons why most people don’t remove navigation menu from their landing pages. It’s possible they…

  1. Don’t know how to edit the top navigation menu by tweaking the CSS file
  2. Want to keep the navigation in order to improve their brand image
  3. Didn’t consider it worthwhile and necessary to get rid of the navigation bar

As good as these reasons may sound, they shouldn’t stand between you and your success. Because you’ve got to understand the impact of “simplicity” and how implementing it into your landing pages can help increase your conversions.

In the same way stock photos devalue your brand especially when they’re used in your landing pages, navigation bar does exactly the same.

Getting rid of it will give your visitors, leads, and customers a sense of focus. Because they no longer need to click several buttons or links before getting your offer. All they need to do is click just one button, get the offer, and automatically the trust they have for you is elevated.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s see a live case study. In a bid to know whether removing the navigation bar can increase or decrease conversions, HubSpot conducted an A/B test across five of their landing pages that get the most traffic.

Version A: This was the “Control landing page.” It has the top navigation, social media share buttons, and footer navigation.

hubspot-free-trial-page-with-navigation

Version B: All external links were removed from this landing page, including the top navigation, footer navigation, and social share buttons.

What was the result of the A/B test?

Well, the test revealed that removing navigation bar and external links from landing pages increase conversions rate by up to 28%. Here’s the raw data:
landing-page-data-1

Though HubSpot’s case study proved that removing external links and navigation bar from a landing page increases conversions, but other brands equally saw dramatic results when they conducted their own experiments.

a).  Brand case study: As an example, YuppieChef, a leading online store selling premium kitchen tools across South Africa used Visual Website Optimizer to A/B test the effect of removing the navigation menu from their landing page.

Goal: YuppieChef had wanted to increase the rate of Wedding Registry Sign ups on their Wedding Registry landing page.

They created two identical pages, tested both against each other, and focused on the navigation menu at the top of the page.

Here’s exactly how the original landing page looked like with the navigation menu:
navigation menu

Generally, before you run an A/B test you probably have an eye on what the results would be. Sometimes your guess will be right and other times you’ll be utterly wrong. In reality, that’s the essence of the experiment.

Strategy: YuppieChef understood that the landing page version that has fewer distractions will definitely convert better. It’ll help users focus on the reason why they came to the landing page in the first place.

Here’s how the second variation looked like, without the navigation menu:

no navigational
Results: As expected, the variation without the navigation menu at the top outperformed the control and delivered as many conversions as the original.

Interestingly, conversions increased from 3 – 6% with an effective 100% increase in conversions. That’s the kind of results everyone craves for.

b).   Up to 17.6% conversions increase: Having heard so much noise pertaining to landing pages and why certain elements (e.g., navigation menu) should be removed, Sparkpage ran an A/B test to be sure.

They removed the top navigation menu, and over the month they ran the test, conversion rate jumped from 9.2% to 17.6%.

Here’s the landing page with navigation menu:
navigation menu site

Before the experiment, the landing page above was converting at 9.2%, which was great considering the average industry conversion rates.

conversion rate industry standard

But there is always room for improvement. If you’re not getting a 100% conversions rate yet, it means that you still have a long way to go.

Though the navigation menu bar was useful; since it gave people assurance, and provided extra guide but they ‘heard’ from industry experts that removing it will give visitors focus, and get more people to take the right action – Sign Up.

They ran an A/B test, but they removed the navigation menu from the landing page. And it looked like this:

no navigational link

The results were surprising though. Their conversion rate went from 9.2% to 17.6% in the same month the experiment ran.

That’s an improvement of 90%, which was almost double the initial conversion rate, just by removing the small menu from the top of the page.

2.     Get rid of the cluttered sidebar

“You need to remove the header, sidebar and footer. These elements, by default, have no business being on your landing page and will only distract visitors from the main content” – Alex Mangini

Truly, landing pages have redefined the way marketers reach out to the right audience.

Data from Marketing Experiments found that, “of the B2B companies that use landing pages, 62% have six or fewer total landing pages.

landing page data

So you’re convinced that removing the navigation menu can skyrocket your conversions, but what about the cluttered sidebar? Is there any good reason why a landing page should have a sidebar?

The sidebar doesn’t convert as much as the header. It’s unwise to have cluttered sidebar on your landing page.

To proof that it doesn’t work, check your analytics if you can to see how many people actually respond or click on the banners and links on the sidebar. You’ll be shocked.

Because they don’t care.

Today, marketers all around the world are not only using landing page, but learning and implementing strategies that will improve performance. The best converting landing pages have no sidebar. Here’s an example:

copyblogger

Since 2014 till date, marketers have become smarter. They’re now looking at buyer behavior and collecting useful data related to page load times, form lengths, and more in order to improve conversions.

Often times people are confused when they hit a landing page. There are too many options to take. Even though the prospects are motivated and qualified, it will be difficult to persuade them. Because there is no specific action step to take.
landing-page-2

Most people who use sidebar on their landing pages say it’s because of the additional information (e.g., banner or links) you can provide there.

But again, those banners and links are contributing to the friction which in turn will reduce the conversion rate.

[thrive_lead_lock id=’14525′]Hidden Content[/thrive_lead_lock]

It doesn’t matter how much you try to sing praises of a sidebar, the truth of the matter is that it can be distracting on a page with a specific goal.

Yes, a sidebar would work in a blog. It’s right there on QuickSprout, and several authority blogs like Search Engine Journal.
search engine journal

If you want to convert a visitor into a subscriber or buyer, then you need to make a deliberate effort and direct them to a page that gets them excited and persuaded.

What type of landing page should it be? Like I said earlier, your landing page should be simple with few distractions. The page needs to have a single goal – to lead people down the sales funnel until they become customers.

Content Marketing Funnel

When it comes to landing page optimization, your concern shouldn’t be left vs. right sidebar which one works best. Instead, remove them entirely, and watch your conversions skyrocket.

You might think that as popular as QuickSprout is that the sidebar elements are clicked a thousand times a day. But that’s not true.

If you’re wondering why people don’t click on your sidebar, you’re not the only one. Whether it’s on a blog page or landing page, sidebar doesn’t yield much result. That’s why Ramit Sethi doesn’t use it on his landing pages.

sidebar navigation`
Bryan Harris, founder of Video Fruit and one of the best content marketing experts discovered that his readers only clicked on his sidebar about 0.3% of the time. That’s equivalent to 3 clicks for every 1,000 page views.

In case you’re wondering, that’s a lousy conversions.

By comparison, out of 1,000 people who read his blog post, 200 clicked on the call to action and opted in to Bryan’s email list. Initially, a typical blog page looked like this:

sidebar blog

At a glance, you can see the sidebar at the right side. But it wasn’t converting well for Bryan. And he had to change it. Harris and his team ran a split test to determine the effect of sidebar/no sidebar on a blog page.

Using Optimizely, they sent 50% of this post’s readers to their traditional format page that has a sidebar. The other 50% of readers read the post on a blog page variation without a sidebar.

The no-sidebar page looked like this:

no sidebar

The results were measured for the two variations to see which page generated the most email sign ups.

As expected, the “no sidebar” version yielded a 26% more email signups than the version with a sidebar.

Here’s a look at the split testing data…

email sign ups

Sometimes, to really get the best results you need to use a third-party tool. Bryan Harris used Optimizely, and YuppieChef used VWO.

Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko and a leading SEO blogger used Crazy Egg to determine how many of his readers actually respond to the sidebar. To his greatest surprise, he found that only 1.9% of visitors click his most important sidebar element:
click backlinko

Sidebars are a distraction. Think about it. Some of your favorite blogs, how often do you click the banner on their sidebar?

Do you even do it?

No? why not?

Because you care about some other things. You care about the questions in your heart. Without a doubt, people prefer to read blog posts instead of clicking on sidebar.

 

3.     Position vital information above the fold

In late 2014, Google released one of the most important study that further re-emphasized, “The Importance of Being Seen: Viewability Insights for Digital Marketers and Publishers.”

That study struck a node in marketers’ hearts, because it demonstrated the impact of the fold in a website. Different positioning plays a key role in your overall landing page conversions.

The diagram below (from the KISSmetrics blog) illustrates the correlation between the ideal call-to-action placement and the on your landing page.

cta-placement-complexity

What exactly does the illustration mean?
cta

According to a Study by Nielsen Norman Group, they found that, “what appears at the top of the page vs. elements that are hidden will always influence the user experience, irrespective of the screen size used. Whether the page is viewed on a mobile device or desktop PC.”

In fact, they found that the average difference in how users treat info above vs. below the fold is 84%.

With about 3,450,000 Google search results for the search term “landing page optimization”, it’s easy to get lost when you’re trying to improve your conversion rate. But you need to relax, and learn the few tricks that pro conversion experts use.

Google landing page search

When it comes to building a better landing page that will convert visitors into leads and get you the sales, you need to position important elements at vantage positions.

Generally, placing your most important information or elements “above the fold” is the most common choice, especially for beginners. And for good reasons: people see “above the fold” first before scrolling down the page.

If you use the 6-punch approach to build your landing page (highly recommended), then visualizing the “above the fold” is easier than you think. Take a look:

6-Point-Punch (1)

One important thing to know about the top fold is that it can give prospects and customers a quick understanding of what your page and offer is about – thus, reducing the bounce rate.

Most copywriters, marketers, and bloggers believe that writing a copy using the A.I.D.A. formula tends to produce the best results.

In a nutshell, A.I.D.A. stands for:

  1. – Attention: You grab attention with the headline
  2. – Interest: You build interest with your subtitle and image
  3. – Desire: You create a strong desire with your product’s benefits and features
  4. – Action: You call-to-action; thereby leading people into your sales funnel.

Despite what you hear from several marketing blogs, placing important elements (e.g., headline, call to action, form, product image) above the fold actually works.

That’s why most of the top brands have their call to action above the fold – making it easy for customers to take action without scrolling down.

A perfect example is Moz. Moz positions the most important elements (headline, value proposition, product image/chart, call-to-action) above the fold. Yes, they have helpful content below the fold, but the most vital ones are above.

moz
On KISSmetrics, you’ll notice that the most important things potential customers want to see or know about the custom analytics software are visible. They can just subscribe and leave.

Even if they don’t scroll down, the marketing team can still follow up and nurture the relationship through an autoresponder service.

kissmetrics

Be careful not to clutter your top fold with too much information. It’s important to build a clean, simple and professional landing page.

Without much thoughts or experiments, adding call-to-actions above the fold will get you clicks and conversions. But here’s what two renowned conversion rate optimization experts said:

experts

4.     Craft a killer call to action

While ensuring that you create a congruence user experience as it pertains to your copy, you need to craft a catchy call-to-action.

Of course, you have to increase the number of landing pages you use. Because it’s estimated that companies see a 55% increase in leads when they increase their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.”

And while there’s definitely no shortage of tricks on improving your call-to-action, only a few of them actually produces staggering results.

And brands that embraced the proven tactics see results. As an example, Oli from Unbounce and Conversion Verve ran a split test on a PPC landing page. Guess what?

call to action
The only thing they did during the experiment was tweak one word in the copy. They simply changed the word “you” to “my” and ran the test.

After 3 weeks, the control button that reads, “Start my free 30 day trial,” had generated a click-through rate which increased by a whopping 90%.

Conclusion

Always remember to use the language and common words your customers use often. That way, you’ll easily engage them.

So what’s the best way to build a better and high-converting landing page?

Well, that’s a tricky question. There is no right or wrong answer. Split testing is the only sure way to know what works in a landing page, and shows you tactics you must ditch.

Testing takes away the guess work. You could take an average landing page and make it a high-converting one. According to Event 360, “President Obama raised an additional $60 million, using A/B testing.”

You may not raise that much, but you’ll see opportunities to boost your email subscription rates, get increased sales, and PPC cost if that’s one of your lead generation channels.

Which other tips do you use when building a landing page?

Ian Blair

BuildFire Co-Founder. I'm a digital marketer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart. I'm here to help businesses go mobile and build apps more efficiently than before.

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