When a customer arrives at your website -- either from an online search result or from a link in an advertisement -- the page he or she lands on is called a landing page. These can be your home page or any other page you create on your site. Since these pages can be critical in converting casual browsers into paying customers, it's important that they are optimized for maximum engagement.
If you're concerned that your current landing pages may be driving visitors away instead of encouraging them to engage further with your content, consider the following strategies to optimize your landing pages:
1. Create custom landing pages.
Keep in mind that you aren't limited to a single landing page. You can create multiple pages, each customized to a particular type of visitor.
Ideally, a landing page should form a bridge between your traffic referral source -- such as a link in an ad or from social media -- and the rest of your website, providing information that's tailored to the individual visitor's needs. For example, if you run a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign promoting a specific product in your ad and then drop your visitors onto your home page, they may feel discombobulated.
A better approach is to create or identify a specific landing page that will provide the information these visitors are looking for right away. This could be as simple as selecting an existing product-specific landing page on your site or as complex as creating unique landing pages for each of your PPC ad groups. The more granular you go with this approach, the better you can tailor your landing page's information and calls-to-action to individual visitors.
Of course, customized landing pages shouldn't be used only for PPC campaigns. If visitors arrive on your site from guest posts or other identifiable sources, consider creating special landing pages for them as well.
2. Split-test your landing pages.
Landing page optimization isn't over once you've created custom pages for distinct groups of visitors. To truly improve the performance of your website, consider running split tests on your individual landing pages. Split testing essentially allows you to compare two or more versions of a web page to determine which elements or features are most effective.
Keep in mind that most visitors spend only a few seconds on a new site deciding whether to engage further with the content or to click the "Back" button. So if your landing page is forming the bridge that introduces your new visitors to the rest of your site's content, it's vital that this page be as compelling as possible in getting new visitors to investigate further.
To determine which landing page features are more effective, you can do A/B split testing. You modify small variables on your landing pages and then serve up each variation randomly to visitors in a live environment.
The test variables could include:
- Your landing page headline's wording, font, color or page location.
- Any images used on your landing page.
- The design of your landing page, including background colors, column size or navigation elements.
- The specific benefits described on your landing page.
- Your landing page's call-to-action.
Test as many of these variables as possible using the free Google Analytics "Content Experiments" program. Then, use the results of your experiments to make your custom landing pages more effective in converting new visitors into lifelong readers.
3. Experiment with video landing pages.
If you aren't seeing the results you want on your plain text landing pages, you might want to try something different: video landing pages.
A video landing page features a single video file instead of blocks of text. Engagement rates tend to be higher with interactive content than with text-based elements, so you may capture visitors' attention better by conveying the same information via video instead of text.
The easiest way to create video landing pages is to use your computer's built-in webcam and record your introduction with YouTube's video recorder. Once your video has been recorded, it can be embedded into your landing page in place of your text. It's a simple, yet elegant solution to the problem of enticing new visitors to remain on your site longer.
If you do decide to experiment with video landing pages, keep them short and to the point. Concisely explain the benefits of your website and the actions that viewers should take next. In addition, pay attention to your presentation. Dress appropriately, speak with energy in your voice and film in a location that offers a professional looking or topical background.
Putting just a little extra effort into your website's landing pages -- whether through customized text-based pages or engaging video files -- will likely make a difference in your site's performance.
Related: 15 of the Most Creative 404 Pages