May 23, 2018

Tips for a better landing page

Having a good landing page is potentially the most important part of marketing your product. In this post, I’ll share some quick wins that you can use to make your pages convert better.

Landing pages shouldn’t use buzzwords

Most businesses talk about their products like this:

Unless you’re selling to fellow retro-encabulator enthusiasts… don’t. Explain your product in simple, clear English like you’re talking to a third grader.

Landing pages sell benefits

Customers don’t care about what your product can do. They care about what they can do with your product. Take a moment to think about the difference.

When everyone was trying to sell music players as “Storage for 1 GB of MP3s”, Apple came along and sold them as “1,000 songs in your pocket”. And because they sold customers on a better version of themselves – one that had all of their favorite music in their pocket – they achieved completely different results.

Focus

When everything is highlighted, nothing is.

Your goal is not:

  • to make the headers a pretty color
  • to fit a bunch of stuff above the fold
  • to make the logo bigger
  • to make the site look pretty (!)

Your goal is to get people to convert. Not in a slimy salesman way, but in a way that makes sure that anyone who can benefit from your product gives it a try.

So first, determine what a conversion looks like for you: the single action you want users to take. Give that action the boldest color on the page; make it the single element above the fold. Make it stand out from everything else.

Log out (or open an incognito window), and look at the landing pages of Netflix, Facebook, and Discord. These companies have all adopted simple, growth-oriented landing pages. And, obviously, they have converted a few users: Facebook has 2.19 billion monthly active users (something like 3 out of every 10 people on Earth); Discord has 87 million users; Netflix has 125 million users.

Put your landing page on a diet

The average landing page is built right into the product. It pulls with it the product’s fonts, scripts, stylesheets, and then loads some additional tracking pixels, images, GIFs, and videos.

But 90% of this isn’t even seen by the user!

The thing is: faster landing pages convert better. And most peoples’ landing pages take 5-10 seconds to load on average Internet connections, at which point some people have already bounced. So what can you do to make your page faster?

Netflix went so far as to throw out their main JavaScript framework, React, from their landing page because the faster loading times increased their conversions by so much:

While you don’t have to go that far, I recommend taking a hard look about what you are including on your landing page. If you’re importing unnecessary fonts, using uncompressed images, or loading a lot of video, think about how you can cut back to make the experience better for your average user.

Landing pages should be strong under pressure

If you are a tech savvy individual, you look into using a static landing page instead of a dynamic one. Dynamic websites are connected to databases which may trouble dealing with large amounts of traffic. While you can get around this by upgrading your host, it can quickly become expensive at scale.

Static sites, on the other hand, are faster, cheaper, and can stand up to more traffic. I wrote about their benefits here.

This being said: if you’re running a lower-to-moderate-traffic website, don’t worry about switching to a static landing page.

Every landing page should be mobile-friendly

Obviously. But you already knew that. You’re so smart.

Everpage does this nicely.

About landing page length

Make your landing page as short as possible while still selling the product.

This is different for every use case. People won’t sign up for an investment product based on a mostly-blank page with a catchy tagline, while they won’t download a fun iPhone game if its landing page looks like this.

The highest converting landing page I have ever done was downright ugly. However, it made thousands of dollars with just a headline, a paragraph, and a buy now button. People often confuse visually pleasing with financially pleasing. – pryelluw (try saying that three times fast), Hacker News

Don’t use slogans as headlines

Never use a vague slogan – “Serving Customers Right,” “Get In The Zone”, etc. as your main headline. For people who aren’t yet aware of your product, slogans explain nothing. They just sound like filler.

Instead, use simple terms to explain what you do. Alternatively, play into peoples’ curiosity or their humor with an attention hook, like the ones that come from the advertising world:

“Kills bugs fast.” – Porsche
“Absolute power corrupts. Enjoy.” - Apple Mac ad
“Written, produced, and directed by God.” – The Weather Network
From here. May be somewhat lewd.

Focus on the story, not the design

After a certain baseline where text is readable and the site looks at least somewhat modern, colors and fonts don’t matter as much as the story you tell.

Focus on relating to your users. Get inside their heads and find out how you can provide them with the value they really need. That’s when your page is going to convert the best.

Be succinct

Simple writing is persuasive. – Scott Adams

Take 60 seconds to read this and you’ll walk away a better writer.