Common landing page mistakes

The pitfalls and problems

If you are looking to run promotions online, advertise your products on PPC or indeed direct customers to take any action on your website, you absolutely have to have a well-designed landing page.

Many agencies claim they can create great and effective landing pages but how can you be so sure?  Well let me help with my guide of the most common problems, as well as red light warnings that signify ‘just hold your horses a minute’, when talking to your agency about landing pages.

Who’s this guide for? Anyone who is considering creating landing pages and wants insight into their purpose and common design options as well as the problems and pitfalls to look out for.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is the first page that visitors see after clicking on your PPC ad, or any promotional offering. It can be a specific page on your website or a separate page created exclusively for search engines. It isn’t your home page.

A landing page is designed to direct visitors to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, completing a registration, or subscribing to your mailing list.

The most common landing page mistakes

Before you hire an agency or a freelancer to build your landing page then there are certain things that you need to be aware off.  Have a look at our most common landing page mistakes to make sure you don’t fall for the same trap.

1

An agency that sees your home page as your landing page

If you are using a company to run your PPC or indeed any promotion and they want to send your traffic to your home page, then this is a red flag.

If you are paying to advertise your product, service or offering then ‘best practice’ is to send your visitor to a uniquely mastered page that is specific to that particular product, service or offering and not some generic page.

Home pages are normally full of all-purpose information so you could be wasting your valuable marketing budget by confusing your visitor on what their call-to-action should be.

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of digital marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked.  Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your website. The more you are willing to pay per click the higher your PPC advertisement will appear on the page.
PPC traffic means additional visitors to your site you gain from advertising your product/service advertising campaign.  You can login to your PPC service and review how many hits you’ve had and the cost to date.
2

There is NO clear and distinct call to action (CTA)

One of the greatest signs that your agency is not performing the way that they should is the lack of interest they have in creating a very clear and distinct call-to-action on your landing page.

cta

The main purpose of the landing page is to entice your customer to perform the next action, so if your call to action is not clearly visible, does not have a bright and distinct colour and does not have a generic piece of text like “click here”, “submit” or “buy now”, then you know that your agency is not doing everything correctly.

A call-to-action (usually abbreviated as CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.”
3

No tracking on the page

Gone are the days where you just stick your finger in the air and hope for the best.  Good agencies should understand the benefit of tracking how your landing pages are performing and be able to tell if they need to make certain changes to either the ‘call-to-action’, the ‘headline’ or the ‘content’.

Agencies can run a number of different tests, rather easily in fact, through amazing software such as http://unbounce.com/ which provides the ability to test multiple pages each with slight differences to the other, to gauge the customer’s reactions (otherwise known as A/B split testing).

High-end agencies tend to use google analytics with something called “tag manager” but ultimately there are a number of ways to track how effective your landing page is at promoting your visitors to take an action.

The key is to make sure that your agency is using tracking tools, if not that red flag is at full mast.

Tracking (otherwise known as web tracking) comprise of tools that allow you to understand your visitor behaviour on your website.  You can track a number of things including:

  • % of visitor that leave your landing page without taking an action
  • Which headline leads to the most visitors taking an action
  • Which call-to-action leads to the most visitor taking an action
  • Where your visitor go within the landing page and where their focus is
  • Which landing page design leads to the most visitors taking an action (A/B split testing)
A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) is comparing different versions of a web page to see which one performs best. You compare two web pages by showing the two variants (let’s call them A and B) to similar visitors at the same time. The version that gives a better conversion rate, wins!

Landing Page A/B

As with many things google, it is incredibly difficult to remain ‘non-technical’ when explaining google tag manager, but I will give it a go.

Google tag manager is a way of boosting your google analytics tracking to a new level by not just understanding where your customers go on your website but also which specific actions they take on individual pages.

This is in the form of tags. You add some code around any element on your web page (an enquiry form) and evaluate what your visitors do thereafter.

Agencies have used this in the past to see, for example, if they need to reduce the size of their enquiry form. google tag manager can tell them if certain enquiry fields (full name, address etc.) are putting people off submitting their details to a company.

4

The page loading time stinks

If your landing page does not load within 5 seconds then 74% of people will leave that page.  Scary statistic!  What’s even worse for ecommerce websites is that up to 50% will leave if the loading time is less than 3 seconds.

landing page stinks

When your agency has built your landing page, ask them to test the loading speed for that page.  It can be done quite simply by going onto https://tools.pingdom.com and adding the URL of the page you want to test.

If your agency skips this process all together then you know that they are a bad agency – deep red flag.

Please note the loading time can have something to do with your hosting company as well.  If you are using “cheap hosting” or “shared hosting” then you may need to improve your hosting package to speed up the loading time. For the best loading speed consider splashing out on a dedicated server hosting contract.

The most common issue is that the images on a page have not been compressed.  There are a number of tools an agency can use to compress the size of the image file which in turn will help the page load very much quicker without any discernible loss of image quality.