Landing pages are curious creatures, aren’t they?
On the surface they seem very simple.
Look a little closer, and you’ll see that a good landing page design is a well oiled machine where every element has its own, specific function.
Most people already know the most common mistakes when it comes to landing pages: screwing up the headline, talking about features instead of benefits, using cheesy stock images.
You know, the basics.
Making mistakes like these is like dumping a bucketful of sand into your engine. It won’t take long until the whole thing comes to a screeching halt.
Then there’s another type of error. The sort of mistakes that might not seem significant at first. The sort of mistakes that will have you scratching your head wondering what’s wrong. The sort of mistakes that silently corrode your engine until it’s too late.
In this article, you’ll discover 5 of these little-known mistakes. You’ll know how to spot them and what to do with them.
Let’s start with the first one:
Mistake #1: Failing to Optimize Page Load Speed
Did you know that a landing page that takes 3 seconds to load converts 20% less leads than a landing page that takes 1 second to load?
Page load speed is one of those things that entrepreneurs and small businesses don’t pay a lot of attention to. They spend ages making their landing page design look good, but they don’t consider making it faster. After all, is waiting 3-5 seconds for a page to load really that big a deal?
Let me give you an example of what slow page load speeds can do to a business.
A while ago Google wanted to experiment with the amount of search results shown per page. Instead of 10 results they tried bumping it up to 30.
When they tried it they found that their traffic dropped by 20%.
What made the difference?
After taking a closer look at the results, they noticed that the page took half a second longer to load. Since most of their revenue comes from paid listings, you can understand why they dropped the 30-listings-per-page model.
Another example is Amazon. The people at Amazon wanted to find out what a slower page load speed would mean to them. They slowed down some of their pages and found that even small delays of 100 milliseconds resulted in “substantial and costly drops in revenue.”
Granted, these are extreme examples, but they still hold an important lesson: When people have to wait, you lose money.
Now that we know why your page load speed matters, let’s take a look at how we can make our sites faster.
To do that, we first need to know how fast your site is.
Finding Out How Fast Your Page Is
You can find out how well your page is doing by going to Pingdom and typing in your website’s URL.
Here’s what I got when I tested Danny Iny’s guest blogging course.
In this example, the load time is 699 ms. That is fast (and I mean Usain-Bolt-type fast). Don’t worry if your page is slower than this.
If you can get your page load time to between 1 to 3 seconds you’re doing just fine. If it takes longer than 5 seconds I’d start to look at what can be optimized.
Finding Out What Can Be Improved
Since Google knows how important speed is, they provided us with tools that can show us what we need to do to improve.
Go to Google PageSpeed Insights and type in the same URL that you used to determine your page load speed. After Google PageSpeed Insights has done its thing, you’ll get feedback about what is slowing your website down.
This is what I got for the guest blogging course.
If you’re getting anxiety attacks just by looking at this, don’t worry. There are WordPress plugins that fix most of these errors automatically.
Improving Your Site
Fixing every single thing that might slow your site down is way too technical for most people (me included). I’m going to focus on the things that give us the most results.
Without going into too much detail, here are things you can do to improve your speed.
- Resize images before uploading them to WordPress.
- Use an image optimizing plugin like EWWW or Smush.it.
- Use a caching plugin like W3 Total Cache.
- Use a content delivery network.
- Get faster hosting.
For a more detailed explanation, click here.
If you’ve done all these you should see a good increase in speed. I’d stop optimizing after this.
There are other things you can do but they’re either way too technical or they don’t add much improvement.
Again, try to get it between 1 – 3 seconds and you’re good to go.
Mistake #2: Wrong Use of Color
The use of color is a tricky thing. Picking the right color is important. It’s part of what you are communicating, but it’s also very easy to waste time on it and get lost in all the details.
If you’re struggling to find colors that work together, I suggest using a tool like Color Scheme Designer
When it comes to landing pages, color has two main functions:
- Set the mood
- Draw the focus
Setting the mood is more about what certain colors mean. Whole blog posts have been written about this, so I won’t rehash them here. If you want to read about color theory, this is a great article.
The second point is the easiest to fix and it’s where most people screw up: people use color to draw attention to the wrong elements.
Take a look at this example:
The search bar, the call to action on the left, the chat box on the lower right, and the red text are all competing for attention. Ironically, this makes nothing stand out.
Now take a look at this one:
Here it’s clear what element is the most important one. Although the call to action isn’t that great (more on that later), it stands out because it’s using contrast to its advantage.
Take a look at your own landing page design and decide what element you want to draw attention to. Hint: usually it’s the headline and call to action!
Now that you know how to make the important parts stand out, let’s move to the next mistake.
Mistake #3: Bad Call to Actions
Calls to actions – CTAs for short – guide your visitors to the next step on your website. It’s the bridge between traffic and conversion.
Weirdly enough, it’s often an area that doesn’t get much attention.
People often assume that their visitors know what to do when they get to a page on their website. The truth is, if your visitors are even a little bit confused about where to go next, they’ll probably leave.
A simple way to find a good call to action is to complete the sentence “I want to ________”.
I want to…
- Learn More
- Get a Quote
- Download My Free Copy
- Stay Updated
All of these are good because they are descriptive, non-threatening, and beneficial.
Call to actions like “Subscribe”, “Sign up”,and “Submit” all sound like a potential trap. If your visitor “subscribes,” they run the risk of being spammed. They don’t know what’s going to happen next.
‘Stay updated’, on the other hand, is clear and sounds beneficial. ‘Download My Free Copy’ is even better.
You want to make it as clear as possible what you want your visitors to do. That way confusion is avoided and your visitors take action.
Mistake #4: Having Too Many Ways Out
A lot of landing pages that I come across try to cram loads of call to actions into one single page. They have a navigation bar at the top, social links all over and even more links at the bottom of the page.
Why is this bad?
Think of your landing page as a bucket filled with traffic. Every link is a hole in your bucket causing your traffic to leak out.
The only hole you want to have in your landing page is your CTA. This will give your visitor only two options: leave or go on, yes or no.
This can lead to a nice bump in conversions. Yuppiechef, for example, increased their conversion rate just by removing the navigation bar.
So what about social links? Social networks can help your site grow. It can expose your site to a whole new range of potential customers. Aren’t social networks good?
The answer is: it depends.
If you have an offer that is worth sharing (usually something temporary like a sale or a special offer), then you can consider using social links on your landing page.
If it’s a regular offer I’d move the social buttons to the thank you page. Someone who just bought your product is more likely to “like” your Facebook page than a random visitor.
I suggest trying out different things and seeing what works best.
Mistake #5: Not Keeping Up With The Times
Mobile internet usage is becoming more and more important. In fact, 2014 is the year where mobile internet usage is starting to overtake regular computer-based internet usage.
It’s only logical that you adapt your landing pages accordingly.
You’ve probably encountered this before. You use your mobile device to go to a website, but you can’t read a thing because all the letters are so small that you have to zoom in to read it.
You see something that looks interesting so you try to click (touch) it. Instead of going to the right page you go to the wrong one because you didn’t tap the link in the right place.
Having to navigate a landing page like that gets annoying. Instead of being an effective communication tool, your landing page will start to draw attention to itself and make people leave.
Unfortunately, this is the hardest problem to fix. There isn’t a quick and easy way to adapt your landing page design to mobile. It needs to be built with mobile in mind.
This means using themes or templates that are built using responsive web design.
Without getting too technical, all it really does is check what type of device you are using and adjust the page accordingly (font size, image size, page structure…)
Most web designers realize how important mobile is, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding themes and templates that are responsive. A quick Google search will give you plenty of free ones.
Say Goodbye to Crippling Conversions!
You’ve put a lot of work into your landing pages. It’s only fair that you give that landing page design the best chance of success. Let’s do a quick recap on how to make that happen:
- Make your site load as fast as possible.
- Use color to highlight the right things.
- Use call to actions that complete the sentence “I want to ______”.
- Watch how many links you put on your landing page. Keep them focused on your message.
- Keep your mobile customers and leads in mind.
Now it’s your turn.
Put on your overalls, roll up your sleeves and start optimizing your engine.
In the end it’s all about making it easy for your visitor to take the action that will benefit both of you.
Help your customers reach their goal, and they’ll help you reach yours.
Which of these landing page design mistakes have you been making? Or, which mistake drives you crazy when you see it on a landing page? I’m looking forward to your answer in the comments below!
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