Landing Page Best Practices
Building a landing page can be deceptively easy. Using a drag and drop builder (like Unbounce) means you don’t have to be a developer to publish something professional, and you can do it in a matter of hours.
That said, going in blind is not recommended. To give you a better head start, here are some best practices that have been proven time and time again to boost conversion rates and reduce cost-per-acquisition.
11 Quick Landing Page Best Practices
The first rule of landing page best practices is this: they are a starting point to help you construct your best first attempt at a landing page. After that, you need to experiment and let the customers decide what they think is the best converting page for the job.
1. Ensure your messaging matches your ads
One major reason you should be using landing pages in the first place is to ensure you’re sending people to a page that matches their expectations. Make sure that you signal that visitors have made a “good click” by matching your landing page copy (and design) to the ads you’re running in search or social.
For example, an ad for retirement communities that brings visitors to a landing page focused on luxury condos is likely drive more visitors away than one that stays on message. If you’re running many ads with different headlines, consider creating variant pages (or using Dynamic Text Replacement) to ensure message match.
2. Keep the action above the fold
The term “above the fold” refers to the upper half of the front page of a newspaper. These days, though, it more often describes what’s visible on a screen before scrolling down. Either way, it’s valuable real estate, and you’ll want to make the most of it.
Keep your headline, unique sales proposition, and, most importantly, your call to action highly visible by placing these elements above the fold. Don’t cram more than you need to onto the screen—too much above the fold can make it difficult to see your CTA—but make sure everything a visitor needs is visible from the get-go.
PRO TIP. Screen resolutions can vary a lot, so design for the devices most people are actually using and not what appears for your fancy new iPhone or state-of-the-art laptop.
3. Use directional cues to direct the eye
It’s rare that a landing page is so short that nothing appears below the fold, so including visual indicators drawing the eye downward is a good idea. These cues can include literal pointers, like arrows, as well as other shapes, images, animations, or even copy that keep visitors happily scrolling and reading.
Similar directional cues should be used to help prospects find your call to action. Use bold, contrasting colors and an easily recognizable shape—buttons should look like buttons—so that the CTA pops out from the rest. You can even use arrows, animations, or even picture of pointing people to draw further attention to it.
4. Show your product/service in action
Showing your product or service in a real-life context helps visitors imagine themselves as your customer. It’s also an effective shorthand for explaining how your product or service works. Whether you use still photographs, step-by-step animations, or demo videos, visuals can help you to capture and keep their attention. Your hero image section is a great place to do this.
5. Remove navigation and other distractions
A great landing page focuses on a single conversion goal, so minimize other distractions that might carry visitors away. Resist the urge to include unnecessary links away from your landing page, including site navigation, additional calls to action, or even links back to your homepage. Your landing page will work best if it stands alone.
6. Include (authentic) social proof
Most of your visitors are savvy enough to distrust typical marketing spiel. (Unless you’re profoundly original, they’ve heard it all before.) No matter how good you think your offering is, including the voices of satisfied customers and community members can add an air of authenticity to your claims that even the best copy will lack.
But nobody’s going to be convinced by glowing reviews from Jane Doe, Anonymous, and Satisfied Customer. You can humanize these testimonials by including personal details, like full names, job titles, place of residence, date of purchase, biographical details, portraits, or even video.
7. Use clear, compelling copy
Good copy shouldn’t read like copy at all. It should be clear and straightforward. It should be as readable as the back of a cereal box. Though some offerings demand longer copy (and, as a result, longer landing pages), most benefit from keeping things short. Think fewer paragraphs, more bulleted lists.
PRO TIP. Ask people unfamiliar with your business to read your headline and supporting copy. Then get them to tell you what you’re offering and what problem you solve. If they can’t answer clearly, it’s likely not very effective copy.
8. Keep it fast
According to Unbounce’s Page Speed Report for Marketers, 70% of consumers admit that loading time influences their desire to buy. If your pages are taking more than 3 seconds to load on a mobile device, you’re going to lose a lot of potential customers.
Avoid weighing down your landing page with unnecessary elements that’ll slow it down—everything you add should have a specific purpose. Make sure all images are optimized and that you’ve followed Google’s speed recommendations.
Still not fast enough? Consider using Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to deliver pages at near-instant speeds.
9. Design for the right device
Many campaigns see a significant number of people browsing on their smartphones. (You might even be targeting people on the go.) This means that screens will be smaller, interactivity will be more limited, and load times will crawl.
None of these qualities are good for your mobile conversion rates, so ensure better performance by designing a mobile-responsive landing page that adapts to these devices. Layouts can be shifted, CTAs made more visible, and images can be shrunk or removed entirely.
10. Test and update your landing pages
Best practices are important, but A/B testing your landing pages is the best way to ensure that you’re converting as much as possible.
Have a hunch that your problem-focused headline isn’t working? Want to ask questions in a different order on your form? Is your boss insisting your CTA button should be fluorescent pink?
Test it out before you commit, and make decisions based on data instead of gut instinct.
PRO TIP. Unbounce’s builder lets you split traffic between variants and then track which page performs better. Together with tracking tools like Google Analytics, Hotjar, VWO, and LeadsRX, you can get a full picture to optimize your page.
11. Consider using a template
Everybody wants to be special. But if you’re just starting out (or just have limited developer resources), you can achieve impressive results by starting from a template and customizing it to fit your brand. Sites like ThemeForest sell hundreds of professionally designed landing pages. And Unbounce provides hundreds of conversion-focused landing page templates developed with these best practices in mind.
Lead Gen Landing Page Best Practices
Most of the tips above apply to all landing pages, but lead gen landing pages need a lil’ bit of special magic to work well.
Here’s a few extra pointers that’ll make a difference in your nurture-based campaigns:
1. Reduce friction with multi-step forms
Nobody likes paperwork. The same goes for long forms. So when you need to ask lots of questions, it’s best to do it in multiple steps. Instead of presenting 15 fields to complete on a single page, spread them over more than one step. And, for goodness’ sake, start with the easier questions (“What’s your name?”) before getting to the sensitive ones (“Are you an innie or an outie?”).
2. Avoid manual entry
Choosing one option from a list of five is less taxing than asking each visitor to type their answers manually—and, as a result, it’ll lead to more conversions. Not only that, if you’re collecting information for reasons beyond lead follow-up, like market research, it also makes crunching this data much easier.
4. Say “thank you”
When a visitor to your site completes a form, bringing them to a separate thank you page (or a popup) can create new opportunities. It not only lets them know the form has actually been submitted—a step some landing pages forget—it also gives you the opportunity to re-engage them.
For instance, you can ask if they want to sign up for your newsletter or visit another part of your website. Or you can start upselling a trial customer to a premium subscription right away. Or you can even use the opportunity to sweeten the pot with an additional offer. There are tons of post-conversion possibilities.
Is Video Great for Converting?
Another way to boost your conversion rates is by adding video to your landing pages, but that’s a little more involved. Read about the benefits of videos here.