The following is a guest post from Justin Rachwalski, Strategy Lead at Google.
We’ve put together a compelling list of ways you can improve your landing pages and conversions. These tips are easy to implement and, more importantly, can start improving your results immediately.
1. Landing page headlines and ad copy should match
Google AdWords determines cost-per-click in part based on the quality of your landing page. You can improve your score, and bring down your cost-per-click, by making sure your landing page’s content aligns with your ad messaging. Not only does this make acquiring leads less expensive, it also improves the effectiveness of your pages: customers who click on your ad will be get information relating directly to what they clicked on.
2. Your headlines must be clear and concise
Your landing page headline is one of the first things a visitor reads. Make it clear what you’re offering in a compelling way. A poorly written headline will bore or confuse your visitors into leaving, while a well-written headline can compel your visitors to take a closer look.
When Carelogger , a Diabetes logbook application, redesigned its homepage, it tested two different headlines against each other. The headline “Maintain your optimal health by keeping tabs on your diabetes” converted more than 31% better than an identical page with the headline “Keeping tabs on your diabetes just got a whole lot easier.” A stronger headline that addressed a specific pain point (maintaining optimal health)
3. Your grammar should be impeccable
The Internet isn’t exactly known for being free of typos and poor writing. Take the time to make sure your body copy is free of errors. If you are asking visitors to hand over their money but your website contains spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, why should a user trust you with their money? By forgetting to spell-check your body copy, you are risking your conversions. It’s as simple as that.
4. Take advantage of trust indicators
Building trust on your landing page is essential to improving your conversions. Here are several effective ways to build trust:
- Testimonials (personal and well written). Learn more about testimonials here .
- 3rd party trust and security certification (Better Business Bureau, VeriSign, etc.)
- Press mentions
- Guarantee seals
The implications of trust are huge: when ACLens began using Extended Validation SSL Certificates from Verisign, they saw a 41% increase in conversion and a 58% increases in revenue per transaction. These types of results from trust increases are not uncommon, and it’s no surprise why: when visitors are confident about the security of their online purchases, purchasing feels less risky.
5. Use a strong call-to-action
The goal of your landing page is to convince visitors to perform a particular action. After they read your landing page, they need to know what to do next. That’s what your call-to-action is about: providing an actionable next step in the most effective way possible.
When Mozilla was redesigning their Firefox page , they tested two different calls-to-action: “Try Firefox 3” and “Download Now – Free.” The second call-to-action outperformed the first by 3.6% with at confidence level of over 99%, resulting in over 500 more downloads during their tests alone.
6. Make your buttons and calls-to-action stand out
A conversion button, usually placed right below your call-to-action, should stand out. If it’s difficult for your visitors to perform the desired conversion, your conversion numbers will suffer. Part of making that conversion easy is using a well-crafted button: place it next to your call-to-action (and above the fold) and make it large enough to see (a bright color doesn’t hurt, either). If you must have other buttons on your landing page, your primary button should be the biggest and most prominent.
7. Go easy on the links
One of the biggest threats to conversion is going off-message. Distracting your visitor with too many outbound links or related pages can negatively impact conversions. Lots of links may make sense on a regular homepage, but on a landing page they can hinder both your experience and the user’s. If a user has trouble finding what they’re looking for, expect to see your conversions drop.
8. Use images and videos that relate to your copy
Images and videos can make a huge impact on your landing page’s effectiveness, but only if they directly relate to your body copy. An image or video that relates to your copy helps strengthen your message to your visitor. It’s great to have screenshots of your product in action, or a short video showing the tangible value-proposition your product offers, but it’s more effective if they relate directly to your text.
9. Keep it above the fold
The “fold” refers to the space your visitors can see without scrolling. There is a lot to be said for keeping the most important parts of your webpage in that space. When deciding where to put your button, think about the flow of your page. Does it follow the path of your eye when you scan? Does your design take into consideration average browser size? It should. If people have to search for the button, or if you put it below the fold, it will negatively impact your conversions. Browsersize from Google Labs is a great tool to find out what portion of your page most visitors can see without scrolling.
10. Always be testing
Once you’ve followed the general rules of thumb, get started testing – you might have two great headlines, but is one more effective than another? Using a simple A/B Test, you can segment your traffic and find out. AB testing is so great because you can test and optimize everything about your webpage until you receive the response-rate you are looking for. There’s no universal right answer for what webpage works best, but testing can ensure that your webpage is the best that it can be.
It’s worth noting that A/B testing a single site design has a glass ceiling – at some point you reach the maximum conversions possible for that design, and a completely different design may be capable of better conversion rates. You can, however, also test two completely different site designs against each other.