Much of advertising is about first impressions. It’s about grabbing a consumer’s attention in a sea of competing distractions. As the distractions get more numerous and intricate, this task only becomes more difficult. For a website, your first impression is manifested in the form of a landing page.
A landing page is in the unfortunate position of needing to fulfil multiple jobs. It needs to act as the preview for your entire website, as a device to increase your search engine ranking, all the while maintaining user attention. Landing page optimisation refers to the process of modifying components of the page in order to increase conversions. The average landing page experiences conversion rates of 2% to 6%. However, with some intelligent alterations, this percentage can increase 10 fold. Here are some of those alterations.
Above & Below The Fold
The term “above the fold” originates from the newspaper industry. As newspapers were delivered to customers folded, the most pertinent information was placed “above the fold” on the first page so as to entice people into reading it. While newspapers and the digital medium are far from identical, the general principle remains relevant for websites.
For websites, instead of a physical fold there is a “digital fold.” The digital fold is the point on a site before a user scrolls to get more information. It is the information that is immediately present to the user, either on desktop or mobile devices. Since window sizes can vary on a desktop, and different mobile devices scale pages differently, it’s a somewhat blurry category. Nevertheless, it remains a useful heuristic.
Some information should always appear above the fold. For instance, your most engaging content should be immediately visible to visitors in order to generate interest as quickly as possible. Navigations and search bars should appear above the fold to streamline user experience. However other elements are largely contextual, and there is no hard and fast rule for. Take for instance “call to action” (CTA) buttons. CTAs should appear below the fold for uncertain visitors and above the fold for certain visitors. Certain visitors are customers who have already decided to purchase your product before they visit your site. These are visitors who arrive at your site usually after viewing an ad first. So if the majority of your users come to your landing page via Facebook ads, you want your CTAs to be immediately visible, and therefore above the fold.
By contrast, uncertain visitors are individuals who have stumbled onto your site with only the most cursory of information about your product. A good example of this would be users who arrive via Google ads. These users are more likely to respond to CTAs once they have a better idea of what your business does. For them, it’s better to place CTAs below the fold, after you have had a chance to detail your product.
Rich Snippets & Microdata
Rich snippets are Google search results that have been enhanced by additional data. They give users information beyond the title tag, meta description and the URL. This can include details ranging from reviews, music, events, products & authors just to name a few. They are an aid to help distinguish your ad amongst all of the other search results that appear alongside your own, and help your landing page to garner more traffic.
It must be stressed that Google selects what content becomes rich snippets in a probabilistic manner. This is to say that there are no techniques you can use to ensure your landing page will be presented as a rich snippet, but there are techniques you can use to help beat the odds. One such technique is the use of microdata.
Microdata is a HTML specification used to nest metadata within existing content on web pages. Google uses web crawlers to extract microdata and then uses it to help determine whether or not to create a rich snippet of your page. This means that you can use microdata on the back end of your landing page to increase your likelihood of receiving a rich snippet. To illustrate this point, here is a block of html text with no microdata:
<p>My name is John Smith, and I was born in Perth. I am currently working at ad impact advertising.</p>
The “p” tags that you are seeing denotes a standard paragraph style. A web crawler can read this text and analyse it for rich snippets, but it is unlikely to be fruitful. Let’s see what happens when we add some microdata.
<p>My name is <span itemdrop = “name”>John Smith</span>, and I was born in Perth. I am currently working at ad impact advertising.</p>
Here, I have added microdata around the name so that Google can more easily recognise and analyse the text. You can do this for an innumerable amount of subjects and categories. This means that if you apply the right microdata on any block of text on your landing page, then you can increase its likelihood of being represented in rich snippets.
Optimising Form Fields
At the very edge of the conversion funnel is the form field. Though you might figure that this late into the sales process the customer is all but guaranteed to convert, the truth is that the bounce rate at this step can exceed 50%. Form fields are just as crucial to landing page optimisation as any.
Form fields should be as minimalistic as possible. Statistically, conversion rate maximises between 3 to 5 pieces of data entered into a form field. Any more, and you start witnessing a precipitous drop off in conversions. As such, the information asked should be limited to what is most necessary, name, number and email.
Wherever possible, you will also need to add autocomplete. The act of filling out a form field is a laborious task that no one enjoys. As such, you need to utilize every possible convenience. Additionally, a subtle but oddly significant feature is the existence of placeholder text. When web forms don’t use floating text (text that disappears upon clicking it) mistakes are more likely to be made in form fields, and customers are more likely to see unfilled forms as filled.
Finally, any and all captcha boxes should be eliminated. Whilst captcha boxes are an extraordinarily useful tool in eliminating spam, they also eliminate upwards of 30% of potential customers. It is more useful to use spam filters like Honeypotthen to lose business with an effective but imprecise tool.
Landing page optimisation, like most web optimisation, is a matter of continuous A/B testing. It is never finished, only improved. Through iteration after iteration, through intelligent planning and refinement, you can build a landing page far beyond your competitors. You can build a landing page that is completely tailored to your consumers needs.