A landing page that converts visitors to leads or customers is the goal of every website.

If your website is not reeling in as many customers or sales as you would like, there are many conversion optimization strategies that can be utilised in your design.

In this article we’re going to discuss 5 factors that you can use on a landing page to increase the likelihood of turning visitors into active users:

  1. Clear Navigation paths
  2. Highly visible call-to-action buttons
  3. Concise headlines that include a value proposition
  4. High impact images
  5. No unnecessary elements

It takes about half a second for a visitor to your site to decide whether they hang around or bounce. To ensure they stick around, you should step into the minds of your visitors and check if your site answers the following questions in 0.5 seconds.

  • Where am I? Is the navigation clear. What is the page about.
  • Why am I here? Does the headline have a convincing value proposition.
  • What can I do? The call to action is visible and I know what to do.
  • Why should I do it? Could I imagine myself enjoying the benefits of the product or service.
  • Is the path clear? Are there elements on the page fighting for my attention and distracting me from clicking the main call to action.

1. Clear Navigation Paths

Have you ever landed on a webpage and felt like a lost and confused tourist? Regardless of how much interest you had in the brand, you couldn’t find what you needed so you left the page to save your own sanity?

Navigating a highly converting webpage will feel like de-ja-vu, you will intuitively find where to go, without putting extra thought into it.

Don’t assume someone will go hunting. This isn’t hide-and-seek, it’s a business.

Your primary navigation menu should contain only the most important links on your site. It is best to keep these under 5 or 6. Expanded menu items can cascade from this primary navigation menu.

Overwhelming your visitors with too many menu items, in your primary menu list, will dilute your SEO authority juice. Your visitors are also more likely to scan past important items.

User experience card-sorting technique

To decide which labels should go on your navigation bar, there is user experience card-sorting techniques that you can use.

Card-sorting is a simple user-experience technique that helps you get into the minds of your website visitors and design the navigation from their standpoint.

First you will need to find a group of participants. Your internal stakeholders may have a biased opinion, so it is best to use people from outside your business.

Next, lay out a stack of index cards on the table, each representing a major page on your site. Then ask a group of participants to organize the cards any way they see fit.

Look for trends in how your participants group the pages on your site and ask them how they would name each category. The resulting organization can help build the backbone of your site navigation.

Descriptive Labels

The key phrases on your navbar are the search terms you will rank higher for.

In terms of SEO it is better to use descriptive navigation labels on the navigation bar. Steer away from generic terms like services or about us. Since your navigation appears on each page, it is a key component that indicates to search engines what your page is about.

If you use generic descriptions such as services, you could be doing yourself a disservice. As it is unlikely that anyone will type “services” into the search bar in attempt to find your unique offerings.

Instead use descriptive terms that tell your visitors and search bots what you do.

A study from the Nielsen Norman Group recommends against using format-based navigation.

The study suggests that navigation labels such as “videos,” or “photos” don’t perform as well as topic related labels. This is because people tend to search online for answers and information not formats.

A good example of this is ING, their labels Everyday Banking, Savings, Home Loans, Superannuation are relevant to what their users will be typing into the search engines. Also notice ING’s Mega Menu drop down menu, which we will discuss next.

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Mega Menus

The user should not feel overwhelmed in any way, if you do have vast amounts of categories, mega menus are better than little drop down menus.

A mega menu is a big two-dimensional structured menu that is activated from the top-level navigation bar. They are divided into groups of navigation options that are visible at once – so there is no annoying scrolling. They help users find more options on your website thus increase your sales.

Testing and Tweeking

Over time you will be able to see in your analytics what is and isn’t working on your navigation bar. From that information you can:

  • Remove items that rarely get clicked, if they aren’t critical
  • Rename or relabel that rarely get clicked, if they are important
  • Move items that often get clicked to the beginning

You may need to keep tweaking and testing before you get the results you desire.

2. Concise Headlines – Value Proposition

The headline on your homepage is the first line the visitor reads and therefore the most important line on your highly converting landing page.

A headline can mean the difference between users staying on to learn more or bouncing out. Your headline should have a clear value proposition and convey a benefit that audience can easily relate to.

Good headlines / value propositions are clear, concise, specific, and relevant. They should ideally be under 10 words and never under 20 words. Your visitors should be able to read and understand your headline in under 5 seconds.

Being concise means making your point quickly, without extra words that don’t add any value.

In just a few seconds, your visitors should understand your offering from reading your headline.

Therefore, creating a good headline usually consists of a lot of trimming – cutting out unnecessary words and information and getting down to the very essence of the message you want to convey.

Avoid hype, superlatives and business jargon

Web readers are in a hurry. They don’t want a puffy sales pitch that requires extra effort to decipher.

Instead tell readers, in plain language, exactly what’s so good about your service or product and explain why that’s important for them. How do you make your customer’s life better? Does your product or app take away hassle and pain? Does it make your reader happier, more productive, or more relaxed?

No Abstractions

Please keep your landing page headline specific.

Trying to be clever, abstract or unnecessarily witty isn’t going to convince anyone.

Your prospects have questions and they want answers. If you can provide them with an ultra-specific headline and the answer to their questions, you can convert them into loyal readers and customers.

The more precise you can be, the more authority you’ll command in your industry and the easier you’ll find it to build a strong connection with customers.

Redundant adjectives, flowery or bombastic words can make your copy sound insincere and cause your copy to be verbose and cumbersome.

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The headline works because the value proposition is clear and direct without any confusion.

Create a sense of urgency

Notice the use of the word Instantly in the above example? it works because it creates a sense of urgency. It grabs the readers attention in anticipation for what will come next.

Copywriters usually improve conversion rates, when they strategically use a sense of urgency in their copy. Potential customers tend to respond quickly, because their psychology is wired to persuade them to buy based on emotions, but to justify that decision based on logic.

To get a clear understanding of which headlines appeals the most, try testing several headlines and asking your audience which appeals the most (you can use an online headline generator if needed).

Some good resources for writing headlines:

Sub-headline

So you have a snappy headline that grabs your readers attention. Next you want a sub heading that will make them want to stick around.

Your sub headline should elaborate on the statement you have made in your heading. Such as emphasizing additional benefits and encouraging users to take action right away.

Sub headlines are typically longer in length but you don’t want to go overboard either.

If you need to you can also add 3 or so bullet points outlining key benefits.

The idea is to get users to stay on your page long enough to act on your call to action.

3. Highly Visible Call-to-Action Buttons

Your first question when creating a landing page is, “what do I want my viewers to do?”

Once you answer this question, you can create what you call a call-to-action button, ie. CTA.

The call to action is the key element of any web page and acts as a signpost that allows the user to know what to do next. Without it, users might not know the next steps to take to purchase a product/service or be unaware on how to sign-up. They may even choose to leave the site without accomplishing anything.

In order to increase the conversion rate, you need to ensure that the CTAs are effective enough.

To make the CTAs effective, you should make the CTA button clear, noticeable with contrasting colours. Also, ensure that the CTA button has a good contrast with the background colour.

Other elements of an effective call to action include:

  • Words that provoke emotion or enthusiasm
  • Action-oriented
  • Reasons for users to take desired action
  • Persuasive text
  • Strong visuals
  • A sense of urgency

Micro and macro conversions

There are two types of conversions your visitors could make. A macro conversion or a micro conversion.

The primary purpose of your website is to act as a conjugate for a macro conversion such making a purchase of booking a spot on your calendar.

Micro conversions place people on the path towards making a macro conversion and include activities such as:

  • An email newsletter sign-up
  • Filling out a form
  • Signing up or attending a webinar
  • Downloading an ebook
  • Watching a video
  • Sharing one of your pages via social media
  • Tweeting about your company
  • Viewing a certain number of pages of your site

Similar to the warm-up before the long jump micro-conversions are an important step in the buyer’s journey.

Your visitors may not be ready to dive in and commit to a macro conversion. They may need to test the waters and get acquainted with your offerings before they jump in and splash out – that’s where micro conversions come in.

Micro conversions also help you get to know your buyer, so you can begin to form a relationship that leads to a macro conversion.

4. High Impact Images

Using the right images enhances the users experience, boosting your chances of getting the most out of your incoming traffic.

On the flip side, the wrong image can kill your conversions just as quickly as the right one improves them. Focus on getting images that engage your visitors and establish trust.

Never use low quality images, they will degrade your brand. Using high quality images tells your visitor you are professional and care about quality. And in turn builds their trust.

It is better to use original photos. Real photos of your employees, customers, company founder, will also always feel more genuine than stock photo models.

If using high quality original images isn’t doable, you could retouch a stock image to make it your own.

Your retouching could include:

  • Cropping the image so that it only focuses on the components that are relevant to the message you are communicating.
  • Editing the colours of the image to match the colours of your brand.
  • Adding text that represents your brand image.

Visuals are powerful communicators. They evoke emotions and tell a story faster than written words. Storytelling is one of the most important parts of brand communication.

When you pick an image, you are choosing to convey an emotion. Understanding your target audience should determine the emotion of the image you select.

For example, if your target audience are aspiring entrepreneurs, you need to show strength, ambition, motivation and creativity.

Deliberate Focus

Your message will be delivered most powerfully when you will not confuse the brain with too many ideas and images.

Don’t bombard your landing page with pointless images. Instead focus on a single image that effectively communicates your message.

Your image should have a deliberate focus. To communicate. The focus of the image is to get specific information to the brain.

Your image should direct your visitors attention towards the action you want them to take. One way of doing this is having your hero image direct prospects towards a call to action.

As you can see from the heat mapping, when the baby is looking at the reader, most of the clicks and attention are paid towards the baby:

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Most visual attention is focused on the baby’s face.

However, when the baby faces the text on the right and looks straight at it, the prospect’s gaze and attention is also directed toward the text:

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Visual heatmaps show that an image can guide the viewer’s gaze.

Other tips when choosing visuals include:

  • Use images that cause the viewer to imagine themselves enjoying the benefits of the product or service.
  • Give users several angles of the product
  • Show images of someone using your product.
  • Demonstrate how it works.

5. No Unnecessary Elements

There is a common theory that is well known to web designers and that is called Hick’s Law. Named after British psychologist William Edmund Hick This law defines the importance of simplicity and states that the more choices someone has, the longer it will take them to make a decision.

The human mind has trouble choosing between several options unless one clearly stands out as the best.

When thinking about the design of your page, keep in mind the specific goal or conversion you want your visitors to embark and remove unnecessary elements that could deter them from achieving that goal.

By removing distractions on your visitor’s conversion path, it is more likely that they will perform the conversion goal, set out by you.

You could also save someone from having a wee panic attack and running for the hills because they just can’t decide… we have all been there!

The more choices we eliminate, the more enjoyable the experience will be.

Pro tip: for an e-commerce website make it super easy for your customers to purchase.

Forms

There are not many people that enjoy filling out forms. The possibility of someone filling out your form depends on their interest level.

You have the power to ease their agony by making forms as simple as possible by making sure that every field plays a critical role. If not, remove it.

Finding the right balance between getting the critical lead info while keep fields to a minimum, may take some trial and error.

A good article in deciding the sweet spot of length is: How Long Should Your Landing Page Forms Be?

If you need a form that is long, it is better that you ask your visitors to click on a link that takes them to the sign-up page. This is because customers may be turned off by a long sign up page the moment they land on your page. The extra step may also weed out tyre kickers.

Conclusion

As you can see, a landing page with a high conversion rate is both a science and an art.

They are more than pretty pictures and descriptive words. They incorporate a design that strategically moves visitors towards a specific goal.

Getting it right is a learning game, even for the best digital marketing agencies, that’s why continually monitoring, and testing is a must.

Rock Solid Marketing is a digital marketing agency in Melbourne and Mildura that provides SEO services. Contact us to learn more about how to set your website up for SEO success!