Visitors arrive at your website in two fundamentally different ways.
One group arrives there by way of their own search. After reading the blog post or other material that you’ve put in their path through SEO, these visitors may poke around elsewhere on your site. They are like browsers in a mall — they’re not necessarily planning to spend money, but if something attractive in the window catches their eye, they’ll come into your store to see what you have to offer.
These visitors enter through your homepage, which serves a wide variety of audiences, each with its own interests. The home page should provide these casual visitors with both an overview and signposts that will enable them to explore.
The other group of visitors are like people who hate to shop — they’re looking for something very specific and want to spend as little time as possible finding it. These visitors have arrived at your site via a banner ad or Adwords link, and they probably don’t care (at least on their first visit) about other products and services you offer, let alone your mission statement or corporate history.
These more focused visitors need a specific “door” into your site: You need to develop a specific landing page for them, completely distinct from the home page through which general visitors arrive.
The main difference between the two kinds of entries is what the welcome mat looks like. On a homepage, you want to provide enough material that casual visitor will get a sense for what your company is like and browse other site areas of interest. On a landing page, you provide nothing but the information that the visitor clicked on the banner ad to find.
These guidelines will help you design an effective landing page:
- Make it consistent with the rest of your site in terms of colors, fonts, logos.
- Keep it short and sweet and include:
- A single value proposition supported by every element on the page.
- A strong headline.
- A brief section of text. If the customer will need more information, you can embed a link to a product page.
- Possibly some other media, such as a video or screencast.
- Remove unneeded material, including both visual clutter and extraneous links.
If you’re thinking, “I can’t possibly do everything I need to with this single landing page,” remember — you are not limited to a single landing page. Segment as much as you need to, for different offers and different audiences, and create a landing page for each segment. Each of those landing pages will go through this simplification process, though.
With so few elements on the page, it’s essential that each work as well as possible — split testing can help you figure out which elements are most effective.
These are just the basics — we’ll be posting more on landing pages. Do you have any specific questions you’d like us to address?