Complete Beginner’s Guide to Landing Pages

If you’ve been blogging for any length of time, you’ve heard about landing pages. You’ve been told you need them. Your WordPress theme may have a special landing page template, and you’ve probably seen other WordPress themes and plugins specializing in just creating landing pages.

With every other blog post you read proclaiming that you “must” do this or that to be successful in blogging or business, it’s easy to just tune out the noise.

But if you choose to listen to just one piece of “must do” advice, you can’t go wrong with landing pages. Properly used, landing pages are a powerful tool to help you reach your blogging goals:

  • Want more email subscribers? Landing pages can help skyrocket those signups.
  • Want to sell more products or services? Landing pages can boost your income.
  • Want to get more leads? With good landing pages, you’ll have more leads than you can possibly handle.

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly how you can put landing pages to work on your own website in order to accomplish your goals.

What Is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a page that’s separate from the rest of your website, and that has a very specific objective: to get your audience to take action.

Because landing pages are so laser-focused on a single goal, they usually don’t have the normal elements the rest of your site has: navigational header, sidebar, or footer. They may also have a different look and design than the rest of your website.

The purpose of the simple, no-frills landing page is so that your visitors have no distractions, and no choice but to convert or click the back button.

When to Use Landing Pages

There are two main types of landing pages:

  1. Click-through landing pages, with the goal of getting the visitor to click a link or button.
  2. Lead generation landing pages, with the goal of getting the visitor to fill out a form (usually in order to gain sales leads for your business).

For click-through landing pages, your copy should work to convince your audience of the benefits of purchasing that product or service.

For lead generation landing pages, it’s a good idea to give visitors some kind of incentive to hand over their information, such as a freebie to new email subscribers.

You could also offer:

  • A free ebook or whitepaper
  • Registration for a free webinar
  • A free consultation
  • A discount coupon
  • Entry to a giveaway or contest
  • A free trial
  • Notification of a future product launch

hubspot-landing-pagesHubspot found that the more landing pages you have, the more leads you’ll get:

“While most companies don’t see an increase in leads when increasing their total number of landing pages from 1-5 to 6-10, companies do see a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15. And look how that leads index number spikes even more when a company has 40 or more landing pages on their website.”

Benefits of Using Landing Pages

Why use a landing page and not just a regular page on your website?

The main reason is that they increase conversion rates. If you have a page on your site that has a goal of getting visitors to take action – whatever that action may be – they’re much more likely to take action on a landing page.

Landing pages also have additional benefits, though:

Benefit #1 – They Enable You to Better Target Your Audience

On your main website, every visitor sees the same site.

But with landing pages, you can easily create different offers for different audience members. This is very helpful if you have multiple personas you’re trying to target.

With separate landing pages, you can speak your audience’s language and more easily convince them.

Benefit # 2 – They’re Easy to Change

If you’re directing all your visitors to your homepage, it’s going to be difficult to experiment and make any big changes in order to increase your conversions. Any change you make will affect all your visitors, and maybe even your whole site.

A single landing page is much more agile. You can make whatever changes you want just to that one page, without affecting the rest of your website.

Benefit # 3 – They’re Easy to Test

Every time you make changes to your landing page, you can easily test different changes to see what converts the best.

Many landing page tools actually have built-in A/B testing tools that will even pick the best version of your page for you, and reporting tools so you can see how your pages are helping with conversions (more on those tools below).

How to Create Your Own Landing Pages

There are three steps to creating your own landing pages:

  1. Determine your goal
  2. Write the content
  3. Design the page

Above, we looked at some goals you might have for your landing pages as well as incentives to offer your audience.

For writing the content, take a look at some of our past articles on copywriting techniques that will help you convince your visitors:

  1. 5 Quick Copywriting Rules for Blogs
  2. The Five Habits Of Highly Effective Copywriters
  3. 25 Rules for Writing Crazy Good Sentences

To design your landing page, it’s easiest if you use a landing page tool. There are tons of options out there, but here are some of the most popular:

Thrive Themes Landing Pages

Thrive Themes has a WordPress plugin just for creating landing pages. It comes with dozens of pre-designed templates that have been designed to optimize conversions. It has an easy drag-and-drop and click to edit interface, so you don’t need to know how to code to customize your pages and make them unique, or to make them match your own branding.

OptimizePress

OptimizePress offers both a premium WordPress theme and a plugin with a tool for creating landing pages. It includes a drag and drop editor that makes it easy to customize your content, along with a variety of templates to get you started.

LeadPages

LeadPages is a landing page creation platform that includes a suite of tools to create and optimize landing pages. It’s available for a monthly subscription. It works with WordPress but also with any other website, since you can implement it just using HTML.

Xtensio

Xtensio has a 100% free One Pager Builder that would work nicely to create landing pages. It has drag and drop and inline editing and is mobile friendly. You can create as many pages as you want for free.

Best Practices for High-Converting Landing Pages

Ready to get started creating your first landing page? Keep these tips in mind, and make sure to test to see what works for you:

Best Practice # 1 – Remove Distractions and Make Your CTA Clear

Whether it’s a big colorful button or an obvious opt-in form, your visitors should know at a glance exactly what action you want them to take.

Open Mile found that removing clutter and simplifying the design of their landing page, as well as making the CTA a very obvious contrasting button, increased their conversions by 232%:

OpenMile-AB-Testing-Comparison

SAP BusinessObjects found that adding a big orange download button, in addition to an existing download link, increased their conversions by 32%, and The Vineyard, a luxury hotel in London, also found that adding a big button increased their conversions by 32%.

vineyard-abtest-summary

Best Practice # 2 – Use Action Words

When writing your headlines and copy, make sure to use action-oriented words.

Just by changing their copy from emotion-based to action-based, L’Axelle was able to nearly double their conversions:

“The wording of headline and copy had huge ramifications when it came to converting – a take-action feel performed 93% better.”

The action-oriented copy used in the version on the right increased conversions by 93%:
landing-pages-action-oriented-copy

Best Practice # 3 – Use Pictures of People

As convincing as your copy may be, seeing an image of a person allows your audience to relate better, as they can visualize themselves in that person’s place.

In an A/B test by 37signals, they found that including a picture of a person more than doubled their conversions.

Best Practice # 4 – Match Your Offer with Your Advertising

If you advertise a free ebook on Facebook, your visitors should be brought to a landing page that’s specifically for downloading that ebook. Don’t frustrate them by making them hunt for it (they’ll give up!).

Oli Gardner of Unbounce says:

“Whenever you break the conversion momentum you are giving your visitor a slap in the face and telling them they may as well go elsewhere.”

Best Practice #5 – Focus on Specific Benefits

Screenshot 2016-03-09 at 11.29.32 AM

The Sims was able to increase conversions by focusing on what’s in it for their audience.

No matter what your objective is, you need to give your audience a good reason to take action. Make sure that your copy focuses on what your visitors will get, and why it matters.

The Sims increased their registrations by 128% just by changing their copy to focus on the most compelling offer. After testing a few different variations, they realized that players respond better to specific offers. While the original copy just said “Sign up now,” the final version said “Register Your Game and Get a Free Town Now!” Specificity is the key – and it doesn’t hurt to make it clear that what you’re offering is free!

Best Practice # 6 – Add Reviews and Testimonials

When you’re asking your audience to take action, you’re asking them to trust you, especially if that action includes handing over payment information. You can give your audience signals of your trustworthiness in various ways, but one of the most effective ways to do so is with reviews.

According to MarketingLand, 90% of customers say that their buying decisions are influenced by online reviews. Think about the last time you bought something online – you probably read the reviews first.

Women’s apparel store FigLeaves found that adding reviews to their e-commerce site make all of their website visitors 35% more likely to make a purchase. Another case study by WikiJob found that adding simple testimonials also increased their sales by 34%.

Best Practice # 7 – Test Your Opt-in Forms

All the time you spend setting up your landing page will be wasted if your forms don’t work. Make sure to test the live opt-in form to be sure it’s working as intended.

Create Your First Landing Page Today!

If you need a few more examples to get you started, check out our posts on 9 Best Landing Pages and What You Can Learn from Them.

Then, choose one of the tools above so you can track your conversion rates and see how they improve with landing pages. You’ll be shocked at the difference they make!