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What Is A Landing Page? A Novice Webmaster SEO Guide

Basically, crafting a high converting landing page is not rocket science. However, creating an effective page involves more than simply designing something that “looks good.” And also, giving customers what they want definitely takes some research.

So how can you demystify the process and unleash your landing page, to the amazement of the watching world? Keep reading, and I’ll lay it out for you. Before we start, it’s important to note that there’s no standard manual for a perfect landing page creation.

Landing Page

You might be in search of a straightforward, step-by-step guide to putting together a foolproof design. And it would be great if that existed! Sadly, there’s no one-size-fits-all instruction book for creating a high-converting landing page. However, there are a few landing page best practices you should consider when creating your own.

What Is A Landing Page?

When it comes to online digital marketing, a landing page is a standalone web page, created specifically for the purposes of a marketing or advertising campaign. It’s where a visitor “lands” when they have clicked on a Google AdWords ad or similar.

Simply put, a landing page is the first page you land on after you click on a link. In this sense, a landing page could be almost anything. From your website homepage, blog posts page, products page, a lead capture page, etc.

However, as simple as this definition is, when we talk about ‘landing pages’ in online marketing, it usually means a specific page(s) designed to receive and convert traffic from an online marketing campaign.

What is a Landing Page?

Landing pages are designed with a single focused objective – known as a Call To Action (CTA). This simplicity is what makes landing pages the best option for increasing the conversion rates of your Google AdWords campaigns and lowering your cost of acquiring a lead or sale.

A fundamental aspect of the conversion-centered design is a message match, which is the ability of your landing page to accurately reflect the messaging presented on the upstream ad. Most visitors are very impatient and will leave your site within a few seconds of arrival if you don’t reinforce their mission with a matching headline and purpose (quickly and clearly).

Why Should You Use A Landing Page?

The short answer is that they help increase your conversion rates and lower your cost of acquiring a lead or sale. And the main reason for this is that targeted promotion or product-specific landing pages are focused on a single objective. That matches the intent of the ad that your visitors clicked on to reach your page.

If you consider the example of sending traffic to your homepage vs. a standalone landing page, you can understand that your homepage is designed with a more general purpose in mind. It speaks more to your overall brand and corporate values and is typically loaded with links and navigation to other areas of your site.

Related Topic: Website Ranking on Page One | How do you Get Started?

Every link on your page that doesn’t represent your conversion goal is a distraction that will dilute your message and reduce your conversion rate.

As an example, having fewer links on your landing page has been proven to increase conversion rates when it comes to paid advertising. Because after all, there are fewer available distractions. And also, which is why expert marketers doing paid advertising always use a dedicated standalone landing page as the destination of their ad traffic.

How Are A Homepage And A Landing Page Different?

While the homepage has dozens of potential distractions — you can basically call ’em “leaks” instead of links — the landing page is super focused. Consider the following diagram, which shows a homepage and a landing page.

Whereby, the orange areas on each diagram represent links on the page. As you can see, the Homepage (on the left) has 43 links, and the landing page (on the right) has only 1.

Homepage vs Landing Page

Homepage (left) vs. Landing Page (right) – Image source (unbounce)

Having fewer links on your landing page increases conversions, as there are fewer tantalizing clickables that’ll carry visitors away from the call to action. That’s why expert marketers always use a dedicated landing page as the destination of their traffic.

Sure, the homepage looks amazing. It shows off the brand, lets people explore a range of products, and offers additional info about the company and its values. From here, a visitor can go anywhere—apply for a job, read some press releases, review the terms of service, post on the community boards, etc.

The Different Types Of A Landing Page

The landing page for this customer serves a completely different purpose. Paired with super slick ads that promote a single offer, everything about it works hard to turn these visitors into customers. It’s doing a better job to convert the traffic the brand’s already getting. That’s the power of landing pages! There are two basic structural types of landing page:

Lead Generation Pages

Lead Generation landing pages (sometimes referred to as lead gen or lead capture pages) use a web form as the Call to Action.

Especially, for the purpose of collecting lead data such as names and email addresses. This is the primary type of landing page used for B2B marketing.


Lead Gen and Click-through

The (unbounce) illustration of different types of landing pages.

Click-through Pages

Click-Through landing pages are typically used for e-commerce and have a simple button as the Call to Action.

The diagrams above show the difference between a lead gen landing page and a click-through landing page. Here are the Key Elements of Landing Pages that you can consider taking a look at. But, what are your Landing Page needs? To fully understand the difference between a landing page, and the other pages on your website, such as your homepage, there’s more to know.

It’s important to consider certain aspects. Such as the differences between organic search traffic and paid search traffic. Having said that, let’s consider the following basic needs of a landing page on the website.

1. Framework

An effective marketing campaign framework is important to every webmaster out there. In a perfect world, conversions would flow like fresh spring water. But in real life, you need to guide your visitors toward a single call to action.

Particularly, with a combination of persuasive design and psychological triggers. Using the principles of Conversion-Centered Design (CCD), I’ll teach you how to create — and optimize for — delightful, high-converting marketing campaigns. But, What’s inside the Marketing Campaigns? Well, you can click on the link to learn more in detail. 

2. Attention

Squirrels are jerks! They are bad for conversion. They’re the bright, shiny objects that make dogs run in the wrong direction. And what made me write this wholly unimportant sentence that you’re reading right now.

Eventually, this is what we call Attention to. This is what’s happening to you right now: And you’re experiencing diversion or misdirection. So to say, my rambling has diminished your ability to comprehend what my point is. As a result, you’re increasingly likely to stop reading and bugger off to a place that’s less demanding of your brain cells.

This is the impact that a poor Attention Ratio has on your landing page’s performance. But, “What is Attention Ratio?” you ask. Good question my friend. And here’s the answer!

3. Context

In the first section, we learned how landing pages help secure more conversions from your campaigns because they have an Attention Ratio of 1:1. But, landing pages are also key to creating targeted pages that provide better Context for visitors — our second principle.

Are you giving prospects all the information they need in order to convert? It’s your responsibility as a marketer to provide the necessary Context: both pre-click and post-click. Here are more details!

4. Clarity

You’d think that the principle of Clarity is fairly self-explanatory, but confusing landing page copy is everywhere. As an example, I look at thousands of pages, and many leave me scratching my head.

Clarity is so important for conversion, in part because we are such impatient internet animals. If we make our visitors strain and struggle to figure out what our offer is or why our business is unique, the back button will become the CTA. Sending folks back to the next ad in the list.

Another reason pages often lack Clarity is that marketers are often sucked into trying to be cute or clever in their communications. For example, you can see from some recent changes in CISCO’s homepage headline on the right how distinct this difference can be when it comes to clearly communicating your UVP or UCP.

5. Congruence

Simply put, Congruence is aligning every element on your page with your singular campaign goal. We’ve all been in a meeting with stakeholders from different departments who want a piece of the action.

Or maybe your boss insists on adding something extra to everything you do. Every time you listen to that evil devil on your shoulder and add content or links to your landing page that is not aligned with your campaign goal, you’re beginning a downward spiral into mediocrity. And you’re designing a marketing experience according to the voice of many.

More so, as opposed to the voice of your customer. This exercise not only removes any emotions caused by the design but will also allow you to take an objective look at your content. And also, determine whether it’s moving away from your campaign goal. That said, you can learn more about the Congruence Test and other key factors in detail.

6. Credibility

“I don’t believe you. It’s that simple. I don’t want to listen to what you have to say, and you can’t convince me to change my mind. Because I made it up the moment I saw your landing page. Or even read the supposedly real endorsements and testimonials for your product.”

That’s what happens when someone lands on your page and encounters any element that strikes them as untrustworthy. To counter this issue of Credibility, you should create/source/request content for as many types of social proof as are relevant to describing the trustworthiness of your business.

7. Closing

Be that as it may, there’s nothing more simple yet complex than asking someone to make a decision. Yes or no. Do it or don’t do it. Now or later. Now or never.

Closing the deal is tricky, but it’s made easier if you understand the dynamics and psychology involved in making a decision. The principle of Closing is about studying the area around your CTA, the design of your CTA, and the copy you use to inspire a click. You’ll see why it’s important to recognize and remove negative influences that can unknowingly creep into your Closing argument.

There are several factors that influence the decision to click. Not forgetting, some are positive, and at the same time, others are negative.

8. Continuance

After the conversion has taken place, your work’s not done. As an SEO Optimizer, you should think of what a possible next step could be — Continuance. And also, design an experience to ask your new lead/customer to take that action.

There’s a fine line between being pushy and actually offering someone exactly what they would like to get/have/experience/buy next. It’s an art, and if you’re like me, it’s based on the learnings from multiple levels of experimentation.

The Pros And Cons That You Should Know

In the world of a landing page, the big question is, is it not really secure or trustworthy?”More often, the key to a secure transaction is the presence of the lock icon in the address bar. Especially, that denotes that the page uses a secure socket layer (SSL). With this in mind, let’s consider some of the landing page pros and cons below.

A. Stop Words

Negative Influences are what I call stop words (words, phrases, or graphical elements that are placed in close proximity to your CTA). Eventually, which may create a moment of pause as your visitor contemplates its meaning.

Words such as “spam” in privacy statements below your CTA have been shown to decrease conversions. Because they plant a negative inference in the mind of your prospects right at the point of conversion. Trust seals are commonly used with the goal of increasing confidence. When in reality they can come across as desperate, and causing a reflection.

Like, “Why are they trying so hard to convince me of the security of this transaction? Is it not really secure or trustworthy?”

B. Anxiety Breach

Examples of Positive Influences are statements that reduce anxiety at the point of conversion. For instance, being explicit about how long it will take for a call back gives people a point of reference. “We’ll respond to your request within four hours” is much stronger than no statement at all.

For webinar registration, mentioning that the session will be recorded eases the anxiety of not being able to attend. Then again, encouraging people to register anyway.

C. Call to Action Buttons

Another critical part of the conversion equation is what you actually write on your buttons: your call to action. At jmexclusives, we’ve looked at our customers’ landing pages to learn more about the impact of different words and phrases in CTA copy. And in fact, some of the data is quite surprising.

D. A Free vs Paid Landing Page

Contrary to popular belief, I’ve found in several A/B tests that the word “free” can have a negative influence on conversions. I think in part this is because we are all becoming savvier about marketing practices.

Giving your email to a company is a form of social currency and thus is not free. We understand that we’ll be marketed to over email. And making the reference to “free” seems a little like a bait and switch.

E. Momentum Loops

While many campaigns have a set start and end date, some campaigns eventually become evergreen. For those campaigns, there are things you can do to keep the momentum going.

For example, a digital event registration page (like that of jmexclusives) will be active for the life of the promotion, receiving the email, social, and paid traffic. But, when the event is over, replacing the registration form with gated access to all the recordings allows you to keep pulling in conversions. In the end, organic traffic becomes a source of leads now that it’s in its evergreen state.

Because your promotional efforts are over, this is when you might want to consider a social share as the primary Continuance Action. In particular, so that you can maintain a decent flow of traffic coming back to the landing page.

Related Topics:
  1. 9 Essentials of a High Converting Landing Page
  2. What Are Search Engines? 10 Best Picks For Webmasters
  3. Online Marketing | What Beginner Marketers Should Know
  4. Cost Per Click | How to Increase your Campaign Rates
  5. Digital Marketing Channels Every Business Needs Online
  6. Paid Search | A Beginners Guide In Online Marketing

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