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Optimizely Knowledge Base

Best practices for landing page optimization

THIS ARTICLE WILL HELP YOU:
  • Analyze your landing page for optimization opportunities
  • Test and personalize landing pages
  • Use symmetric messaging to match messaging to your paid ads
  • Optimize forms on landing pages
  • Set practical goals on landing pages

Most online businesses have landing pages: specialized, standalone pages that have a single call to action (CTA). Generally, these CTAs will either:

  • Encourage customers to fill out a lead generation form

  • Click through to another page on your site (for example, a special promotion)

Very often, the visitor "lands" on these pages from clicking paid ads in search engine marketing (SEM) / pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

Let's walk through the anatomy of a typical landing page to find opportunities for testing and personalization.

Each of these recommendations provides an opportunity for you to test or personalize -- they are general best practices. Still, you won't know whether they're best for your business or your audiences until you've tested them out.

We'll use this sample landing page to illustrate the concepts in order:

1. Images

Most landing pages use rich imagery to provide an excellent first impression. Check to see whether your imagery is compelling, relevant to each audience, and branded symmetrically with the ad that led to the landing page.

2. Calls to action (CTAs)

Most landing pages that work have a call to action. It should be featured prominently on your page, with clear and compelling copy.

It might be tempting to add more than one CTA to your landing pages. Resist this temptation: adding multiple CTAs confuses users about the purpose of the landing page and will often drive down response rates.

3. Body copy

Make sure your body copy is thorough enough to communicate your offer but digestible enough, so you don't lose your visitors. The example above effectively uses bullet points to chunk out the core message. Consider how effectively your body copy uses principles of persuasion, such as reciprocity or social proof. 

4. Forms 

Many landing pages have lead gen forms as their CTA. Make sure your form is above the fold (near the top of the page) and leads with the value proposition of signing up. Visitors generally won't give you information unless there's something for them. Also, make sure the form is compact and easy to read. Hide fields that you don't think are useful. Our form testing article goes into depth on this topic.

5. Symmetric Messaging

Visitors should not be surprised by your content. Ensure that the language and imagery match the language and imagery that your paid search/SEM/PPC campaign used. Use the same words, images, fonts, look and feel.

If a visitor clicks a paid ad and ends up on a landing page that looks and feels different, they're generally less likely to convert. For more information, see our blog post on the impact of symmetrical messaging or our article on optimizing for SEM.

We also walk through a personalization use case for symmetric messaging involving PPC headlines.

6. Length and detail

If you have a more extended landing page, divided into multiple sections, present a summary list of offerings above the fold featuring anchor links that automatically scroll to the appropriate detail.

Another way to experiment with length is to test collapsing detail by defaulting fields below the fold (lower in the page) and enabling expansion by click or hover. Visitors may be more likely to engage with these sections if they have moved their mouse to a particular field.

Finally, question the length of your landing page. Sometimes, long pages convert more effectively than short ones; sometimes, the exact opposite is true. Consider how much detail is needed given the complexity of your offering and the amount of information you're requesting from visitors.

Tips for optimizing your landing pages

Like any other part of your website, landing pages perform best when they’ve been thoughtfully and carefully optimized. To get the most out of your landing pages, you should pay close attention to three areas: consistency, clutter, and content.

Consistency

Take a hard look at the overall design of your landing page. Does it look like it fits with the rest of your site? Does it use the same color palette? What about the fonts? For that matter, is the tone of the copy compatible with your site’s other pages?

Users notice when a landing page isn’t consistent with the rest of your site. An inconsistent user experience between the landing page and, say, your home page or product pages will often lead to lower conversion rates. Do your best to make sure the user’s transition from your landing page to the rest of your site is a seamless one. Using the same colors, fonts, and layout principles will go a long way toward accomplishing this.

Clutter

Landing pages should be clean and straightforward to emphasize the call to action better. Cluttered landing pages are distracting, and CTAs often get lost in the noise.

For an uncluttered landing page, keep the copy short and try to use white space liberally. Another technique that often works is to hide or remove any navigation options present elsewhere on your site. You don’t want users to be distracted from your CTA because they clicked a menu option instead.

Content

  • Don’t just develop content randomly. Take a systematic and structured approach. If you aren’t already using customer personas to create site content, try doing that for your next landing page. Creating personas involves categorizing the types of customers your business has and identifying what motivates each type to act. Personas will take some time at first, but once you’ve got them in place, the process often goes much faster and typically yields results.

  • Make sure you are communicating your CTA effectively and clearly. Place it “above the fold.” If your landing page includes a lot of content, repeat the CTA at frequent intervals. 

  • Break your content into bullet points whenever possible. Users like to scan content, and bullet points make it easy to do that without missing your message.

  • Include images or videos whenever you can. A text-only landing page can look intimidating or dull and may act to drive customers away.

  • If you have any testimonials or third-party verifications available, be sure to include them. Users respond to social proof.

Tracking metrics on landing pages

You will generally see higher ROI from your paid ad spend if you've optimized your landing page. The question is how to verify that you see an ROI on your optimized page. Optimizely events and metrics allow you to conduct experiments and verify that the changes you've made make a positive impact on your page.

In Optimizely, a metric is a quantitative measurement of a visitor's action. Metrics measure the success of your experiment by telling you whether an experiment is winning, losing, or inconclusive. Optimizely uses them to measure differences in visitor behavior that occur due to changes you make to your site.

Metrics are created out of events, which directly track actions like clicks, page views, form submissions, purchases, and scroll depth. After you create an event and add them to an Optimizely experiment, you'll decide how it is displayed as a metric.

You can have an event without a metric, but you cannot have a metric not based on an event.

Every Optimizely experiment needs at least one metric. You can add or modify metrics at any time. View the metrics attached to your experiment on the Results page

For more information about events and metrics, please review our article on the difference between events and metrics

Primary Metric

Determine the one action you want visitors to perform on your landing page and create that as your primary metric in Optimizely. The primary metric is the most crucial goal of the experiment and decides whether your hypothesis is proven or disproven.

In Optimizely, the primary metric will consistently achieve statistical significance at full speed, regardless of any other goals or events added. Stats Engine treats the primary metric separately because it's the most important and tells you whether your hypothesis is supported.

Typically, your primary metric will be based on one of the following events:

  • click event on your main CTA (if it's not a form)

  • A custom event tracking form submit to your lead gen form

  • A page view event on the confirmation page after successful form submission (if you have a confirmation page)

We recommend setting up a custom event for form submissions if you do not have a unique confirmation page for your form submission. Here's an example of how to set up a custom event on a form present on the page - be sure you know the CSS selector of the form:

/* Enter the selector of the form element in place of the #form selector 
 used in the example below */
 
$('#form').submit(function(){
    window.optimizely = window.optimizely || [];
    
    // Enter the corresponding eventName for the custom event goal to track
    window.optimizely.push(["trackEvent", "eventName"]);
});

Feel free to look into our article to complete a custom event within the visual editor.

Helpful features for landing page optimization

Typically, when testing or personalizing landing pages, you'll find a few Optimizely features helpful:

  • Redirect tests: If you already have two or more landing pages built and want to compare them, the redirect feature allows you to do this easily by testing separate URLs against one another.

  • URL targeting - exact match: Optimizely's exact match feature matches URLs, including specific query parameters. So if you target different SEM/PPC campaigns using a query parameter, you can target various Optimizely experiments or personalization campaigns using the exact query parameter associated with each ad campaign.

  • Audiences - ad campaigns or query parameters: Create audiences based on visitors from each ad campaign for a more highly targeted version of the "exact match" solution described above. You can also use a query parameter condition to match the parameter associated with each campaign.

By combining a solid hypothesis with Optimizely's features, you'll be able to run effective landing page tests and campaigns that boost the ROI of your digital marketing programs.

But don't stop there -- many people who are new to optimization stop at landing page optimization, and thus they leave money (and better experiences) on the table. Your ROI will grow when you continue testing across other parts of your site. After all, customers frequently explore different features of your site after their landing page experience, and you can create more value by optimizing your visitors' experience at every point.