A landing page is the first page a user sees when visiting your site, the one they land on. This is not always the home page. Links from articles on other sites, social media or advertising campaigns can all take users straight to other pages on your site.
If you are actively managing these incoming links you can tailor the design of the landing pages to maximise the impact of these visits by converting them to volunteering, fundraising or donating, depending on the goals of your website.
Here is our list of core principles on how to design a good landing page, much of which you will be able to implement without a designer or web agency.
1. Remember that your homepage isn’t a landing page
Your homepage is a catch all, general entry page to your site. It needs to be relevant to all potential visitors and direct them down different paths accordingly. This often necessitates a lot of content and quite a few calls to action.
Not so a landing page. Given that you will have already targeted a certain type of user by writing a tweet or ad campaign and linking to your landing page, you know that anyone who follows your link is interested in what you wrote. You know what type of user they are and where you want to take them on your site.
If you tweet about donating to your cause and simply link to your homepage you are not maximising on the fact that you already know these visitors are happy to donate. You risk distracting them with other content losing them altogether by requiring too many clicks from them to reach the goal.
2. Select just one call to action for your landing page
Your landing page has one role - to get your readers to do the action you want them to do. This is called ‘conversion’. They should be in no doubt what this action is, and your page should contain no additional unnecessary information. Be brutal, just don’t link to anything else. Landing pages will sometimes even leave out the header and footer navigation in order to leave just the one option.
3. Be clear, to the point and informative in your copy
Users will often need convincing before they are willing to take your specified action. That is the role of the rest of your landing page. Make sure all necessary information is included, ideally with no need to click to find out more. Focus on giving the user full confidence to complete the action but avoid overly persuasive or emotive language. Stick the the facts and write professionally.
4. Don’t let web forms let you down
If you’re trying to get information from your users, ensure that its as easy as possible for them to give it to you. Using good quality, well-designed forms will make this process as pain-free as possible and ensure you increase your completions. Don’t ask for any unnecessary data at this stage and provide immediate and clear feedback if any fields are filled out incorrectly. This is clearly something you’ll need agency help for but it can make a large difference as people can easily drop out at this final stage due to an unclear form.
5. Draw attention to your call to action
Quite simply, make sure your button or form is the most prominent thing on the page. You need people to be drawn to action. Ensure that any other graphics or images are subservient to the call to action, not overpowering it or drawing attention away.
This mock-up of a landing page from UBounce illustrates this point nicely.
6. Match your headline message to users' expectations
This is another simple principle that is so often overlooked. Make sure that the headline of your landing page accurately matches the text that drew the viewer there in the first place. If someone clicks on an advert entitled “Want to volunteer over Christmas? We know a great place” The heading for the landing page should either read exactly the same or follow on with the same message in more detail such as “The Big Charity is a great place to volunteer over Christmas. Here’s why”.
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Once you’ve created your page or tweaked an existing page run through it to check that there’s a clear focused message, no distractions (navigation or additional calls to action), and that your user journey is in place. You can also use a tool like bit.ly to make the link shorter and more trackable, so you know exactly where people are coming to your landing page from.
Once the page is live, it’s important you use Google Analytics (and information from other services such as bit.ly) to paint a picture of where your hits are coming from, and how many people ‘convert’ and reach the goal you have set for them. With this information you can better improve your pages and the ways in which you’re driving traffic to them. Make sure you’re continually testing and improving your pages.