Classic landing page mistakes you’re probably still making

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March 02, 2016
Classic landing page mistakes you’re probably still making.
One of the biggest clashes in design has been the question of whether to strip down your landing page to the point where it’s so minimal that it has no navigation at all. Proponents argue that the only thing on a landing page should be the call to action button, so as to eliminate all distractions and increase conversions; opponents will say that’s too extreme. So how do designers know what the best course of action is when it comes to landing page design? In general, your landing page should absolutely be as minimal as you can make it because distractions (ie. anything that takes users and leads away from your page goal) will cost your site money.

Remove navigation

One of the reasons this discussion still exists today is the fact that many landing pages still have navigation bars, sad to say. Just 16% of all landing pages are free of navigation, which is alarming because of all the lost conversion opportunities. Designers who include navigation on their landing pages aren’t looking out for the best interests of their clients. If you happen to have a client who insists on navigation on the site’s landing page, it’s your job as the designer to educate him. Point him to numerous studies like this one, backed by hard data, that show that taking navigation away from a landing page increases conversion rates. This is true for any type of content that the page is offering, from free trials and demos to ebook templates and content-creation kits. Sure, your client may push back because of various reasons such as disbelieving the data, branding (company logo on the navigation menu), or refusing to prioritize the importance of removing the navigation on a landing page. In all these situations, gently persuade your client by consistently impressing him with case study after case study: 004 The Light Phone site gives you two simple options: pre-order, or scroll for more information.

Drop stock images

With the navigation menu gone, the next thing on your list to ax is stock images. These dreaded and generic nightmares that celebrate insincerity will hurt your clients’ conversion rates, too. Stock images fail to inspire trust on a landing page because it’s almost like a business concealing who’s behind it. So on your landing page, be sure to use real images of the people behind the product or service, as nothing inspires conversions like credibility. Further, be sure to place images on top of the landing page headline. This is highly important, as marketing guru David Ogilvy himself found when he conducted research, headlines underneath images are read by 10% more viewers. Of course, when more people read your page’s headline, more continue reading down the page. Now that you have images under control, you have to make your page’s flow work its way toward the all-important call to action button. 002 Irving Farm’s site uses real photographs to pack the site with the company’s brand personality.

Focus on calls to action

One of the hardest things to possibly design on a landing page is the call to action button. It requires a lot of thought and consideration because it is the star of your page, the whole reason it exists. If your page flow and information architecture make your offer persuasive and clear, then visitors should have no problem clicking on the button. There are a couple of things to get right. First, there’s the color: it should feature good color contrast so that your visitors can easily find and click it. Then, there’s the size: it has to be big enough to be easily read. You can also add a directional cue next to the button to make it all the harder to miss. Don’t neglect the button copy. It should be persuasive and use a sense of urgency. This means using action-based words like “hurry,” which is also one of the most persuasive words in the English language, and “now,” which also speaks of urgency. 003 Google’s Jigsaw delivers a very clear call to action.

Downplay other links

We spoke of eliminating the navigation menu from the very beginning of this article, yet the goal of a high-converting and successful, landing-page design should involve getting rid of as many links as possible. When you remove the navigation, there may still be other links on the page that you need to deal with to make the page as much of a single-action environment as possible and support your conversion funnel. Another clever tactic is to make any necessary links as unnoticeable as possible. After all, the fewer links on the page, the fewer elements will compete for your clients’ leads’ attention on the page. And when there are fewer distractions, there are greater chances for conversions. 001 Charles Haggas’ site prompts you to hire him; nothing else on the site matters as much.

Minimalism and conversion rates

Designers should always keep in mind that they’re designing for consumer psychology when they’re designing for landing pages. Many studies have been done that prove how consumers are simply overwhelmed and experience decision-making problems when faced with too many choices. The notorious jam experiment of a few years ago springs to mind; in it, people bought less jam from a table with more jam choices than the table with fewer choices. Thus is the case with landing pages as well. When your clients’ leads arrive on your landing page and are greeted with way too many links and a navigation menu, they’re likely to go elsewhere and fail to complete the conversion. Combine that with horrible stock images and poorly designed call to action buttons, and you’ve designed a low-converting disaster for your client. That’s why you have to think minimalism when designing your landing page. From the initial conception to the wireframe to the final testing, the landing page you design must have few choices so to only emphasize to visitors and leads the one and only goal of the entire page: to convert by clicking on the product or service offered. And that’s it!

Marc Schenker

Marc’s a copywriter who covers design news for Web Designer Depot. Find out more about him at

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