July 16th, 2009 10 Comments

Dos & Don’ts of Landing Page Design – 7 Deadly Sins of Landing Page Design

I came across this Webinar video presentation this morning when doing some research on the landing design best practises and have to say it is the best I have come across as yet. It was presented by Tim Ash, author of the book, Landing Page Optimization and the CEO of sitetuners.com for the official Google AdWords blog, Inside AdWords.

I have to say, it is a really long video, with a duration of about 1hr 15mins. For that reason, I have summarised the key salient points from his presentation. Hope you enjoy it!

  • Sin #1 – Unclear Call-to-Action
  • Sin #2 – Too many Choices
  • Sin #3 – Asking for too much information
  • Sin #4 – Too much text
  • Sin #5 – Not Keeping Your Promises
  • Sin #6 – Visual Distractions
  • Sin #7 – Lack of Credibility & Trust

Sin #1 – Unclear Call-to-Action

Question Visitors’ Ask: What do they want me to do on this page?
Answer: Strengthening Call-to-action

Common Issues

  • Spend precious time deciding what to do
  • Get confused and frustrated

The Fix:

  • “Call-to-action” should be clear & draw the eye
  • Placement of call-to-action should be “about-the-fold”
  • Competing calls-to-action should be de-emphasized

Sin #2 – Too Many Choices

Question Visitors’ Ask: What do I do next?
Answer: Get them closer to their goal

Common Issues

  • Too many choices cause paralysis
  • Can’t find the right link to get closer to desired goal

The Fix:

  • Don’t present detail too early in the process
  • Group choices into a small number of categories
  • Use visual shortcuts to reduce reading

Sin #3 – Asking for Too Much Information

Question Visitors’ Ask: Is this information absolutely necessary to complete the transaction? (Form fill test)
Answer: Simplified Forms

Common Issues

  • Each extra form field makes the process more imposing
  • Information asked for is inappropriate or too personal
  • Have you earned the right to get my email?

The Fix:

  • Ask only for absolutely-required information
  • Collect additional information at a later date
  • Shorten label and unclutter form layout (use usability tricks)
  • You can break one pages forms into multiple phases

Sin #4 – Too Much Text

Question Visitors’ Ask: Do you really expect me to read all of this?
Answer: Shorten Your Text

Common Issues

  • Short attention span – people don’t read on the web
  • Information overload – hit the “back” button

The Fix:

  • Use clear headlines and headings
  • Put important stuff first – write in “inverted pyramid” style (Jakob Nielsen)
  • Do not write in complete sentences – use short bullet lists
  • Ruthlessly edit and shorten your text
  • Cancel all subject speak make you

Sin #5 – Not Keeping Your Promises

Question Visitors’ Ask: This page is not what I expected
Answer: Keep Your Promises

Common Issues

  • Disconnect from “upstream” ad promise
  • Promised information is not on the landing page
  • Mismatching the searchers intent

The Fix:

Repeat the ad-text or keywords on your page

Provide clear access to information from the ad

Sin #6 – Visual Distractions

Question Visitors’ Ask: Where am I supposed to look on this page?
Answer: Make it More Boring

Common Issues:

  • Visual assault is extremely annoying
  • “Gratuitous graphics” unrelated to product/service
  • No clear separation of content and navigation
  • Time wasted on looking at the wrong stuff

The Fix:

  • Don’t compete with the call-to-action
  • Remove colourful page elements and animation/motion
  • Replace generic photos with specific relevant images
  • Don’t use image unless they are directly relevant to your product

Sin #7 – Lack of Credibility & Trust

Question Visitors’ Ask: Why should I trust & buy from you?

Common issues:

  • Lack of endorsements
  • No “social proof” (testimonials)
  • Trust symbols are not prominent
  • Assurances are presented too late in the process

The Fix – Borrow & Solidify Trust:

  • Feature well-known symbols/logos/brands prominently
  • Use client logos/brands/media coverage as “badges”
  • Remove anxiety with generous policies & guarantees

Recommended Reading

Remember multi-variant testing i.e. A/B testing to test your landing pages. You can use Google’s Website Optimizer for free.

Related Post


Leave a Comment
  1. Tim Ash07/17/09 @ 08:07 pm

    Thanks for the nice write-up of my webinar!

    - Tim Ash

  2. Kunle T Campbell07/18/09 @ 01:07 pm

    Cheers Tim, it was a really interesting presentation!

  3. Giuseppe Zizza07/30/09 @ 01:07 pm

    Hello, Thanks for the post. Great work!

  4. markez linda08/01/09 @ 08:08 pm

    Please, can you PM me and tell me few more thinks about this, I am really fan of your blog…

  5. Hendrik08/08/09 @ 03:08 am

    Thanks for the write-up Kunle. It’s also a nice checklist to walk through your landing page. To be able to make a good landing page you need to understand the internet. Websites should not be like books. People surfing on the internet are not interested in any sort of special language, they want information and they want it clear.

    If you can’t present your main points in an easy to understand and read way, then no, the page will not convert.

    I have a question, how important is media on the landing page? Is it more distracting than helping?

    • Kunle T Campbell08/15/09 @ 02:08 pm

      Hi Hendrik, I just retrieved your comment as it was stuck in the spam folder!

      Anyways, you are absolutely right about clarity and brevity. I love the book – ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krug’ it just about sums up what usability & designing for the web is all about.

      To answer your question, Yes video can be used to reinforce a marketing message. But in a non-intrusive way; meaning you should steer clear of pop-up videos or videos that just ‘don’t go away’ on your landing page. The challenge is establishing a *connection* between your video and content on your landing page.

  6. Omer Rosenbaum08/16/09 @ 05:08 pm

    Amazing useful webinar. I also use the mother in law example.


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