The Best Landing Page Optimization Guide for 2019
Landing page optimization is a huge part of all successful online marketing campaigns. More than often, we’re obsessed with the idea that we need more and more traffic and we forget to ask ourselves a fundamental question:
Is our website specifically built to sell our products and/or services to our audience?
Have you ever browsed a website that just feels easy to use and buy from? Alternatively, have you ever entered a website ready to buy its products, but you just didn’t know where to click to purchase their goods?
I’ve personally been on both sides of this story. I’ve seen websites that drive considerable traffic, but have fundamental flaws in its design and therefore, can’t seem to convert (or at least not as much as they should). Businesses and marketers alike actually lose money on these websites, even though they’ve invested in top of the line backlinks and copywriting.
Well, simply said, because they forgot to invest in proper landing page optimization. Allow me to explain:
What is Landing Page Optimization?
Landing page optimization allows you to turn your page into a conversion magnet to people that click your search engine results listing because it is scientifically designed to hook your target audience with content relevant to your ads and descriptions.
People instinctively know they’re in the right place, but how is this possible?
If you’re methodical in your testing (we’ll teach you how in this guide), you’ll boost the number of subscribers, sales and/or conversions in your website, even if you haven’t boosted your traffic numbers lately.
From a financial standpoint, it makes a lot of sense: if we’re willing to invest resources into getting to the #1 spot in our target keywords, we should definitely invest time into making sure they actually convert once our prospects are here!
So, where do we start? We’re going to start with the most effective method: Landing Page A/B Testing.
Landing Page Optimization: What is A/B Testing
Landing page A/B testing is in a nutshell, a method to compare two versions of a webpage to see which one is more effective when it comes to conversions. Notice we mention “conversions“, and this could be anything from subscribing to your newsletter, clicking your call to actions and even buying products.
You’ll “test drive” both versions, specifically by getting visitors to browse both iterations of your landing page, gather data and finally decide: which version is objectively better.
The principles behind these tests are simple enough:
- We are not all knowing
- We are biased: even if you didn’t design this website, you approved it based on what you believe is “good”
- We want to know what our customers think is “good”. Our opinion is largely irrelevant here
- We need to track and analyze the data so we can make a truly objective decision
Now that we understand the basics behind landing page optimization, We’re going to outline step by step what we need to do, along with our favorite Conversion Rate Optimization tools.
Landing Page Optimization: How To Get User Data
We can’t conduct our landing page optimization experiments without data. So, how do we begin harvesting data?
For simplicity’s sake, We’re going to offer two options. A combination of Google Analytics and Google Optimize, or Optimizely.
Google Analytics and Google Optimize are both free tools developed by Google. By now, you should have Google Analytics installed regardless if you’re thinking of using its data for landing page optimization. If you need help setting it up, check out our Google Analytics For SEO guide.
Google Analytics + Google Optimize for Landing Page Optimization
Google Optimize, same as Google Analytics, will require you to link it to your site with a code snippet.
Once you’ve set it up, you can begin running “Experiments“. One of this type of experiments is called “A/B Test”
There are other experiments called:
- Multivariate test: allows you to test two or more variables or elements in your target website, so you can determine which combination comes out on top
- Redirect test: Send traffic to two or more completely different URLs, instead of changing elements on the same URL.
For now, we suggest you stick to either A/B Tests or Redirect Tests.
Multivariate Tests are considerably more complicated, and by the time you actually need some of these tests, you’ll probably have a much superior budget that allows you to buy a tool that does this more easily.
If you choose A/B test for your landing page optimization, Google will generate a code editor that lets you edit elements on your page.
Before you begin setting your variants, I highly suggest that you test only one thing at a time
Whether you’re using Optimizely or Google Optimize, you’ll find that testing a single variable, and then initiating a new experiment with a new variable is by far the most efficient way to find your perfect landing page.
Also, this might sound evident, but if you’re still not generating enough traffic to your website, then chances are a landing page optimization campaign won’t change things dramatically for your business in terms of revenue. In fact, your samples might not be large enough to draw good conclusions and could harm your business.
Moving on with our second option, Optimizely.
Optimizely for Landing Page Optimization
Optimizely, on the other hand, is considerably easier to use. It has a drag and drop interface (Optimizely Editor that allows you to edit each variant fairly easily). You are then given a code snippet (that you place on your WordPress editor). It automatically executes all the changes made on your Optimizely editor and begins tracking all your data in real time.
The basic principle of testing one thing at a time holds true, but the main difference between these two tools is that the Google landing page optimization suite is free (but somewhat more difficult to use), while Optimizely is a premium tool (but incredibly easy to use).
This doesn’t mean there aren’t other WordPress plugins or applications that can help you in your landing page optimization goals. There are other paid WordPress plugins that function in a similar fashion to Optimizely, but we’ve found Optimizely to be an amazing tool for its price. They do have a free trial in case you want to try it out, the only problem is that it only lasts for a month.
Landing Page Optimization: How To Optimize Your Webpage
Ok, so now that you’ve picked the tools you’ll be using for data collection and landing page optimization tests, it’s time to figure out what you should be testing first
We’re going to use a WordPress plugin called Heatmaps. Follow the instructions to install it, and record five different pages of your choice. If you’re running an affiliate marketing site, I recommend you choose your Money Article, your Homepage and three high traffic articles.
If you’re running a business website, track your homepage, categories, your highest converting product, and your lowest converting product page.
Once you’ve gathered some data, you’re going to notice certain browsing patterns: now it’s time to ask yourself some key landing page optimization questions and answer them with the help of your heat map:
Is your above-the-fold content (headlines and images) consistent with your SERP description and offers?
Once you’ve optimized your Search Engine Result Page Snippet with our tool, you have to make sure the first thing your customer feels once they’ve arrived at your page, is that they’re in the right place. You have to meet their expectations in fractions of a second.
Build confidence, be clear and concise!
Are your call to actions doing their job?
Once your prospects get past your headline, you should see some heat signatures around your CTAs. If you don’t, then make sure that your Call to actions are visible and clear.
Use your media resources here, you’re not going to transition your potential customers to active buyers if you’re using a boring wall of text. Play with contrasts, images or very short forms if you want them to sign up for your newsletter.
Once you get to the Social Proof section of your website, you need to evaluate if your testimonials are relevant to what you’re promoting in a particular site and if they’re compelling to your prospects.
You might not have any testimonials, but if you have recognition badges or free shipment promotions, they’re also valid.
If you don’t see any activity here, you might need to check for distracting elements on your page, which could be in the form of multimedia resources or even link to other articles that are sabotaging your selling process.
This landing page optimization step will help you understand if your written content is keeping your prospects hooked on what you’re selling and get rid of any unnecessary distractions along the way.
We like to use Readable.io to make sure our content is easily read by our prospects, sometimes poorly written content or overly technical jargon drives customers away. Make sure that’s not the case.
Once you’ve reached the end of the heat map, you can start picking different variants in your landing page optimization efforts. You can start with any of the elements we’ve discussed above, or choose something even broader:
Check your mobile visitor data and their patterns with Google Analytics. Try different mobile optimizations, and see if they improve your user’s experience. These could be changes in font size, image size, etc. Google’s Mobile Friendly tool can also tell you if there are any issues with your website’s responsiveness. Definitely worth checking it out.
You can also ask professional copywriters to proofread your content to make sure it’s on point. Sometimes landing page optimization campaigns will let you know that your written content just isn’t compelling at all, mainly because of high drop-off rates/ low heatmap activity in the latter sections of your content.
If you want to be more specific on your landing page optimization, try modifying your forms. Sometimes forms ask for unnecessary data that discourages users from joining your mailing list.
Another element you can test is your buttons. Sometimes websites are just not “fluid” or interactive in their buying process, and well-executed landing page optimization will often spot this issue and boost revenue instantly.
Landing Page Optimization: When Should a Test End?
This is an excellent question. There are tons of factors that you need to consider when it comes to landing page optimization and user data over time, for example:
- Different times of the day affect consumers and their buying patterns
- Certain seasons affect product’s popularity and sales volumes
- Outside factors that will be reflected on your traffic
My advice? Test small variants over a period of two weeks or a month, just to be sure. Consider the fact you’ll be testing only one element at the time and you’ll realize landing page optimization is a never-ending process.
Landing Page Optimization: Final Tips
As a closing tip, we advise you always set a very specific goal in mind: are you looking to boost your daily revenue from 50$ to 150$? Are you looking to expand your email list from 100 to 600 in three months?
Write these down at the start of a landing page optimization campaign!
We guarantee you’ll learn tons about user browsing and buying patterns. I can easily say that I’ve had to re-learn many concepts I thought I handled in terms of SEO and marketing thanks to real data and insights from customers, and its knowledge I’ve been able to apply to a number of different projects.
It’s a very interesting journey that challenges many pre-conceptions across industries and niches, and to me, that’s great. Not to mention they boost any website’s revenue considerably without having to invest directly in SEO over a very short period of time.
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, as always feel free to drop a comment.