By Mike Wolfe

Landing pages should be a priority when it comes to designing your website. Why? A landing page will help convert your visitors into leads. The more landing pages you have, the more leads you can bring in—if the landing pages are optimized correctly.

Landing pages are the least popular type of signup form, but they have the highest conversion rate, at 23 percent. Your landing pages should be some of the hardest-working pages on your site, so make sure they are properly optimized and avoid committing these seven landing page mistakes. 

Using Multiple CTAs 

The purpose of a landing page is simple: to convert a visitor into a lead. Having multiple calls to action (CTAs) on your landing page will only confuse visitors and cause them to leave the page without taking any further action—which is the opposite of what you want to happen. If you’re asking a visitor to watch a video, read six testimonials, and then fill out the form, they will be lost ... and you’re in serious trouble. 

Don’t over-complicate it! The most effective formula for intuitive landing pages is:

  1. Present the offer. 
  2. Explain the offer’s value. 
  3. Ask the visitor to fill out a form in order to get the offer. 

31 Web Design Crimes You Can’t Afford to Commit - Guide

Failing to Explain What the Offer Is 

Over time, customers have become more and more hesitant to give out their email addresses to just anyone. If you’re asking a site visitor to give their information to you, then they deserve full transparency about what they’re getting from your business in return. Your headlines and landing page copy should be clear about the offer and the value that they will be getting from it (e.g., “Want to triple your lead base? Request a demo.”). 

You’ll get better results if you add an image of the offer. E-book download? Show the cover. Sending over a webinar? Add a compelling screenshot. Consultation? Show visitors the report they’ll receive at the end of the meeting. The more transparent you can be about the offer, the better you’ll manage expectations and be able to start out your relationship with the customer on the right foot. 

Neglecting to Customize Form Buttons 

At the end of every form, users should find a button they need to click in order to submit their information. Although “Submit” is perfectly fine, verbs are exciting and—when customized for form buttons— reinforce the goal of your page. 

This button can say just about anything, including: 

  • Download Now 
  • Access the Webinar 
  • Request a Demo 
  • Read the Case Study 

Ignoring the Importance of Headlines 

The copy on landing pages should be simple, but that doesn’t mean it should be scannable like other site pages. In fact, because landing pages are asking visitors to divulge personal information via a form, these pages should be some of the clearest and most concise pages, with value-driven headlines that are specific, clear, and—most importantly—compelling. 

As advertising revolutionary David Ogilvy said: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent 80 cents out of your dollar.” Your copy should be descriptive throughout, but especially in headlines, because they’ll capture a visitor’s attention from the get-go. 

Asking Too Many Questions 

Landing pages should ask questions to qualify a prospect, but forms with fewer fields are quicker and easier for people to fill—and conversion rates on pages with shorter forms tend to be higher. 

If you feel like you’re asking too many questions, here are two things you can do:

  • Progressive profiling: Using smart forms, marketers can queue additional questions to ask users who have already completed a previous form. For example, if a lead has already told you the name of their company in a previous interaction, instead of asking for it again, you can ask for their job title. 
  • Dependent fields: By implementing dependent fields, you can trigger new questions based on a site visitor’s response. For example, if you ask a lead’s country of residence, only prompt a state question if they’re based in the U.S. This way, you’re only asking relevant questions.

Cheesy Stock Photos 

Cheesy stock photos can make or break your entire website, but especially your landing pages. Instead of making your website look trustworthy and valuable, it can end up looking amateur, low-budget, and even suspicious. 

If you have a design budget, it’s smart to use part of it for stock photos. Choose lifestyle images where possible—visitors want to see actual people doing what you want them to do with your product or service. 

If you don’t have a design budget, there are many sites with free, high-quality stock photos, like Unsplash and Pexels. If you want to be able to refine your search (such as for image orientation), consider premium stock photography from Getty Images, iStock, and Adobe Stock

Adding in Navigation

First and foremost, landing pages are a lead-generation tool and should never have a navigation bar, because a navigation bar gives your visitors the opportunity to click away from the page and the offer itself. If visitors leave without filling out your form, you won’t collect their contact information and turn them into a lead. 

PRO TIP: Create a landing page template that does not include your regular navigation bar so you can quickly create high-performing landing pages for the offers you’ve spent so much time planning, writing, and designing. 

Steer Clear of Landing Page Mistakes

With only a few seconds to grab a visitor’s attention on a landing page, even the most basic design crimes could result in a poor user experience that turns visitors away—limiting your conversions, leads, and overall inbound marketing results.

Want more tips? Check out 31 Website Design Crimes to Avoid at All Costs. This comprehensive guide outlines the greatest website design crimes that marketers are prone to committing, and shows you how to avoid them.

This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated since. 

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Learn the mistakes to look out for during each stage of the design process with:

31 Website Design Crimes to Avoid at All Costs

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Mike Wolfe

About the author

Mike Wolfe is an Inbound Marketing Manager at SmartBug Media helping clients find success through inbound marketing. Read more articles by Mike Wolfe.

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