A landing page is the page on your site to which web traffic is sent from blog links, pay-per-click ads, email marketing and other sources. Arguably the most important element of your website, a strong landing page helps visitors engage with your site by clearly explaining your products or services. Additionally, the landing page directs would-be customers to take the next step by contacting you or purchasing your product.

Landing pages, also known as “lead capture pages,” appeal to the user because they contain information closely related to the ad or link that was originally clicked; rather than sending customers from a Google advertisement directly to your homepage and leaving it up them to navigate, you can send them to a landing page that provides the exact information, instructions and product they were hoping to see. Additionally, a good landing page helps boost your search engine optimization and overall impressions. Understanding best practices for improving your landing pages is an important part of maximizing your business’ online marketing performance.

Building and Optimizing Landing Pages

There are various reasons that your landing page may be providing inadequate user experience and not generating the number or quality of leads you desire. Understanding what web users want can help keep visitors on your site long enough for them to make a purchase.

In many cases, poor performance stems from a lack of interesting, clear or relevant information on the landing page. A single, well-conceived message can help ensure that visitors stay on your page. For example, if the user clicked on an ad for pre-owned autos, you should make sure the landing page has content about great deals on used cars and trucks. Considering the effectiveness of images in marketing, you may also want to include attractive photos, interesting infographics and helpful tips or tricks. Make it easy and enjoyable for visitors to find what they want on your landing page, and you should see an increase in users and conversions.

Once visitors arrive at a relevant landing page, it’s important that you provide a call to action that directs them to take the next step and make a conversion. Do you want users to purchase directly from the site, click for more information, enter an email or call to set up a consultation? A clear call to action, such as “Visit our store” “Sign up now” or “Call today,” can help drive your users to become paying customers.

No matter how clear and engaging your landing-page content is, if it’s hard to navigate your site, visitors will likely take their business elsewhere. Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who “bounce” off the site after visiting just one page. To ensure your web visitors stay put, provide easily visible links and buttons to help the user get around your site. You should also avoid pop-ups and other elements that feel intrusive and may take away from the user experience.

In today’s highly competitive online marketplace, building a relevant, engaging landing page may not be enough to ensure success. To generate the maximum number of conversions, you should perform A/B or multivariate testing to determine the best ways of optimizing your landing page. During A/B testing, the advertiser tries out different versions of the same page to see which one performs best. On the other hand, multivariate testing is a more sophisticated technique that evaluates multiple elements within the same page to see which combination is most effective. Because multivariate testing requires a great deal of site traffic to evaluate all the possible combinations of elements, it may not be appropriate for all advertisers. It’s important to find the best method of testing to evaluate your particular landing page.

Tools and Resources for Optimizing Your Site

Fortunately, today’s advertisers have a number of resources available to help them determine the best means of optimizing their websites. Sites like Search Engine Watch and SiteTuners offer useful tips for advertisers looking to boost landing-page performance and avoid high bounce rates.

If you’re experiencing an unusually high bounce rate or simply need help building your first landing page, you may want to seek assistance from online marketing tools like Unbounce or Optimizely. An easy-to-use tool for advertisers, Unbounce helps you build, publish and A/B test potential landing pages. Additionally, marketers can view the dashboard for real-time data on visits and conversion rates to see how their landing pages are performing.

Another popular tool for A/B testing, Optimizely lets marketers track only those elements that matter to them. Not only does Optimizely help you find the best variations for your landing page, but the tool also enables you to direct all traffic to that variation immediately, even before your IT developer makes the changes to your webpage. Additionally, Optimizely works in concert with Google Analytics and other web reporting tools to guarantee you have the most up-to-date information at all times.

Why to Optimize Today

Statistics show that the average landing page loses nearly half of its visitors almost immediately. It’s important that you are constantly optimizing and testing your landing pages to reduce bounce rates and to boost overall conversions.