Landing Page Optimization: Best Practices, Tips, and Tools

Writer:
Ellie Diamond
Editor:
Stephanie Gray
Published: Feb 28, 2024
Last Updated:
Table of Contents
Download our two-page cheat sheet on content optimization best practices!

Landing page optimization can attract leads, establish relationships, and help close sales. So, check out this comprehensive guide to get started.

What Are Landing Pages?

Landing pages are standalone web pages that generate leads. They're a form of conversion rate optimization, meaning they try to convert as many visitors into subscribers or customers as possible.

Visitors reach landing pages when they engage with a specific marketing campaign element, such as a social media ad or blog post. 

Here's how it usually works:

  1. A marketing asset offers valuable information and invites the prospect to learn more, possibly by downloading a resource or joining a mailing list.
  2. The prospect clicks and ends up on a dedicated landing page.
  3. The landing page expands on the offer, focusing on what the prospect will get.
  4. The prospect responds to a call-to-action (CTA), which leads them to the next step — joining an email list, ordering a free sample, signing up for a trial, etc.

Effective landing pages pack a big punch with minimal content. Landing page optimization lets you strike that balance.

What Is the Purpose of Optimizing Landing Pages?

Landing page optimization is a focused strategy for boosting conversion rates. The goal is a streamlined page emphasizing reader value, smoothly moving visitors to the next phase of the buyer's journey. Reaching that goal requires updating and refining all page aspects, from graphics and text to technical infrastructure.

It's essential to optimize every landing page in your marketing toolbox. Each page is a crucial element of its associated marketing campaign. To convince prospects to take the next step, the page must be persuasive and valuable — without being too crowded.

19 Landing Page Optimization Tips and Best Practices

A strong landing page is focused, value-oriented, and streamlined. Combining those three objectives can be a big ask, so here's a list of landing page optimization best practices. Together, they'll make your landing page collection a point of pride.

1. Embrace Minimalism When It Comes to Layouts

Remember, visitors reach a landing page immediately after engaging with other content. They've just heard your argument for taking action. Now, they need a nudge over the edge. Just a little nudge — less is more. 

An effective landing page layout includes:

  • A brief, attention-getting headline
  • Exciting and relevant imagery
  • A short phrase summarizing the offer
  • A prominent call-to-action 

Your landing page design may include supporting information, such as user reviews or frequently asked questions. These additional details are more important if the product or service is technically complex or higher-end. In those cases, readers might need more information to overcome objections, even earlier in the buying process.

Additional details may also be helpful if the target action requires more commitment. For example, a business-to-business (B2B) landing page might ask the prospect for their job title and industry information, increasing the time it takes to complete the form. The landing page can increase motivation by adding more offer details.

2. Include Important Information Above the Fold

The standard landing page structure involves two layers of content. The first is above the fold — what the prospect sees when they click through to the page.

The "fold" is the bottom of the initial load screen. The term comes from print newspapers, which have a physical fold below the headlines and key front-page stories. If the content above the fold is interesting enough, a reader would buy the paper to read the rest.

Landing pages work the same way. If the first message readers see is compelling enough, they'll click the call-to-action button or scroll down to read more.

Your job is to identify the most compelling information, distill it into a bite-size message, and place it so readers see it as soon as possible.

3. Connect to Your Target Buyers With Relevant Copy

Everything you say should prompt the reader to act. You should tailor content directly to your target audience's needs so they feel compelled to learn more about your product or service.

You're ahead of the game if you've already done keyword research as part of your marketing strategy. If not, hop onto Google Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to generate ideas.  Look for phrases related to each page's associated marketing campaign. For example, if you're promoting your digital marketing services and want prospects to download a customer persona template, look for keywords like "create a user profile" or "what is a customer persona?". 

Sprinkle these related phrases strategically across your landing page, including in product or service descriptions. This step is essential if you want your landing pages to rank on search engine results pages (SERPs). 

However, landing page ranking on SERPs is entirely optional. Most landing page visitors get there via another marketing asset. Keywords are there to resonate with audiences and remind them what you offer is valuable and relevant.

4. Create Persuasive and Personalized Calls-to-Action

CTA buttons typically appear above the fold and have a design that makes them stand out visually. On a landing page, they're often next to a box where the prospect enters their email address. Remember, many brands use landing pages to attract email list subscribers.

Whatever your landing page promises, the CTA must seal the deal. In as few words as possible, it highlights how the reader will benefit by taking you up on your offer. It should use active and user-focused language, such as:

  • Shop the sale
  • Sign up free
  • Claim yours today
  • Get in the know

Most importantly, your CTA should match the tone and message of the rest of your landing page. Check out these call-to-action examples for additional inspiration.

5. Research Your Competitors' Landing Pages

Competitor landing pages speak to a similar target audience and are the best to review. Find them by browsing through competitor blogs and home pages. Click on links with language like "join our mailing list" or "download your free guide."

Pay attention to which pages you want to click. For those pages, write down what struck you, such as:

  • Enticing language
  • Powerful or relatable images
  • Unique layouts
  • Persuasive below-the-fold content
  • Convincing benefits

Think about what stylistic choices you could learn from and what you could do better. The same goes for content; if your CTA leads to a better offer, highlight what makes that offer unique.

6. Don't Overuse Popups

Popups are a popular feature on landing pages. They interrupt a reader's scrolling and allow you to create a "sidebar" — another message or offer that adds to your page's value. 

Most landing page popups have specific triggers, such as:

  • Exit intent: Someone is about to click away, and the popup offers them an incentive to stay.
  • Scroll duration: The user has scrolled through a certain percentage of the page, and the designer wants to kick-start action.
  • Selected clicks: The visitor clicks a link, and the popup offers something extra.

For instance, suppose your landing page offers a free product sample. When the shopper clicks the CTA, you might use a popup to offer another freebie.

In the proper context, these one-time popups can increase value perception and drive conversions. However, they can feel pushy and intrusive if you use too many. So, only use popups when you're confident they'll encourage clicks. When in doubt, test your landing page with and without a popup.

7. Ensure a Flawless User Experience

A perfect landing is smooth and worry-free. On a landing page, that means zero friction between the user and the action you want them to take. The smoothness of that journey is what defines the user experience (UX).

Because landing pages are highly streamlined, any UX errors or difficulties stand out dramatically. The page needs to offer a clean experience on all levels, including:

  • Usability: It must be easy to navigate and function without error.
  • Desirability: It should be aesthetically pleasing and pleasant to interact with.
  • Credibility: It must appear professional and display topic expertise.
  • Value: It must meet a specific user need and offer a clear benefit.

These benefits must be present for a flawless UX no matter what device a visitor uses. Mobile now drives 60.66% of all internet traffic and 58% of all online purchases, meaning mobile landing page optimization is necessary. 

Start by ensuring your site builder is mobile-responsive. If it is, your landing page UX will be as strong as your main site's. Then, ask someone to navigate through your mobile landing page and take the desired action, reporting to you about their experience.

8. Back Up Claims With Facts

It's not a Mad Men world anymore. Only 8% of consumers automatically trust a brand's advertising, and 21% won't believe an advertising claim if they don't see it verified elsewhere.

Fortunately, the reverse is also true. If you back up your claims with credible sources, you can earn an audience's trust in your brand.

Nearly 60% of customers are more likely to buy new products when they trust the brand. The best way to earn that trust on a landing page is to offer sources for objective claims.

For example, suppose you sell nutritional supplements. Your conversion rate depends on readers understanding that the product will make them feel healthier and more energetic. Instead of hoping they'll take your word for it, look for a study demonstrating the effects of certain ingredients.

9. Include Endorsements From Reliable Sources

Sources aren't only for statistics and facts. If your landing page includes an endorsement from a trusted individual or organization, audiences will likely believe your claim.

A trusted source has demonstrated authority in your industry. The average reader should know the source's name or recognize where their expertise comes from. A professional athlete has built-in credibility for an athletic shoe. A dermatologist could make an excellent source for vetting a skincare brand's credentials.

Whoever you choose, take time to do a background check. Today's audiences are reputation-savvy, and working with someone you can trust is essential.

10. Optimize Long-Term Landing Pages for SEO

Some landing pages are active longer than others. A lead capture landing page, designed to get sign-ups for your email list, will probably be part of your website longer than a campaign-specific landing page.

These longer-term landing pages can attract people via organic search. Google's crawlers can find and list them on SERPs, meaning you need to do landing page search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO for landing pages works like any other SEO project. You've already read about several must-dos — choosing relevant keywords, crafting pertinent headlines, and offering a great user experience. 

You'll also want to do some technical SEO on these long-term pages; this includes things like:

  • Writing quality title tags and meta descriptions
  • Using high-quality images with alt text
  • Choosing a descriptive URL, like www.site.com/joinourlist
  • Optimizing loading speed across devices

Remember, you've already put time and energy into creating these pages. Landing page SEO optimization increases the return on that investment.

11. Write Attention-Grabbing Headlines

Prospects click onto a landing page expecting to be in and out quickly. Your content has sparked their interest, and they want to take the next step.  Your headline has one job — to make them want it more. 

Don't make visitors work for it! Show them that they're doing the right thing by clicking, and they need to click now.

Effective landing page headlines:

  • Catch the eye. Don't risk readers clicking away because your headline is uninspiring.
  • Align with the original message. Readers will click to get a specific benefit. The headline should refer to that offer and emphasize its value.
  • Focus on the pain point. Visitors have a problem, and they click to find a solution. Reassure them that they're in the right place.
  • Communicate clearly. Landing page visitors have limited time to read your page. Tell them why they need to take action and why.

Remember, encouraging action is the primary goal of landing page optimization. Your headline is the most prominent part of your landing page, except perhaps for the featured image. It should get visitors most of the way there (i.e., responding to your CTA).

12. Create Short and Sweet Landing Page Content

Like the design and headline, landing page content should do a lot with a little. The above-the-fold content should be a few sentences at max, and the supporting content below should be easily skimmable.

Skimmable content uses simple sentences and short paragraphs. Plenty of white space makes your landing page easier to read. Use bullet points for any lists, and save your technical specs for the product page. A landing page is a place for simple language.

Most importantly, your landing page's content should focus on the reader. Remember their pain points and what value they are seeking.

13. Optimize Your Lead Forms

Landing pages are an essential element of lead generation strategies. The prospect is almost ready to enter their email address and join your mailing list, but they need a final push. The landing page reminds them why it's worth opting in.

To make your lead capture form as effective as possible:

  • Include a creative CTA. Let your competitors rely on "submit" or "join now" and opt for something more engaging, like "Get the inside scoop."
  • Choose your fields carefully. Ask for only what you need to add the subscriber to your email list. Too many fields can turn off a prospect.
  • Include benefits (if necessary).
  • Add a link to your privacy page. Three in four customers don't feel in control of what companies do with their data. A little transparency goes a long way.

Test different options and see what makes the most high-converting landing page.

14. Include High-Quality Images and Videos

The image should enhance the message of your landing page and align with your brand aesthetic in terms of subject, style, and color scheme. 

Once you've chosen an image, check its specifications. Squarespace's image quality chart shows the right size, resolution, and color profile for online display.

Videos are easier. All you need is a professional-looking video and a platform with embedded codes. Embedding is the best choice for landing pages because it won't take visitors offsite.

15. Never Leave Out Social Proof

Every business cares about reputation. It's why endorsements are so important and valuable on a landing page. 

Endorsements are one form of social proof — in other words, any third-party content that highlights what others think of you. Other forms of social proof include:

  • Customer testimonials
  • Industry awards
  • Professional credentials or certifications
  • Social media share counts
  • Reviews and star ratings

According to BrightLocal, 38% of customers want a business to have at least four stars before considering it. An impressive 87% will not even consider a company with fewer than three stars.

16. Use Heat Maps

To get great results from your landing page, you need to evaluate how people respond — not just how marketing theory says they will. Heat maps present that information in an easily digestible format. 

For example:

  • A scroll map shows the percentage of people who scroll to a particular spot on the page.
  • A click map shows the places visitors click the most.
  • A move map shows where visitors move their cursors but not necessarily where they click.

Data like this offers valuable information for landing page optimization. It shows what attracts your customers and what they tend to pass by.

17. Improve Your Page's Loading Time

Landing page optimization is mainly about reducing bounce rates. If you can keep people on the page, you have a better chance of convincing them to click.

Page load is one of the most significant determiners of conversion versus bounce. If a page loads in one second, it converts 2.5 times as many customers as one that loads in five seconds. Conversion rates are highest for one- to two-second loads, so aim for those lightning-fast speeds whenever possible.

18. Leverage Scarcity To Persuade Your Audience

Landing pages tend to be now-or-never assets. Audiences don't usually bookmark a landing page to consider and return to your offer. You want them to act before they close the page, and you don't have endless time.

It's easy to add scarcity to any offer. Maybe subscribers get a free download or promo code if they sign up before a set time. You might even have a limited number of freebies to include. 

19. A/B Test Your Landing Pages

Now that you've read about 18 strategies for landing page optimization, let's talk about how to check your work. Overall, A/B testing is the simplest and most effective option.

With A/B testing, you send two versions of a marketing asset to selected customers. If one gets better results, you make it permanent. A/B testing tells you how people honestly respond to your landing pages, the most accurate marker of success.

Landing Page Optimization Tools You Should Know

Creating a perfect landing page is no small feat, but you don't have to go it alone. There are many tools at your disposal, including:

  • Instapage: A page-building solution with advanced personalization options. Instapage is best known for its analytics capabilities, including in-app A/B testing.
  • Convert: An intuitive A/B testing tool that lets you edit and test changes to your landing pages.
  • Visual Website Optimizer: A comprehensive optimization toolkit including heat maps, form analytics, and A/B tests. 

Take time to check reviews and specifications for any tools you consider.

What To Remember About Landing Page Optimization

Landing pages are one of the hardest-working elements of your digital marketing strategy. Now that you've armed yourself with 19 tips to make your landing page optimization strategy as strong as possible, it's time to get to work.

You can start by optimizing one element at a time. That could be your headline, CTA button, or opt-in form. Whatever you choose, remember to A/B test each change as you go and monitor the results.

Learn how to work with AI tools, not against them. 

Download our free guide to AI content creation and discover: 

✅ The benefits and limitations of generative AI
✅ When to use AI tools and when you still need human assistance
✅ Tips for writing effective ChatGPT prompts
✅ 6 ways to leverage ChatGPT for content creation
Download Now

Speak with us to learn more.

Let us make content marketing easier for you. Fill out the form below, and a content specialist will get in touch with you in 1 business day.
Close button icon