There is no shame in making mistakes – it’s the best way to learn – but when it comes to designing landing pages, mistakes can cost you actual money. Fortunately, there are so many great sources of inspiration and tips, won from the experience of others, the worst landing page bungles are easy to avoid. Here is a short list of some common (and not only) screw-ups, which even people in stock photos aren’t silly enough to commit.
1. Aggressive popups
Yeah, just after a visitor entered! Of course you want your CTA right in front of your visitors’ eyes, hold on a second.. Popups are a great tool, if used wisely, but it’s very easy to cross that thin line into spawning an exasperating monster that will simply annoy visitors into leaving rather than figuring out how to close it. It’s become very common to find interesting content that is immediately obscured by huge popup window requesting an action visitors are not ready to take. Conversion is, of course, your main goal, but remember to give your visitors a chance to understand what’s going on before asking them to convert.
2. Bad Color Choice
The colors on your landing page transmit an immediate and unconscious message, but color choices are often made on the flimsiest of justifications: “I like it” or “Those other guys use this color.” Of course it’s important that you like your own design, but it’s important to keep in mind that colors have a powerful impact – the choice should never be based solely on your own taste. The right color can reinforce your content during the critical first seconds, but the wrong color can diminish it. The colors you choose should look good and be consistent with your brand identity, but you should also check out the basics of color theory to make sure that the hues you pair with your message aren’t going to cause confusion. Also, always try to avoid brown and orange – studies show they are the least favorite colors across all age and gender groups.
3. Features Instead of Benefits
You spent a lot of time building your product, making it the best it can be, so you really want to tell your visitors about all its features and everything that makes it better than your competitor’s product. People will be thrilled to hear what your product can do and why it is the best one, right? No, they won’t. Customers are only really interested in what value your product can provide for them and what needs it meets. Instead of listing your killer features at the top of your landing page, list the benefits for your customers – it’s much easier to convince someone they want something if it’s clear what they will gain from it. Features and How It Works segments are also important, but you should move them to a less exposed area of your website.
4. Cliched Stock Photos
Unless your landing page is for a photography studio or application, no one expects you to have top-notch original photos. Professional photo shoots are expensive, which is why stock photo websites exist – they are way cheaper and quicker to get hold of. Since you’re saving all that time and money, make a bit of effort to dig deeper for something more original and natural. Please (I beg you!) avoid those photos of successful, handsome people smiling broadly in meetings. Who the hell works like that? Your customers really can tell that those people don’t work in your office, and that’s not a good way to build trust.
5. Too Much Choice
A landing page should have one fundamental goal for the action you want visitors to take. You might think that giving visitors more choice of things to click on is an advantage, but the truth is that too much choice is more likely to lead to them not taking any action at all. Studies show that, online and offline, fewer options generate more sales and too much choice can inhibit customers from making a decision. Since a landing page should focus on one goal, it’s best to place just one Call To Action button. In some cases, you could repeat it or place another one, but never exceed two buttons.
6. Too Much Clickable Stuff
Some people should realize that their Call To Action button should be the (ideally) only clickable link on your landing page – full stop. If you feel that introducing your product/service needs more copy, rather than creating another page and linking to it, place the extra information on the landing page and then repeat the CTA button under it. If you must link to something else, put the link in some less visible place. If it’s possible to click on something, some people will – and if they’re doing that, they’re not clicking on the CTA button. Don’t take the risk of drawing visitors’ attention away from what you want them to do.
7. Too many survey or feedback forms
Feedback from your visitors is crucial if you are going to improve your product, but this is another element of the landing page where less is more. You don’t want to deluge your visitors with questions – it’ll just scare them away – so make sure you really, really need any information you ask for at this stage. Make your survey form as short as possible and don’t ask for feedback before a visitor shows some engagement with your landing page. The more engaged your customer is, the more you can ask for, but there definitely shouldn’t be more than one form to fill in on your landing page, it shouldn’t have too many fields, and you shouldn’t hit potential customers with it too early.
8. Pointless social share options
Social share buttons are great, for a blog. Again, the rule is: avoid overwhelming and distracting visitors from the action that your landing page is designed for. Instead of adding everything offered in a plugin, ask yourself if the content on your landing page is really something people will share with their friends. Remember that low-looking numbers next to those share buttons work as a negative social proof – if other people aren’t sharing this, maybe it’s not worth sharing? If you insist on using share buttons, investigate your referral traffic and demographics carefully to discover where your main audience is coming from. You can then figure out what they are likely to find interesting and adjust your buttons accordingly.
9. Not thanking visitors for submitting data
So, you’ve persuaded a visitor to fill in a form and click the button. You have all the information you need and can now move on with your life. What the hell! Didn’t your mother teach you to say thank you? Not only is it basically rude not to say thanks for a visitor’s time, you’re also shooting yourself in the foot – this is your first chance to build a bond with your new user. Redirect these users to a thank you page and make sure they know you appreciate it. You should also send a confirmation e-mail after no more than a few minutes – if that visitor gets the first e-mail from you days later, he’s probably already forgotten who you are and will just ignore it – there goes your chance to gain a new customer. Those above are just few examples of landing page mistakes. Do you have some other, “favorite” ones?