It’s flipping freezing in Bristol today, so I’m wrapping up warm in the studios and answering another great question from Gabi at Chroma Stationery submitted via Ask Aime Anything: Why is a landing page important and what are the most important things to include?
What are website landing pages?
The concept of a website landing page is a bit old-school, but the practices and techniques for good design still apply today, woohoo!
In ye olden days of websites, brands would create a new web page for every new promotion or business push. Some would create a whole new website. And by some I mean pretty much large organisation. I used to work with these big brands, and it wasn’t unusual to have 10 or more legacy websites on the go, each one degrading the brand identity a little more, each one competing for the same search terms, and each one making my soul cry.
In theory, landing pages were useful as it allowed a brand manager to have a nice link to include on their ads, and allowed the website manager to chuck every brand and campaign keyword onto a single part of the website so that Google would list it near the top every time.
The first point is still relevant today, the second not so much. Google is a lot smarter than it used to be, and so landing pages no longer provide the SEO boon of 2014. Also, how great a word is boon?! I don’t think I’ve every written that down before. Boon boon boon.
Today, a landing page is any page on your website where user’s journey begins. These can be obvious, like your homepage, chosen by you, like an about page you send to leads to get to know you, or dictated by Google, like this selection from Chroma Stationery search engine results.
The importance of landing pages in 2018
Landing pages are so, so, so dang important. So important that I’m going to start this section with an analogy.
Each landing page on your website is a new shop front on your high street, and first impressions are crucial. Your shop fronts need to entice the right customers, get them where they need to be as quickly as possible and complete your business goal too.
An ugly, unprofessional shop front: nobody comes in. A seductive scandi-style shop front for deep discounted angling goods: nah bra, they ain’t buying yo’ maggots. And the worst, a shop front with a big barrier to entry requiring your customers to jump through hoops just to buy a lemon: no. No no no.
How to design a landing page
There’s no one-size-fits all template for designing landing pages, but there is some pretty strict logic anyone can follow to create the best possible experience for their users, so let’s test those out on a pair of Chroma Stationery landing pages.
The Chroma Stationery homepage
Audience: Women aged 17-35 who appreciate colourful design, shopping small and personal gifts.
Goal: Get these women to the product they need for themselves, commercial orders or gifts
The Chroma Stationery homepage is colourful, fresh and a little confused. The first thing we need the users to understand is that they are in the right place to have their needs met. Every second spent thinking about the technology and not the message, is a second where your audience moves away from their goal, not towards it.
These first seconds are the most crucial of all.
The Chroma Stationery homepage is attempting to communicate the bulk and consumer goals on equal footing, and the result is a mish-mash of messaging which helps neither objective.
I would remove the heavy emphasis on bulk orders from the homepage, instead having a single strong callout near the bottom that says something like “Want to join over 100 world-leading brands and order in bulk? Discover personalised stationery for organisations, events and charities.”
This means that bulk-buyers are getting shipped out to a page that meets their needs, and we can focus on a single audience. We’re choosing to focus on the consumer orders as consumer-focused content will still aid commercial visitors, as it shows off the great product range and Chroma personality.
Next step: showing off
Chroma Stationery sells over 100 different products in a range that is literally unlimited when you consider the personalisation options. And yet, on the homepage, we only have one link direct to a product, the 2018 Diary.
On a site with this many products, I’d like to see at least 6 call outs to different products and ranges. H&M-owned retailer and my personal high-street heaven, Monki could be a great source of inspiration.
Big block colours, youthful, fresh and to-the-point. You could mimic the Monki layout for the Chroma Stationery homepage, with the following content:
- Hero, full-width big-ass banner: Our Mother’s Day picks
- Second row left: #marchmeetthemaker supplies
- Second row right: Join our mailing list
- Narrow full-width banner: Shop blogger’s picks
- Fourth row left: Say no to grey days – shop colouring pencils
- Fourth row right: The Pinstore – Delectable collectables
- Full-width tall banner: Bulk buyers callout
Check out all that timely, playful content. What’s even better is that a lot of this content lends itself to being modified slightly for a complete visual refresh whenever needed. Swap Mother’s Day for Easter, Grey Days for Spring Cleaning, or just switch out the pin image for an instant thinking-free update.
Sort out that website navigation
Optimising your website menu is probably the quickest, most impactful change a website owner can make. The primary navigation (or main menu) is your users’ safe place and their first port of call when they want to toddle around your website.
It’s also the part of a website that most small businesses and DIY website managers get wrong. I’ve already written an article about how and why to fix a website menu: Your website menu is all wrong. Here’s how to fix it in 3 easy steps., but here’s what we suggest for Chroma Stationery:
- About +
- About (a cloned version of the first ‘About’)
- Christmas Order Dates
- What our customers think
- A5 Notebooks
- A4 Notebooks
- 2017 Diaries
- 2018 Diaries
- Popular Designs
- Illustrated Notebooks
- Pens & Pencils
- Enamel Pins
- Chroma gift vouchers
- Bulk Orders +
- Bulk Orders (another clone)
- New in
- Pens & Pencils
- Bulk Projects
This new streamlined navigation gets users to where they want to go quicker, and removes all of the non-selling pages. But Aime, what about all that other content? Good question reader, and might I say that your hair looks fabulous today.
Chuck all that pish in the website footer, I don’t want to see it. Some users will, and that’s great, but if the difference between a sale and an abandoned checkout is an About page, then that person is generally willing to scroll down to find it.
The Chroma Stationery Press page
Audience: Women aged 17-35 who appreciate colourful design, shopping small and personal gifts. Oh, and they work at a publication that likes writing or talking about baller business women and lush stationery.
Goal: Get these women to contact Chroma Stationery to arrange a feature
Have you guys noticed how baller Gabi is? She’s been in like ALL the best magazines, podcasts and blogs. Dayum girl.
And we want more. Not only is a great for search engine optimisation, but it’s also pretty damn amazing to inspire more people to take the leap and create their own successful business.
A press page is a great landing page example, as it has a clear audience and immediate objective. The user can literally get everything they want in one place, and we can fulfil a business goal with minimal fuss. The Chroma Stationery page isn’t actually that far off, but there’s a few tweaks that could turn a “huh, that’s nice, job done” to an “OMG I NEED TO TALK TO GABI”.
Seduce them with your words
The Press page currently is a little matter-of-fact, and missing out on an opportunity to seduce. We need to address this audience with a touch more love and lot more enthusiasm, and sell Gabi from Chroma Stationery a little more.
Chroma has been featured in and worked with a wonderful range of digital & printed press, from Gift Guides to interviews with Gabi on being a Girl Boss.
Hi, I’m Gabi Cox, founder of Chroma Stationery and bad ass Girl Boss (according to Oh Comely) and I’m chuffed that you’re looking at featuring my brand in your publication.
You might have seen our colourful personalised products featured in some of the UKs top magazines, blogs and podcasts. We’re always up for exciting press and collaboration opportunities, so please get in touch to discuss your upcoming project or story.
More opportunities for commitment & action
We want to make it as easy as a tasty pie for our users to complete their goal, which in this case is contacting Chroma Stationery. And yet, we’ve only given them one method to do so.
An email address is a great place to start, but I’d add a contact form too. This allows you control the content a little more by asking specific questions and gives you an extra failsafe if you keep copies of contact forms on your website management system.
And I know most people hate sharing their phone number, but do it! You won’t believe the number of press bookers chasing last-minute guests and content fillers. A phone number makes their life easier by helping them get an immediate answer.
Sure, you’ll get some crappy spam calls too, I reckon the benefit of a last minute feature on the One Show* is worth 30 seconds of placating Gusbert from WebsitesRMe whilst he tries to sell you some amazing SEO whatsamajig.
*We do not guarantee One Show bookings to anyone following our advice.
**Does anyone know anyone at the One Show? That Alex Jones has such shiny hair and I’d like to know her secrets.
So that’s why landing pages are important, and why the content you should include totally depends on your audience, and where you need them to go.
If you’re reading this and looking for advice on your own landing pages, I’d start by review each entry point of your website and ask yourself “Is this the best way I can get my users to where they want to go?”.
If the answer is no, well, sort it out. Add some attractions, remove some distractions, and watch those conversions roll in.