9 landing page design mistakes you can fix today to increase conversions

by Simon Jolly on Jul 23, 2021

Landing page not converting? There’s a good chance your page design and setup are turning away potential customers. Implement these 10 landing page best practices for an immediate uplift in engaged prospects.

Digital marketing 7 min read
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Your traffic sources are doing their job, people are clicking through and checking out your landing page, everything is going to plan… but then those people leave without taking any action. As a result, your marketing ROI begins to tumble and before long your ambitious acquisition targets are looking like a pipe dream. What gives?

Conversion rate problems can usually be traced back to the design elements of your landing page. Use the 10 landing page design mistakes below to identify and solve the issues limiting your online sales.

 

1. Ignoring mobile 

Strange to begin a blog on design mistakes with a non-design mistake, we know, but it’s such an important point that it deserves the number #1 spot. 

So many b2b businesses still make mobile an afterthought, when in reality more people now browse on their phones than on desktop computers. Google also now penalises websites that aren’t mobile friendly. 

Check out our web development services for information on our approach to user-centric design and mobile landing page best practices. 

 

2. Expecting too much from a web visitor

Your landing pages will often contain lead capture forms where you are asking visitors to enter their information in exchange for a piece of valuable content or to receive a product. When implementing these forms, it can be easy to ask for too much personal detail, drawing out what should be a short and simple transaction. Remember that the more effort required from your prospect to convert, the less chance there is of them doing so. You need to make it as easy as possible for them, which means only asking for the information that is important at that moment. 

For example, if the form is required to download an ebook, you should only ask for two or three pieces of information – name, email and perhaps job title or company name. If the product or service is more complex, say a software demo or a high-ticket item, you can feel confident that you can delve a little deeper, probing for more intimate information that will be useful when you begin to nurture them as a lead. 

Getting the right number of fields for your form is part art and part science, and we suggest you test different variations until you are happy with the leads you are generating. With that said, if in doubt and short on time, err on the side of fewer fields – according to a HubSpot study, where 40,000 landing pages were analysed, conversion rates improved by nearly half when text entry fields were reduced from four to three.

 

3. Terrible website experience

Sometimes, it's not your landing page that is the problem but your whole website. In 2021, 39% of people said they would stop engaging with a website if images didn’t load or took too long to load. Put another way, website expectations are increasing at a rapid clip – if you’re still relying on Flash Player and auto-play songs on your homepage you are heading for trouble. 

A bad website is going to lead to a lack of trust with your customers, especially those who are unaware of your brand. Having a well-designed landing page and, by extension, a fast, responsive and attractive website, could be the difference between success and failure. Fortunately for you, there are some great tools out there for building and maintaining a new website, the leader of which is HubSpot CMS

 

4. Too much copy

Blasting your landing page visitors with walls of formidable-looking text is a fantastic way to… increase your bounce rate. That’s right – despite the obvious greatness of your product or service, overwhelming your prospects with too much information is going to turn them off and also confuse the message you want to deliver. And if there isn’t a message, and the clutter is the message, that’s a problem in itself…

In most cases, you have about five seconds before your visitor makes a judgement call on your landing page. That means you have five seconds to communicate the top-line USP of your offering, along with its core benefits. To do this you need to make your page “skimmable” – think bold short headlines, bulleted easy-to-read benefits and complimentary images. In short, get to the point – in the most appealing way possible. Keep the Dostoyevsky-esque paragraphs for the weekend. 

 

5. Unimaginative imagery

When someone clicks onto your landing page you have a few seconds at most to solidify their interest in what you are offering. The fastest way you can do this is to provide an engaging image or images that relate to the benefits your product or service can bestow. Remember, in the B2C space in particular, but also in the B2B space, people buy feelings not things – regardless of whether its a new shirt or a piece of accounting software, the purchaser wants to feel important/valued/improved in some way, and great images can help to create this emotion. 

Great imagery also just looks good. It makes an offer feel more welcoming, more personal and unique. Using the right pictures can also help your brand be more memorable, with pictures improving recall by up to 65%

 

6. Unclear calls to action 

If lots of people are visiting your landing page but only a very small percentage are clicking your call to action, it might be your CTA that is the problem. Take a look at your landing page with the eyes of a customer – are they scanning around, looking for somewhere to click? Is your CTA clear enough? Is it hiding behind a wallflower-like colour scheme? 

The trick is not to be shy with your calls-to-action. You did the flirting with your ad or social media post – your landing page is all about sealing the deal. To that end, take a lead out of the masters of conversion, Amazon, and use bold colours, great placement and consistent exposure to CTAs to rapidly improve your conversion rate. Unbeknownst to you, your customers actually want to take action – that’s why they are there. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. 

 

7. Multiple calls to action 

In most cases, your landing page exists so that potential customers only have to take a single action. Having multiple calls-to-action will only distract and confuse them, diluting your message and making it increasingly difficult to gain a conversion. 

Call-to-action buttons are a different story, however, provided they are all pointing to the same conversion point and contribute to the cohesiveness of the page. Having one call-to-action button always visible is a great way to catch impulse clicks and to remind visitors that the page has a purpose. 

 

8. Slow page load times 

Site speed is one of the key – if not the key – factor in any digital experience. The faster your site loads, the more benefits you will reap, and vice versa. According to these guys, bounce rate goes from nine per cent when your page loads in two seconds to 38% when it loads in five. That means a single second is responsible for almost a 10% decrease in potential conversions. That is a lot of money to be leaving on the table. 

Household brands are not immune to the importance of site speed, either. BBC had this to say on the subject: 

“At the BBC we’ve noticed that, for every additional second a page takes to load, 10 percent of users leave. This is why, if the BBC site is slowing down due to load, certain features will automatically switch off to bring the speed up again. These will be low-importance things – such as a promo box at the bottom of a page – that are expensive on the server and few users will miss.”

Source: https://www.creativebloq.com/features/how-the-bbc-builds-websites-that-scale 

It is this sort of ruthless prioritisation that you must adopt for your landing pages and website. We are used to saying that ‘content is king’ but ‘delivering content at speed’ has almost certainly succeeded to the throne by now. 

 

9. Lack of social proof 

In today’s world, telling people how good you are with no external validation just doesn’t cut it. We need objective, third party reasons to believe before we become fans of your brand. In a social media-driven world, we’ve seen the power of influencer marketing to drive extraordinary growth, taking mere fledgling startups to billion dollar companies in a short span of years. You also need to adopt the spirit of the times and provide social proof for what you are offering so that others know you can be trusted. 

That doesn’t mean you need to hire Kim Kardashian. On the contrary, a simple tweak such as adding testimonials or reviews to your landing page can make a huge difference to customer perceptions. When you show the names and faces of your customers, and their satisfaction with your product or service, you bypass the distrusting, survival-oriented part of our minds that filters out the unknown and the dangerous. By doing this, you show the real value of your business and make it easier for new prospects to commit. 

 

Bonus landing page best practices

1. Not tracking on-page behaviour

Not necessarily an issue for your design team to deal with but tracking what visitors do on your landing page is an absolute must if you intend to optimise it with real, objective data and not just subjective opinions. Take the time to review traffic and key metrics such as bounce rates and dwell time on Google Analytics, and then take it one step further with advanced heat-mapping software such as that offered by Hotjar, where you can actually see in real time how people are behaving on your landing page.

 

2. Not systematically testing landing page variations

So now you’re tracking all of the key metrics on your landing page, but what do you do after that? Now it’s time to take inspiration from the scientific method, testing and trialling carefully controlled variations of your landing page to see what works and what doesn’t. In each landing page variation, have only one ‘variable’ - one element that you change and test. This could be a new headline, an image, more or less copy, or bolder CTAs (anything really). The idea is to measure the value of each change in a clear, controlled way, without confusing the results by changing more than one thing at one time. It’s hard work, but this is the way the most successful acquisition managers stack up win after win. 

 

Conclusion 

Your product or service might be world class but if your landing page isn’t converting it won’t matter. By improving site load times, removing clutter, providing skimmable content and engaging imagery and, most of all, adopting a data-driven testing approach, you can rapidly and significantly improve your marketing ROI. 

Still unsure why your landing page is failing? Let one of our digital acquisition experts optimise your landing page for you. Get in touch today to speak to one of our specialists.

 

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Simon Jolly

by Simon Jolly
Jul 23, 2021

Simon is a highly motivated Creative Director and designer specialising in branding & identity. With over 20 years experience developing branding, marketing, and award winning creative design.