Optimising performance through landing pages

WordPress Optimisation.

For over a decade, “Landing Pages” have been the go-to technology for improving on-site conversion. Is this true … and what’s the best way to implement landing pages on a WordPress installation?

In the days before integrated web platforms such as WordPress, building and tracking landing pages was a real pain in the ass. Thankfully things are a good deal simpler but you should adopt a structured approach to making the most of them.

(Note: This article is written primarily for those using WordPress. The general practices apply to other platforms but the execution may differ.)

What are Landing Pages?

They are standalone pages on a WordPress web server that targeted traffic such as PPC, PR, Email and Social Media points to with the purpose of completing an action. They are typically not indexed by Google, nor accessible via standard navigation of the website.

Regardless of web platform or development environment, the success of using landing pages revolves around a standardised methodology that includes:

  • Understanding of website traffic
  • Good, brave ideas
  • Focus
  • Testing and statistical significance
  • Rinse and repeat

Understand your traffic

There are some go-to tools that make that easier. You probably have Google Analytics setup on your site, so make sure it’s configured with the correct goals for each of your CTA and separate out the goals on your landing pages.

Use Google Analytics (GA) to identify most visited pages, frequent traffic sources, geoinformation and the devices used. GA allows you to create a landscape of what your visitors engage with, who and where they are from and what they use to connect with you.

If you are new to this, then don’t get too carried away trying to establish visitor intent or the meaning of high bounce rates. Mostly this is very time-consuming and poorly understood so has limited value in the development of a Landing Page strategy.

Advanced?: If you already understand this well and need more in-depth information then try using an eye-tracking plugin such as Crazy Egg to understand better on-page interactions.

Building Landing Pages

The sole purpose of the page is to convert visitors into data. That can be via a form or some other on-page interaction and that may include a phone call, chat session, download, cookie drop or social link so try not to think one-dimensionally.

You’ll need focus and good ideas to produce a good landing page and start with simple things:

  • De-clutter the page, the fewer choices the visitor has, the more likely he is to complete an intended action. It may include removing the standard navigation.
  • Explain what the visitor needs to do in simple, bold language
  • Ensure the content of the page matches the source/intent of the traffic
  • Use basic human psychology to help conversion through the use of colours, bullets, images and suggestive language
  • Make sure the page loads super fast and works on the devices used by your valuable visitors
  • Consider offer-based actions, nothing appeals better than a special offer

When you’ve created your first page, don’t sweat the details too much. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep all the other ideas you had along the way to save for later (very important). You’ll have a good idea and some strong preconceptions for what sort of approach will convert but do keep an open mind.

Always be testing

You’ll have web-reporting in place so you should be able to measure the efficacy of the new landing page versus wherever you previously sent traffic. If not then don’t sweat, simply move immediately onto the “Rinse and repeat” step.

You’ll be hoping to get enough traffic and enough statistical significance on the results to get a result quickly. Note: A decade ago, we commissioned Prof Scarf (one of the top statisticians in the UK) to analyse 1 million visitor interactions on our clients’ websites and landing pages to better understand the tipping points of success. If you want to know more on this subject, then contact us.

Always testing means that each traffic stream is always going to at least two destinations, sometimes more. This side-by-side testing, in conjunction with a simple Z-test, allows you to produce results that are statistically significant.

Once you have a clear winner, drop the loser and add in another new contender who’s job it is to beat the current winner. Some agency wisdom suggests that you only change a single item when you introduce a new contender but that’s not always true. In fact, the more different the contender is to the incumbent will likely produce results faster than incrementally similar landing pages. Although, changing a single item may give you valuable information.

And repeat

Once you reach the heady 10%+ conversion rates you may think that your job is done – sadly it’s not and you should maintain a routine of continually testing and improving whilst still referring to updated traffic patterns and behaviour.

We’ve got 15 years experience in the production of landing pages and produced many industry firsts so if you need a hand with conversion, then you only need to shout.