How to create beautiful landing pages that convert

Tim Parsons
May 14, 2023
Landing pages are a crucial part of modern digital marketing. But most people aren’t doing them right.  Our team has created hundreds of landing pages, delivering tens of millions in revenue
Here’s our guide to creating landing pages that look great, and convert.

In this article

What is a landing page?

Beginner tips: getting started

  • Keep it simple
  • Nail down your value proposition
  • Use a clear CTA
  • Include social proof
  • Simplify your forms
  • Design mobile-first
  • Track your page

Pro Tips: Make your landing pages fly

  • Nail down your value proposition
  • Upgrade your analytics
  • Make it interactive
  • Use dynamic content
  • WOW your visitors
  • Optimise for voice
  • Use popups (sparingly)
  • Fuel your target

What is a landing page?

Landing pages are an essential tool for any business that wants to drive conversions.

Put simply, a landing page is a web page designed to convert visitors into customers by focusing their attention on a specific product or service. For various reasons they are often hosted on subdomains, and it can be useful to think of them as an additional layer that sits on top of your main website.

Or think of it this way; your homepage is a multitool, dealing with a variety of use cases and redirecting visitors all over the place. A landing page is a highly specialised tool, focused on one kind of visitor, with a singular outcome in mind.

We’ve built and optimised a lot of these pages over the years; the following checklist outlines the key considerations and elements to cover off to create your own high conversion pages.

Beginner tips: getting started

Time waits for no one… if you’re just getting started, we recommend working through the basic checklist, launching your page, then tackling the more advanced elements as you iterate. Planning is great, but there’s no substitute for real-world feedback.

1. Keep it simple

If there’s one guiding principle you should take from this guide, this is it. A cluttered landing page can be overwhelming and confusing for visitors; keep your design clean and simple.

Don’t be like Ling. Only Ling can be Ling.

Ensure the language you use is straightforward and easy to understand. Avoid using complex terms, or jargon that might confuse a new visitor. Ask yourself whether there’s a more accessible way of communicating what you want to say.

Similarly, don’t confuse your users by trying to convey too much information. Avoid repurposing pages that are more geared towards research, such as detailed product overviews. Focus instead on your core value proposition, offer (if relevant), and supporting proof points.

2. Nail down your value proposition

Your headline is the first thing visitors will see, so make sure it's attention-grabbing and communicates the value at the core of your offer.

The header section should expand on that value. Use concise and attention-grabbing language to quickly explain the value proposition, and make any killer supporting points.

Remember to keep the focus on the visitor. Your landing page should focus on the benefits your offer provides to them, rather than simply describing features, or your business more generally. Try to use language that speaks directly to their needs and desires.

Feature: This tool will calculate your taxes.

Benefit: This tool will save you precious time!

It might sound like an obvious point, but try to make the offer as compelling as possible. Try to generate a sense of urgency or scarcity. Discounts and free trials are classic examples of upping the incentive, or lowering the barrier to entry.

3. Use a clear CTA

A clear and prominent call-to-action (CTA) is crucial. Make the button stand out with a contrasting colour and use action-oriented language to motivate visitors.

Mock Up as Buttons:

Get Started Sign Up Start free trial Download for free

Try to avoid having more than one CTA. A secondary function is sometimes unavoidable, but try to relegate its importance in the design (ie. avoid bright colours and/ or move it down the page).

It’s important to manage user expectations around the desired action, so make the next step(s) super clear. Submit your details and an advisor will be in touch/ We’ll send you a secure link to set up your account/ We’ll take you to the Start Consultation page. For more complex processes, a short process overview can be helpful (Steps 1 - 3, etc).

It can be a useful practice to repeat your CTA throughout the page, particularly if there’s a lot of scrolling. Try to include it after each key section.

(The CTA can be an impactful element to focus on when it comes to A/B testing - more on that below).

4. Include social proof

Social proof is the idea that people are likely to trust the advice and endorsements of other people, over and above those of the service provider, especially if they perceive them to be similar to themselves. Essentially, a project management software provider saying, “we are great” is less convincing than a bunch of project managers saying, “they are great.”

By providing social proof on a landing page, businesses can enhance their trust and credibility, making it more likely that visitors will convert.

Make sure the social proof is relevant and compelling. The simplest execution is a few logos of companies you’ve worked with. Positive customer reviews, ratings, and testimonials are almost always helpful. To add a more human element, you can also build these out with pictures of the customers, accompanied by small quotes.

If your business is listed on a review website like Trustpilot or Feefo, use it to your advantage by featuring your high ratings and reviews. These companies usually charge a monthly fee to use their widgets (which dynamically pull in live reviews), but if you’re strapped for cash you can always display a static snapshot of your reviews, along with a link to your Trustpilot page.

Social media is also valuable social proof. Consider featuring tweets, live feeds, share counts or follower stats to demonstrate how popular and relevant you are.

5. Simplify your forms

The lead forms on your landing page should be as simple as possible. Only ask for the essential information, and make it easy for visitors to complete the form quickly. Name and email is usually sufficient for lead generation. Yes it would be nice to get their phone number, but making it mandatory will result in less leads.

Sometimes a field really is valuable enough to take the hit on conversions (Company Name or Job Title for example), and sometimes you’ll need additional fields just to populate your CRM. Just remember to adopt a minimalist mentality, and remember sales teams can always collect information during the next phase.

6. Design mobile-first

You should expect the majority of your traffic to come from mobile devices, so make sure your page is optimised for these users. Mobile optimised design is a HUGE topic, but here’s an outline of the practical considerations:

  • As per point (1), keep it simple; there’s less space to work with, so use it wisely
  • Make sure text is large enough to be easily read on a small screen, and use clear, legible fonts
  • Check that any links or buttons are large enough to be easily tapped with a finger.
  • Be aware that the fold (the bottom of the page visible to the user) will be different to desktop. Check your CTA isn’t getting lost.
  • Use a simple colour scheme - visual complexity can be overwhelming on smaller screens
  • Screen sizes differ, so make sure you fully test the responsive settings across different devices

Designing the mobile version of your page before the desktop version is a good way of avoiding these pitfalls.

Lastly, remember that mobile users are often on slower internet connections, so it's important to optimise your landing page for fast load times. Proactive steps can include compressing images, minifying code, and using a content delivery network (CDN) to improve page load speed.

7. Track your page

Analytics is an important part of optimising your page for better performance.

Some specialist landing page tools (like Unbounce) come with their own out-the-box analytics. This will get you started, but they’re usually quite basic.

Google Analytics (GA4) is our go to generalist analytics platform, and integrates smoothly with most tools. This will give you a better idea of where users are coming from, how long they’re sticking around for, and where they’re going (are they failing to convert, but navigating to other pages on your site, for example).

Installing GA4 via Google Tag Manager (GTM) will also enable simple event tracking. Events reflect key actions on your page such as button clicks or form submissions. By setting up events tracking in GTM, you can see which actions are driving conversions and where visitors might be dropping off.

The most important thing to track is # users vs # conversions. This will give you your conversion rate, which is the main thing you’re trying to optimise.

Pro Tips: Make your landing pages fly

Okay, you’ve got the basics down. Here’s how to take your landing page game to the next level.

8. Run A/B tests

The best way to improve your landing page over time is to test different variations of it and see what works best. The best way to do this is via A/B testing: Set up two versions of your page (A and B), split the traffic between them and compare the results.

There are a few tools out there to facilitate this, though the best free one – Google Optimize – is being discontinued in the summer of 2023.

What you’ll want to test first is highly subjective. Try to prioritise the most impactful elements (ie. those you think will make the biggest difference). Typical candidates usually include:

  • Headlines: For example, you could test a straightforward headline that describes your product or service, versus a more attention-grabbing headline that creates a sense of urgency.
  • CTA: The classic A/B test is CTA button colour (ie. red vs green), although wording can also make a big impact (ie. Sign Up vs Claim Offer)
  • Form fields: If you’re trying to model the impact of additional fields, try one simple version, and one with a longer form (this one is usually pretty conclusive)
  • Visual elements: images, videos, and graphics, can have a big impact on how visitors perceive your product or service (especially in the header). Testing can help you identify which ones resonate best with your audience.
  • Social proof: is that Twitter feed widget a help or a hindrance? There’s a quick way to find out…
  • Length: For more complex propositions, it can be helpful to test a shorter formulation against a longer version with more explanatory value. Keeping it simple is a good rule of thumb, but some information is too important not to include!

Whatever you choose to focus on, remember these two important principles for A/B testing: isolating variables and establishing statistical significance.

Isolating variables means changing only one element of your landing page at a time. This is vital for identifying which element is driving the difference in performance. If you change the image and headline together, and conversion rates are higher, how do you know whether that’s down to the image or the headline? You’ll have to run another test…

Statistical significance just means confidence that the difference you’re seeing is not due to random chance. Without going into the maths (it’s complicated) you need a large enough sample size, and a large enough discrepancy in conversion rate. You don’t have to figure this out yourself; there are many calculators available online.

Aim for 99% confidence as a general rule. 95% is okay in a pinch, but avoid 90%; it’s way less secure than it sounds.

9. Upgrade your analytics

Assuming you’ve got the basics in place, it may be time for a deeper dive into your page performance.

Heatmapping tools like Hotjar and Crazy Egg can provide more detail around specific aspects of user behaviour:

  • Scroll maps can tell you how far visitors make it down your page
  • Similarly, attention maps show which areas of your landing page are receiving the most attention
  • Click maps show where visitors are clicking on your page, while confetti maps break this down by different audience segments
  • Time-based heatmaps show how user behaviour changes over time.

These tools can provide valuable insights into how visitors are interacting with your landing page, which elements are helping, and which are a distraction.

10. Make it interactive

The internet is not a broadcast channel. Interactive elements such as quizzes or calculators engage visitors, and often have more explanatory value than a list of bullet points. They can also provide valuable data and insights about your audience, without having to ask for more fields on a form.

A company offering personal loans is better off using a slider tool to demonstrate a customer’s options around term length, amount borrowed, etc, than simply listing this information in a table.

A coaching business may offer visitors a free quiz to engage them in the process, and highlight where their services could be of value.

Chatbots are also useful for answering questions in the absence of any on-page FAQs. Advanced bots can help guide visitors through the sales process and provide personalised recommendations based on their needs.

11. Use dynamic content

Dynamic content allows you to display different page elements to different visitors based on their behaviour or attributes. You could display different messaging to repeat visitors, for example, upping the level of urgency.

Dynamic keyword insertion is particularly useful for search marketing, allowing you to insert a search term or keyword into your landing page based on the user’s input. This can improve conversion rates along with keyword quality scores, leading to lower costs, however beware. Without due care and attention, you can end up with some funny looking headlines.

12. WOW your visitors

As outlined above, first impressions are vitally important, and yet we still see a lot of landing pages leading with face-meltingly generic stock imagery. If you must use stock, some libraries are better than others, but it’s better to do something more original. You’re trying to impress them after all!

Try taking your own photos, or hiring a photographer for the day instead. Alternatively you can sign up to an AI image generation tool like Midjourney or DALL·E, although be aware that writing good prompts takes time and energy.

The key is to communicate something important to your audience, like how the product makes users feel, or some desirable attribute of being a customer. Showing is more powerful than telling.

Many landing page guides advise using real people as a set-in-stone rule. While we’re not against this approach per say, it’s far from a universal law in our experience. Graphic-led approaches and animations can be really powerful as well - it entirely depends on the nature of the business and the offer. If you’re a gardening service, showing some happy gardeners standing in beautiful gardens is probably a winner. If you’re a crypto wallet, you may be better served by some cool 3D render that communicates technical sophistication.

Lastly, videos are really powerful tools for communicating a lot of information in a short period of time. They can serve many roles from header backgrounds to product explainers to testimonials. Assets like demo videos are not difficult to produce using tools like loom, and can make a big difference.

13. Optimise for voice

With the rise of voice assistants and smart speakers, it's becoming more important to optimise your landing page for voice search. This means using conversational language and focusing on long-tail keywords that people are more likely to use when speaking.

Let's say you are a SaaS company that provides email marketing software. Alongside broad keywords like "email marketing software," you should focus on long-tail keywords like, "how can I increase my email open rates" or "which email marketing tool offers the best segmentation features."

Additionally, you could include structured data markup on your page around customer reviews and pricing information, to make it easier for voice assistants to understand and present your information in search results. Google also likes sites with high accessibility.

14. Use popups (sparingly)

Popups can add additional value to landing pages by providing visitors with relevant and timely information, encouraging them to take the desired action at a key moment. For example, you could trigger an additional discount popup when a user scrolls past a certain point on a page, demonstrating they’re engaged with the content. This can be an effective tactic for low-commitment CTAs like newsletter sign ups, just be aware that users can find them annoying. Use them sparingly.

One particularly useful kind are exit-intent popups. These are triggered when a visitor is about to leave your site, and can be used to offer them a last-minute incentive to stay and complete the desired action. For example, you could offer an additional discount code that wasn’t included in the main offer.

There are several tools available that allow you to create and install popups on your landing page, including OptinMonster, Sumo, and Hello Bar.

15. Fuel your target

This point isn’t really about landing page design, but it’s probably worth mentioning in the name of conversion rate optimisation more generally. Let’s say your landing page is doing well, and you’re building up a nice base of leads and customers. Provided you have the right privacy policy in place, you can feed these details back into whatever platform you’re using (social or search) to create custom and lookalike audiences.

Each platform has their own limitations around minimum audience size, required fields, etc, but in general this is worth pursuing. The more data you can provide to your acquisition platforms around your ideal customers, the better they’ll be able to find them for you.

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