As simple as landing pages may seem, there is a science and psychology behind their creation. These single-paged, lead capturing pages are very common, but not all are made with best practices in mind. Below is a list of the top 10 landing page mistakes that you may have seen before or perhaps have made yourself.
  1. Including navigation links – The sole purpose of a landing page is to convince the visitor to take one specific action, whatever your call-to-action (CTA) may be. Don’t give them the option to leave the page! Instead, provide the value proposition and the actions needed to gain what you are offering.
  2. No clear value proposition –  If a visitor stumbled upon your landing page and asked “How does this benefit me?,” would the answer be absolutely clear? The truth is that most people are not interested in you, me, or any of our companies; They’re interested in valuable content that will benefit and enhance their life. So make it known that this is your goal. The value proposition should be so clear that it will take a visitor no more than three seconds to read it and know exactly what it is.
  3. No consistency in the headlines – Since the visitor should understand the purpose of your landing page (in less time than it takes to say “conversion rate” five times) it’s a best practice to make the headlines consistent with the sub-headlines and the CTA button (or link, depending on your design). Make sure the link or advertisement they clicked on to lead them to the landing page is consistent with the headline and the content. You don’t want to confuse your potential customers and scare them away.
  4. Having the call-to-action below the page fold – Heat map studies reveal that anything below the page fold (the area not shown when a web page is opened) will only be viewed by 50% of people who land on your page. Is the information important?  Then place it above the fold and make it clear for more conversions.  (If the information isn’t important, then you may want to look at mistake number 5…)
  5. Too much copy – Although relevant content is needed on a landing page for explanation purposes, too much copy can be overwhelming and increase the bounce rate. Remember that it’s not your website, it’s a landing page. Make the content relevant, short, and sweet.  It should include the offer, the value, and the action needed to gain that value.
  6. No share links – If you want your content to go viral, add social media links to encourage sharing. Consider it free marketing from your audience!
  7. No images – Make the visitors’ experience aesthetically pleasing. Too much content can be overwhelming. Use relevant images to break the content up and create space. If you’re offering an e-book, show the cover, etc. Your logo can function as an image and adds credibility as well.
  8. Doubtful elements – This one page is supposed to convince the visitor to take an action, sometimes requiring sensitive information. Including your logo and third party endorsements will add credibility and can increase conversions. Even customer reviews can be included to add integrity. Also, consider listing awards you have won, security logos, companies you have worked with, and if you’re a member, the Better Business Bureau logo.
This Zulily landing page is a great example of having a clear value proposition, third party endorsements to add credibility, as well as the terms & conditions and privacy policy at the bottom. They also included their social media network links for visitors to follow, and a large image to break the content. Two big changes they could make are 1) enable sharing by having sharing links instead of just their connections, and 2) remove the links at the bottom and instead have their thank you page include a link back to their website.
Zulily landing page
9.  Not redirecting to a thank you page – Once the visitor has completed the desired action, it’s good practice to signal the end of the action by showing them a thank you page. Use this thank you page to stay connected with them. You can include your social network links, contact information, and/or “next steps” depending on your offer.

10. Not targeting the landing page directly to your intended audience – The purpose of a landing page is to market directly to a niche audience with customized content and CTA. Using a general message (or worse, your homepage) is a lost opportunity to cater directly to your audience’s interests. Try to think as your audience would and design the landing page to capture their attention and to convince them to take an action.
Below you can see that T-Mobile used their homepage as their “landing page.” Big mistake! Think of all the opportunities they offer the visitor to leave the page and not focus on the “buy now” CTA. On the other hand, they could have made a customized landing page for the target customer of the Nokia Lumia 710.
T-Mobile landing page
This National University landing page covers most of the major elements for a strong landing page: no navigation, clear value proposition, consistent headlines/sub-headlines, clear CTA above the fold, not too much copy, and relevant images. Another powerful feature they added was the “chat with us” link at the top. This is smart, because although it is a link it leads the visitor right to their customer representatives. The only aspects missing are the share links and the third party endorsements, which could have been included in the footer.
NU landing page
Apart from avoiding these mistakes, A/B testing is the most important method of optimizing your landing pages. A great A/B testing software that we like to use is Optimizely. No coding is required and it delivers fast results. Some landing page factors to test are colors, size of buttons, image position, headlines, terms & conditions placement, etc. If landing pages are supposed to generate leads for your business, why not test and optimize to the best of your ability?
What other landing page mistakes have you seen or made yourself?  Tweet your answers to @sterkly.