What are website landing pages?

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Deciding on the page template design for different forms of landing pages is particularly important for site owners seeking to maximise conversion rate since many first time visitors don’t arrive on the homepage, the arrive deeper in the site from search engines or links from other sites. Chaffey and Smith (2008) suggest these are typical aims and corresponding questions to consider for increasing landing page conversion rate:

Generate response

Online lead or sale & offline callback. Does the page have a prominent call-to-action, a prominent button above the fold; repeated in the text and image form?

Engage different audience types

Reduce bounce rate, increase value events, increase return rate. Does the page have a prominent headline and subheads, showing the visitor is in the right place? Does the page have scent-trail trigger messages, offers or images to appeal to different audiences? For example, Dell has links on its site to appeal to customers and different types of businesses. A landing page continuing form fields to fill in is often more effective than an additional click since it starts committed visitors on their journey.

Communicate key brand messages

Increase brand familiarity and favourability. Does the page clearly explain who you are, what you do, where you operate and what makes you different? Is your online value proposition compelling? Do you use customer testimonials or ratings to show independent credibility? To help with this, use run-of-site messages (on all pages) across the top of the screen or in the left or right sidebars.

Answer the visitor’s questions

Reduce bounce rates, increase conversion rates. Different audiences will want to know different things. Have you identified personas and do you seek to answer their questions? Do you use FAQ or messages which say “New to company”?

Showcase range of offers

Cross-sell. Do you have recommendations on related or best-selling products and do you show the full-range of your offering through navigation?

Attract visitors through search engine optimisation (SEO)

How well do you rank for relevant search terms compared to competitors? Do your navigation, copy and page template indicate search terms compared to competitors? Do your navigation, copy and page templates indicate relevance to search engines through on-page optimisation?

Blueprints illustrate how the content of a website is related and navigated while a wireframe focuses on individual pages; with a wireframe the navigation focus becomes where it will be placed on the webpage. Wireframes are useful to agencies and clients to discuss the way a website will be laid out without getting distracted by color, style or messaging issues which should be covered separately as a creative planning activity.

The process of reviewing wireframes is sometimes referred as a storyboarding, although the term is often applied to reviewing creative ideas rather than formal design alternatives. Early designs are dawn on large pieces of paper, or mock-ups are produced using a drawing or paint program.

At the wireframe stage, emphasis is not placed on the use of color or graphics, which will be developed in conjunction with branding or marketing teams and graphic designers and integrated into the site after the wireframe process.

According to Chaffey and Wood (2010), the aim of a wireframe will be to:

  • Integrate consistently available components on the web page (e.g. navigation, search boxes)
  • Order and group key types of components together
  • Develop a design that will focus the user on to core messages and content
  • Make correct use of white space to structure the page
  • Develop a page structure that can be easily reused by other web designers

Common wireframe or template features you may come across are:

  • Navigation in columns on left or right and at the top or bottom
  • Header areas and footer areas
  • Containers, ‘slots’ or portlets’ – these areas of content such as an article or list of articles placed in boxes on the screen. Often slots will be dynamically populated from a container management system
  • Containers on the homepage may be used to:
    • Summarise the online value proposition
    • Show promotions
    • Recommend related articles
    • Feature news
    • Contain ads

Chaffey, D. and Ellis-Chadwick, F., 2012. Digital marketing: strategy, implementation and practice (Vol. 5). Harlow: Pearson.

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