Which elements make for an easy to read landing page?
No matter how you cut it, you’re going to need to write lengthy sales letter copy for any landing page.
Even a free product requires at least 300 words to get indexed in Google and you’re not going to fill that quota without a little story and feature list. You’re certainly not going to get ranked on any keywords if you don’t have enough copy to sprinkle them in throughout the page.
So with that said, you now have to think about how you’re going to organize all of these words in a way that is easy to skim. Of course you want them to read every word that you write, but more importantly you want them to find everything they want to know about the product:
- What problem does this solve?
- How does this solve my specific problem?
- Does anyone else I know have this product?
- Is there some kind of demo or sample of this product I can preview?
- How much is it going to cost me?
- How much am I getting for this price?
If the user can find the answer to all of these questions, you’ve got solid gold.
Benefits should be easily found towards the beginning of the landing page. Software landing pages usually list features at the top, including compatibility and other information the user needs to know before they can even consider buying the product.
As a publisher, you can satisfy the same needs by letting them know exactly who should be buying the product, whether it’s by definition, job title, or personality.
Using testimonials will let them know that colleagues they admire are also using the product and will make them feel safe in their purchase.
A video demo of a membership website, or a chapter sample of a PDF product will give them a sneak peak at the quality of product they’re getting into.
When it comes to price, they are less likely to be concerned with the price if you can convince them that it’s worth it. Some people will look for price first, so this is an element you want to test often. Once you’ve decided on that, you should be sure to include bonuses and add-ons that truly make the sale. If the user feels like they’re getting more than they need—or more than they can get if they got a similar product elsewhere—then the sale is “in the bag,” as they say.
1. The typeface is familiar, comfortable and easy to read online.
More than 25 years ago an article entitled Why Johnny Can’t Read by Vrest Orton in The National Review argued that sans-serif typefaces make printed text unreadable.
He insisted that a “bold, blunt, hard, stark, rigid style of type called sans serif” is grotesque. He claimed that this style of type “not only repels and insults the eye, but actually makes printed matter almost impossible to read.”
Interestingly enough, you’ll find the opposite argument online, where serif fonts like Times New Roman are practically unheard of, except in headlines.
Some years ago, Microsoft decided to address the problem and had two new typefaces designed specifically for use online.
They are Verdana, a sans serif typeface named for the verdant Seattle area and Georgia, a brilliant serif typeface allegedly named after a tabloid headline about alien heads found in Georgia. Georgia is recommended for online headlines, while Verdana seems to work best for online text.
Whatever you choose, the typeface of your landing page should be familiar, comforting and easy to read online.
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2. The layout is uncluttered and easy to follow.
People do not read carefully online, they scan. If it takes too long to find what they want, they leave.
Unfortunately, “too long” is a matter of seconds, not of minutes or of word counts.
Chances they will stay on one page for more than 60 seconds are remote. The remote control is essentially the same as a computer mouse. People will move on fast unless captured by a story.
This means that your landing page needs a start, middle and an end. The user expects a story at the beginning, the benefits in the middle and the price at the end.
3. The landing page makes adequate use of white space.
When a landing page has as many words on it as we tend to recommend (800-1500), you’ll need to make sure that those words are easily read.
If someone gets overwhelmed when they look at your landing page—you’re doing it wrong.
A landing page shouldn’t read like a book, it should read like a blog. People are much more likely to read a four-page New York Times article online than read four pages of a PDF book online.
This means that you need to take advantage of lists and other ways to space out your content that is visually appealing and easily searched.
4. Graphics are well integrated with sales letter flow.
Every graphic on your landing page should serve a purpose. A well-designed landing page doesn’t need to be boring and simple, but it does need to keep the attention on the words and sales message.
A good-looking landing page will give you credibility, but a flashy landing page will distract the user and won’t guide them where they need to go down the page. Visuals need to be connected to the story. The images must fit the story or the brain will reject the words.
These are responsibilities for a professional graphic designer with web design experience. Not all graphic designers who cut their teeth in the print world have made a good transition to designing web pages. And too many webpage designers have never mastered the fundamentals of good graphics that are fundamental to outstanding print designers.
So seek out a designer who understands the online medium and won’t impose graphics on your site that overpower the sales message.
Remember, it’s not creative unless it sells.