Boring Landing Pages Increase Sales and Conversions
The key to effective landing page design is clarity. Your website visitors should be focused on taking a simple path that leads to desired conversion actions. This simple path should arise out of the Zen-like stillness of your landing page.
Unfortunately, many landing pages are at the opposite end of the spectrum from this desired state because of the heavy-handedness of graphic designers. They scream and demand the visitor’s attention. They're a visual assault on the senses that force visitors to determine which of the many striking visual elements on the page is the important one. Here's a short list of the more common visual transgressions found on landing pages:
- Wild background colors. Many landing pages use dark and dramatic color themes. Often the background of the page, or large sections of it, are black or fully saturated bright colors. Unfortunately, these kinds of color choices often create a dark and brooding atmosphere, or imply something so exotic that it would only appeal to teenage male adrenalin junkies.
- Garish text. Page text and headlines are haphazardly placed on the page, often using very large font in high-contrast colors. Font sizes are frequently enormous, and are further emphasized by the use of edging effects, drop shadows, color transitions and fades, and fill patterns.
- Visual embellishments and flourishes. Even simple page elements such as box edges are emphasized by drop shadows, glow or other effects. Simple round disks in bullet lists are replaced by colorful graphical check marks or other icons. Neutral background space to the sides of the landing page is often filled in with intricate patterns or photographic images.
- Animation or video. All other design sins on the landing page pale in comparison to the aggressive use of motion, animation and video. Images and text pulsate or revolve; image slideshows use wild fly-in transition effects; intricate animation sequences draw the eye; and full-motion video auto-plays on the page. These attention-grabbing tactics are very powerful. Unfortunately, they're rarely tied to the desired conversion goal on the landing page, and only serve to squander a few precious seconds of visitors’ limited attention. Never deploy rich media on your landing page without testing it first to determine its impact on conversion.
“Boring” works. And it makes you a lot more money — that should make it a lot more exciting.
Tim Ash is CEO of SiteTuners, a San Diego-based landing page optimization company. Tim's a frequent columnist and writer on conversion improvement, and the author of the best-selling book “Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Conversions,” as well as chairperson of the ConversionConference.com. Reach Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tim Ash is the author of the bestselling book Landing Page Optimization, and CEO of SiteTuners. A computer scientist and cognitive scientist by education (his PhD studies were in Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence), Tim has developed an expertise in user-centered design, persuasion and understanding online behavior, and landing page testing. In the mid-1990s he became one of the early pioneers in the discipline of website conversion rate optimization. Over the past 15 years, Tim has helped a number of major US and international brands to develop successful web-based initiatives. Companies like Google, Expedia, Kodak, eHarmony, Facebook, American Express, Canon, Nestle, Symantec, Intuit, AutoDesk and many others have benefitted from Tim's deep understanding and innovative perspective.
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