Writing Samples

3 Tips to Design Better Landing Pages

Creating an effective landing page can make or break an organization's marketing efforts. Depending on how a visitor discovers you, a landing page could be the first thing they see, rather than your standard homepage. How much your landing page resembles your homepage will vary organization by organization, but what does not, is the importance of good design. Good design is critical for increasing conversions. Let’s discuss three concepts to consider when designing your next landing page.

 
Hierarchy Matters

Hierarchy is at the base of good design, and the basics do apply. The main headers should be the largest in sizing and perhaps use bolding to distinguish themselves as the most prominent and important text on your landing page. The subsequent headers are slightly smaller and so on, as you move down the page. The same applies to images being used. You may not think it at first, but some fonts just don’t work in different sizes, so it’s important to lay them out in a variety of sizes when considering your type selection for the landing page.

 

You’ll know bad design when you see it. For example, the page pulls your eye in too many directions and it’s hard to distinguish the intended path. Don’t leave visitors feeling lost with a lack of hierarchy, they might opt out of completing your form as a result.

 
The Top Cut

Another best practice to keep in mind when designing your next landing page is to remember that most individuals read from left to right, top to bottom. Your landing page should take this into consideration, along with the fact that most people are going to be scanning and not reading your site in detail. If you know a visitor will be scanning along this sort of path, then it only makes sense to place the most important information in the top half of the page. This way if you lose their attention as they get farther down, it will be after the most crucial details have already been relayed.

 

Keep it Simple

Landing pages are meant to accomplish a goal, a goal of gaining information. You want the process to be clear to visitors. Ready to create a new account or sign-up for our upcoming event?- do that here. Landing pages are used in a variety of scenarios. Higher education organizations for example, may use a landing page to provide an avenue for prospective students to request enrollment information. Regardless of the reason for your landing page, remember to keep it simple! Don’t use too many different fonts or images on one landing page. An overload of distractions will only pull the attention away from the goal. Instead, use the simplicity of your design to direct visitors to fill out the page’s form.

 

These are just a few of the concepts to consider when designing landing pages. Once you understand the rationale behind certain design choices, it becomes a lot easier to implement them into your own process

Usability testing refers to evaluating a product or service by testing it with representative users in either a formal or informal setting. Usability testing helps to discover the flaws and areas for improvement in your work, which may be hard for you to see yourself. Stepping back and having others walkthrough and test your existing prototype can help you discover new ideas, challenges, or uses you hadn’t previously considered. You can test at any time, either before your prototype launches or when your website needs updating.

 
Formal vs. Informal Testing

Formal testing involves more planning, but the payoff can be worth it. If possible, those testing your prototype should be end users, they can offer the most critical and relevant feedback for making improvements. Typically a formal test will use a set list of objectives, that each end user should attempt to accomplish, while an assigned observer documents their feedback on each task. Team members who are facilitating the formal training should ask questions and push end users to provide their feedback throughout the entire length of their session.   

 

Afterwards, the users’ responses can be analyzed by your team to discover and evaluate any trends or common roadblocks found in the feedback. Sometimes only one participant comes across a certain type of issue. If it seems like a legitimate issue, then don’t discount it because the others didn’t encounter it. Implementing an improvement now will be easier than when your prototype is no longer a prototype.

 

Informal testing is more convenient since it can happen on the fly and requires far less planning. You can invite peers to test your prototype who have not directly worked on it. While they might have been aware of the prototype in a peripheral sense, they can still offer a fresh set of eyes. Ask them to provide feedback and take note of their experiences as they perform the set list of objectives mentioned earlier.

 

As a user shares their interpretation of the steps involved in completing the assigned objectives, you may find that they’re not experiencing what you intended. Are they confused at a given point or are they achieving the wrong goals? Informal testing is a cost-effective way to improve your design efforts without spending a lot of time or money. The best part is you can do this multiple times if your team members have the availability and willingness.

 

Testing Is What’s Important

Regardless of the method, the main takeaway is that usability testing, when regularly implemented, ultimately results in better design and happier clients. You need to circle back with those who will actually be visiting your site, this audience is so important. They’ll be the source for the on-line reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, client testimonials, and case studies that will help determine your prototype’s future.

 

Happy users and happy clients will increase your bottom line regardless of your industry. If you really care about producing quality visitor journeys for your audience, then usability testing should be a part of your design process. If formal testing isn’t realistic, consider informal testing as an alternative. Some organizations are fortunate enough to be able to conduct both. Either way, formal or informal, usability testing can drastically improve your final design and results.

Usability Testing: Improve Your Website’s Design

 

Targeted Content: What it is and why should it matter to you?

What Is Targeted Content?

It’s become apparent that producing targeted content will continue to be a major trend. Targeted Content is specific content created for a subset of your general audience, often referred to as a persona. Targeted content is unique because it’s designed to elicit a specific response from a specific group, based on data about that group. Organizations are spending more time than ever charting out their audience’s personas in order to plan out better content for their targeted audience, and with good reason! The positive effects of having personas factored into your content strategy are evident.

 

Why You Need Targeted Content
  • Individuals buy your products or services. Which means it’s essential to understand who those people are in order to successfully meet their needs.

  • Producing content that caters to your personas will make your efforts more effective overall, which should translate into increased sales and improved customer satisfaction.

  • When the content your organization produces becomes more useful to your audience, the more it will be shared and by default, it will become more relevant in online search results.

  • Improving your search rank and results will have a direct effect on increasing brand awareness and visibility as a leader in your industry. These are universally important goals for most internal departments.

 

Targeted Content Supports Various Efforts

There are various channels for applying personas when crafting targeted content.

 

Organizations should consider personas when:

  • Setting up email campaigns

  • Drafting newsletter copy

  • Planning webinar topics

  • Creating conference presentations

  • Selecting new calls-to-action

  • Improving website user experience

  • Generating new collateral

 
Conclusion

The shift to targeted content delivery will likely only continue to grow. The underlying theme to take away is when creating fresh content, the reader’s interests and needs are what should be focused on. Spend time on content that serves one of your various personas and their stage in the buying process. If the subject matter you’re considering doesn’t do this, you likely shouldn’t be wasting your time on it. Staff members are busy, and this focused approach will make better use of your time, improve your content's effectiveness, and overall make for a better user experience!

© 2016 by Diana Muina