What Is A Landing Page?
A landing page is the first page someone sees when they visit your website or click on a link to your site, product or service page. It is considered to be like the front door of your brick and mortar business. It’s what makes your first-time visitors turn into returning visitors and then into raving fans. If you know how to create the best landing page design for your photography website, you’ll attract and retain more visitors, which in the end means more sales and bookings for your business.
A landing page is also known as a squeeze page or opt-in page where the goal is to get the user to take a specific action. This action can be filling out a form or clicking-through for a free offer.
In this post we’ll look at some landing page examples and why they work. We’ll dissect them and see how all the elements come together to create the best experience for the viewer as possible.
Great Landing Page Examples
The following are examples of why creating the best landing page design works. These are billion and million dollar companies that have tested every last piece of their design with several iterations to see what works best.
Testing variations of a page simultaneously to see which one converts better is know as split testing or A/B testing. The immense data these companies have gathered over the years has created their current landing page design. These are some of the best landing pages I’ve seen and we’ll use them to dissect landing page best practices.
CreativeLive’s landing page make’s use of the full bleed effect (full-screen image) and simple layout. There are not too many options in the navigation and on the page in general. There’s a simple call-to-action button in the middle of the screen that stands out in contrast.
You don’t have to spend too much time on here to know what to do next. The icons in the middle of the page get rid of text completely and engage the viewer visually. Not to mention they also know their target market and the photo speaks to it.
The image above is another example of why a full bleed image works on a landing page. It works for Apple, meaning they’ve tested it and it has proven to convert at a higher rate. Again, navigation is simple at the top with the logo on the top-left. There’s a slideshow upon landing that auto-plays, showcasing their latest products. The viewer can also click to see a video in a pop-up window, without leaving the site.
The use of white space is another crucial design element. White space organizes everything in the mind for the viewer and it can align areas of the page so that they are pleasing to the eye. Usually dark text on light backgrounds is easier to read then white text on a black background. CreativeLive above breaks this rule but, notice with use of little text.
Lines are another design element your landing pages can benefit from. You can use lines to guide the eye where you want your visitors to look. These can be lines that are visual and lines that the eye “fills-in”, or lines that flow through your design. Below is a great example of the use of line. When creating templates for your landing pages lines will be crucial to maintain harmony and balance in your design.
Contrast and color are also very important for the design of your landing page. You can use contrast to make your call-to-action button stand out. Photographer Sue Bryce (above website) is showcasing her images on her landing page that have beautiful color and contrast.
There is a subtle green and a strong red contrast making the photograph stand out and it doesn’t compete with the text. The image holds the viewers attention and is framed by the navigation.
A call to action is known as inciting the viewer to take an action upon landing on your page. Some examples of CTA’s are, “Sign Up”, “Log In” or “Register Now”. It’s basically what you would like your visitors to do upon reaching your page.
In the above example, QuickSprout makes it extremely obvious with a single button on the entire page. In fact you can’t even scroll down, the only other option you have is clicking the navigation at the top right. And, who doesn’t want more traffic?
Not only is it a great question to ask and the CTA button is congruent with the right answer but you can also enter your URL to have them start analyzing your site immediately. Believe me they’ve tested this multiple times with multiple variations and this is what’s working for them.
For KISSmetrics, changing their CTA button text from “Sign up” to “Sign up with Your Google Account” increased their conversions by 59%. It didn’t stop there. They changed that to “Log in with Google” and it increased by another 22%.
A/B testing will yield the best CTA possible. You need to test at least two things simultaneously then gather enough data before making a change.
Design With the Golden Ratio
The golden ratio also known as the phi ratio, golden section or golden number is arguably one of the most important numbers for a designer. What is the golden ratio you ask? The golden ratio is 1.618… and is found in all things natural. Many artists and designers have used it for a very long time, the reason being because the proportion is pleasing to the eye. Even the iPhone is designed with it in mind.
So the golden ratio should also be used in web design. There are many templates available online to play around with this. Sue Bryce has some free templates to design spreads for your photographs as well (available on her site).
A good way to play around with website design is to download the zip file from a WordPress theme. The zip file has a few PSD files in it that already have layered templates. Play around with some variations if you don’t want to mess around with a live page. There is also landing page software that comes with several pre-loaded templates. We’ll talk about this next.
Landing Page Templates
The landing page software I use is ClickFunnels. It’s really a powerful software and is like no other. I say powerful because you can fully customize a template by just dragging and dropping and moving things around. It really gives you complete control over designing an opt-in or lead capture page. They also offer a free trial so you can get a feel to how it works.
This software works online and aside from your website. You can use it to create entire sales funnels for your products and services. It’s also good when running pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns like Google Adwords and, you don’t want to send people straight to your website.
For those that do not know what a sales funnel or sales process is, it’s basically a series of pages or steps your ideal prospect goes through before becoming a customer. You can also click the ClickFunnels image above for a video that explains further.
Below is a simplified example of a typical sales process:
- Lead Magnet (free report)
- Core Offer (main product or service)
- Order form
- OTO (One-Time-Offer; additional up-sell)
- Thank You Page (i.e. order confirmation)
As you can see the sales process requires a series of pages designed for optimal conversion, which requires testing as I mentioned above. Landing page software makes the designing of this process a lot easier and that’s why I use ClickFunnels. I explain more about sales funnels in my recent book.
Landing Page Optimization
Once you’ve got a design that you feel good about you have to start testing two versions of it against each other to maximize your conversion rate. Conversion rate means how many people visit your page and take the action you want them to take. Divide the number of visitors by those who completed the action and you have your conversion rate.
There are several tools available online today that can really help you optimize your landing pages. One of them is Visual Website Optimizer (VWO), which allows you to easily move around entire sections of your site like your sidebar from left to right, use code variations in your tests and a lot more. They have a free trial as well so you can definitely try it out and then cancel it before the trial is up.
A really great way to optimize your landing pages is to use heat maps. Heat maps create a visual map of where people are looking at the most upon landing on your page. You can easily create these with VWO, see this article for more on heat maps.
So, how does all of this apply to my photography website you ask? All of it applies in a huge way. As mentioned before having the best design for your landing page will increase your conversions and in the end sales. I will talk more in depth about how you can apply this for your creative business whether it be photography or any another creative service.
How To Create The Best Landing Page Design For Your Photography Website
The first step is identifying your ideal customer. Who do you want to attract to your page? You want to get detailed with this to thinking about what potential buyers are thinking right now. For example, if they were looking to hire a professional architectural photographer in New York, where would they be looking?
Most people would use the extension of themselves, which we all now have, known as: our smartphones. Open the Google Search app and say out loud: “best architectural photographer in New York City”. Boom. Google provides results in less then a few microseconds.
You want to take this a bit further and think about other potential phrases your ideal prospect is typing into the search engines to optimize your landing page for SEO (search engine optimization). You can also consider showing up in the top of the search results by running PPC campaigns on Google Adwords, Bing or Yahoo and bidding for those “buyer keywords”.
For your ideal prospect, once they’ve clicked on your website link, what would you like them to see the first time they land on your site? Firstly, the way you show up in the search results needs to match your landing page. If you say you’re an architectural photographer in the little blue description Google shows then don’t take your prospect to a wedding photography page.
As a photographer you want to showcase your work so a good idea is to show your best work on your landing page. Now, you create a custom landing page using a landing page software like ClickFunnels or you can send people to a specific page on your website designed to be a landing page.
The more custom you get with your landing page the better. For example, you can create geo-targeted landing pages that change the headline according to the visitor’s location. Your headline could be: “I’m looking to help 5 New York based architects in creating stunning images for their projects.” The “New York based” part would change according to the location your visitor is in. This is a bit more advanced but has been proven to increase conversions. You can even change the image on your landing page according to the location of your visitors! Amazing right?
With your overall design and approach you want to keep it simple. Don’t over do it and test more than one thing at a time. Don’t change anything until you’ve gathered enough data, meaning a few hundred visitors and enough conversions. Using organic traffic or earned traffic (SEO) takes longer but doing paid traffic campaigns will get you data a lot faster.
So you can test your pages and ads by running PPC campaigns and then using that data to adjust your SEO strategy. That’s how a lot of people come up with titles for their books and even their websites, because it works.
Like I mentioned before you want to keep your landing pages with a clear call-to-action button and be visual in your approach. Whether it be using a stunning image or a video behind the scenes on a photo shoot, engage your visitors and show them the next step in the best way possible. Remember to always test, test, and test!
The purpose of having a great design for your landing page is to direct visitors to take a specific action. Usually this would be collecting a name and email so you can then follow-up with a series of emails. Email marketing is the next step after you’ve got the best landing page design for your website and, is known to be one of the most effective online marketing methods with the highest ROI (return on investment). I’ll talk more about email marketing in a later post.
Thanks for reading this. Any comments or thoughts are welcomed below.
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