Landing pages are often considered to be structured in a specific way, include specific information, look a specific way and even be made with some expensive dedicated tool. In reality, a landing page can look and feel many different ways.
In your website traffic analytics you probably find a section called "Landing Pages", which includes... Kind of anything. This may be a bit confusing. You probably didn't think of that particular page or blog post as a landing page.
Basically, any page a person lands on your website after clicking a link somewhere or typing the address to the address bar is a landing page. Landing page is the page where person lands, and exit page is where they get out of your site.
Simply put, landing page is just the page your website visitor sees first when coming to your site. It can be a blog post, it can be your home page, it could be a sales page, a subscribe page, an about page or any other page they landed.
In many cases, when people talk about landing pages they mean website pages that are build specifically for converting visitors. Such as lead capture pages with a form for getting new email list subscribers. Or sales pages, which direct people to buy a product or a service.
You probably try and get people to land directly to those pages through social media, search engines, email newsletters and everywhere else.
The way a landing page looks, feels, is structured, and the content included depends on the purpose of the landing page.
Landing pages can have different purposes. The main purpose of a blog post page, which is probably a very common landing page on your site, is to serve the blog post content. A sales page has a very different main purpose. It's supposed to give information of your product or service and entice the person landing the page to buy said product or service. A front page could give summarised information of the site, the person, the brand and the business, and direct the person who landed it to browse through other pages of the site. An email subscription page steers people to subscribe to your email list.
One common advice when building landing pages is to remove navigation. Especially this applies to conversion pages, such as email subscription pages and sales pages. I don't think it's a very good advice. Yes, it can emphasise the call to action of the page. The problem is, these pages without navigation trap your visitors and don't lead them to visit other pages of your site. Most people are not going to subscribe or buy immediately without finding out more about you, your brand and business, and your products.
You need to remember that people may land your landing page from many different referring places. Even the most perfect sales funnel can't stop people from ending to the landing page from somewhere you could't predict. Which is why they can land it without any knowledge of what they are going to find. They may not have a clear idea of who you are, what you do and why they should give their email address or money to you.
While you might think you have included your sales page all the information people need, there are probably still questions your landing page doesn't answer.
For example, if your landing page is for email subscriptions or an e-book or workbook, people will want to know your writing style. They want to read your other content, such as your blog posts. And if there's no easy way to find those blog posts, they will soon give up on trying to find this out.
Often landing pages have their own web domains. This makes it especially hard to find your main website if there's no clear linking to it. I have often clicked a link on Pinterest, to find myself on a landing page with a dedicated domain. The landing page then has had only very limited information of an e-book or an email list, and no way to find out more about the person behind it or what else they do. It's not very trust inducing.
Instead of trying to copy someone else's landing pages, or structuring landing pages a certain way you learned somewhere, make the landing page work for you and the people you are targeting.
Concentrate on the purpose of the landing page, and how the page serves the person landing it. Is the purpose of the page clear? Is it clear for the person visiting the page what that page is for and what you would like them to do next? How does the page serve the person who landed it?
When a person lands a page directly without having visited your site before, the page must somehow make it clear what it is about. The page must be relevant to the search query they made, or the link they clicked. In case it seems like they landed on something they never wanted, they will bounce away without exploring further.
If you wish to create conversions with your landing page, trust is the number one thing you want to inspire. Without trust there won't be any conversions.
Does the landing page explain clearly who or what organisation is behind it? Or is there an easy way to find this out?
The design of the landing page depends on your branding. I recommend using the same fonts, colours and style as on your main website and blog. Which is why using a landing page created with a separate tool may not be such a great idea.
The same goes with the content. The text, images, video content and whatever you are adding to your landing page must have the same voice as your other content.
Does the landing page fit your or your brand's personality? Does it fit in with your main website or your other relevant websites? When a person lands the page after having visited your website, do they know this is your landing page or think they have landed to someone else's site?
You might feel like jamming the page with all the information you can. The story of your life, minute details about your offering, every single thing people have said about you and what you do, and so forth. While you want to add enough information to make it clear what the page is about, too much is as bad as too little.
Make sure the information can be easily found when someone wants it, but keep things on your landing page as simplified as possible. Try to summarise things, and make the information fast to digest.
A video can be a great way to tell more about your offering and yourself and to create trust. Just remember that not everyone can or want to watch a video right that moment. If you include a video on your landing page, make it short. Don't rely only on videos to convey your message.
Do use images and colours, but not too much (especially if they don't fit your overall brand). I have seen many effective sales pages that feature just text on a white background and no more than one image.
A/B testing is helpful if you can get lots of traffic to your landing page. In A/B testing you offer different content and style to different visitors, and then see which type of a page (A or B) converted more. However, with a small audience the test results may not give a good idea of the true performance of your landing pages.
Remember to add a simple way to do whatever you want people to do. It could be a "buy now" button or an email subscription form, or whatever is the purpose of the landing page.
What has worked for someone else doesn't necessarily work for you and the people you are intending to convert. Always keep the purpose of the landing page on your mind, as well as who you are targeting. On top of that, make the landing page fit your other content and branding. Help the people landing the page out of cold understand what the page is about and give them a way to find more information about you and what you can do for them. Don't trap people to your landing page.
I truly recommend simplifying the way you think about landing pages. In the end, a landing page is really just a page where people land through links or by typing the url to the address bar. Nothing more, nothing less. Only your content makes it in some way special.