Making money from your blog is always a very popular topic. Everyone has seen and heard stories about people making living online and is tempted by the same idea of working for yourself and having the freedom and flexibility to run your own business the way you want.
This article will feature everything you need to know to create a landing page that converts. It will include advice from Groupon on writing copy that converts, it will include plugins you can use and will even touch upon how you can create your own product and sell it in your own web store.
Let’s get started.
The essential elements of a perfect landing page
A landing page is a page on your site that you send traffic to with a specific goal and target in mind. The aim of a landing page is to convince a visitor to signup for a mailing list for example or to buy a product. Generating leads and customers is usually the biggest challenge for any blogger or content marketer and landing pages serve this purpose well as they are stripped down, simplified and focused on one objective.
It is difficult to convert someone straight off your traditional looking home page on their first visit. They still don’t know you, don’t know your product or services and have no connection and trust built with you. This means that a conversion rate on a standard homepage is very low.
Landing pages on the other hand grab the attention of a visitor and build the trust and connection that is necessary for someone to convert into a subscribers or a customer. Landing pages can replace your home page or they can be a page deeper into your site that you direct to from social media and your other marketing channels.
Do you want more people to visit your site and convert? Stop distracting them and making them click away from your main goal. Simplicity is not only beautiful and elegant but it is also effective. It helps you tweak and perfect the user experience. It leads to decluttering of your site, makes it faster to load and more focused on your targets.
Every element on an effective landing page works together to tell a story of the product and gets the visitor to convert. So what are the elements and the features of great landing pages that work and convert? Let’s take a look at some of them.
- Landing pages are simple. Usually all the unnecessary elements are removed from a landing page. This means there is no navigation menu that can lead the visitor to another page. This means there is no sidebar that again takes the attention from the main objective. There is no large header image, there is no footer. All the elements that don’t aid the visitor into taking the action that you want him or her to do are removed.
- The objectives are simple and clear with a very strong and prominent call to action. Tell visitors what they need to know and tell it to them right away. Tell them how you will fill their needs or they will click on the “Back” button and leave. Call to action is on many landing pages repeated several times throughout the page. Call to action is focused on information capture. Call to actions are normally buttons that want people to subscribe for a mailing list, buy a service or buy a product.
- Unique selling proposition is a brief description of what you are offering. The USP is very clear and in focus. The focus is on the value that this offer will bring to your life, to your business. It explains you the benefits of the product and what you will miss out on if you don’t go for it. Curiously this is normally all about benefits and not much about facts and features of the product or a service. Features and facts come second to the benefit. Say what your product is, what people will get and how this is better than offers of your competitors.
- You can’t make a visitor buy the product in the first sentence, but you can lose him or her right away. Landing pages are the playground of copywriters. The copy of the page is what your offer depends on so the copy must be amazing. The language is usually simple, clear and specific. There are attractive headlines and sub-headings. First thing a visitor should see is a strong headline that explains why the visitor should stick around and explore further. Being concise in your writing is a big part of a successful landing page.
- There are also elements that build trust and credibility. You might see a picture of the creator of the product – human face enhances credibility and trust. You might see a list of testimonials which includes pictures, names and positive reviews from past customers and people that have purchased the product. You might see some of those security badges. You might see a list of sites where the product has been featured. There is normally also a guarantee – for example if you don’t like the product or if you don’t get any results from using the product you can claim money back within next 30, 60, 90 days. Some even go for longer and even lifetime periods.
- Social proof is another element of a landing page that is there to build credibility and trust. If you have many sales do tell people about it. Do embed social media buttons and do show how many shares and likes you have in social media.
- On many landing pages you might see a video where the product creator tells you the benefits of his product or you have guide through the product and what it offers. Make sure your video is great and that it helps add value and converts your visitor. If it doesn’t do that it might not be necessary to embed a video. Making people watch a video makes them stop reading the rest of your copy so test and see which way works best for you. Which leads me to the next element…
- A sneak peek preview is another important element in order to show the quality of the product you are offering. You could for example allow people to download one chapter of your book or watch a shorter version of a training course.
- For better conversion rate try asking for an email address first. Getting a smaller commitment from your lead is a great first step towards creating a great relationship with a future customer.
- Testing, testing. Many landing pages would be tested many times over a long period of time and improved in terms of everything from design,the way the call to action buttons look like, how the copy is written, where the different elements are positioned and so on. The idea is to collect the data and improve the structure and elements of the page in order to get a better conversion rate.
Top 27 copywriting do‘s and don‘ts from Groupon
Daily deals website Groupon (words “group” and “coupon” meshed together – actually a good example of how to choose a name for your site), started in November 2008, has become a huge multi-national business.
One of the reason for so many people buying all the deals is their copywriting. It gets the attention of people and makes them want to buy the product or the service (even though in many cases they don’t really need it).
The leaked “Groupon Editorial Manual” is an internal guide from Groupon that is distributed to their copywriters in order for them to learn to write better and more enticing. The guide features the strategies and advice for writers to achieve Groupon’s voice and write that famous high converting copy.
All the copywriters, bloggers and other online content creators can learn a lot from studying the work of Groupon and this guide provide a look inside their thinking. These are the lessons to learn if you want to write copy that sells just like Groupon does that I picked up from going through the manual. Have a look.
- Write as the omniscient narrator (3rd person). Selling points, information, and humor are all usually stronger in this voice.
- Don’t assume familiarity with the reader. When the 2nd person is used with a voice that assumes too much familiarity with the reader it can sound like traditional marketing copy.
- Don’t antagonize the reader. E.g. “Get fit, fatty!” “Take a shower hippy!,” “Eat a burger hipster!”.
- Don’t overuse of hyphens. Keep it simple.
- Steer clear of jokes that could offend religious people. Even if it seems harmless and playful, there are some religious people who will freak out. It’s not worth the headache.
- Don’t say anything that can even remotely be regarded as sexual. Even saying “ooze” will set people off. Not worth the risk.
- No schmoozy marketing copy. You need to be credible and trustworthy. Avoid traditional marketing cliches like positioning the deal as the obvious solution to the reader’s imaginary problems. EX: Do you have this problem? Well today’s deal is the solution!
- Avoid unsubstantiated superlatives: Worst/Best. Thing. Ever. Superlatives and overly generous adjectives will not only fail to sell—they’ll kill Groupon’s integrity and trustworthiness.
- Avoid broad, unsubstantiated claims like “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”. Same reason as the above.
- Never write unsubstantiated, opinionated selling points. Just present the verifiable, objective facts in a fun, engaging, way and let the readers decide for themselves if it sounds like something they want.
- Avoid abstract words that don’t mean anything. Adjectives: unique, great, perfect, interesting. Verbs: optimize, enhance, utilize, maximize, all the -ize’s. Corporate speak: proactive, efficient, productive, innovative, ideation, etc.
- Avoid using exclamation points.
- Spell out single-digit numbers.
- Always use numerals if a unit of measurement (not quantity) e.g. inches, feet, age.
- Avoid repetitive use of the imperative. The reader doesn’t want to be told what to do. Just describe things without insisting that the reader does anything in particular. If they like how you describe it, they’ll figure it out on their own.
- Begin with a short creative lead. Always keep your lead under 35 words, and ideally under 25 words. This will help hook people in and get them to continue reading the whole offer.
- What you get and price points. Immediately after the lead, you must clearly explain the value of the deal. What are people getting by going for it? How much do they need to pay for the deal? All necessary details should be included.
- Don’t use a vendor’s copy. Whether a vendor sends the copy or they have a good copy on the site, never use it verbatim. It has to be written in Groupon’s voice or it will look like an ad instead of an endorsement and that will not be trustworthy.
- Answer every question a customer will have. Put yourself in the shoes of the target audience. What question do they have? What are they wondering about? If you don’t answer all the questions, they’ll ask it 100,000 times to customer service, and customer service will be here til midnight.
- Be clear, concise. Less is more. People don’t like to read too much and they lose interest quickly. 175-300 words across 3-4 short paragraphs. The average is around 250 words, and try to keep it under that if you can.
- Maintain brevity. A good trick is to start with an engaging imperative verb. For example, instead of “Five services covered in this Groupon,” rewrite as “Choose from 5 services.” This will serve to keep your message direct and to the point.
- Make headers as short as possible, e.g. ‘$20 for a Massage at Spa’ is ‘$20 Massage at Spa’.
- Don’t list vague, generic selling points that could be used for any business in that industry (i.e. “relax and relieve stress” for massages). Highlights should be aspects either unique to the business or to the deal. Make people want the product or the service.
- Concrete details are stronger than vague ideas like “makes a great gift.” They’ll be reading “makes a great Valentine’s gift” on every ad they see for weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, so this has the potential to be more marketing noise.
- Word highlights as compelling selling points so that they matter to the reader. Rich, concrete description sells with integrity.
- Features vs. benefits. A feature is what something is. A benefit is what it does. Features are preferred because they are rich, concrete details. If a feature is not compelling enough, reframe it as a benefit.
- You must be creative and intuitive. Follow your heart. In your heart lies the answer to the question “why would someone buy this?” Ask it to yourself. Answer the question in language that relates to someone.
Landing page WordPress plugins
As always WordPress plugins are your best friend when it comes to introducing new features to your site without needing to spend too much time. There are several landing page plugins that you can try and work with in order to figure out the one that fits your needs best. Here are couple of them:
- Parallax Gravity – Landing Page Builder – This plugin allows you to add multiple sections within your landing page. For each section you can set a background, add any type of content more.
- WordPress Landing Pages – This is a quiet advanced option that is definitely worth a look. It gives you the ability to monitor and track conversion rates, run a/b and multivariate split tests and much more.
How to build a high conversion blog
First time visitors take less than a few seconds to decide if your site is worth exploring. You have to get their attention and get it fast. One way of doing this is to make it easy on the eyes and clutter free and make it easy for your readers to find stuff that interests them. With an effective site the purpose will become clear and immediately evident to your first-time visitors.
Your call-to-action will stand out. Your best converting content will be the essential focus and will not get lost in the archives. Knowing the main goal makes it easier to identify essential and non-essential site elements. Removing elements that don’t contribute towards your goals will help your visitors orient themselves and will have a surprising impact on your conversion rate. Review the following elements in order to build an effective site:
- It’s not all about the home page. Remember that at least 50% of your new visitors come directly to your posts, so prettying up your front page is useless if your post doesn’t invite them to find it in the first place. Bloggers tend to focus on their home page too much, but don’t realize that every URL is a potential starting point to a visitor. This is especially thanks to the spread in social media and traffic from search engines which tend to drive people deeper into your site. Your home page should be optimize but don’t neglect the rest of your site.
- Start with the minimum viable product. Don’t spend too much time on the planning stages. Get your site and your product out live. Refrain from adding what is not necessary in the first place. “Keep it simple, stupid” is the rule to follow. It is the real world data from real people that check out your site that will lead you towards making bigger and better decisions in future.
- Ignore and remove inessentials. Eliminate elements that don’t matter to make room for those that do. Remove buttons, widgets, ads, pop-ups and other distractions. Just because every other site has them, it doesn’t mean that you need to have them too. Think about what purpose these elements have? You don’t need features that nobody has asked for and that nobody is using.
- Focus on quality and not on quantity. General rule is to always remember that less is more. If it helps you publish better content do stop having a strict content calendar and schedule. Change your thinking to focus on maintaining high quality in everything that you do. Implement checklists of things to do before posting in order to keep the quality standards high.
- Make your posts purposeful. Think about the purpose and about what are you trying to achieve with the new post before publishing. Purposeful content helps you reach your goals. Some of the posts I have created since I started being more strategic are designed to get the visitors to take a certain action i.e. “follow” on Twitter, sign-up to the mailing list or check out the affiliate product recommended.
- Do a user experience walkthrough and rework the existing content. Go through your posts like a visitor would do. Review them, think about actions a visitor would need to take and pay attention to the ways you can improve them. Is there something that can be confusing to a visitor? Can you reduce the word count by saying things in fewer words? What about removing parts that are not necessary and that don’t add value? What about integrating it better with your product? Can an image, a graph or other visuals be used to get the point across faster?
- Clean code: Steve Jobs was famous for saying that even the small details and the things that a user cannot see matter in design. On your site this means the code. Visitors might not see the code but it is what makes your site run efficiently. Use a theme that is created with a clean and simple coding.
- Domain name: Too many sites use URL’s that are either yourname.blogspot.com or that don’t even match the actual name of the site. That gives off a messy and unfocused feeling from the start. Register your domain name – it’s not expensive and you’ll come off more professional and attractive.
- Header and branding: Stop frequently changing your header and branding. It’s what makes you stand out and be recognizable in the endless pool of bloggers. Make sure your header looks professional and showcases your personality and what your site is about (it’s completely possible to make a professional-looking header yourself). I always tell bloggers that even though they themselves see their branding several times a day and find that it has lost the freshness, for their visitors it is something new and fresh. No reason to change it too frequently.
- Continuous deployments: Your design shouldn’t be updated and changed too frequently either. It will confuse your loyal visitors. Instead your should continuously deploy smaller tweaks and improvements. Do not make it too fancy or too decorative and lose the focus. It’s not all only about the aesthetics though. It’s also about the experience of visiting your site and enjoying your content.
- Have you provided all the relevant info? This may include contact info, social media pages, about page, a page for advertisers, privacy/disclaimer. Figure out which of these are the must-haves for you and find a way to present them in an optimal way. The footer is usually a nice place for some of the links in order not to overcrowd the navigation.
- About me page. Read your About Me page again. When was the last time you updated it? Look at it from the point of view of your audience. Is it doing a good job of convincing them to stay and explore more. Answer three questions: Who you are, what you do for your audience and why should they care. Meaning; what makes you qualified to post about a certain topic? In a way, your About Me page isn’t about you at all, it is about them – your audience. Think about it.
- How can you put better spotlight on the best converting posts? Your key content should be organized to help the visitors discover it easier. Use “Sticky” option to put spotlight on the best converting posts towards top of your front page. Use pages to create static landing pages for the important content and put them in the navigation. Use sidebars to direct people to important pages and sections of your site.
- Are your topics easy to find and recognize? Use “Menu” feature to create a customized navigation menu and easily show what your site is all about – especially for new users and especially if you cover several topics. For instance, if you write about food and fashion your menu could consist of recipes, outfits, fashion advice and beauty. This will help lead more of your visitors to deeper explore your content.
- Do you actually need all those social media share and follow buttons? Do they actually get any clicks or do they just distract people? Use your analytics tool to analyze the data and act accordingly. If you really want buttons is there a way for you to present them in a nicer and simpler layout?
- What’s in your sidebar? Sidebars tend to be very cluttered with things like social media buttons, search buttons, archives, ads and even word clouds. Review your sidebar. Do you really need everything that’s in your sidebar? Do you have anything that could be placed in there? How can you make it more focused so it leads your visitor to discover your content deeper and access your key posts?
- Do you need a sidebar at all? If the sidebar doesn’t help you put more focus on your main goals is there a reason for it to be there and distract people in the first place? Most modern themes allow you to easily remove the sidebar from specific posts and pages so use this option strategically.
- Make it easy to find your content. If you want people to stick around, make it easy for them to find your content – but more importantly, make your content logical! If you have 657 categories and every post is listed in 346 of them, chances are no matter how easy you make the navigation, I’m going to get cranky with the apparent randomness of the posts that I will leave – never to return.
- Related posts and other suggested content. How effective are these in getting people to discover more of your site? Could something more focused be put in this prime spot at the end of articles?
- Are you placing the banner ads in the best converting areas? Have you tested out different placing? Are you aware which generate the biggest income for you? Do they generate income at all? How are the ads performing compared to other sources of revenue? Knowing this will help you decide if you do need ads at all.
- Create for the web. How do you structure your text? Is your site full of big chunks of text or are your posts organized? This is the evergreen piece of advice for creating online content. Present the content in immersive ways. Use bullet points, subheadings, white space and short paragraphs.
Create an e-commerce shop with your landing page
A fully functioning online store is the cornerstone of any business trying to sell products on a website. To create an Internet shop is usually very expensive as you need to hire designers to work on the site, the functionality and the custom design. Building an online store with WordPress is much more cost efficient and can be integrated with your landing page.
Using e-commerce plugin with WordPress allows you to add catalog, cart and billing functionality to your web store, building a fully-functional shop that can drive your brick and mortar product sales, or sales of online services and digital downloads.
With WordPress you can sell anything online without needing a third-party to take a part of your profits. WordPress allows you to create a shopping area where you can upload products for sale, visitors can add those products to their shopping carts, and pay directly via their PayPal account or their credit card.
Building your store within WordPress means that both your website and your store have the same design, usability and user-friendliness. Unlike some e-commerce solutions that look and feel totally different than the main website, in WordPress your visitors experience the same design from your main page to the checkout. Here is the step-by-step process of creating your online store with WordPress:
- Install WordPress. See my guide here.
- Install WP e-Commerce plugin. There is a wide variety of e-commerce plugins in WordPress, ranging from simple to very advanced, from free to commercial. WP e-Commerce is the most popular WordPress store plugin and has been downloaded by more than 1.9 million business owners. In Plugins of your WordPress Admin area, download and activate WP e-Commerce.
- Customize your store settings. Activating the plugin will add “Store” in your “Settings” WordPress admin navigation tab. This area allows you to customize your store. Everything from your target markets, currency settings, and store presentation, to checkout, shipping and payments is customizable via a simple interface.
- Add products to your store. “Products” section has been added to your WordPress admin navigation as well. This is where you add the products into your store. Again everything is customizable via a familiar WordPress interface: product name, image, description and price. In case your are selling physical products there are options from shipping weight and charges to stock control.
- Add widgets for better shopping experience
In “Appearance” in your WordPress admin click on “Widgets”. You will notice several shopping related widgets have been added to your options: Latest Products, Product Categories etc. Shopping Cart widget is the one you should activate to help your customers. This widgets allows you to display information such as products in shopping cart, prices and quantities.
Just like Amazon or any other online store. Simply drag and drop the Shopping Cart into your sidebar. When you optimize all the Store settings and add your products, your actual store will be on yourdomain.com/products-page/. That’s it, your store is ready.
Let us assume that you have competitive pricing within your niche and that you have decent conversion rates on the traffic you currently receive. That is great to hear, but the problem is your site is out-ranked by the big retailers and other competitors in your niche. All of these brands focus on providing solutions to their customers above all else.
While you might not have the advertising budgets as these companies’, you certainly can budget for the development of a web page, your online window to your niche and its customers. Discover what your audience will consider “awesome” and then waste no time in fulfilling that demand. Then the sales will be coming.