Landing Page Testing and Tuning

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Drew Rattray
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Landing Page Testing and Tuning

landing-page-optimization.jpgThis was another valuable track I had the pleasure of attending today at Search Engine Strategies Conference and Expo 2009 New York.  It was a solo presentation by Tim Ash, President, SiteTuners, and author of Landing Page Optimization: The Definitive Guide to Testing & Tuning for Conversions.  Tim is an exceptional speaker, and kept the audience involved throughout the track.  He even went to the lengths of handing out $20's for correct answers to questions he asked the audience (after the first $20 was handed out, everyone was very eager to stay involved).   I also had the pleasure of speaking with Tim after the session at the Google booth and received a complimentary signed copy of his book.

Tim's introductory lesson in tuning your site is that your web visitiors should influence the design of your site.  Not your ad agency, or your webmaster, or your marketing department, or your I.T. people, or even your boss.  The people you make your money off of should be responsible for telling you how they want everything laid out to make their life easier.

Be careful when you try to cram multiple elements into your design as well.  Each element in itself may look and work great, but if not put together in the proper context, you'll end up with a page that looks like frankestein.   Basically, a lot of piecies sewn together that just don't fit right and don't belong togther.  Usually makes for something pretty ugly.

Most importantly he listed his 7 deadly sins to landing page design:

  1. Unclear call to action (CTA).  Make whatever you want the user to do when navigating to your page VERY obvious.  Small or unclear CTAs get lost in the mix.
  2. Too many visual distractions.  Don't surprise people with pop ups or gimics.  If the information is so valuable, work it into your design.
  3. Too much text. Human beings are not web spiders, they won't stay long enough to read more than 300 words.
  4. Lack of Upstream Continuity.  You need to make sure links and indexing of your site match the intent of your site.  Don't offer things like reviews and then link them to a subscribe page.  Keep your promises.  Give the review and then offer subscriptions as the main CTA on the review page.
  5. Long Forms.  Remove all of your non required fields. If you don't require it, don't ask for it.
  6. Invisible risk reducers.  Let users know they are safe on your site.  Don't hide those messages in the footers.
  7. Lack of trust indicators.  Drop names and well known logos into your pages to help your credibility and trust, even things as generic as "As seen on TV".
Thanks for the book and the presentation Tim.  Extremely valuable SEO information.
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Thanks for sharing this summary of the presentation, very interesting. Always make sure to split test landing pages, using a tool like Logaholic Web Analytics, available from