Google’s 10 tips for optimising your landing pages: Part 1

If you have an e-commerce site, this blog applies to you!

How we purchase has changed forever and your website needs to be the best possible reflection of the product or service you are selling—it is the only connection you will have with your customer after all.

According to a survey by Eurostat in October of last year, 57% of Irish internet users made a purchase online in the previous 12 months. This compares favourably with the European average of 59%.

Books, clothes and travel tickets were the top three items purchased online by Irish people in 2012.

This should be good news for Irish online retailers, right? The Irish are willing and able to buy online!

Wrong! Although we spend over € 4bn a year online, a whopping 75% of that figure goes to companies based overseas.

Digital marketing is the icing on the cake

Landing Page OptimisationLate in 2012, we wrote a blog entitled “Digital Marketing: Make your presence known” where we talked about the importance of digital marketing to Irish businesses.

The importance of digital marketing is obvious, but it is only the icing on the cake: We can ice the cake (beautifully) but you must bake it. If you are spending money on digital advertising with Google Adwords or Facebook advertising etc. you also need to invest equally in your website’s landing pages.

Spend time ensuring every visitor to your website becomes a customer. Just like you would ensure that everyone who comes into your shop left only after making a purchase.

This can be done with good web design. And no, you don’t have to be a web designer to understand the rest of this blog post, all we are asking is that you step into your customers’ shoes for a little while because with all good marketing, we should start and end with the customer.

Converting visitors to customers

Q. So how can you ensure you get more conversions on your site?

A. By designing your site with the user in mind.

Ask yourself: Why on earth would anyone purchase anything from my website?

Last week I attended the monthly breakfast briefing given by Google at The Foundry on Barrow Street. The March briefing was a lecture given by Shane Cassells , Online Conversion Expert at Google.

The lecture, entitled “Landing pages that work” was aimed at showing SMEs how to ensure that the revenue that was being spent online by Irish people would stay in Ireland.

As Shane pointed out, advertising and digital agencies specialise in driving traffic to your site, but once the visitors are on your site, it is up to you to ensure they convert.

Shane outlined 10 ways to improve your landing page with a view to converting visitors on your site. The 10 tips (from the horse’s/Google’s mouth) are all based on user experience i.e. the customer is king!

In this blog we will look at 5 of these tips in detail and so as not to overload you, we will look at a further 5 tips in the coming weeks.

5 tips for optimising your landing pages

1.      Confirmation

~A visitor will ask themselves “Am I in the right place?” when they are directed to your landing page.

~You need to reassure the user that they are in the right place.

~You can do this by ensuring your landing page has the same special offers and information that is contained in your ad.

~A good tip for display advertising is to ensure that the colours in your ad match the colours on your landing page/branding—it’s all about reassurance.

2.      Speed

~Load time needs to be very quick for your page—ideally 3 seconds or less.

~Preferably two seconds on a desktop.

~Studies by Gomez.com and Akamai.com showed that we expect a landing page to load within two seconds. We are a bunch of very impatient people.

~Test the speed of your landing page using Google’s Developer tools. This tool tells you what you need to fix on your page to make it load quicker—get your web developer on it ASAP!

~The bottom line is that even the smallest wait time for the user will result in a loss of revenue.

3.      First impressions

~ It’s not as easy to walk out of a shop but it’s very easy to click out of a website.

~First impressions count for everything—if a visitor to your site is not immediately impressed with your site, they will leave and go somewhere else.

~Know your customers; know what images/information they like e.g. new mums like images of other mums with babies.

~Don’t have any layout or spelling errors on your website.

~Try split testing to see which landing page works best for your visitors. An example of a site to use is Whichtestwon.com.

4.      Branding & Site purpose

~Ensure branding and logos are obvious on your landing page (there’s that reassurance again).

~Ensure visitors to your online store know exactly what to expect from your website. E.g. If you sell ladies shoes, include images of ladies shoes on your landing page.

~Your landing page is your storefront – reassure visitors who are returning customers that they are in the right place

~Capture new visitors with taglines that will interest them to click past the landing page.

~Ensure your branding is in a prominent place on your landing page.

5.      Design

~Good design is essential to the success of any website and it is worth investing time and money in getting a good design—not a design that you like, but a design that your visitors respond well to.

~Keep your landing page clean and uncluttered.

~Ensure your visitors are not distracted by loud colours or big special offers which get in the way of what you want to actually sell on your website.

~Buttons with calls-to-action should be prominent – look at Booking.com and the “Book Now” button – visuals with orange and blue look very well and are extremely clickable.

In the next blog post, we will look at 5 more tips for optimising your website for conversions: visuals, text, calls-to-action, value proposition and persuasion.

See you next time :)

 

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