Have you ever looked at your analytics to find horrendous conversion rates for your landing pages?

These pages could be a serious asset for your business but they’re not pulling their weight (yet).

Now, there are plenty of reasons why your landing pages aren’t converting. And in this post, you’ll discover 7 critical landing page optimization mistakes (and how to fix them).

Ready to fix up your landing pages and skyrocket those conversions?

Ok, let’s dive right in:

1. Your headline that doesn’t explain what your product/service does

Your headline is without a doubt, one of the most important aspects of your landing page.

It’s the first thing people will see when they land on your page. And as such, it will either convey that they’re in the right place, or it will convey that they aren’t.

The unfortunate truth is that when a first-time visitor is on your landing page, they don’t care who you are, or how creative you can be with your headline – they care about what you can do for them.

I see this a lot particularly on the homepages of creative agencies. Headlines will be creative but so none-descript that it’s impossible to tell what they do without scrolling below the fold.

In fact, one agency that retargeted me on Facebook had a headline saying “The sky’s the limit” with a background photo of a paraglider heading into the sunset. If not for the ad, I’d have assumed the website had nothing to do with web design.

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So, keep your headline benefit-driven and consider addressing your target audience directly. Make it easy to see and keep it concise. You can always add extra details with your tagline if necessary.

And since the headline is so important, it’s one of those landing page elements you should be testing frequently. I’ll discuss testing in more depth a bit later in this post.

2. You have no call to action above the fold

Your call to action, or CTA, is one of the most important parts of your landing page.

Whether your CTA comes in the form of a button, sign up form, or something else – it typically needs to be above the fold.

If you have your form at the bottom of the page, you could add a button below your heading & tagline which takes readers to the bottom of the page. This can be done with page anchors.

3. Your CTA blends into the background like it’s wearing camouflage

One of the main problems I see with CTA’s is that they blend into the background and don’t stand out from the page.

The CTA simply uses a common color in the design.

Instead, you’ll want your CTA to use a color that stands out in the context of the rest of your design. For example, if your design uses a lot of black, white, and blue – try red or green.

If your design uses blue, and red – try green or purple.

The important thing isn’t the specific color of the CTA, it’s simply a case of using a color that draws people’s eyes to it.

4. Your choice of imagery adds needless confusion

Going back to my previous example of the web design agency with the photo of the paraglider – imagery needs to enhance and not confuse.

Photos of specific objects or items that have nothing to do with your business need to go.

Instead, if you’re going to use photos, ensure they’re of something none-descript. This is why photos of people tend to be popular. And photos with people looking in the direction of your CTA can sometimes improve your conversions.

Bottom line: use images strategically to move people towards the action you want them to take.

5. Part of your landing page is broken

The unfortunate reality about technology is that sometimes it fails us and we don’t notice immediately.

For example, I once had an issue with a content delivery network where it was failing to load assets from a very specific location (San Francisco). Everyone could access the website fine apart from people in that location.

And wow, was this issue ever difficult to troubleshoot! Fortunately, there are now tools like Uptrends’ availability checker which can check uptime & load times across a number of different locations.

Then, there are the more glaringly obvious issues which involve things like integrations with email service providers not working, or a broken checkout page, etc.

Usually keeping an eye on our analytics can alert us to these. So, if you see conversions drop dramatically, check everything is working as it should first.

It’s always a good idea to go through your entire funnel every so often to make sure there are no failure points – this helps you see things more from the perspective of a visitor.

6. You don’t have any trust indicators or social proof

When first-time visitors land on your page, you need to do as much as possible to establish trust, and convey positive social proof.

If you’re not doing that – you’re missing out on a big opportunity to increase conversions on your landing pages.

Popular trust indicators can include:

  • Industry accreditationsClient logos
  • Featured on logos
  • Customer testimonials
  • Partner testimonials

You should also leverage positive data-points as well. Let’s say you’re offering a free download to incentivise subscription to your email list.

If you’ve already got a lot of subscribers, you can drop that number into your copy. E.g. “Join X subscribers.”

It’s also worth noting that trust is a fragile thing and sometimes trust indicators are used in a dishonest way. Never do this. Not only can it damage the reputation of your business, but it’s well; not the way to do things.

Considering how this type of thing can happen, it’s worth considering how you can improve things like testimonials. One way to approach this is to embed tweets from your customers – this tells your visitors that these are real people saying cool stuff about your brand.

7. You’re not split-testing your landing pages

If you’re wondering why your landing pages are delivering dismal conversion rates – A/B split-testing is one of the best ways to fix that.

Here’s the deal:

All landing page advice that you’ll read is nothing more than best practice.

In most situations, the advice will likely yield positive conversion increases but every industry, product, and audience group is different.

This is why it’s critical to test your landing pages to uncover what works for your unique situation.

Here are a few landing page elements to consider testing:

  • Your headline
  • Your tagline
  • Your call to action
  • Page copy
  • Social proof
  • Form field complexity
  • Page structure
  • Page design

It’s worth noting that typically the biggest changes will result in the largest conversion increases.

The best approach to take is to build a landing page based on best practice advice, then come up with a variation that’s noticeably different – then test them against each other.

You’ll need to ensure you drive plenty of traffic to the page in order to reach statistical significance.

Wrapping it up

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of landing page mistakes, I’ve covered the most common. Particularly those that will result in the biggest conversion lifts once you fix up your pages.

Like any other area of digital marketing – conversion rate optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. So, take some time to look over your landing pages and go through your funnel as a visitor would.

Fix up the issues I’ve discussed and look for any failure points – keeping your focus on simplicity and removing friction.