Studies have shown that it takes users one twentieth of a second to form an opinion of a website. And that a phenomenon called the ‘halo effect’ can mean that users will carry that first impression (good or bad) with them throughout their entire time on the site. Interestingly, the same study found that a positive ‘first impression’ will also affect the user’s opinion of the website’s UX. Meaning that, even if the user experience is strong and well thought out, and your first impression is weak, then the user is more likely to focus on the negatives of the website. Just one of the reasons why when conducting user testing, we ask the users to provide us their honest first impression of the website before anything else.
So how can we change your website’s landing pages to create a fantastic first impression?
Above the fold content
Don’t save your best content for the bottom of the page because in that twentieth of a second your customer does not have time to scroll, click, or interact. What they see at the top of the page is the single most important area of the entire website.
If you are an eCommerce site with a slider that sits above the fold – remove it. Recent articles have debunked the use of large sliders or hero images, as they distract users from buying products. Meaning that your 5-image slider with a different sale or value on each panel is not as useful as you thought and can send mixed messages to customers who are only there to purchase items.
To avoid this, replace the slider with images of popular, featured, or products which are on sale.
For a lead generation website, aim to display around 3 of your values or USPs above the fold. The best way to do this is to display them in a strip above or user your menu. Or you can opt to display these in a hero image on your landing page with a paragraph that is optimised and clearly states what you do.
USPs & Value propositions
Let your users know why they should use your website, rather than a competitors. What do you have to offer them that they can’t find anywhere else? Some of the most popular value propositions include;
- Free Shipping
- 100% Australian owned
- Free Returns
- Exclusive brands
- Money back guarantee
- Free gift with every purchase
The most popular of the above is usually ‘Free Shipping’ for eCommerce websites.
Quality Original Images
When optimising your landing page, avoid stock photos as much as possible. While they may look nice, they will never have the same look or feel as an ‘original’ photo. Spending just a small part of your budget on a photographer for a day can make the world of difference to your website landing pages. Allowing your brand personality to be portrayed and maintaining a genuine appearance.
Use of colour
Let’s discuss how using colour on your website landing pages can increase your conversion rate and convey brand messaging. Now this doesn’t mean that an optimised landing page must use all of these colours. In fact, that’s probably the opposite of what you should do. To use colours effectively, you first need to choose how you want your users to feel when using your site and what ‘subliminal messaging’ you want to express.
Below are a few short examples pulled from a fantastic Crazy Egg article.
Red: Conveys urgency, hunger (thanks to all of the fast food chains), and energy. This is usually the colour used for high percentage sales with a short longevity – i.e. 70% off Sale – Ends at 3pm!
Yellow: Inspires happiness, optimism, and has been shown to make users feel better about their purchase.
Green: The colour of nature, wealth, and savings. Best used on ‘natural’ or ‘healthy’ products or services. Or to convey the savings made by shopping on your site compared to a competitor.
Blue: Usually a corporate colour which carries feelings of trust.
Black: Black can be used when trying to display power, authority, and luxury. A great example of this is the Mercedes website.
Use colour to emphasise call to actions and value propositions/USPs to gain trust and lead the user in the right direction.
Well written, thoughtful testimonials can help your users to understand the value that your business or store provides. Testimonials can also help you to explain the purpose of your business as well. For example, the testimonials on the Alpha Digital home page clearly state how we help clients by providing advice, increasing revenue/conversions, and improving search results. Testimonials can come across as a lot more genuine than simply stating that this is what you do.
Call to action (CTA)
Finally, including a call to action is so important if you want to encourage your users to interact with your website. Think of your call to action as being your virtual shop assistant. Their job is to offer more information, tell customers about sales/offers, question if the customer would like to buy or engage the business for services, and ask if they would like to sign up for an account or loyalty program at the checkout.
Some examples of popular CTAs include, but are not limited to;
- Buy now
- Add to cart
- Add to Wishlist
- Sign up for our newsletter
- Call us now/today
- Read more/Find out more
- Shop sale items
- Claim offer
- Register/Sign up
The list goes on. A good call to action should lead the user in the right direction and assist them in removing any friction between entering the landing page and converting. A call to action should also make the user aware of any offers or sales.
There are many other ways to optimise your landing page, but these points are the bare minimum if your goal is to increase conversions and revenue flowing through your website. I would recommend starting with these basics then having a look at performing split tests to see what colour, layout, call to action, etc your users respond well to in your industry.