For modern businesses a website should be more than just a point of presence on the Internet. As more business moves online, companies are finding that the majority of their leads come from their site. It makes good business sense to build sites with the intention of maximizing lead collection and conversion rates from the start.
For a site to be effective at generating leads, it should guide visitors as quickly as possible to the point of conversion, providing just enough relevant information and persuasive copy to convince potential leads to enter their contact details for later followup by a sales team.
Landing pages are the best way to achieve this goal. A landing page is the endpoint of a visitor’s journey on a website, somewhat akin to the traditional “Contact Page”, but specifically tailored for a particular product or service, and is usually presented after the user has clicked a call-to-action, whether that’s on-site or off-site (a link in a search ad, for example).
WordPress is the perfect platform for quickly deploying and testing landing pages. It is extremely flexible for adding content and pages as needed, and those pages can be shaped to meet the requirements of a landing page.
There are two basic approaches a site owner can take to creating WordPress landing pages. They can design, deploy, and test those pages themselves, or they can use a third-party service. We’re going to concentrate on the first option in this article, but we’ll also make mention of services that make the process of crafting the perfect landing page easier.
The Perfect WordPress Landing Page
From the perspective of WordPress, a landing page is a page like any other. The difference comes in the design and the content. There are four main features that WordPress users should employ when creating landing pages.
Simple and Persuasive Copy
Landing pages are all about convincing potential leads to enter their details or make a purchase. The copy on the page should be simple and concentrate on the concrete benefits to the lead. The potential lead should be able to see at a glance whether the product or service is right for them. Unnecessary verbiage and promotional waffle should be avoided; bullet points are ideal.
Images And Video
As advertisers have known for years, relevant and attractive images are as essential to conversions and copy. If you can afford to have a relevant short video on the page you get the best of both worlds. Videos are a very effective conversion tool.
Landing pages are where the bulk of your on-site SEO effort should be focused. Landing pages should be carefully optimized with keywords to attract the market segment that the page is targeting. Don’t over-optimize in an attempt to attract the widest possible audience: the point of a landing page is to generate qualified leads that are useful to a sales team, not to attract as many people as possible. Additionally, over-optimized pages that provide a bad user experience are not going to perform well in the SERPS.
The contact or information collection form is the raison d’être of the landing page. Everything on the page is intended to influence the visitor to enter their details in the contact form, so you’ll need a robust and configurable solution for form creation.
Plugins For Creating WordPress Landing Pages
While there are a number of SEO plugins available for WordPress, I feel that Joost De Valk’s plugin offers the best range of tools and the sanest defaults. The WordPress SEO Plugin will keep you on the strait and narrow when it comes to meta tags, keyword presence, and other factors that are essential for optimizing your landing pages.
Gravity Forms is a premium plugin but the range of features and flexibility that it offers blow the alternatives out of the water when it comes to landing page creation. You can create multiple highly customizable forms, and, most importantly, it will integrate with third party email marketing services like MailChimp, so you won’t have to store and manage your mailing lists inside WordPress.
WordPress Landing Pages is a plugin that makes it easy to create effective and beautiful landing pages with minimal effort. It includes a number of templates for ready-made landing page design, but you can also design your own. The plugin integrates well with Gravity Forms, and with free contact form plugins like Contact Form 7). WordPress Landing Pages also incorporates split testing functionality, so you can run conversion rate optimization experiments to find the most effective landing page designs.
Third-Party Landing Page Services
There are many third party landing page services that will either integrate with your WordPress site so you can host the landing pages yourself or provide hosting as part of the service.
Hubspot provides a comprehensive inbound marketing and marketing automation service. It’s a premium service and is far from inexpensive, but for some companies the expense is well worth the potential increase in leads and conversions. Among the services Hubspot offers is hosted landing pages. You might also want to take a look at Unbounce.
Formstack is a great service for creating and managing forms. It integrates well with WordPress and with other cloud services, like PayPal for payment, MailChimp for email, and Salesforce for customer relationship management.
Optimizely is an A/B testing service that allows you to track and test many different variations on your landing page.
Whether you choose to go it alone and build your own landing pages or use a third part service, there’s no doubt that without landing pages optimized for search and conversion rates, your site won’t live up to its potential.