The last post talked about the importance of having a website. Today, we’ll talk about your landing page.
Your landing page is vitally important, because it’s the first impression new visitors have when they visit.
You know the term “curb appeal”? Think of your landing page as the internet version of curb appeal.
Landing pages are as varied and unique as those using them.
The template and overall design of the website influences the landing page, and the overall look of your site. Even as the different pages serve different needs, the overall design ties the site together, so every page doesn’t feel like a separate web site.
What does the landing page need to do?
–Welcome new visitors
–Give them a succinct overview of the purpose of your website
–Guide them to other pages or sites connected to your work
–Have pleasing visuals and a good balance of visuals and text
What should a landing page avoid?
–Too much unwieldly text that’s better served on other pages
–Too much information crowded so that there’s no flow or resting space for the eyes
What about pop-ups?
There’s a lot of debate about pop-ups. Many marketing “gurus” swear by them, and far too many landing pages have them.
As a visitor/potential customer, if a pop-up appears before I have time to read the page, demanding my email EVEN IF IT’S FOR A DISCOUNT COUPON, I’m outta there. Not only am I gone, I am unlikely to return.
I hate being slapped in the face by a pop-up as soon as I get onto the site.
I want to read the landing page and DECIDE where I want to go next.
Choosing to join a mailing list is my LAST step on a site, not my first.
All of this “immediate Call-to-Action” when I don’t know anything about your site just turns me off.
Invite, Rather than Attack
To me, a successful landing page is an invitation, not an attack or a demand.
I want the look to resonate with the site’s purpose.
I want succinct information.
I want options for my next steps, not demands.
As an exercise, check out the websites of your favorite authors, restaurants, and stores. What draws you in? What, if they weren’t already a favorite, pushes you away? How can you translate this into the environment you want to create?
I call my own landing pages the “Welcome” page, because that’s the purpose – to welcome visitors to my site and invite them in. I use more text than is usually advisable, and fewer images. But then, I am a writer. I also tend to choose simple templates.
The Pages on Stages landing page is probably the simplest of my sites. That particular template scrolls through several pages on the landing site for mobile users, but the actual landing/welcome is fairly short.
The landing page on this site again, has more text than is advised. The Fearless Ink logo is the graphic at the top of the page, and the Creative Ground logo is at the bottom.
The website for the serial Legerdemain starts with a slide show of the episode-specific graphics, and then has information about the serial.
The flagship Devon Ellington Work website also starts with a slide show of book covers, and, again, text about the work. The sites for the individual series are similar.
All of these sites have more text than is generally advisable, but it works for the purpose of these sites. I like the site menu on the top, and there is information on navigating the site on the landing page.
Ellen Byron has a fun, beautiful site that has her book covers and “Learn More” links that allow the visitor to navigate her site.
Matt Stebbins has a clean, easy to navigate site with an inviting graphic on his landing page, and an invitation to contact him to work together.
Dancer Emma Garrett’s landing page is a photo of her in motion, with an invitation to enter.
Product designer Olivia Truong has a fun, easy to navigate landing page with bright colors and eye-catching graphics.
Painter Sophia Hacquart lets her paintings speak for themselves on the landing page.
Actor and artist Lizzie Markson’s landing page communicates the joy and energy she brings to her work.
(All of these landing pages are much better than mine, by the way, and I celebrate them for it).
Landing pages are introductions and invitations. Take time with yours, and don’t be afraid to change it as you and your work evolve.
How do you create your landing pages? When you visit a site, what do you want to find? What irks you?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments.