Landing pages – how to attract visitors

People search the web for information. They type in either individual words or a question into a search engine such as Google, and this throws up a series of websites whose SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) relates to that request.

Therefore it’s important to make sure the ‘landing page’ your customer visits is relevant to their search.  This is not necessarily your website’s homepage, the ‘spiders’ (robots who roam the net for the search engines) may offer up another of your webpages that contains the information requested.  Don’t assume your homepage will always be the first point of entry, you should treat each webpage as a potential ‘homepage’ for the product it represents; it might be advantageous for you to present one item per page in order to make it easier for the viewer (as well as the ‘spiders’) to read and digest.

Here’s another thought. Once the surfer has ‘landed’ on a webpage, which, of course, contains all the information they are seeking, how easy should it be for them to leave?  If they do, where do they go? To the rest of your website? To a sign-up form for more information, a freebie or a newsletter, leaving their contact details behind them? Or back to the internet, never to be seen again?

How do you keep your visitor once they’ve landed? Research shows you have about three seconds to make an impression before they go elsewhere. Three seconds for them to act, whether it’s to realise this is the correct webpage they want, read the content, click on a link, sign up for something, note down your telephone number, send you an email or decide even to buy from you.

One way to keep your customer’s attention is through the headline on your webpage (this is both at the top of the page and within the head code). Hit them with a catchy, scintillating and, most importantly, relevant first line that says exactly what’s in the tin. Stuff it full of adwords, yet don’t make it too long; it should be clear, concise and uncluttered to entice the visitor to read on.  Try offering a provocative question, make an outrageous statement, provide a solution to a problem, play with the words through alliteration or a popular phrase, but above all, avoid ambiguity.

Be aware of what is immediately visible on your webpage.  If you have a lot of relevant and necessary content (the more you can say, the better chance you have) which results in a long page, position your most important information at the top.  The space ‘above the fold’, ie what can be seen before scrolling down, should contain an enticing summary with links to further material elsewhere on that page. Make sure you include everything that is needed to get your visitor to take action: sign ups for freebies or a newsletter, great graphics, your telephone number or email link, an effective navigation bar, all presented as clearly as possible from the beginning.  Don’t loose anything by placing it too far down to be noticed, you can’t guarantee further exploration.

And one final point – don’t clutter up your webpage.  Avoid unnecessary gimmicks such as Flash and moving images, they only distract, annoy and do absolutely nothing for your SEO. Simplicity is the key, with clear, relevant graphics (you could make them into colourful and noticeable links), suitably enhanced with alt tags; a restrained use of colour, keeping it to maybe just three including the text colour; a white or pale background: using reversed text and graphics on black results in reduced legibility; and carefully constructed text written by an experienced copywriter: the correct use of adwords is vital for SEO, especially if they match your metatags.

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