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The Importance of Landing Pages in Web Design

Published on June 15, 2012
Tags: Web Design London

There is not a single aspect of web design that counts as unimportant. What there are, however, are different aspects of web design, all of which are important for their own reasons. Landing pages are just one example that we need to take note of when designing sites to ensure that all of the different components come together as a successful whole.

First of all, what is a landing page? The basic definition is that it is the webpage that users land on when they arrive at a website. They could find the site through links on other sites, through search engines, adverts or recommended links from friends. When they click on a link, they are taken to a landing page.

This means that websites can have multiple landing pages – depending on the size and scope of the site, as well as other factors such as how many incoming links it has, a site could have just a few or potentially a lot of them. We can also identify different types of landing pages that can help to guide us in our web design.

Transaction Pages
These are the sorts of landing pages that you hope will spur a user into definite action. Depending on the specific purpose of the page, it could be that you hope they will make a purchase, fill in a survey, sign up to a newsletter or check out your social media sites. Information-gathering is a common purpose for these pages. If a web user takes you up on the offer (such as signing up for your updates), they are counted as a conversion.

Information Pages
Of course, you might decide instead to have some landing pages that are for information only. This could be information about your company’s products and services, or perhaps a useful article. As an example, if you run a website offering tips for business owners, you might have a guest post on a finance blog about managing your money as a self-employed person. That post could then include a link back to a relevant article on your site, such as tips for dealing with your expenses, and this would become the landing page.

Unintended landing pages

Both of the examples outlined above are examples of intentional landing pages – pages that have been designed in a certain way because you are expecting people to land on them one way or another, either through search engines or by clicking on links.

Sometimes however, pages that become landing pages weren’t always intended that way. For example, you could have a page on your website that includes a comical video relating to the work you do. Someone who stumbles across it could then decide to share it with their friends, who share it with even more people, and gradually more and more people start to visit that particular webpage – making it much more significant than perhaps you ever intended it to be.

SEO benefits
As well as giving web designers pause for thought, landing pages can also be very important for SEO. They tend to be the pages that you want people to find, and so thinking about how you are going to optimise them is definitely important.

The content will naturally play an important part in this. You need to think carefully about the purpose of the landing page: what do you want people to do as a result of visiting that page? Very often, the purpose is to achieve a conversion, as mentioned above in the discussion on transaction pages. This means that content needs to be focused towards that purpose, as well as having one eye on the general SEO and site promotion strategy.

Another tactic to consider is optimising the number of landing pages that you have. The most efficient number of landing pages will always differ from site to site, but often it can be better to have several targeted, specific pages rather than just a couple general landing pages that don’t really achieve their purpose as well as they could. There is a need to balance quality of browsing for the user (such as by making sure there are good images on a page where you hope they will make a purchase) with content that will work well with search engines so that people can find your page in the first place.

Overall, landing pages might not be your entire website, but they are certainly a useful and important aspect of the website. Spending some time identifying which are your landing pages and taking steps to optimise them could well help you increase your conversion rate and get more value out of the work you have put in.

By Chelsey Evans

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