Imagine you’ve arrived on a landing page, the font is difficult to read, the colors clash and hurt your eyes, and after scrolling continuously down the page, you still don’t know what the website is trying to sell you. Annoyed and frustrated, you close the tab and head to another website.
First impressions matter.
Standard web pages invite the user to explore and learn through content. Often they include on-page links that send you to different website areas to gather more information. In contrast, landing pages are designed with a single focus — to get the user to complete an action.
People can arrive on a landing page in a variety of different ways. They may have read an enticing marketing email, seen a clever social media promo, or clicked through after seeing an impressive YouTube or Google ad.
Whatever route they take to get to your landing page, it’s crucial that you do everything you can to create a good impression. After all, this may be the first time that a user has interacted with your site and brand.
In this article, you’ll find out why you need a good landing page and what they can achieve. You’ll also see our five steps for optimizing your landing page, using our very own domain name search landing page as a case study.
If a landing page is successful, a higher number of people will complete the action you want them to, such as purchasing a product or service that you’re offering.
A good landing page will give the user what they need and leave them feeling positive towards the brand behind it. Everything will be clearly signposted, and the user will easily navigate where you want them.
It should also be optimized for search engines. If you’ve done your SEO research and included the relevant keywords, your site has a better chance of appearing high on the search engine results page (SERP). The higher the rank, the more likely you are to be seen organically on Google, and the less you have to pay for ads!
Let’s look at the different types of landing pages that you can create and the type of goals you can look to achieve.
The term ‘lead generation’ refers to the first contact with new customers. Landing pages that focus on generating leads are created to capture customer interest and help to establish a relationship that will lead to future sales.
Here are some examples of lead generation landing pages:
If a customer wants to know more about your product or service, create a page where they can sign up for updates. Here, you can inform the customer what you’re offering them, from new blog post announcements to newsletter updates.
Let’s imagine you’ve got a big in-store sale coming up. Get your potential customer to sign up for more information about the event, like offering relevant coupon codes, location details, or specific instructions. Use your lead generation page to create a sense of urgency and anticipation.
Why not use a handy countdown timer to let your customers know when your product or service will be available? A product launch page is a clever way to get customers excited about what’s coming their way.
A click-through landing page helps your customer get straight into the action, whether that’s a page solely devoted to search, a product category page, or a trial sign-up page.
If a customer is searching, checking out the products available, or registering for a trial, they are taking the first steps to make the purchase. On this page, you should be nudging them towards choosing you and what you have to offer.
The engagement landing page is (you guessed it) aimed at inviting users to engage with your brand. Although they may not be as overt as lead generation and click-through landing pages, the content is designed to capture the user’s interest at the very early stages of a sales funnel.
As with all landing pages, if you succeed at creating a good first impression, the customer will be more likely to convert into becoming a paying customer at a later stage.
Let’s see the different ways you may invite a customer to engage with your brand:
Help the user to foster a personal connection with your brand, whether that’s just you or a large support team.
Empower the user with the chance to be seen and heard by openly welcoming feedback. The customer will feel valued, and you will receive valuable insight into your products and services, such as how you can make some improvements.
If users offer their comments on a page, it shows that the content they’ve encountered is engaging or valuable. In turn, this might provoke discussions and further interaction with fellow customers.
Help drive more traffic to your website by offering users the chance to share your content on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Social proof is important and helps build trust in your brand.
Whether it’s to a product page or informational page, moving your users around the website helps improve behavioral metrics on Google. The longer a user spends on-site and the more pages they explore, the more valuable your page is seen.
Earn money or build up points that can be exchanged for goods when a customer clicks your link. The more enticing your page, the more a user will want to click!
Now it’s time to look at our five steps for optimizing a landing page — research, prediction making, design decisions, testing, and finally, declaring the winning landing page.
At Namecheap, we aim to provide world-class products and services for our customers and offer a smooth experience for our users. Our landing pages are the doors to our company, and so we focus on making them as clear and functional as they can possibly be.
This includes paying attention to how they’re structured and ensuring that the information we provide is valuable and relevant to our users. Our calls-to-action (CTAs) must be clear and help our user continue their journey intuitively, and our goal is for that journey to result in a purchase.
In this case study, we will be taking a closer look at how we optimized our domain name search landing page.
We want to share the steps we took and our findings with you so that you can use our learnings to improve your own landing pages.
During the research stage, we wanted to find out the drivers and motivations that bring people to our website and the fears and objections that a user might have that will stop them from making a purchase. We also wanted to understand and define the benefits of using our products.
Knowing this information can help us work out how we can create a useful and relevant page that appeals to them and dispel any insecurities and fears they may have.
Our research consisted of a survey, interviews, competitor analysis, and heatmap analysis.
It’s essential to recognize that while we may assume what our users need, there’s no better way to understand what they truly need than to ask them directly.
We conducted a survey to find out how our users interact with the current domain name search page, how easy it is to use, their pain points, and validate the usefulness of the information that we currently show them.
Our survey was sent to 5,000 users, and we received over 400 responses from the US, UK, Spain, Morocco, Canada, and Germany.
One of the questions we asked our users was, ‘When you’re on a domain name search landing page, what are the three most important things you need to see on the page to enable you to make your purchase decision?’ Our survey responders said:
|Answers||% of people who said this|
Less than 10% of our responders were interested in informational content like ‘How to get started with domain registrations’ or ‘Advantages of having a domain name’.
By looking at our survey results, we realized that our current page was overcrowded. We also found that our users were unable to see our prices and promotions quickly.
The next stage in our research process was to conduct interviews to validate what we learned from our survey. We asked six survey responders open-ended questions and also observed how they interacted with our page.
We found that most of our users ignore most of the content entirely and head straight to the search bar to find information on how to take the next steps. Our responders told us that pricing is the main point of focus and consider it fundamental in decision making.
Other feedback included a request for simplicity, a straightforward page that gave more space for the search bar, prices, and promotions. ‘How to’ guides were seen as beneficial for users with less knowledge.
A heatmap report shows which parts of a web page attract attention, and the brighter (or hotter) an area appears, the more attention it receives. We looked at Crazy Egg heatmaps to confirm that what we discovered in our interviews matched the user behavior on our site.
‘Above the fold’ is a term used to describe the top section of a web page. This description goes back to newspapers that were folded over so that people could only see a small area. Ideally, you should place your most compelling content above the fold.
Our Heatmap report confirmed that the content above the fold (and specifically the search bar) was our most visited section of the page, and the rest of the content is ignored.
It made us realize that we didn’t use this area to its highest potential. There is no actionable or useful information that would help the user proceed to domain search and registration.
The first step to researching our competitors is to understand what we want to achieve. Next, you need to identify your competitors. Sometimes the smaller players in your market may be difficult to work out, especially if this is your first time conducting this type of research. And, try looking at businesses that offer a high-end or low-end version of your product and understanding the type of audience they target.
An easy way to find competitors is to use Google and type in search queries related to your industry. You can also use marketing tools to quickly identify your competitors, such as SimilarWeb, Semrush, and Moz. These services offer free versions which you can take advantage of, so why not try them and see what data you can find?
Once you have decided on your primary goal and found out who your competitors are, you need to identify what you want to analyze. It’s impossible to compare everything, so choose the main areas of concern or interest and stick to them.
The goal for us at Namecheap was to see the industry standards, understand what works and what doesn’t, and assess the overall page flows presented to customers.
When it came to identifying our competitors for our domain name search landing page, domain registrars are our primary competition. They provide the same product — domain registration — to the same target audiences. We also identified secondary competitors such as web-hosting providers or website builders that like us, offer web hosting, and allow their users to register domain names.
Finally, we wanted to investigate how our competition solved the customer’s need to search for a domain name as the first step to purchase. We looked at domain name search landing pages, saving screenshots along the way, and identifying the strengths and weaknesses.
Competitor analysis findings
Our analysis told us that a minimalistic approach to design works best, especially above the fold. We also found the presence of top-level domain (TLD) choice and prices convenient when placed up high on the page.
Some of the landing pages we assessed had large chunks of text that were difficult to digest, especially to beginners and intermediate users.
Our research provided us with so much valuable insight that we couldn’t include it all here! In the end, we found the following answers to our research goals:
The next stage is to make predictions ready for testing. This involved building hypotheses for our page, setting out our expectations for these outcomes, and selecting the channels and audience who will view our test.
We looked at our page sections and noted our hypothesis for each one. Below is what we changed on the page and how we believe our users will respond.
We included new illustrations to draw attention to the header to help highlight the main action above the fold, which is to search for a domain.
We hypothesize that users get to this page while actively seeking domain names, so highlighting this area will help users find what they’re looking for.
The information that appears above the fold and after the header is important to our users. By listing different categories of domains (e.g., Popular and Deals), users can identify what they’re looking for.
We also included a ‘View All’ call-to-action to redirect users to our pricing table, seeing our list of domain extensions and prices.
We hypothesize that by displaying prices at the start of the page, the users will have everything they need to know how to proceed with purchasing — we help squash the customer fear that our domains are overpriced. As everything is clear, they will not need to keep exploring the page to seek their answers.
We have additional products that can help our users put their ideas online, whether they’re new to domains or frequent purchasers.
We hypothesize that users should be introduced to products related to the current purchase process, and we will support them in their journey.
If our users are still in doubt about whether they should purchase a domain from us, we listed related topics and relevant articles that may help them understand the process.
We hypothesize that we inform users on technical matters which will empower them to use Namecheap.
We decided that we wanted to reach the following goals:
To evaluate the test results we chose the following metrics and measured data from our existing page and our test page:
There are many different audiences to test your page on, whether organic users, customers from a particular social media channel, or email marketing newsletter.
We chose to conduct our test on a limited audience, specifically, the users who arrive at our website via our Pay-per-click (PPC) channel.
Our creative team worked together on concepts and designs based on the hypothesis presented. After feedback from internal stakeholders and further changes to the design based on this feedback, we had five different page versions to test each specific hypothesis.
We performed an A/B test where two variants of a page are shown to a selection of users. Our ‘A’ was our existing page, and for ‘B’ we created a second page where just one element was different from our ‘A’ page.
Our first test was to switch the hero banner to a streamlined design that helped highlight the search bar as the primary call-to-action (CTA). We divided our traffic in half, with 50% heading to page A, and 50% to page B.
The good news was that our hypothesis was correct, and we saw a 7% conversion lift on page B. Changing the search bar did improve the general conversion rate, and it improved our user’s search capacity and assurance in searching for a new domain.
Our general user experience (UX) metrics, such as bounce rate, did not improve on page B, which may mean that our users had a clear goal in mind when arriving at the page, and what matters is the bar itself and its location.
On page B, we added TLD cards just under the search bar. Our cards included helpful information such as registration price, promotions, renewal prices, and an introduction to the TLD, for example in our .com card, we included the copy, ‘The King of domains’.
Our hypothesis was proven correct again (go us!), and we saw an 8% conversion rate increase on page B. We also saw an improvement in our bounce rate, suggesting that our users feel more confident continuing on-page navigation.
Finally, we learned that our users are more inclined to purchase TLDs above the fold, as the price can be seen immediately, helping to inform them whether or not it fits their budgets.
We did create further iterations and tested elements that were placed further down our page, but discovered there was no significant impact on purchase behavior, as very few of our users scrolled this far.
After our tests, it was clear that we needed to update our page. We decided to keep the elements that ‘won’ in our tests based on our selected performance metrics, along with other elements that looked more natural on our page and that provided a better user experience. Above all, we kept the content above the fold informative and clear for our users.
In the end, we confirmed most of our hypotheses, and it worked out well for us! We gained valuable insight for our domain name search page and other pages across the Namecheap website.
It has to be said that our latter tests did not bring us any valuable improvements to take home. Still, having no results can be counted as a result, and we now are fully aware that the content above the fold is the most important.
If we could offer one tip for you to take away, it would be that you should focus on the content, illustration, and structure of the page above the fold.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading our case study and that our findings are helpful for building your own landing page.
From website layouts to graphics, here’s how to make a site customers will love.