Archive for November, 2006

WebSite Landing Page Guide

November 22nd, 2006 by Kay F

By Michael Cordova (c) 2006

A landing page is a website page that is created for one purpose – to persuade the site visitor to convert into a customer by making a sale, completing a form (thereby becoming a qualified lead), signing up for a newsletter, etc.

We provide this landing page quick reference so you can pull it out every time you are creating a persuasive landing page. It is divided into 4 sections and is intended to be an all-inclusive tip sheet.

Most importantly, consider that you have 8 seconds or less to convince your visitor to act. If you haven’t convincingly made your case in this time then your visitor will move on and will be lost, as the Internet has created the most fickle customer in sales history.

Page Layout

- Place your logo at the top left. Visitors expect it there so display your branding where it counts.

- If the visitor came from a search engine keyword search or a PPC ad, then place the keyword terms in bold at the top of the page. This reinforces to the visitor that they came to the right place.

- Always keep the Golden Triangle in mind. It is the most important and scanned part of the page. It is the area of the page that starts at the top left of the page moves to the top right side of the page then down diagonally to the bottom left of the page just above the fold. The fold is the area of a webpage that the visitor sees without scrolling vertically. You should never force a visitor to scroll horizontally. This means that your landing pages should be able to be seen completely on an 800 x 600 screen resolution. Place your UVP (Unique Value Proposition) in the middle of the Golden Triangle.

- Contrast your Calls to Action with respect to the rest of the page – use contrasting colors, round vs. rectangular, straight vs. slanted, warm color vs. cold color, big vs. little. Make sure you can spot the Call to Action from 6 feet away.

- Place assurances, testimonials and guarantees in the far-right column

- Place logos to appropriate associations or online companies at the bottom of the page to show credibility – Verisign, BBB Online Reliability, certified by…, Alexa rank (if good), powerseller, live support, credit cards supported, open 24hours a day, Hacker Safe, as seen in Entrepreneur Magazine, Chamber of Commerce, etc.

- Don’t place external links on a landing page. Just allow them the option to proceed into completing the form and converting into a customer.

- Place privacy policies on the landing page. This instills confidence.

- Think of the Amazon.com website. Note their Call to Action is the hotspot at the top-right of all pages – add to cart, one click ordering, etc. This may also apply to you.

Writing Style and Content

- Spend time on your Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and place it into the center of the Golden Triangle. A UVP is the core differentiation of a company’s product or service from those of competitors. A complete UVP will describe the market and a company’s competitors and the key difference between competitors and your own company. For instance, of you’re selling DNA Testing, you can promote your price, accuracy, and the number of conditions that your genetic testing company can detect.

- Ensure that you don’t have big paragraphs. Visitors tend to scan pages instead of reading all of the text on them.

- Write using headers above paragraphs that summarize the following text.

- Use bullets where possible as visitors can quickly scan them. Search engines also prioritize bullets instead of long paragraph text.

- If you want to add a picture, ensure that it is going to reinforce your message. You can easily lose significant sales by having the wrong picture on the landing page.

- If the purpose of the landing page is to provide a whitepaper or article then create an image for the paper with enlarged text like the one below and place it on the page:

The Form

- Keep the number of fields on the form as small as possible. This is critical in getting them to complete the form.

- Add a Comments textbox asking for the visitor’s input. It can be key to qualifying leads. Those that complete this form with the services they are looking for should be contacted immediately. Here are some requests you can use for this Comments box:

- What is biggest problem that you need to solve now?

- What is the purpose of your project?

- Please list your goals for this project.

- How can we help you?

- In case the visitor doesn’t complete the Comments textbox on the first page, add a 2nd page with only a Comments textbox on it requesting the visitor’s comments again. Tell them that if they complete the Comments box now then they will receive an extra free white paper that is relevant to the same visitor. These visitor comments are important.

- Have the visitor check a box that says something like “YES! Send me the free white paper that will change my life.” It is the psychological method of coercing them into completing the rest of the form.

- Prominently list the benefits of completing the form. It is major validation. Make sure to write the benefits in terms of the user’s benefits instead of the features of your product or service.

- Ensure you save the form information into a database and send emails out as soon as the form is completed so you can immediately contact the visitor. The lead’s effectiveness drops dramatically as time goes by. Contacting a lead within minutes is ideal.

Landing Page Mistakes to Avoid

- Graphics or text unrelated to the offer – limit copy to only the point of the landing page

- Long forms with unneeded fields – limit your form to what is absolutely essential

- Difficult to read fonts

- Navigation off of the landing page

- Placing important persuasive copy below the fold

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Copyright © 2006 Jayde Online, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Submitted by Kay Frenzer, Senior Account Executive, Submitawebsite

Always Get New Links “AGNL” – 7 Tips For Success

November 2nd, 2006 by Joe Griffin

At this point we all know that Link Building is the latest and greatest with the search engines and that without link popularity it’s nearly impossible to rank on the first page for competitive keyword phrases.

With that said, most companies fail to take advantage of some of the best link opportunities out there. Put on your link building thinking cap, and start getting links in everything you do. This works especially well for companies that spend money on traditional media.

Tip #1 – Get in Bed with your Partners…

Sounds pretty obvious right? All established businesses have partners. In our case we’ve partnered with firms like Text-Link-Ads, 352 Media Group, ClickTracks, and others. In our partnership discussions we made it a point to see that these firms linked to our website as part of the terms of the partnership. If you are going to help sell someone else’s product, or engage in some type of joint venture, make sure you get a link out of it.

Tip #2 – Manufacturers, Dealers, and Distributors…

Do you run an eCommerce website? Or are you a service provider for a large manufacturer? If so, make sure you are listed in the dealer directory. If you have a good relationship with the manufacturer of your product make sure you are listed in the “Authorized Reseller” section of their website.

Now here’s a great tip: often these dealer directories and authorized reseller sections are database driven, and frequently these inner “search” pages cannot be accessed by the search engines, which means you won’t get link credit. Luckily, there is a way around that. On your partner’s website, perform a search matching your listing’s criteria. Once you’ve confirmed the search that pulls your site up on the page, simply copy/paste the URL of this search. Now, somewhere on your website give this URL a link (and no you can’t hide the link!). Most likely the search engines will be able to spider the link on your website, follow it to the search result page on your partner’s site, and shazam! you get link credit!

Tip #3 – Hold Traditional Media Renewal Contracts at Ransom – Force the Link

We have a large local real estate agent client that advertises massively on the radio, television, billboards, local magazines, etc. All of these advertising companies have websites, and many of them have a “clients” page. We helped our client come up with some solid renewal messaging, so that when the renewals for these programs came to term our client was able to negotiate free links on the local television station sites, magazines, and more. You can score excellent links from your traditional advertising programs.

Tip #4 – Be a Testimonial Freak…

I absolutely love giving testimonials to companies I work with. About 70% of them put my testimonial up on their website, and better yet over half of them link to my website. Is there really a better way to get free publicity for your website, help out your partners, and get link credit? It’s a win-win!

Tip #5 – Get Savvy with your Banners…

The standard banner size is 468×60 (see a full list at http://www.iab.net/standards/adunits.asp). With that said, that gives you a 468 pixel width and 60 pixel height. Some websites that sell advertising space give you the option to provide them with a 468×60 with your own HTML code. This allows advertisers to control the flexibility of their banners, utilize their own tracking, etc. If this option is available I recommend using about 80% of the height of your banner for your creative “pitch,” while allowing the bottom 20% of the banner to incorporate somewhere between 5-7 text links (see an example). You’ll just want to make sure these are static HTML links.

With that said, don’t be abusive about it. Use this though in moderation as part of your versatile arsenal of link building techniques.

Tip #6 – Pull the Network Marketing Trick…

Why is it that almost everyone gets hooked into Network Marketing at some point? Somehow these network marketers convince you to sign up your Father, Sister, Aunt Margie, Uncle Fred, flat-broke next door neighbor, and everyone else in your sphere of influence. So why should link building be any different? Got a landscaper? How about a real estate agent buddy? Convince them to link to your site – I don’t know how you’re going to do it – somehow you convinced them to buy your Mary Kay makeup – use the same techniques.

Tip #7 – Become a Social Networking Fruitcake…

I hate to list them but sign up for accounts with all of the social networking sites, i.e. Squidoo, 43 Things, Delicious (doesn’t directly pass link credit), Yahoo! Answers, MSN Groups, and all relevant Industry forums. You can also score links from time to time with Wikipedia, Aboutus.org, and others. Operating a blog helps this process. Get involved in the web community. Drop your link when appropriate – again, you can’t abuse this. Add value to the sites and you’ll get links. These companies have already figured out ways to stop spam, so you’ll have to actually put in the time to get credit here. Often this is a good project for the company copywriter, PR/Marketing person, or even webmaster. If you want to be successful though, you’ll need someone that has something smart to say, otherwise don’t waste your time.

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