What is a Landing Page and How Do I Make One That Works?

Landing Pages 101


Which one is this? A landing page or a sales page:

  • Traffic comes from a specific paid source 
  • Traffic comes from an email newsletter broadcast that sends traffic to a page to buy something
  • Traffic comes from your blog posts or sidebar to content on a special page you crafted that pre-sells a product or service you’re offering 

Landing page!

You thought it was a sales page didn’t you? What is a landing page exactly?

Landing pages are not sales pages but sales pages are landing pages

Sort of like how a simile is a metaphor but not all metaphors are similies. Anyways, I’ll stop being pedantic.

Both a landing page and sales page generally have the same elements:

No sidebar, no navigation bar (for the most part), perhaps not even a header image (logo). Just pure, “get right to it” content with no distractions. Here’s an awesome sales page (and landing page)  for a copywriting course (a sales page), and another one for Empire Building Kit (a landing page).

What is the difference?

The only difference between a sales page and a landing page is that a sales page is prompting you to make a purchase at the end where a typical landing page is designed to capture  emails or attention of a specific segmentation of your traffic and force them take one of TWO actions:

  • The action you want
  • Leave

Want to see an example of a landing page?

Here’s one for “How To Program With Java“.

Trevor was interviewed on two very popular websites and created this blog post as a way to guide new readers who clicked over from those two websites where he was interviewed on. The goal of this page is not singular. Trevor want’s you to sign-up for his email list, check-out his products, and to thank you for clicking over to spend a minute on his website.

Trevor’s landing page kinda sucks 🙁

Here’s why: 


Using your regular blog post design

A landing page, in this case a “hey welcome readers of super popular website” welcome landing page, you want this new traffic to take some sort of action. Most likely, if they’re from a relevant website, you want them to subscribe to your website as a way to grow your traffic, pre-sell them on your products over time, or to just establish trust and a relationship.

Trevor did this right with an email list sign-up form at the bottom. Where he went wrong was using a blog post.

There is nothing wrong with a blog format, but for a landing page it’s irrelevant to have a sidebar and all your other design elements. You don’t need share buttons on the side, a sidebar with links, AdSense above your email form. A comment box with no comments below your form.

Clean and simple works best when directing people to do something, which on this page looks like the sign-up form. What is a landing page again? NOT a blog post unfortunately.

One page one goal (not two)

Next, every single page or blog post should have one goal, one idea, one concept, one call to action on it. Not two. Not three.

Look, choice is good if you’re selling a product. Make ONE product have 3 price points, then the middle price point physiologically become the most appealing to your customers and you will actually sell more than you would than if you only had 1 price point BECAUSE:

It turns customers from bargain buyers into value purchasers.

But with calls to action, directing people to buy your products, sign-up to your list, read your content, click your advertising, leave a comment, use your navigation bar…it’s just too much. Even if you’re trying to direct people to do one thing, by having all these other options on the page you’re also inadvertently directing people to do something other than what you want.

These other elements on your page are distractions from the one action you want people to take, so just remove it all.

 “Meh” Headline

Headlines are your one and only chance to sell people on your website. Just like how you determine if you’re attracted to someone or not within the first 10 seconds of meeting them, same goes with your content and headline. Either it steals attention or it doesn’t.

It’s a common practice to create a welcome page for traffic from a high traffic website aimed at converting those specific readers to do something. BUT people have seen this before so make it unique. Use a more original, pithy and compelling headline that “welcome readers of XYZ website”.

Now for any landing page YOU ABSOLUTELY want to name the specific source where the traffic coming from… but do it with a purposeful, clear, and persuasive message.

Answer their objections head on

I’m on your website, why should I care? I did not find your website via a search query for JAVA programming in a search engine so why should I stick around? With traffic from other websites coming to your website because of a guest post or by being featured, craft your landing page with words and concepts that this specific audience will understand.

Also answer objections this new traffic will have to your website. Like, JAVA is hard – what’s the benefit of learning JAVA – what can I do with it – why would I want to know JAVA – how can JAVA help me grow my online business.

Lastly, get them to sign up for your email list or have them subscribe to your website. Get them to share your website with someone who might be a better fit if the traffic is irrelevant to your website. Build a relationship with these new people too.

An an example of a good but not great landing page

Fit Marriage crafted a decent landing page here. It still has unnecessary elements like the navigation and the sidebar, but overall it’s fairly compelling because the language used is specific, and customized to the readers of the website where the traffic is coming from:

Find out exactly how to find time for exercise in your life as a busy online businessperson

Keep in mind, this website is called FIT Marriage. It has nothing to do with busy online business people.


 What is a landing page and how do I make one check list:


  •  A single column page, works best for landing pages. This should be tested however. If you wish to add a sidebar of some sort make it purposeful to the main page of the website. So if you’re selling an ebook or a course, have a sidebar filled with testimonials for example and test that againt a regular single column page.
  • Don’t be cute or clever with your writing. Be purposeful, pith, and original with your headlines and content. If you’re making a landing page or sales page you’re obviously doing some sort of commerce online. That means you’re building a business. It’s time to be professional, not to express your inner artist.
  • People read pages in an “F” style manner, so keep this in mind by having important information and images off to the left.
  • People who are very targeted to your offer read everything. Pay attention your grammar, answer objections, and show proof that your product works.
  • Some say people don’t scroll so keep the important stuff in the first couple of paragraphs, others say that’s stupid! Of course people scroll if you make something compelling enough. What do I say? Steal their attention and they will scroll. First impressions matter, so make your design and headline work to steal attention.
  • Focus on benefits. Don’t write we do this, I do this, we can help you with that, bla bla bla. No one cares. Instead write like you’re talking to one person, your ideal person you want to help: You should sign-up because I’m going to show you how to build your first Iphone Application without any cost and without even needing a “good” idea.
  •  Your “right people” read everything. If you’re making a sales page GO LONG (write a long page). If you’re crafting a landing page to collect emails GO SHORT.
  • Of course, depending on the quality of your web hosting, go easy on the scripts and images. You want your page to load fast.
  • Do other people have a similar product with sales page for something your offering? Great! Read through that and notice the points where you feel the copy is weak. Weak in the sense that it does not go into enough detail, it does not provide enough proof, it’s irrelevant, whatever. Then go back to what you have created and try and look for the same weaknesses that you could improve upon.
  • Don’t link to anything on a landing or sales page. Why? Because these pages act as attention funnels, as little journeys you’re taking people on. To link to something interrupts this journey. If you must link to something (supplemental material, whatever) make it so the link opens up into a new tab.
  • Your landing page or sales page should match the tone of where the traffic is coming from. So if traffic is coming from an ad you’re running somewhere, or from a guest post or article, use a tone that matches the traffic source.
  • White space if your friend. So is text size 14-17 px for reading. Break up text walls with headers and sub headers that use different font sizes to make it visually more interesting and easier to read. Keep your first paragraph short and powerful also. 1-3 sentences.
  • Don’t guess. Test.
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