The term ‘landing page’ can be used to mean 2 different things, so first let’s clear up the potential confusion.
- The page where someone arrives at your website is the landing page. It could be any page – it is just the first page of any website session.
- The destination page designed as part of a campaign (search ad, display ad, social media or email) is also known as the landing page. It may or may not be hosted on your website.
Most of this article is about the second type of landing page, and where you might choose to build it. But first I’ll cover a few points about the first type.
Google Analytics tracks the first page of all website visits (or ‘landing pages’) and you can see some interesting data by looking at your reports. The Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages report looks at all website visits from the perspective of the landing page.
Many websites visits start with the home page, as this is the page that comes up most often in Google search results, and it may also be the page that is linked from social media, directories, other websites, etc. After the home page, it is interesting to discover the next most frequent landing pages, as this can tell you something about the searchability of your content and what people are interested in.
If you look at this Landing Pages report with just the organic traffic segment applied, you will learn what people are searching for in search engines when they find your website. The landing page will usually be the ‘best fit’ for the search query.
When a person clicks on an ad, or a link in an email, they should arrive at a web page that is a logical next step from the ad or link they clicked on. This page usually has a specific purpose and asks the visitor to complete a certain action, such as submitting their email address in return for something of value. Often it has no navigation to or from other pages of your website. It may not even be hosted on your website.
Related to this second type of landing page, there is also landing page software. Well-known examples are Leadpages and Unbounce. These software-as-a-service products allow you to easily create campaign landing pages. They have a range of integration capabilities that will help you collect email addresses in forms and populate the list in your chosen email service provider.
However, I want to point out that you don’t have to use landing page software to create this second type of landing page. You can do it in the same system where you update your website content. If you are working in WordPress, you just need to have the right plugins installed so that you can set up a form that integrates with your email service provider (f you want to collect email addresses). You also may want to ask your web designer to create a template for you so that you have a start point that includes the elements you usually want to include on a landing page.
I recently built a campaign landing page in my WordPress website. I use ContactForm7 as the forms plugin on my website and I use Mailchimp as my email service provider. I paid a one-time $59 to buy the premium version of a plugin that integrates these two, called cf74mc.
I decided on this solution by analysing my requirements. These were, for each different offer I promote:
- I want to be able to direct form submissions to a different destination page.
- I want to add a different tag to records added to my email list.
Cf74mc allows me to do that by cloning a form and changing these details for each new offer.
You may not be using these same systems for web forms and email, but there will be similar integration options available. Just think first about your requirements, then research the options, and test the setup to make sure it does what you need. Once this up-front work is done (and documented), you will have a process that you can use to set up a new landing page quickly and easily.
I chose to create my campaign landing pages in WordPress because of these benefits:
- No monthly fee for landing page software.
- All visits to your landing page help your SEO because this page is part of your domain.
- The URL and favicon (the icon that displays in the browser tab) for this page will always look consistent with the rest of your website, without extra work to do this.
- Tracking landing page views and actions in Google Analytics is more straightforward when the landing page is in your own domain.
Another thing I recommend is to use different landing pages for different offers, or even for different campaigns that promote the same offer. The reason I do this is because it makes it easier when it comes to tracking the success of a campaign. If you have a website page that can only be navigated to from a particular campaign, then measuring traffic to that page (and a subsequent thank-you page) is a simple and accurate way of measuring the campaign.
Or, put another way, always design your campaigns with measurement in mind! If you can’t measure the activity on your campaigns easily, how will you know which ones are working?