If you’ve been using landing pages for a long time, you know how effective a well-designed page can be. Once you find that special balance of attractive and high-converting pages that works for you, it’s easy to create similar looking pages and stick to what works. After all, why mess with success?
Why indeed? I was wondering about this recently: do newer pages tend to convert better than older ones? Or is it better to hold onto your first successful landing page indefinitely?
So I asked our business analyst to do a little digging into the relationship between publish date and conversion rate.
What we discovered: there really isn’t one.
But when we looked into our highest-converting templates, we did notice something interesting. Four out of the five templates with the highest average conversion rates had been created within the past year and a half. That suggests that up-to-date landing page designs can give you a bit of a performance boost.
What does that mean for you? If your pages are converting as well as ever, you might do just fine keeping things as they are.
But if you’re watching your conversion rates plateau or just feeling like your page designs are a bit out of date, I’ve got you covered. I talked to Leadpages web designer Kayla Sawtelle about some of the design elements that can make your page look dated without even trying. As the creator of a number of our most popular modern landing page templates, Kayla has lots of experience with conversion-first page design.
If you’re designing or redesigning your pages, I created a pre-publish design checklist for you to consult. It will help you ensure that all of your pages are as beautiful (and high converting) as they possibly can be before you start sending traffic to them.
So, how do you know it’s time for a landing page redesign? Here are the top signs:
1. It’s No Longer Converting
This is the clearest sign that you need to take another look at your landing page design. Even the oldest page is probably just fine as long as it’s getting results, but when you start to notice your opt-ins dropping off, it’s time for a refresh.
For instance, Kayla says that designing with empty space in mind is one of the easiest fixes that keeps your page feeling modern. “A lot of older landing pages try to fit a bunch of information above the fold,” she says.“I think it’s important that you guide people to the information that they need at the right time.”
This example was featured in one of our Landing Page Roundups a few years ago, but is a bit too busy for more modern design standards.
Sometimes, that means pushing things further down a page and adding some visual separation between sections.
Plus, this breathing room can help your conversions by allowing you to get right to the point and be very clear about why someone should opt in. Rather than filling your page with information just to fill it, thinking carefully about the information needed to opt-in, and include only the necessary details.
“If you use color and white space wisely, to direct the eye to the proper place, then you shouldn’t need to just throw something else on there to fill space” Kayla says.
In this example, Allie Casazza keeps the area above the fold clean, simple and straight to the point. The space around her button helps it stand out and the clean page offers minimal distractions from the action she wants site visitors to take. She provides additional information after a scroll, but, with a 66% conversion rate, this minimal design is clearly getting her opt-ins.
If your page is no longer converting, try editing the above-the-fold section to just the most important information, and include plenty of space around your button.
2. It’s Hard to Read on Your Phone
It’s pretty clear that the era of mobile traffic is upon us, and these days, a page that isn’t optimized for mobile is a page that’s stuck in the past.
“Especially on a landing page, where you really want them to find your information and take action on it, it’s frustrating if they’re having to scroll sideways or zoom in,” Kayla says.
Always check how your page looks on mobile before you publish it. If you use Leadpages, you’ve got three features that make this easy. First, every template is guaranteed mobile-responsive, so you know you won’t confront your visitors with unreadable text and untappable buttons.
Second, you can see what your page looks like on mobile right inside the Leadpages builder—just click Preview for device-specific views:
Finally, you can also hide certain elements of your page on mobile. If you have an image that might distract from your call to action or push it below the fold on mobile, you can just hide it on mobile instead of redesigning your entire page.
In Leadpages, you can choose to display or hide sections on specific devices by toggling the section on or off under “Device Specific Display.”
If you’re relying on organic search as a traffic source, you’ll also need to make sure that any timed or exit pop-ups are turned off on mobile devices. As of January, Google penalizes sites with automatic pop-ups on mobile. (Important note: if you’re using Leadpages, you don’t have to do anything. We automatically keep timed and exit Leadboxes from showing up on mobile.)
3. It’s Getting Traffic from a Different Audience
Whenever you build a new page, you’re probably thinking about your ideal client or the persona of your target customer. But you also need to consider the traffic source your leads are coming from.
For many businesses, that can shift over time as their business grows and their marketing strategy evolves.
Maybe you create a landing page that you initially use to get your email list to join your weekly webinar. A year down the line, you’re still running that webinar—but now you’re sending traffic to it from paid media and social.
Those audiences probably need different amounts of information in order to convert. Your list knows you and your credentials, while your new paid visitors may be coming to the page totally cold.
So if you’re attracting different visitors now than you were when you built your page, ask yourself if the landing page still serves them. If they’re coming from social media, did they just find you? Do they know anything about your product or service? Did they click from an ad or on a call to action for a specific opt-in incentive?
Make sure your page format and content meets readers where they are and provides exactly what they’re looking for, increasing your conversions.
You can see how this might play out on Caitlin Bacher’s website below.
Caitlin’s homepage asks visitors what they’re looking for and then directs them to one of three landing pages, each with a download designed to meet their needs.
She sets the expectation of what you’ll get on the next page with a button that says “Get my Free Worksheet.” Then, she follows through with some information and a way to download.
That’s a pretty straightforward example. But remember, your own landing page visitors have also told you what they want to see—with their click. Keep in mind where visitors are coming from and what they’re expecting based on that first click.
For instance, if you know that your page traffic is coming from Facebook retargeting ads, you probably don’t need to do quite as much explaining about what your product is, and you might instead illustrate how easy it is to use with helpful photos.
Put yourself in the place of your page visitors: what do they need to know to convert?
4. Your Business Has Become Better-Known or Better-Branded Since You Launched It
Back in the early days of internet marketing, it was common for landing pages to go logo-less. Users are a little more skeptical of online content these days, and now any page that’s getting cold traffic ought to include your company’s branding.
Similarly, if you’ve gone through a brand redesign or changed your logo, update your landing pages so that your customers don’t get confused, and so they eventually start to associate your colors with your brand.
There’s a concept called message match in PPC advertising: the principle that carrying a consistent message through from your ad to your landing page will typically increase conversions. Branding is a form of messaging, too, and you want to use it to craft a continuous marketing experience.
This especially comes into play when you’re driving traffic from a source with a visual component. Think about…
- Social media posts
- Paid social ads
- Banner/display ads
- Emails (if they have their own design and imagery)
If you’ve changed your design elements in any of the above traffic sources since you built your page, it’s probably time for a landing page redesign. Remove jarring changes in look and feel and you remove small points of friction that can impede conversions.
5. It Looks Like It’s From a Different Era Than Most Pages from Major Brands
If your page just has an outdated look and feel, it could be turning off users that are accustomed to sleeker, more modern design. While some signs of outdated pages are obvious immediately, there are some easy fixes that you can do to give your landing page a more modern feel:
Cheesy or low-quality images are not only a clear sign that your page is outdated. They might actually distract page viewers from the action you want them to take.
“It communicates sloppiness to the user,” Kayla says. “Why would someone trust the quality of your product if you’re not going to take the time to prepare a nice graphic?”
Be sure to find a high-quality image that’s large enough that it doesn’t look pixelated when you upload it. If you’re relying on stock photos, look for “lifestyle” photography with realistic backgrounds and people, rather than grinning models staring into the camera from an all-white void.
“With all the resources that are available right now with stock photos and free stock photography, there shouldn’t really be an excuse for buying photos that are cheesy and distracting,” Kayla says.
Here are a few websites to grab some free stock photos:
While playful and decorative fonts used to be more common, now they just look unprofessional and make your text hard to read. The last thing you want is your font foiling conversions because page visitors can’t read your text or are distracted by a fancy font.
“You want the focus of your landing page to be on the user getting the information they need, and those really decorative fonts can take away from that and make content harder to process,” Kayla says. “I would recommend something that’s easy to read and also works with your brand.”
Stick to professional fonts that won’t distract from your message, and only use one or two fonts per page.
What makes a call to action look outdated? Over-embellished buttons, heavy shadows, and working too hard to make them pop out of the screen are some characteristics that can make your button look out of date, says Kayla.
“People thought you should make a button look 3D, like you need to press it, but now people are used to technology. They don’t necessarily need those embellishments to know that it’s a button,” she says.
Keep the focus on your CTA instead of the design elements by creating a simple button in a contrasting color from the rest of your page. Use bold text and attention-grabbing copy to draw even more focus.
There’s one final step you can take to make your buttons shout “Click me!” without piling on neon arrows: use hover effects. These subtle changes in button color or style are built right into Leadpages’ landing page templates, or you can use custom CSS if your page platform doesn’t have these options.
6. You Made Compromises Based on the Technology You Were Using at the Time
If you built your page without access to a simple, easy-to-use landing page builder, it can be a struggle to make changes to it, because you remember how much work it was the first time around. You might have left out certain elements or avoided optimizing the design because it seemed like too much hassle.
Did you have to make compromises to your design because of your technical limitations? It might be time to try an easier solution. With Leadpages’ drag-and-drop builder, you can simply drag the page elements you need onto your page, customize the design to match your branding, and easily duplicate pages to edit and use in different contexts.
It’s not going to get any easier to make those fixes down the road, so now’s a good time to find a better system and improve your page design at once.
Go Forth and Redesign Your Landing Pages
With all of these fixes, even your most outdated pages are sure to feel clean and modern in no time. A good design can be a facelift for your business, making you look more professional and boosting conversions in the process.
To ensure your pages look as good as possible before you click publish, be sure to download my pre-publish design checklist. With even more great tips from Kayla, it will help you confidently publish beautiful pages every time. Click here to download it now:
We covered some of the big ones, but I want your opinion: What design elements tip you off that a page hasn’t been updated in a long time?