So we’ve covered what a landing page is not (refer to my Blog on May 21st). Here are twelve tips for what I feel are important characteristics of a quality PPC Landing Page:

1. A short, clear headline and possibly a smaller sub-head at the top of a page that shares what the page is about: this helps the person who lands on the page know that they are in the right spot, and helps cut down on “bounce” (someone landing on the page and immediately hitting back because they didn’t think they were in the right place).

PPC Advertising2. Your company name and toll-free phone number are clearly indicated on the top of the page: this lends credibility to the site and helps the visitor know that in case they have a problem, they can reach someone for help. They may never call you, but we’ve found that something as simple as a phone number in the top right corner can increase conversion rate for many of our clients.

3. The page is simple, clear and uncluttered: don’t try to muck up the page with links to every other product or page on the site. You can distract a potential visitor that way and derail the action that brought them there in the first place.

4. Everything important is “above the fold.” Above the fold is a newspaper term that’s carried over onto the web: above the fold means anything visible on the newspaper without unfolding; on the web, it’s anything visible on the page without scrolling. Graphics shouldn’t take up the whole page, nor should a header or navigation. Allow the headline, subhead, some text and a small graphic to show.

5. You haven’t drowned them in text. Give them enough information to know what they are buying, but not too much that they get bored reading. Use bullets, sub-heads and thumbnails to break up text blocks and allow people to skim for the information they need.

6. The action you want the visitor to take is communicated clearly. If you want them to order, have a Buy Now button prominently placed. If you want them to call, show your phone number often. If you want them to fill out a lead form, guide them to it. Don’t assume that they’ll know where to go or what to do next.

7. You’ve answered the unspoken question of why they should trust giving you their money or contact information. If you’ve been in business since 1892, you’re ranked in the top three of your field, you’ve got an iron-clad return policy, you’re the number one realtor in your area, whatever it is that shows experience, trustworthiness, credibility, share it. Toot your own horn, but don’t lie or stretch the truth.

8. You’ve shared your unique selling proposition: if you offer free shipping, 10% off all orders over $25, a discount if you sign-up with 10 days, a free 28-day trial, a no-obligation quote, display it prominently. This is your one chance to sell yourself over your competitors.

9. If your action is to have them fill out a form so you can contact them or to sign up for a newsletter, include the form on the page. If you want them to order, include a Buy Now or Add to Cart button on the page. Conversion rates go up when the person doesn’t have to click to another page. Don’t ask for more information than you need on a form. True story: I’ve been to websites where in order to request more information, I’ve had to enter my credit card number. Do you think I filled out that form?

10. If you’re selling different brands, have a landing page for each. Don’t try a one-size-fits-all approach. Even if you’re only selling one brand but different items within that brand, have a landing page for each. Let’s say you sell red, blue, orange and gold widgets – instead of one page selling widgets, make a landing page for red widgets, another for blue, another for orange and another for gold. That way your page headline can clearly show exactly that they’re getting exactly what they searched for.

11. Every single landing page should be considered a mini home page. Don’t slap it together or consider it an after-thought. A huge majority of visitors to your site might never enter through their home page. Make your landing pages look as nice as your home page.

12. Testimonials: if you have them, use one or two. They boost credibility and make you look good in someone else’s words.

Time and time again, I’ve had clients ask me what they can do to get more business out of their PPC advertising efforts. Landing pages can make the difference. I can send all the qualified traffic in the world to a site, but if it doesn’t convert, it’s wasted money. Mike Tatge, JumpFly’s Co-Founder, said in his blog on May 20th, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” In my opinion, landing pages make the water more drinkable.