This week, while working through CXL Institute’s Scholarship program where they have numerous minidegrees from Growth Marketing to Conversion Optimization, I was working through two modules, Landing Page Optimization and Using Analytics to find conversion opportunities.
What does building a landing page really consist of?
Many people I encounter mostly think the same way about building a website. Everyone wants something that will stand out but they don’t know the process, the impact and the cost of everything. As most of the Instructors have mentioned, building a website consists of 80% research and 20% design. Along with the research done, we have many factors to take into account; phycological triggers, cognitive biases, brain chemicals, and many other aspects that make up the impactful process of compiling effective copy, wireframing, and ultimately setting up a website ready for publishing and testing.
Understanding the landing page experience
The best way I can try and sum up the experience of an impactful website is that whatever you do alongside the website, be it social media, CPC campaigns, or whatever the case might be, it all should work intertwined with the website. At the end of the day, a website without traffic is like a ship in the desert. While having that said, when you visit a website implemented effectively, with the 80% research and 20% design, your visitor will feel as if you are reading their minds, to keep it short – They will feel as if you understand their problem and motivate why you are the solution at the same time, while building trust.
Brain chemicals to understand
The two brain chemicals that you need to be aware of and the impact thereof are Dopamine and Cortisol. Dopamine being the chemical that is released when you feel accomplished and Cortisol, in short being your stress chemical. So, when you feel as if you are in danger, for example, your brain releases Cortisol. The biggest thing you need to be aware of, and I think with anything else in life, having too much of either of these chemicals are not beneficial to you and in most cases bouncing back from it is not easy. Like if you had an expectation for something big to happen and it does not, has a worse effect on your brain. Thinking about it, that is why you should have smaller, incremental goals alongside your long-term goals in order to still reward yourself along the way, rather than not rewarding yourself and it feels as if the journey you are busy with is never-ending.
Summary of Wireframing
So, can we be honest here? Does everyone do wireframing who design websites? Does everyone know what wireframing means? And this being said, I also think wireframing differentiates the “men” from the “mice”, because we see a lot of individuals and companies jump up, especially during this COVID-season, who have decided that they are a web designer or developer, overnight, who do not know what crucial role wireframing plays in the design process.
What is wireframing? In short, it’s showcasing the website elements in its simplest form, in order to guide both the designer and the client in how the website will look like. Call it a skeleton and after approval, the designer and developer work together to put the meat on the skeleton.
Landing Page design principles
Building a website that looks good may take some of us only a few hours to build. But, what really puts anyone apart in their trade; being intentional. I have read a book once about optimal performance where the writer used a music school as an example of this principle, asking the question; what really makes one musician better than the other if all of them are given the exact same teachings, environment and time. It’s because some choose to be intentional.
This is also true about Landing Page Design. Being intentional with what you put where is a skill. Putting elements like cognitive biases and human behaviors together with this sets your landing page apart. Do you now see how awesomely CXL has planned this minidegree through? I hope you see the value in it, as much as I’d like to motivate you to take the course. It truly is brilliant.
This all being said, explaining more about the principles shared without giving too much away (Seeing that I want to make you curious enough to check it out and eventually take the minidegree); let’s start.
You need to plan your website out and along with that take smaller things into perspective, like what size should my H1 headings be? Should I use more or less white space? Should I put a lot of information on my landing page but just make the font smaller (By the way, a smaller font is definitely not the best answer. The amount of information on your landing page is also relative to the amount of motivation your visitor needs to take action.) These, luckily, are all questions which are answered in the minidegree – Believe me, it is very insightful!
Using Analytics to find conversion opportunities
This module in the minidegree was a confirmation on a lot of the topics Mercer also covered, in a bit more detail than this module in my opinion, but was still good to hear everything for a second time around. If I have not mentioned it in a precious review yet; Google actually makes a read-only version available of its Merchandise store Google Analytics Account for you to dabble on if you do not have an account with data yet. So, the instructor of this module literally went through this store’s analytics and walked me through ways to look out for conversion opportunities, answering small questions like, is a high bounce rate always a problem? This is not always the case, because you have to take into account that if you only have one page the visitor can land on, your bounce rate will ALWAYS be high because they don’t have any other pages to visit after landing.
Oh, and one thing that was REALLY valuable to me, was the fact that they also covered how Google measures certain statistics, like session time, how much time a visitor spent on a page, and many others. This was really insightful and something I did not know. Yet again, this is why it is important for you to make sure you use something like Tag Manager to collect more important and relevant information (Not that I am saying GA is collecting irrelevant information. It is just that GA collects info that they deem might be valuable on a Standard level to most users. You need to set up your GA in a way that will help you most.).
To whoever is reading this and is considering enrolling for this minidegree; It is worth every cent. What you learn here is pure gold and can only benefit you in your venture to become greater at what you do.