landingpages101A new project I’m working on requires me making some landing pages, which is making people in my life wonder, what is that?

A landing page is a page you send people to, usually an internal page of your website with more targeted information.

Let’s say you ran an ad about gardening tools. You could send people to your hardware store’s home page and hope they find it or you can send them to a specific URL like
www.yourdomainname.com/gardening.

I usually notice these when I hear a radio ad, like Macy’s ad this holiday season is telling me to go to www.macys.com/believe.

Macy's Landing Page. So animated, it almost made me forget I don't like Flash as a general rule.

Macy’s Landing Page. So animated, it almost made me forget I don’t like Flash as a general rule.

You’ll notice upon typing it, the URL at the top changes (I know it’s in tiny writing, it says social.macys.com and then a ton of stuff after). You can make any URL with your domain redirect. For example, I can make www.breakingeveninc.com/myhotdog redirect to my favorite Gidget video. Creating this is 5 minutes of nerdiness in the Cpanel of your website. Then you can give your landing page a link that people can remember.



Anyway, the URL changes from macys.com/believe (what people remember) to something longish (information  your web statistics programs needs to track it). Whoever at the Macy’s company looks at their web statistics can not only see who used that URL (www.macys.com/believe) and lots more information about each like where they are visiting the website from geographically, how long they stayed on the site, etc. Companies can use this data to make decisions (Ex: Hey, the ad we ran nationwide did not do so well in New Hampshire markets. Maybe let’s not waste the money next year running it.)

So you can see why companies have landing pages, especially this Macy’s one since it is so different than the rest of the website. Not only is it getting people where they want to go on the website but this is being measured for effectiveness.

A more subtle use of the landing page is Audible’s sponsorship of This American Life. When I am listening to the podcast, at the end, I am encouraged to go to audible.com/american and download my free audio book. Here’s the landing page for that:

This American Life logo says "Come on in, you're in the right place!"

This American Life logo says “Come on in, you’re in the right place!”

OK, so the URL changed (again) for statistical tracking purposes from www.audible.com/american to something long and I am given a much more subtle welcome here than at Macy’s.

Actually, it looks a lot like the rest of Audible’s site, except you’ll notice the ‘This American Life’ logo, which let’s me know I’m in the right place.

Don’t underestimate the power of making people feel like they are in the right place. If you used memorable verbage or a logo in an ad, make sure it’s on the landing page. People like consistency; it makes them trust your brand.

Landing pages can either scream “Look at me!” or be pretty subtle. While you want traffic to your site in general, you want to drive people to internal pages (not just the home page) of your website so they can find relevant information quickly… and you want to see if what you’re offering is inticing to the general public.

There are more nerdy aspects of landing pages, like keyword research and A/B testing (The website equivalent to your eye doctor saying “Is this better, or this one?”) which is why anyone would hire someone like me to make these but you get the idea. And if you have a domain name, web stats software, Cpanel access, and an a dream, you too can try out a landing page for yourself!

Our first in-person workshop in 2+ years is happening September 24!

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