Conversion Rate Optimization: Catering Your Landing Page to All Readers

Sep 13, 2011 by Naomi Niles

Conversion Rate Optimization

People read at different rates, especially online. Some people prefer to scan quickly and some like to read every. single. word. In general, everyone reads more quickly online because, even with the advantages that technology has given us like tablets, it’s still not the most comfortable experience in the world.

Are you designing your landing pages for both types of readers, slow and fast? It’s a tough balance, but I’ll show you some ways to do it.


Design Your Content Like an Upside-Down Pyramid

This is the classic technique that newspapers use. Put your headline and most important pieces of information at the top of the page and make them as catchy as possible. And then put the supporting information following down, in an upside-down pyramid-like fashion.

One way to do this that you will see in a lot of successful landing pages is to start with a compelling headline, a sub-headline, and then a short summary. Often, this short summary is also in bullet points. This allows for easy digestion of the most important points.

Make Your Text Scannable

There are many ways to make your text easier to scan. This will help those who are in a hurry get a good idea of what the whole page is about before they decide to read everything in detail. Here are some ways you can do that:

  • Pretend that your reader is only reading your headlines. If so, would they understand the whole concept if they couldn’t read anything else?
  • Use bulleted lists whenever you can to help break-up the blocks of text and make it easier to digest.
  • Use bolded and italic text when you’d like to make emphasis.
  • Don’t be scared of using sentence fragments when you need to make a point and have the reader pause.
  • Don’t make your paragraphs too long. 2-3 sentences is usually about right.
  • Use yellow highlighter whenever you can (just kidding, please don’t do this!).

Remember Mobile Devices

Nowadays, more and more people are using mobile devices to scan websites. Reading a website, filling out forms, and trying to click on links can be a very frustrating experience for a mobile user. Consider offering a mobile version of your landing page.

This page should have all of your website elements removed and only contain the text of your landing page and corresponding graphic elements. Many mobile devices don’t have flash or video playing capabilities yet, so also make sure that if you have a video for your landing page, that you have an alternate corresponding text or that you don’t totally rely on that video to share the information on the page.

Try Writing in a More Conversational Tone

Big blocks of text are easier to understand and read when you feel as if the person who wrote them is talking to you. For that reason, a conversational tone can be a good idea. You don’t need to be too informal with this. Just write like you would normally talk to a customer as if they were standing right in front of you. Try not to be overly sophisticated or technical.

A good test to see if your writing is conversational enough is to read it through out-loud after you’ve written it. Often, when you speak it out-loud, weird phrases will become apparent and you’ll realize that you can change things around to make it sound more natural.

Don’t Take Out Important Information

There’s such an emphasis on scanning, you may be tempted to take out almost everything from your pages. While you should absolutely take out anything unnecessary and fluffy, also keep in mind that some of your visitors will still be interested in reading the fine details and need those in order to make the decision to buy from you.

If keeping those details (like technical specifications) takes up too much space on your landing page or makes it too long, you can also include “read more” links that point to other pages on your site or then present a pop-up module window with more information.

Naomi Niles - Contributor

Naomi Niles is a website and small business consultant at ShiftFWD. She’s helped hundreds of clients improve their websites and landing pages since 2003. You can find her at the ShiftFWD website or obsessively collecting photos and graphics of grids for her next personal project.


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