Principles of landing page design are essential when developing a conversion-focused marketing campaign. Anyone can build a landing page. But for creating a successful one, marketers need to focus on utilizing the landing page design elements correctly.
An effective landing page can include elements like text, images, and videos. Putting all the elements together on the landing page with zero visual navigation support can make the landing page look messy. By understanding the principles of landing page design, companies can develop landing pages that coherently represent the brand and answer consumer concerns.
In this blog, I will explore the essential elements and principles of landing page design that you should consider using in your next project.
Download the landing page checklist that you can use to build your next landing page.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a web page separate from the website specifically designed to promote the services and products of a company. It is a standalone page that is great for attracting traction and disseminating quick and concise information about the USPs and value of a brand.
Websites are great but have a lot of elements that can easily distract visitors. Landing pages counter such distractions by working for a single goal: conversion. Each landing page has a single CTA button that gets repeated several times on the page, which motivates prospects to convert.
With the basic definition of a landing page out of the way, let’s discuss another important question.
Why is Innovation Important?
The aesthetics of a landing page are pretty crucial in building trust and offering visitors a great user experience. I have already discussed why you should use landing pages and the difference between a landing page vs website page. Now I will be shifting the focus towards the aesthetics of a landing page.
In my experience, the copy should come first and then the design. But that doesn’t mean you should compromise on the quality of how your landing page looks. You should make sure your landing page is pixel-perfect.
When visitors find broken or unstyled elements on your page, they subconsciously doubt the brand. This mistrust gets further aggravated if the page is hard to navigate or use. Often I see designers coming up with really cool visual designs.
However, sometimes although these designs look pretty, they are not very functional. Visitors have to guess what elements are clickable and what to do next. Your aim should be to think about your audience first and plan your landing page design based on your target user persona.
Principles of Landing Page Design
Let’s cover some of the core principles which will help you in designing high-quality landing pages.
(i) Clear Visual Hierarchy
I like this quote from Pep Laya (Peep Laja)
You should rank elements on your website based on your business objective. You can't know what to prioritize if you don't have a specific goal.
To organise content clearly for users, designers apply a well-known technique called visual hierarchy. It activates the ability of the brain to distinguish objects based on their physical differences, such as size, color scheme, contrast, alignment, etc.
There are two aspects essential to consider regarding creating copy for landing pages: page scanning patterns and typographic hierarchy.
(ii) Page Scanning Patterns
a. Gutenberg Rule
The first one is the Gutenberg Rule. The Gutenberg rule shows how users behave when reading, also known as reading gravity; it’s the western habit of reading left-to-right, top-to-bottom.
The Gutenberg diagram divides the layout into four quadrants.
- The primary optical area located in the top/left
- The vital fallow area situated on the top/right
- The weak fallow area located on the bottom/left
- The terminal area located on the bottom/right
I recently applied this principle on a landing page test for One Click Cars.
As you can in this Control page, the elements were mainly on the left. This version had a click-through rate of 15.42%
In the new variation, I moved the elements to follow the Gutenberg Principle. In this version, the page CTR increased to 21.36%. So if you are thinking of testing your page, try applying the Gutenberg principle on your hero section.
b. Z-Pattern Layout
The Z-pattern layout is beneficial if you have large amounts of content. The z-pattern is simple and effective for designs that follow a storytelling aspect.
The z-pattern layout follows the shape of the letter z. Readers will start in the top/left, move horizontally to the top/right, and then diagonally to the bottom/right before finishing with another horizontal movement to the bottom/right.
This example shows how we used the Z-pattern for the Membermeister landing page.
You can use the z-pattern to present important information in a way that the eye will naturally scan.
It was popularized by NNGroup’s eye-tracking study, which recorded more than 200 users who looked at thousands of web pages. The group found that users’ primary reading behaviour was fairly consistent across many different sites and tasks.
The F-pattern is the standard layout for text-heavy websites like blogs and news sites. It’s designed to maximize the amount of text on the page and take advantage of the natural scanning pattern.
Here are some things to consider when using F-Patterns
- Start new paragraphs with enticing keywords.
- Use typography to indicate text’s importance (e.g., bolding keywords within text or increasing the font size).
- Cover only one key idea per single paragraph
- Use bullet points for lists because bullets are skim-friendly.
- Place CTAs to the left and right of the page, where the user will begin and end their horizontal scanning. The right side of a line acts as a pause for readers, giving them some extra time to think about what they just read.
Look at the example where we have used the F-pattern.
Notice how each component is located precisely along the F-pattern route, where visitors naturally look when viewing this page.
As they scroll, the sticky form on the right of the page follows the visitor. So they can easily choose to fill it out whenever they want to.
(iii) Typographic Hierarchy
Now, let’s look at the Typographic hierarchy. The typographic hierarchy includes different elements such as headlines, subheaders, body copy, call-to-action features, etc. Each piece has its own typography rule that determines how it is presented in a design. For example:
a. Headlines have a larger font size than other types of copy. They usually appear at the top or bottom of pages with large margins. Headline typefaces can also include special features such as serifs or sans serifs.
According to the research published by Buffer, the ideal length of the headline is six words; Jacob Nielsen also found out in their study that shows that headlines of 5-6 comments work better.
b. Subheads are smaller versions of headline typeface but still bigger than regular text. Subheadings often appear on the same line as headings.
Conventional wisdom says that subheads should be between 70 and 100 characters long. Every word must be perfect for the subheading to be powerful enough to keep readers reading and make the point succinctly.
c. Body copy appears below all other reproductions. It’s usually set in regular weight and medium-sized. Body copy may contain additional formatting like italics, underlining, strikethrough, color changes, etc.
d. Call-to-actions are buttons used for directing users toward an action they want to take. Call-to-action button styles vary from simple rectangular shapes to more complex icons.
The order of these elements within the page determines the visual hierarchy, which means that designers need to pay attention to where each component belongs with others. If you place your CTA above the main heading, people will not notice it because it won’t stand out against the background.
On the contrary, if you put it right next to the headline, it will get lost among the rest of the copy.
Top 3 Essential Landing Page Design Elements
1. Highlighting text to define focal points
Just like a highlighter used in schools, you can highlight certain text elements to emphasise them.
Here are landing page examples from go, student, where text elements are highlighted to draw focus.
Whitespace improves readability and helps to group elements. It makes things easier to read and helps people find what they’re looking for faster. If there isn’t enough spacing, users may get confused about where something starts and ends.
As a rule of thumb, “the more distinct elements are from each other, the more whitespace should be included between them.” Finally, white space can also improve the most critical elements on a page to stand out.
For example, most dedicated landing pages have at least one Call To Action (CTA). This could mean clicking on a buy now button, for example, or filling out a lead generation form. These are essential steps you’d like your visitors to take.
Surrounding your CTA element with plenty of white space is one of the best ways to draw visitors’ eyes right to it. This is especially effective when the CTA itself is also made distinct through unique colours and design.
Check out this example from Vectis, where we spaced out elements and directional cues.
3. Use Directional Cues
Directional cues on landing pages
Use directional cues like arrows and images of people looking at or pointing to something you want to emphasize. This technique is especially effective when combined with other design techniques, such as using large headlines and bold text for calls to action.
Here is an example in which we used an image of a woman looking in the direction of the Call to Action button.
Marketers must keep in mind all the principles of landing page design while developing a landing page. It helps enhance the user experience and overall success of a marketing campaign. By utilising all the crucial landing page design elements to their full potential, marketers can generate conversion-focused landing pages.
While basic principles of landing page design assist you in creating a responsive landing page, it might not be enough as market choices keep on changing radically.
Companies can stay at the top of their game by A/B testing their landing pages now and then. Here’s a blog that you can use to understand A/B Testing: Beginner’s Guide To Landing Page A/B Testing Framework.
Interested in building conversion-focused landing page designs? Check out this landing page design guide by Toptal.