8 Landing Page Best Practices

So, you’ve made the leap and opened up a website to help sell your product. But, you want to make sure your customers have something to see when they land at your shiny new site. Well, this is where landing pages come in. Think of them as the complimentary bottles of water that you get when you check in to a hotel. They make you feel welcomed and mainly are there to help encourage you to possibly raid the mini-fridge later. However, a bad landing page can have customers go off your site faster than you can say bounce rate. Well, that’s what we’re here for, to help you make sure that when potential customers come to your site, they don’t want to leave. Here’s our list of the top 10 best practices you should use when building your landing pages.

Tip #1 – Why Do I Need A Landing Page In The First Place?

Good Question! Let’s break this down a bit before we answer it. First off, what is a landing page? Well, a landing page is a standalone page that’s tangentially attached to your website. They’re also designed for someone who’s on your site to complete an action, whether this is signing up for a mailing list, purchase something, it can also simply be used as a gate to gather information before the visitor gets to the main part of your site. Mainly, this page is used for someone to complete an action and leave the page. So if you’re looking to build a mailing list to help gain repeat customers, and let’s be honest here, who isn’t? Then that is why you need a landing page or several for your site.

Tip # 2 – Make Sure Your Landing Page Can Adapt

No, I’m not talking about making your landing page into some kind of AI bent on…hold on I’ve seen this movie before. Anyway, adaptive content means that the landing page works on multiple streams. I.e. Can work across social media platforms, slideshares, email blasts, can be syndicated, you get where I’m going with this? However, don’t try to make it work with every single channel out there, all you’ll end up with is a headache. Make the landing page work across a few channels where you know that these channels are where you want to get traffic from.

Tip #3 – Make Sure The Landing Page Is Responsive

Alrighty guys and gals, it’s 2015, mobile is not going away, it’s just getting bigger. Mobile made up 55% of all search in 2014, so you can imagine what it is now. Plus, portents are pointing towards Google giving extra goodies (read: ranking factor) for sites that are mobile friendly. So what do you have to make sure that you have to do? That’s right! Make sure the landing page is responsive and can work across all devices; mobile, tablet, and desktop because you will get traffic across all 3, so make sure you can handle all 3.

Tip # 4 – Pay Attention To Your Competitors

The best way to do research to see what works for landing pages and what doesn’t, is looking at what your competitors are doing. Got a competitor that’s taking your lunch money? Mosey on over to their site and look to see what’s good about it. Watch for trends, and read articles (like this one!) to find what’s big, what’s good, and what you should move past/get rid of if you have it. This leads us to our next point…

Tip #5 – A/B Test Like There Is No Tomorrow!

Split test, split test, split test…did I say split test? Split testing is a great tool as it lets you dissect what your customer base responds to by finding out what they like and dislike about the landing page. Not only will you gain insight into your customers’ behavior, you’ll also help to increase your conversion rate, by implementing these incremental changes.

Tip #6 – Seduce Your Prospects With Your Copy

Alright, so we’re going to switch gears here and talk more about design than concept. One of the biggest things when dealing with landing pages is you have a very short window to convince someone to stay. According to Hubspot, 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a page before leaving. So you have to make sure your content is short, concise, and to the point whatever it is you’re saying. If you can’t read it in 15 seconds it’s too long.

Tip #7 – Make That Call To Action Big And Beautiful

When building your landing page, having your customers performing an action is the reason why you built it in the first place. So you’re going to want to make sure that the CTA that you build for the page is big and in a prominent position above the fold. Additionally, you’re going to want to make sure that you use your copy to entice your visitors so that they fill out the form. Finally, only ask for information you need, additional information might turn off your visitor and they’ll leave.

Tip # 8 – Landing Pages Are Not The End Of The Rainbow…Thank You Pages Are

So you’ve designed the landing page, your potential customer has filled out the form for more info, now what? Getting a user to fill out your form is not where the process ends. You’re going to want to direct them to a thank you page for a few reasons. Firstly, it allows you to engage with the customer further. By directing them to a landing page, you can direct them from there to check out your blog, the rest of your site, or interact with you on social media. Additionally, a thank you page allows you to explain what happens next, and when your prospect will get their info/white paper/free stuff.

Well, there you have it folks, by using these best practices, you’ll have a high-converting landing page in no time! Need help? Or looking for something more than just a landing page? Swing by mountainmedia.com or give us a call at 1-877-583-0300.

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SEO Rundown 10/20

Hey All,

Theo from Mountain Media here again for another SEO Rundown. I know that it has been a bit since my last post but it has been very here at Mountain Media and as such I’ve had little time for making this video. However, I feel that with the rollout of Penguin 3.0, it was high time I sent out this video.

Penguin 3.0 has rolled out…now what?

So, Penguin 3.0 was confirmed to have been rolled out Friday evening, this was first reported by SE Roundtable. While no official percentage has been released yet on how many sites have been affected, it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on your clients’ websites over this week to see if they’ve been affected by Penguin. If you’ve been following our videos you know that I was predicting a rollout around the holiday season, specifically November. Thankfully, I was very wide on my mark and the rollout now gives people some time to recoup some losses if they were bitten by the Google Boogeybird. Whether this is through paid or organic traffic growth, you can regain some of the ground lost from this rollout.

Direct or Indirect

One of the things that has been stated about this latest iteration of Penguin is that you can be affected both directly and indirectly. With this iteration of Penguin, Google wanted to take a deeper look at link value and quality. So if you’re indirectly affected by Penguin, it might be due to links in your website’s link profile being re-evaluated as weaker than they were before, or considered “false votes.” My advice is to re-double your link building through content marketing and outreach. By creating deep, quality content on your website and reaching out to other webmasters, writers, and bloggers in your niche, you can help rebuild your link profile organically and maybe regain some of your lost traffic due to Penguin. If you’ve had a direct hit from Penguin, you’ll be able to see it via a message from Google in your WMT. I would still recommend following the advice above, unfortunately though, you won’t see any removal of the penalty until the next rollout of Penguin. Which according to Google, should be more frequent now. But until then, to quote Search Engine Land, the clock is running.

Well that’s it for this week’s issue of SEO Rundown. I promise that this will be the last episode about Penguin for a while, unless there is some major breaking story that requires attention about Penguin. As always, if you like what you see, subscribe to our YouTube channel, Follow us on Twitter, G+, or Facebook, or check us out at MountainMedia.com!

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Avoiding Credit Card Fraud

With the EMV shift now almost three weeks in, merchants need to be even more on guard to online fraud. With physical card present fraud becoming near impossible with the new chip, fraudsters will go where the path of resistance is least, unfortunately, that is currently online merchants. When a merchant gets hit with fraudulent orders on their website, the cost is more than just the money. It can take a toll on their confidence and make them question whether they should abandon their hopes at being an entrepreneur.

Consider these easy to implement techniques that will help eCommerce merchants to avoid fraud. Following these techniques will save you time, money, aggravation and help you avoid developing a bad online reputation. Having been in the eCommerce space for over 12-years, I have seen a wide spectrum of fraud on the Internet. Almost every case of fraud could have been avoided if the merchant had their payment gateway configured correctly. In most cases, the transactions are glaringly fraudulent; but the merchant is so thrilled to have a great order that they overlook the obvious signs and fill the order only to get burned. Here are my suggestions for avoiding online fraud:

Merchant Account Setup
When you are going through the merchant account application process it is important to give the bankers realistic numbers. You will need to provide the bank with numbers such as estimated annual transaction volume, estimated monthly volume and minimum and maximum transaction amounts. From my experience, I’ve seen merchants exaggerate these numbers in the hopes of impressing the bank. That is a mistake. Give the bank conservative numbers, especially if you are just starting out online. It will take a year before you are transacting with any volume. These numbers can easily be increased as needed. The bank uses these numbers to set up profiles for you in their fraud prevention systems. This is your first line of defense – the more accurate the numbers you provide, the more likely the bank can protect your account. Remember, the bank’s job is to help you with sales, not prevent them. They can only run things so tight or too many of your transactions will fail. The bank’s fraud prevention system is only one layer of defense. It is not your merchant bank’s job to watch every transaction for fraud, they will only pick up some of the transactions that are outside of your profile. That leaves plenty of room for fraud inside those parameters. Your merchant application is not a business plan. Don’t bloat the numbers; you will only be hurting yourself.

AuthCapture (bad) AuthOnly (Good)
There are two types of transactions you can run when receiving payment online: Authorize and Capture (AuthCapture) and Authorize Only (AuthOnly). You can greatly reduce your exposure to fraud if you run AuthOnly. I strongly recommend setting your transactions to AuthOnly. An AuthOnly transaction will require the merchant to review orders and mark them for settlement if it passes their scrutiny. I know, you need your money now and AuthOnly could mean that it will take another day before you have your money, and it’s so much work to mark transactions for settlement. Get over it! You can wait one more day for your money and it only takes one click to mark a transaction for settlement.

Merchants often have a false sense that the bank, the gateway or the ecommerce platform will protect them from fraud, and ultimately someone other then the merchant will be responsible for paying for the fraudulent activity.  The merchant ultimately pays for fraud and has a duty to screen their transactions for fraud.

The merchant is responsible for scrutinizing their transactions and approving the ones that pass a simple test. Here is what to look for:

  1. Did the transaction pass the Address Verification System (AVS) check?
  2. Did the CVV code have a match?
  3. Are the shipping and billing addresses the same?
  4. Common sense check?

If  the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” then the merchant must take a closer look at that particular order. If someone orders 12 vacuum cleaners and wants them shipped to Pakistan, and the billing address is Jane Smith from Arkansas, the order stinks of fraud. This scenario has happened more than you would think.  The merchant is so thrilled to have the big sale, they don’t even consider that it could be fraud. In the end, the merchant pays for the product, pays for the shipping, pays Jane Smith’s credit card back, and even gets to pay a charge back fee from the bank. Ouch! The merchant is left feeling like it was someone else’s fault. Shouldn’t the bank or payment gateway prevent that? The merchant is the last line of defense and needs to use common sense and scrutinize their transactions. If it looks fraudulent, make a customer service call to the cardholder and ask some simple questions. This will quickly confirm whether or not the transaction is fraudulent.

Set Your Minimum and Maximum Transaction Amounts
Most payment gateways will let you set a minimum and maximum transaction amount for all of your orders. Using these features can greatly reduce your exposure to fraud. If you don’t sell anything for under $9.99 then set the amount to $9.98. Also set the ceiling just above your realistic highest order amount.

This simple adjustment will help avoid a common hacker technique known as “Phishing.” Phishing is when a thief uses your website or payment gateway to test a database full of stolen credit card numbers. They will run a high volume of small transactions
( $0.25) to see if the credit cards are good, and if so, they can exploit them elsewhere. When a merchant sees they have 2,000 transactions for 25 cents each, they are victims of a phishing attack. The bank will often hold the merchant responsible for paying the per transaction fees on all of the transaction. This hassle and frustration can be avoided by setting the minimum transaction amount to something greater than zero, and preferably over $1.00. Having your transactions set to AuthOnly will prevent all of these little phishing transaction from settling. Waking up Monday morning to find that you have settle 3,000 fraudulent transactions over the weekend is not the way you want to start your week.

Merchants can greatly reduce their exposure to fraud by running AuthOnly transactions, setting minimum and maximum transaction amounts and scrutinizing their transactions before capturing the funds. Most decent online payment solutions will have these basic fraud prevention features available.

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SEO Rundown Sept. 23

Theo from Mountain Media here again for another episode of SEO Rundown. Today’s topics; Yelp or how I stopped worrying and learned to love other review aggregators, Google stops following its own webmaster practices briefly, and an update on P3.0.

How I learned to stop worrying and love other Review Aggregators

First off, Yelp, the recent Supreme Court ruling that Yelp has the right to make you pay for your positive reviews is a clear signal that you should be considering other review aggregators than the pay-for-play bully in the local review yard. While Yelp is the catch-all for reviews there are many other review websites out there that are gaining traction and show that Yelp isn’t the only major player when it comes to rep management and local SEO. If you are any sort of restaurant or hotel there is TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Google Places, Google+,Facebook, Twitter, Bing Local, and local town and city websites who love, love, love to showcase their local businesses. Which will give you a nice juicy backlink for SERPs local and organic.

I know, at this point you’re saying, “But Theo, I’m not a restaurant or a hotel, I have to use Yelp or else I won’t have any sort of human reviews.” To that I say, use Angie’s List in addition to the search engine products and social media sites I just listed, Angie’s List is a great spot to be on because all of the users are paid subscribers so you have a gated review community. While Yelp is getting front page SERPs, Angie’s List is close behind them and if there is a community shift away from Yelp, they will be forced to change their practices or go out of business. Also, Angie’s List is a great way to gain high-end leads for your business as they put you front and center within their search. Plus, it’s free for businesses. If you don’t want to go the Angie’s List route; Facebook is great for reviews and while you will have to deal with some spammy reviews, again, no anonymous reviews.

Google Black Hat for a Day, Update on Penguin 3.0

Next, while this isn’t really trending I did find it comedic and somewhat ironic, Google decided to go black hat for a day and started indexing its own search results. While it was a mistake and was quickly fixed it is funny that even the Great G sometimes makes mistakes in its robots.txt file. Speaking of the Big G, Google has released an update that Penguin 3.0 will most likely be run in 2014. What that means to me, is that they might be waiting until right before the holiday season to run it. Which means it could be a present in some stockings and coal in others, make sure it’s a present for you and your clients and run those link audits folks. I know I spoke about this last time, but this is the SEO boogeybird we are talking about. Make sure your backlinks are squeaky clean folks, if you have even a shadow of a doubt then Run. Those. Audits. If you are a business owner and need some help, give us a call over at Mountain Media, we are here to help you.

Well that’s it for this week folks, as last time, if you liked what you saw, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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