The Long and the Short of It: Landing Page Length

The length of a landing page is one of the key factors that will influence how well it converts your visitors, but what length is best? Read on to learn more about the long and short of landing pages.

Short Landing Pages Minimize Scrolling

Image via Flickr by Rob Ellis

Many people who are fans of short landing pages argue that they minimize scrolling. They know that studies suggest 80 percent of fixations occur “above the fold,” or the space that web users can see without scrolling. They insist that minimizing scrolling is even more important as web users abandon their traditional desktop and laptop computers for mobile devices. Statistics suggest that we’d rather not scroll if we can help it, but many landing pages just don’t lend themselves to the short format.

Long Landing Pages Build Trust

A long landing page is typically a comprehensive one. All that extra real estate will give your company the space to write more about the business and its latest promotion. This is especially important for new brands that must present a credible image through their landing pages from the get go. However, it’s not just new corporate endeavors that should use a long landing page to establish trust.

The more information that you can provide on your landing page, the more likely you’ll be to answer any questions that potential customers might have. When you answer their questions, you are easing their concerns and creating trust.

Because of this, a long landing page is useful when you’re encouraging a significant financial or time commitment from potential customers, such as the purchase of an expensive product or subscription service. It’s relatively easy to convince readers to enter a competition with a big cash prize or click on a link to receive a free digital cookbook download, but it’s much harder to encourage them to sign up for a new internet deal or book a pest inspection with your firm.

As a rule, the more difficult the task you’re trying to achieve, the longer your landing page should be. A landing page needs to be long enough to address any objectives your browsers might have. Customers will be nervous about putting their credit card details into your landing page, so you’ll need space to add seals from VeriSign, TRUSTe, and other respected organizations. If browsers are concerned about whether your product represents good value, then you’ll need to make it long enough to add customer testimonials which allay these fears.

It’s a good idea to organize focus groups or beta testing with customers to ensure your landing page addresses all potential customer concerns.

Shorter Landing Pages Generally Get More Conversions

Keeping your landing page short and sweet will typically ensure you get more conversions. A short landing page might not instil the same trust in potential customers, but it’s also not going to ask them to make a significant commitment either. This makes short landing pages perfect for promotions which have a low-risk to customers, like competitions and free digital resources.

A short landing page also gets results because it has fewer elements to distract browsers. It’s clear that they need to click a link or fill out a form, as there’s little else on the page to steal focus.

If you’re aiming to increase your email list, a short landing page is a great option; however, the people sharing their email addresses with you haven’t really made a notable investment in your company, and may never turn into real customers. Designing landing page length can be a balancing act for whether you’re searching for quantity or quality.

Also note that if your company really needs a long landing page, you might actually see your conversions increase when you extend it. Some testers observed this unusual phenomenon when they made their landing pages around 20 times larger. Instead of watching conversions take a hit, the conversion rates actually improved by around 30 percent.

Long Landing Pages Rank Well in Search Engines

Landing pages with a lot of text and optimized images rank favourably on Internet search engines. This makes sense because they have more information to crawl through than more minimalist pages. Of course you could theoretically cram a lot of data into a short landing page, however, this isn’t advisable as a landing page cluttered with information is more difficult for browsers to digest than a longer page with the same information.

If your landing page advertises a long-term promotion, such as a course your university runs every year, it’s worth making it longer to improve its SEO and readability. Conversely, if your landing page promotes an introductory discount or competition, the SEO ranking isn’t likely to be a concern.

Short Pages Make an Impact

Short pages are easier for readers to digest and much more memorable. Because of this, it doesn’t make sense to create a long landing page when a short one will do the job just as well.

If your landing page is getting lengthy, yet doesn’t seem to fit the profile of long landing pages above, you’ll need to think about it critically. Remember the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. A fashion label using a landing page to promote its latest handbag would be better off using a picture of the purse than copy describing its features. A company offering a discount on its newest kitchen gadget will probably be better off using a video demonstration of the tool in action than a big slab of text.

This is because most Internet users don’t actually read most of the content presented to them. A Jakob Nielsen study found browsers generally read less than 20 percent of the text on an average web page. When they do read copy, they tend to skim through and pick out keywords rather than read every individual word. Your landing page copy might be compelling, but if few people are reading it, it’s useless.

Both long and short landing pages have their advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth focusing instead on what your landing page needs to do. Consider what elements you really need to include and experiment with their placement to ensure your landing page is high-converting, no matter what its length. And always remember – the best way to know which is best for you and your visitors is to TEST!

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By Jon Correll

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