Landing Page Optimization: 3 test ideas from a WordPress landing page


During a recent MarketingExperiments Web clinic dedicated to live optimization, one of our audience members submitted his landing page for review and commented …

“[I am] interested in tips and tricks for creating, testing and optimizing landing pages on a WordPress platform.” – Charles

While you might associate WordPress as a content management system for blogs (like this one), many companies build websites on it, as well. In fact, WordPress now powers 22% of new active websites in the U.S.

While the fundamentals of landing page optimization do not change based on the technology powering the website (it’s still all about the customer), the growth of content management systems has made it easier for marketers to create landing pages … and thus split test new treatments.

So, I asked Charles for a little background on the landing page.


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Charles explained that the page was built using a MAX Foundry template, and he described the landing page as “a sort of a prototype to see how practical it would be to use WordPress for landing page optimization and testing.”

I also sent the page over to Tony Doty, Senior Manager of Optimization, MECLABS, for a few optimization suggestions that would help our audience.

Today’s MarketingExperiments post will share some of Tony’s suggestions, using the page that Charles submitted as a live example that will hopefully give you some ideas that you can add to your testing queue.

Also, before you read further, you may want to print off your landing pages and see where you can find opportunities for optimization in these areas.

Testing Idea #1: Headline

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Headlines can give marketers an ulcer due to all of the hats that your headline is asked to wear in your marketing.

Your headline is your first impression, your opening line in starting a conversation with ideal prospects, and it should also answer the question, “If I am your ideal prospect, then why should I buy from you?” or as Tony described for this particular example, “Why would I get preapproval with you vs. someone else?”

So, when testing headlines on your landing page, take a moment to ask yourself two questions:

  • Does my headline clearly communicate the overall benefit of my product or service?
  • Does my headline introduce our value proposition effectively by answering, “Why should I buy from you?”

Test Idea: Add more benefit into the headline. I don’t know enough about Western Bancorp to say why customers should specifically go with that bank, but an example of a general, more benefit-oriented headline to test would be, “Take 30 minutes to get free preapproval to lock in historically low rates for the next 90 days.”


Testing Idea #2: Images

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When I asked Tony about the value of the image used in this example, he explained, “The image here takes up a lot of space and offers no value in return.”

He also cautioned that a larger image can affect the other elements on a page that do have value.  “The image pushes down the bullets that may differentiate your specific product or process,” he added.

The images used in your marketing should either directly state or support the value proposition of the offer on your landing page. An image should strengthen the message on your pages by giving your offer a single, undistracted voice that is tightly focused on what it is you want to say to your potential customers.

Stock images often distract from this instead of contributing value, so when testing images for your landing pages, ask yourself, “Does this image directly state or support my value proposition?”

Test Idea: Try testing a treatment with no image, and instead use that space to mitigate anxiety (see next test idea).


Test Idea #3: Anxiety

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Testimonials are a boon to your marketing because they can mitigate anxiety on your pages by giving you authentic, third-party credibility.

But, how useful are they buried at the bottom of your page or placed somewhere too far from where an element of anxiety exists?

In the example page, Tony uses the distance of the testimonials from the call-to-action to make a point about the relationship between anxiety and proximity.

He suggests that, “If you want them to read your testimonials, try putting them in a supporting column or moving the primary call-to-action nearer to your testimonials.”

So, when testing to mitigate anxiety on your landing page, try placing your testimonials, security seals, third-party ratings or other credibility indicators closer to the elements on your landing pages that you identify as potential sources of anxiety.

Test Idea: Replace the image with a testimonial.


A final thought on WordPress

A final thought I would like to offer Charles and our audience on optimization using WordPress, or any platform for that matter, is that when it comes to optimization, the content management system is irrelevant. And, so is the testing platform.

There are, of course, factors to consider before you select a testing platform, but what I am talking about is the bigger picture of optimization. Do not focus on any piece of technology; focus on the customer.

You have to learn how to see your marketing through the eyes of your ideal customers.

One of the key principles of landing page optimization that I have learned comes from Dr. Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS, who often teaches in our Web clinics, “Optimization does not occur on a webpage. Optimization occurs in the mind.”


Related Resources:
A/B Testing: How a landing page test yielded a 6% increase in leads

Validity Threats: How we could have missed a 31% increase in conversions

Online Marketing Tests: A data analyst’s view of balancing risk and reward

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  1. early to market says

    Stock photos are not only a distraction, they are an enormous waste of very valuable space. A pic of a nicely smiling person might make the viewer feel good, but that can also be accomplished with small, simple things in your basic web design: fonts, colors, layout, etc. Waste no eyeball space! Also, if one does use a photo, make absolutely sure to tag it, and tag with appropriate key words!

  2. Izzy says

    How do you feel about the use of video on a landing page? Is it worth it or is it too much of a distraction from the CTA?

    1. John Tackett says

      Hi Izzy,

      Videos on a landing page can be tough. Your asking a lot from visitors in terms of perceived cost to watch an entire segment, so the perceived value needs to outweigh that cost.
      Some of our discoveries in video optimization are that you should produce high quality useful content and the first frame needs to be interesting.
      Here is an article by Daniel Burstein that provides 6 quick lessons on shifting to a video-centric format that you might find useful:

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