The 9 Commandments of Converting Page Skimmers

by 4 07/23/2014

Increasing traffic to your landing pages is always a good thing. After all, a big part of conversions comes down to a simple numbers game: the more eyeballs on your site, reading your information and seeing your offers, the more clickthroughs and qualified leads you’re likely to get.

But not all website traffic is created equal.

Some visitors are more likely to convert than others based on their position in your sales funnel. Some are interested in getting as many details about their available options as possible, and others immediately scroll to the bottom of the page to find out whether or not your price will fit into their budgets.

With so much to consider when optimizing your pages for conversion, it’s good to focus on the core issues, like readability.

Today, I’d like to share a handful of things you can do that cater to page skimmers without turning off the people who want to read your landing pages in detail. Improve your communication with these people, and you can easily increase your conversions rate as well.

We call these the 9 Commandments of Converting Page Skimmers.

know-the-rules_placeitSource: Placeit.net

1. Clear Digital Clutter for Fast Loading Times

As obvious as this might be to mention and read, you’ve only got 2.6 seconds to make a first impression. If half of that is spent waiting for your website to load, you’ve already lost.

Make your landing page load as quickly as possible. Even if it’s already pretty fast, remember, your visitors could be on a slow connection and anything that doesn’t frustrate them is a point in your favor.

Here’s a quick tip: The easiest way to get your pages loading quickly is to reduce your image sizes and have an expert developer look through your code for ways to make it lighter and leaner.

2. Give it Away in the Headlines

Don’t play hard to get and don’t keep secrets.

Don’t hide any “gems” of information as a reward to those who take the time to read.

Tell your readers the entire story in the headlines and sub-headings. Don’t try to be cute, creative and mysterious in an effort to entice people to read your sales copy. It doesn’t work—those who come to your site to read will read, and those who come to your site to skim will skim.

When they see the value you give away in your headlines, page skimmers understand that you’re trustworthy and interesting, a realization that can later turn into action when you ask them to type their email address into your opt-in form.

3. Use Their Favorite Colors

Everyone likes eye candy, and page skimmers are even more turned on to it than dedicated readers because of the state of mind they’re in while browsing.

If your brand already has an established color palatte, see if your branding guidelines allow for any deviations. Wherever possible, choose shades of color that reflect your target audience’s preferences.

For example, if you run a gym and have different landing pages for women’s aerobics and a male-dominated weight training program, you can use color to help visitors prequalify themselves—a more masculine color scheme on the weight training landing page and feminine colors on the aerobics landing page.

If you’re designing for gender alone, research has shown that women often prefer blue, green and purple and dislike orange, brown and grey, while men like blue, green and black and are turned off by orange, brown and purple. Aside from gender, you can also select colors based on your audience’s age and the emotions you want to elicit with your copy.

converting page skimmers, web design colors

A site for women utilizing shades of blue and purple.

 

converting page skimmers, web design colors

A site aimed at men using black ad a shade of blue/green where they want visitors to take action.

 

If you’re just getting started with color psychology on your website, you can deduce that shades of blue and green are good places to start regardless of your target audience, and you can optimize your testing from there.

Hint: Try making your CTA a different color from all the other page elements. This doesn’t mean using tacky bright yellow and red buttons, but instead adding in another color from your brand’s color palette that will pop out from the other page elements to grab a page skimmer’s attention.

4. Throw Away Unnecessary Elements

Limit the number of page elements you use to only the essentials. Extra fluff, offers, or opportunities—even if they’re just in the side bar—will confuse both readers and page skimmers and reduce the conversion numbers of both of them.

Here’s a list of the elements an ideal landing page should include:

  • Your headline
  • A main hero image with minimal text, if necessary—this will reinforce your offer and help visitors visualize themselves successfully using whatever you have to offer
  • The important attributes that make up your offer, i.e., your sub-headings and a limited amount of text following them
  • Testimonials or some other form of social proof
  • The call to action
  • White space

A word to the wise: You can have multiple links for your call to action as long as it’s clear that they all have the same offer. For example, try one main CTA at the end of your text, a click-to-call button, or a live-chat style contact form in the bottom corner. Keep your main CTA above the fold.

5. Don’t Demand Too Much

Don’t ask readers to do the work for themselves—for many people, this is too much effort and will turn them off.

Take a look at your current CTA text. Does it say something along the lines of “Sign Up Now”? If it does, it’s probably time to change.

Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with “Sign Up Now,” but the words imply effort on your reader’s part. Instead, use wording that removes any suggestion of effort on their part and brings their focus back to the benefits you have to offer.

After all, think about which one you’d be more likely to click on: “Sign Up Now” or “Start Saving Time & Money”?

converting page skimmers, cta, call to action

“Show Me My Heatmap” requires little to no effort on the part of the page skimmer.

 

converting page skimmers, cta, call to action

“Sign Up for Free” might imply no cost, but it also implies a bit of required effort.

 

6. Flaunt Shamelessly

Have a promise or guarantee you can make? Flaunt it without reserve or apology.

Put it in your headlines, page elements and call to action, and re-enforce it with your testimonials. Be shameless.

page elements, converting page skimmers

Show off your website’s promises every chance you get.

 

When you only have a mere matter of seconds to impress a page skimmer (or a reader, for that matter) coming right out with your promises is what it takes to keep their eyeballs on your page and make a memorable first impression.

7. Talk Benefits & Avoid Jargon in Page Elements

It might seem like a minor thing, but make your page title, heading and images enticing. Then organize them in a way that they all work together to tell your story.

Imagine a person shopping for legal services for a lawsuit against their small business with multiple tabs open. They don’t know the first thing about court proceedings but want someone they know they can trust to work hard on their behalf for the best possible outcome.

When looking across the tabs they’ve found from a Google search, “Protect Yourself in a Lawsuit” sounds much more promising than “Johnson & Edward Legal Services” or “Business Litigation.”

page title, converting page skimmers, SEO

Here, MyLawsuit.com would win the attention of a page skimmer over the other website because of their user-friendly language.

 

jargon, converting page skimmers, page elements, SEO

Here, the first two tabs are more caught up in industry jargon, while the last two tabs are more focused on their target markets.

 

Sure, it’s something they see before they actually land on the page, but if your page is updated to follow the other seven commandments, they’ll be far more likely to follow through to your CTA.

8. Spread the Word: Use Testimonials

The ultimate social proof, testimonials show new visitors that people just like them have had their problems solved with your service or product.

Keep in mind, the two most important elements of a testimonial are the picture and the details.

Credibility matters. A headshot works wonders in showing visitors that the testimonial is real. If a headshot isn’t an option, look for other ways to add credibility. For instance, if the referral comes from a business, use the company logo instead of a headshot. If the referral is from an individual, consider putting their city or some other identifier after their name, like this:

Tammy B., Nashville, TN

When choosing testimonials, key into the details. The more details, the better—as long as it doesn’t get boring, of course. Details of each unique situation add credibility and make them more relatable.

For example, a testimonial with a head shot, name, job title, company, website link, and actual details about a product or service carry more weight than random quotes without attribution that read something like “OMG, best product everrrr!!!” (It’s a bit exaggerated, but you get the point.)

9. Thou Shalt NEVER Stop A/B Testing

The first eight commandments will undoubtedly help you get more conversions, especially if you haven’t already implemented them. But, if there’s one commandment, one core mantra of Crazy Egg, it’s this: Thou shalt NEVER stop a/b testing.

You can start with a set of revisions, but even if you see a 200% conversion increase, don’t let that satisfy you. There’s always something you can tweak: color, wording, page placement, or CTA form layout. Even if it’s by a small percentage point—that’s still an increase in your bottom line.

Click here to read more Crazy Egg posts by Chelsea Baldwin.

About 

Chelsea Baldwin is a web marketing consultant and business writer. She specializes in creating strategy-based content and marketing plans for better ROI and more sales. You can get in touch with her at chelsea@carolinafreelancewriter.com or connect with her at www.linkedin.com/in/chelseabaldwin1/.

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4 COMMENTS

Vinay Koshy

Loved your commandments Chelsea.

My observation from landing pages that work well, is that relevant and contextual visuals tie text and design components together to engage skimmers and take them further into a landing page copy.

August 4, 2014 Reply


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