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March 1, 2011

Landing Page Optimization 101 – A SPN Exclusive Article

Landing page optimization is perhaps the most important Internet marketing tactic you need to master if you truly want to succeed online. Having an effective landing page that maximizes your conversions will help you dominate your niche market. This applies to both product vendors and the affiliates promoting for them.

In fact, if you’re into Google Adwords you should already know the extreme importance of landing pages.

What is a Landing Page and Why is it Important?

A landing page, as you may already know, is a page that you drive traffic to. It’s part of your overall website, but different landing pages can be customized to suit the product or the traffic source. Depending on the type of landing page, it can also be known as a squeeze page, sales page, opt-in page or money page. However, the basic purpose for any landing page no matter what it’s called is to get conversions.

When you have your landing pages setup, you need to go out and get traffic. You may have heard that traffic is the lifeblood of any affiliate marketing business. The more traffic you get, the more money you make. Although that is true, there’s only that much traffic you can get with a limited budget and time.

The real lifeblood of an affiliate marketing business is conversions. If you can convert your traffic to sales more efficiently than others, you’ll be the dominant player in your niche market within a short period of time. As far as optimization goes, there are basically two kinds of tests you can do on your landing pages.

Landing Page Optimization with Multivariate Testing

Hardcore conversion experts preach about Multivariate Testing or MVT. In a typical MVT, you will test multiple variations of elements on your landing page simultaneously. MVT can handle complex experiments and deliver great results, but it has two drawbacks.

The first flaw is that you need to get loads of traffic for MVT. If you cannot get a few thousand impressions per day, then it will take forever. As a matter of fact, MVT just doesn’t work well for low-traffic websites and landing pages.

Besides that, the other flaw of MVT is its sheer complexity. If you really want to do MVT, you need to study MVT. You need to be able to develop effective test cases and elements. You also need to be pretty good at interpreting results. There’s a tendency for low-traffic site owners to accept variations that are not yet proven to work. That’s when MVT backfires and actually drags your landing page conversion rates down.

Landing Page Optimization with A/B Split Testing

A/B split testing on the other hand is much more simple. You start with web page A (the control) and web page B as a test page. Both web pages are identical except for the single variable you want to test. For example, both pages may be identical except for the main headline, or the signup link.

Once you’ve setup your simple A/B test, you split your traffic between the two pages and observe your sales or leads. After both pages have achieved a reasonable number of conversions, you’ll be able to see the winning page. The losing page is removed and replaced with another contender.

You repeat this process with different layouts, different ad copy, and different headlines until you find the best possible landing page. You’ll know this when your split test results no longer show any significant difference between pages.

Can you test more than two pages at a time? Of course you can, but keep in mind that the more pages you add to the A/B test, the longer it will take for you to get any kind of meaningful result. That’s why I recommend that you test no more than three pages at a time.

With A/B split testing, landing page optimization gets much simpler and faster. You can get really meaningful results with only a small number of website visitors, and get higher conversion rates consistently. You don’t need much technical knowledge either.

Pitfalls of Landing Page Optimization

Although the benefits of optimizing your landing pages are immense, there are several pitfalls to avoid. The first is inconsistency. Make sure all other aspects of your landing page remains the same when you’re doing your tests. Do not change your landing page designs, your source of traffic or other elements when testing a page. Doing so will only give you skewed, inaccurate results.

Redundancy is the other big pitfall that you need to avoid at all costs. Keep track of the elements you have already tested. Do not repeat tests when you already know the best possible variable for the test. It’s very easy to be running around in circles instead of moving forward.

The final pitfall in landing page optimization is ineffective software. Keep the time you spend setting up and managing software to a bare minimum. Instead, you should redirect your effort and time to the content and sales process of your landing pages. If you have to constantly upgrade or troubleshoot the software you’re using for landing page optimization, you’re really not doing your business any good.

Gobala Krishnan is an avid affiliate marketer and the founder of LinkTrackr, an A/B split testing software. Signup for an account today to start optimizing your landing pages.