Optimize Your Website: Every Page is a Landing Page

Where to?I suspect that most website owners spend too much time on their home pages and not enough time on other content.

Nearly every page on a website has potential to be a landing page — the first page a visitor sees when visiting.


This means what happens during the view of that page will often make the difference between a one-time visit and something more lasting.

The Road Less (or More) Traveled

Sometimes we can learn a little something about how to market to our customers online based on how people tend to act in the offline world.

Let’s take traveling as an example.

I’m anticipating a trip to Nova Scotia with some good friends in a few weeks. We could fly into Halifax, but decided instead to drive up through New England, where we’ll take a ferry over to the southern tip of the peninsula.

Meanwhile, my grandfather has loved the rails all of his life, and he’s itching for a trip out to Colorado by train. He too could fly, but it’s the journey on the train he looks forward to the most.

Truly, there is an endless number of ways we could end up at any place in the world.

Our Websites Are Not Much Different

Likewise, although our websites may have a single goal in mind, like producing orders or building a permission based list, there are many roads visitors can travel to get to that point.

Our websites may have a single goal in mind, but there are many roads visitors can travel to get to that point.

A little while ago, I began reviewing our website analytics using Google Analytics. If you aren’t familiar with what it does, among other metrics, it provides an opportunity to see where traffic is coming from, as well as what web pages visitors tend to land on.

I was taking a look over the “Top Landing Pages” report and noticed that, although our homepage gets the most initial hits, lots and lots of traffic lands on other pages.

I’m willing to bet that an analysis of the traffic going to your site would reveal just about the same thing.

A Single Impression or a Lasting One?

Take a few moments to think about the content on your website as a whole. What is the first impression of people who land somewhere other than the homepage?

Once they’ve read over your content, what next step is presented to them from there? Does an opt in form appear on every page where it’s relevant, or are you missing out on crucial opportunities for your business?

29 Comments

  1. Peter Koning

    7/24/2007 2:56 pm

    Good points. The reason you have more "entry points" is that search engines don’t index your site.

    Sure they crawl your site, but they index the *pages*.

  2. Anita

    7/25/2007 5:20 am

    I couldn’t agree more, Marc.
    It makes sense though, if you’re writing your site’s content for users, and you’re allowing the search engines to index those pages, then each and every one of those pages can be your entry page. So you need to think of it in isolation, as well as a part of the whole site.

    My rule of thumb it to think as my visitors would think (as you suggested in your post). And then simplify it even more.

    Make sure every page’s purpose is clear and that the page is easy to ‘scan’. Then make sure that people can follow the logical path you want them to follow in and out of that page – and you’re just about done :o)

    If I may suggest a book on the topic – Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition by Steve Krug.

    This is an excellent (and fast) way to get up to speed on what your pages should or shouldn’t do.

  3. Marc Kline

    7/25/2007 9:11 am

    Anita,

    Thanks for the book recommendation. I skimmed through it at the bookstore a little while ago. After your recommendation, I’d really like to read it, especially since I’ve had this subject on my mind lately.

    It’s funny how sometimes when we’re writing content, we get tunnel vision, and think only as the writer and the communicator. But we spend so much time on the web searching ourselves with the many of the same behavioral patterns as most people when it comes to searching, reading, filling out forms, and so on.

    Observing complex numbers and reports is a great way to learn a bit about our visitors (and our email readers for that matter), but before or as we dig too much into the stats that may or may not be misleading, we should consult with who we know best: ourselves.

  4. Julie Chamberlain

    7/25/2007 9:46 am

    The frustrating part is that the SE always pick those pages that you didn’t want to be indexed and leave off the ones you really do want listed. Typical SE 🙂

    I am learning to use php to change the content on each visitor pull of my main site pages – I haven’t finished it yet but am curious as to how this will affect my "home page" stats.

    Thanks for a great product in aWeber!

  5. Stephan Smith

    7/25/2007 9:56 am

    Hey Marc,

    I just wrote an article talking about how homepages aren’t getting as much traffic as they use to. Not only is the homepage an entry page, but all your pages are becoming entry pages.

    Since search engines spiders and bots are becoming more sophisticated, more and more pages are being found and indexed. Thus search engines will start to send traffic to all your pages on your website rather than just a few.

    I agree with you Marc, ‘Ever page is a Landing page’!

  6. Marc Kline

    7/25/2007 3:38 pm

    Julie,

    There are ways to help mitigate or eliminate the type of problem you describe. I can’t vouch for all of the advice given, but you’ll find some helpful information at:

    http://www.antezeta.com/avoid-search-engine-indexing.html

    We’d love to hear of the results you find through the PHP change you’re trying, and especially about results you find regarding the number of sign ups for your email campaign.

    Best of luck.

  7. Marc Kline

    7/25/2007 3:42 pm

    Stephan,

    What a coincidence, truly.

    As you know, this isn’t such a bad thing for the user (searcher). By utilizing better indexing, search engines are more likely to send people to the exact results they’re looking for.

    The thing is, once they find that information, what do they do? All good landing pages require an easily found next step.

  8. Steve Weber

    7/26/2007 10:43 am

    You hit the nail on the head Marc! Three years ago I started a retail website. Luckily, I had a book on SEO at the time which described how optimizing EVERY page was important.

    Now, three years later, my wife and I have both quit our education jobs and are able to stay home and work on our Internet businesses!

    SEO is the most important skill I have! (Besides knowing how to build a huge list with aweber of course!)

  9. Bob Clarke

    8/7/2007 12:24 pm

    Two great tips Marc,

    The second and unexpected one came when I signed up for the blog update notificaton…now that is a money making idea.

    Enjoy your trip to Nova Scotia, it’s the most beautiful province in Canada and Halifax is a real gem. We have a great history with the original 13 colonies, almost became one of them.

    Be sure to visit Halifax’s Eastern Passage where "CSS Tallahassee" excaped the two Union Ships waiting to sink her.

  10. » Web Analytics and Email: Bounce Rates - AWeber Blog

    8/23/2007 10:08 am

    […] Remember that virtually every page on your site has the potential to be a landing page, and you should publish opt in forms wherever they are relevant on your website. […]

  11. » New Web Analytics Videos From Google - AWeber Blog

    9/24/2007 2:31 pm

    […] Don’t forget to integrate your email marketing with your web analytics campaigns so you can track the behavior of your email traffic. How to Integrate Google Analytics with AWeber Web Analytics and Email: Bounce Rates Every Page is a Landing Page […]

  12. » How Blogging Benefits Email Campaigns - AWeber Blog

    10/9/2007 10:56 am

    […] Provided that you’ve considered that every page is a landing page and put a sign up form on the sidebar of your blog, you should see a corresponding increase in subscribers as your reader base grows. […]

  13. » 5 New Years Resolutions for Email Marketers - AWeber Blog

    12/18/2007 9:14 am

    […] Is your email sign up accessible and clearly seen as a useful resources to visitors? Do you have your forms placed prominently on any of the pages visitors may land on? […]

  14. D W

    1/30/2008 9:57 am

    For me, it is the OPPOSITE: getting my emails through to legitimate subscribers who signed up for them but block with spam filters.

    Any thoughts or threads I can check out concerning this MAJOR issue?

  15. Justin Premick

    1/30/2008 12:12 pm

    Hi D W,

    We have quite a few resources on reaching your subscribers’ inboxes that you may find helpful:

    * Recorded Video Seminar on Email Deliverability

    * Our Email Deliverability Guide (free to all of our blog’s subscribers):

    * Email Deliverability Category on This Blog

    * From Our Knowledge Base: Why Are My Messages Going to the SPAM Folder?

  16. Maximize Signup Conversions by Asking for Less - Email Marketing Tips on the AWeber Blog

    5/23/2008 1:31 pm

    […] Every Page is a Landing Page […]

  17. Done Your Taxes? Audit Your Email Marketing. - Email Marketing Tips on the AWeber Blog

    5/23/2008 1:40 pm

    […] Are there any new pages you’ve published on your site that could use a sign up form? […]

  18. Luiz Silva

    10/18/2008 5:28 pm

    Hello!

    I want to optimize every page of my web site, how can I put htlm codes, key words, meta tags for each page? Is this a good thing?

    thanks

  19. Luiz

    11/12/2008 12:58 pm

    Is it good to have a different page title for each page? Does it improve my web pages?

  20. Vlad

    11/15/2008 2:02 am

    Luiz, by making unique page title for each page including relevant description and keywords will improve your web pages and your website for sure

    1. It is easy for your visitors to bookmark particular page and know later what they bookmarked.
    2. It is beneficial when sharing page with friends
    3. Search engines treat your website better, it may actually help and boost traffic to your website.

    good luck!

  21. lecrawford

    2/8/2009 7:32 am

    Great Tips Marc, I never thought of it that way. My homepage gets all the attention so far. Will try these tips out and see what happens. Thanks again Marc

  22. 9 Ways to Build Your Email List Effectively

    4/12/2011 7:36 am

    […] Make Every Page a Landing Page […]

  23. Chukwuka Okwukwe Chukwuka

    7/16/2011 7:14 pm

    Hi! Marc,

    How do I put that particular kind of form you have up there in my posts?

  24. Justin Premick

    7/19/2011 8:26 am

    Hi Chukwuka,

    You can build a form much like the one in this post using our Web Form Generator. Simply login to your account and go to the “Web Forms” tab to get started. Once there, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of templates, and then customize your form’s look to fit your site.

    Happy form-building! 🙂

  25. Luk

    9/30/2011 9:44 am

    I think google analytics is really important to optimize my website, I think you have reason, every page in a website is a landing page.
    Good luck !)

  26. Miguel

    10/15/2011 4:03 pm

    ur right every page needs to have characteristics of landing page, because the main objective its to capture the email of our visitors, we all need to take advantage of every single visit that we receive in our web sites, because if the visitors go they will never return!

    thnks for the information!

  27. Anton Amoto

    11/9/2011 11:45 pm

    Nice post. Every page should be a landing page or a resource page. The content in each pages will provide incredible value to your readers.

    Give your visitor a reason why they landed on that page or offer something that is free whenever they optin to your list.

    Thanks for sharing this helpful information.

  28. Mike E.

    5/24/2013 4:54 pm

    I know this post is older but great information. I was wondering if everyone is as frustrated as i am with panda’s constant fiddling with updates, its like you have to redo your strategy on a monthly basis because google thinks today that “keywords” are now for sinners. urghh.

  29. Anton Amoto

    12/13/2013 1:53 am

    I applied this tips and got my blog post 1st page on Google in less than 12 hours. Thanks again for the tips.