How to Fix Schema Validation Errors

Everyone wants to log in to Google Search Console to find their website is error-free and running perfectly. This is rarely the case, unfortunately.

The good news is schema validation error notifications offer important information you can use to fix your site.

Good SEO is about consistently taking care of the small details, and that’s exactly what Google Search Console errors allow you to do. What exactly are schema validation errors though, and how do you fix them?

In this guide we will go over schema validation errors in more detail; specifically, the most common one, called “either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregate rating” should be specified.”

What Are Schema Validation Errors?

Schema validation errors are mistakes in the formatting of your Schema data, making it difficult for Google to understand that data.

Schema is the structured data that helps the search engines understand what your page is about. By interpreting the schema of your page, the search engines can show rich results, like the ones below.

Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregate rating” should be specified schema error - example of schema in action

While the traditional search engine listing might just be a link and meta description, rich results show a wide variety of information designed to improve the user experience.

The right schema markup can result in an increased CTR, but your rich results might not show up correctly if you have schema validation errors.

Many website builders or plugins such as Yoast SEO help take care of schema for you, but sometimes, you might still see schema validation errors in your Google Search Console (GSC).

Here’s a little more information on adding structured data to your website before we start to look at specific errors.

What Does a Schema Validation Error Mean?

If you’re not using Google Search Console to keep track of your progress with your website, then you’re missing out. It’s full of so many important insights into how your site acquires traffic and the errors that are holding back your SEO, so it’s something you should be checking in with regularly.

When you log in to GSC, a common error you might see is a schema validation error. These errors simply refer to issues with the way you have structured your data, causing Google to have problems interpreting it.

This isn’t likely to directly affect your rankings too much, but as we know, rich results help click-through rates, and this is a big part of SEO. Schema.org allows for a huge amount of information about your product to be included in your code, and all of this helps search engines better understand what you’re offering.

A search engine results page (SERP) is a competitive place, and it’s important to use all of its features to stand out from the crowd. You don’t have many opportunities to earn someone’s click, so you want your schema to be in order so you can use the extra features to grab people’s attention.

Here are some of the most common schema markups you might use:

  • organization: provides important details about the organization
  • person: provides important details about a person
  • local business: information about a local business such as an address, contact details, opening times
  • product and offer: specifications of a product and offers
  • articles: for blog posts and news
  • video: helps Google to index the video content on your site
  • event: gives people information about upcoming events
  • review: shows reviews about a product or business
  • rating: shows an aggregated rating for a product or business

If this information isn’t formatted correctly, or Google doesn’t see the information it thinks it should be seeing, it will show a schema validation error.

Three Schemas You Need to Avoid the “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified” Error

This is one of the most common schema markup errors and it can be a little complex to fix (you’ll actually need three schemas). Don’t stress, though, I am going to walk you through it.

Google encourages product pages to make use of all product markups because it increases CTR and results in more sales.

As consumers, we’re attracted to offers and social proof plays a huge part in the buying decision. With rich results, you can use these tools right from the get-go, attracting people to click on your pages, and giving yourself a shot at the sale.

However, some pages don’t contain the right schema markup, leading to schema validation errors in your GSC.

Three errors you will commonly see are for “offers,” “review,” and “aggregate rating,” which show up in a “either”offers “,”review “, or “aggregateRating” should be specified” warning.

Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified - screenshot of error

To fix this error, you’ll need to use these three schemas.

Offers

If you’ve got some great offers on your products, then you want to tell everyone. When you run ads, your offers are often one of the most prominent aspects, so it makes sense to aim for the same thing with your organic listings.

Sales promotions work, so be creative with your offers and make sure people are aware of them. Cost might not be everything, but it’s certainly important when it comes to selling your products, and this is an area where schema can be incredibly helpful.

That’s where the offer Schema comes in.

Review

Social proof has always been important in marketing. As long as people have been selling things, there have always been people recommending them to their family and friends, and this has a huge effect.

Today, the internet has supercharged the idea of social proof.

We have immediate access to the thoughts and experiences of people all over the world who have bought the product we’re looking at. Modern consumers want to see this, and it has a big impact on their purchasing decisions.

If reviews are a big part of the buying decision, then they’re also going to help earn you clicks, but they can only do this if you’ve got the correct schema.

Rating

We’re all accustomed to seeing star ratings for all the products we buy. It’s so ubiquitous that we’d think something was up if a product didn’t show a rating.

Ratings are like reviews, just even more convenient. They give you an immediate snapshot of people’s experiences with a certain product. This is highly beneficial for businesses that can display a good level of social proof, and naturally, they want to make the most of it wherever they can.

If you’ve got a great rating score for your product, then you want to showcase it, and where better than on Google using the rating schema?

How to Fix the Schema Validation Error “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified”

If you click on your “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified” warnings in Google Search Console, it will show you the pages they’re affecting.

For most people using WooCommerce (who seem to be the main people affected by this), you’ll find the warning isn’t actually for product pages, it’s for category pages.

This is because WooCommerce automatically sets your product pages up with the following schema: Name, Description, URL, SKU, Availability, Image, Offers, AggregateRating, Price, Review, and more.

Thus, the problem isn’t with product pages. Instead, they’re normally on archived products and category pages. This is because WooCommerce has included some of the product schema on these pages, but Google says archive and categories pages shouldn’t have this markup.

Again, this isn’t something to be unduly worried about and it’s not going to destroy your rankings.

It is worth fixing, though. Since the error is caused by WooCommerce adding schema to a page that isn’t a dedicated product page, the answer is to remove the product schema markup for those pages.

The way to do it is by adding a snippet of code to your theme’s function.php file.

When you mention code, things start to sound very technical, but it’s not too complicated. Of course, if you’re not comfortable making changes on your site’s back-end, then you can always get a developer to do this for you:

  1. head to your dashboard in WordPress
  2. hover over “appearance” in the left sidebar and select “theme editor”
  3. select “functions.php” from the “theme files box on the right
  4. scroll to the bottom of the text box
  5. insert the following code:

/**

* Remove the generated product schema markup from Product Category and Shop pages.

*/

function wc_remove_product_schema_product_archive() {

remove_action( ‘woocommerce_shop_loop’, array( WC()->structured_data, ‘generate_product_data’ ), 10, 0 );

}

add_action( ‘woocommerce_init’, ‘wc_remove_product_schema_product_archive’ );

Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified implementing the fix
Either “offers”, “review”, or “aggregateRating” should be specified - making changes to your code

This piece of code should fix the schema errors on your category and archive pages and remove the warning from your GSC. It might take a little bit of time for the Search Console to recognize the changes, so don’t worry if the warnings don’t disappear immediately.

Other Schema Validation Errors

Schema is like a language that allows you to speak with search engines. Sometimes, there are errors in our communication and the message doesn’t get passed on.

There are lots of different things you can communicate through your schema, so occasionally, there may be slight errors.

Google Search Console helps give you a good picture of how your website is performing on schema, but it also offers other tools to help you spot issues. The rich results test gives you a good visual breakdown of how your page looks in Google’s eyes, and when used in conjunction with GSC can give you a much clearer picture.

Here are some of the errors you are likely to see, what they mean, and how to fix them.

Missing Field Price

If you see a missing field price error in your GSC, you may have entered the price in the wrong format. It needs to be entered as xx.xx without the dollar sign. For example, if your product is $42.99, then it needs to be entered as 42.99.

Rating Is Missing Best and/or Worst Values

If you include an aggregate rating in your schema, then you need to enter the highest rating and lowest rating possible. Most of the time, this means one star is the lowest possible value and five stars is the highest value.

Value in Property “ratingCount” Must Be Positive

This number represents the number of ratings a product has so it cannot be negative. Your product page might not have any ratings, and in this case, the value will be zero, but it can never be negative.

Conclusion

Schema is an important part of how your website communicates with the search engines, so it needs to be correct—otherwise you’re wasting time. If your Google Search Console is showing schema validation errors, it doesn’t mean your website is about to tank in the rankings, but it is important to fix.

A common error many people see is the “Either “Offers”, “Review”, or “aggregateRating” Should be Specified” error, and this can be an easy fix.

When you successfully use schema, it can boost your site, improve your CTR, and ultimately bring more traffic to your site. It might only take a few small tweaks to fix your schema validation errors, so it’s well worth the effort.

Several elements come together for an SEO strategy, and making sure your schema markup is correct is one of them.

If this all sounds too overwhelming and you need help with your SEO strategy, let our team know. We can help!

Have you been getting lots of schema validation errors lately?

How to Run Nonprofit Marketing Ads

How to Run Nonprofit Marketing Ads

One of a for-profit business’s best investments is often their online marketing strategy.

Is the same for true for nonprofits?

Let’s take a look at how nonprofit marketing strategy is different from for-profit strategy and how nonprofit corporations may be able to better reach their goals by further leveraging digital marketing.

What Makes Nonprofit Marketing Different From Marketing in Other Fields?

The main difference for nonprofit marketing is about the goals. Often, with a for-profit company, the goal in advertising is the sale at the end. A nonprofit may have other needs in mind, and therefore other goals for the marketing campaign. We will dive more into detail on this in a bit.

It Has More Complicated Messaging

Think about your messaging. It’s not just about a transactional sale, so you want to be clear as well as inspiring. This is part of what makes nonprofit marketing difficult. People are used to being shown ads for a shoe or a new table. They can filter that out mentally or get on board and buy the product.

With nonprofit marketing, you’ve got a taller order. You’re not just trying to convert a sale. You may be trying to convert a mindset, or at least connect with a mindset that the person already has. You’re trying to appeal to values and aspirations for the world at large.

That’s asking a lot of a small social media ad, a video, a banner, or whatever other method you are using.

Its Main Goal Is Making It about Others

However, it’s not impossible. In fact, in some ways, you could think of this as more straightforward. Why? One thing people struggle with when trying to sell a product is not making it all about themselves and the product. There’s always the “why” question. Why should a customer care about what you’re selling?

With a nonprofit, the mission is built in. Usually, your message isn’t even really about you. It’s about those you serve. That’s the story you can tell in your nonprofit marketing and automatically, you’re the good guy or the hero others want to rally around.

charity water instagram nonprofit marketing

Here is an example from Charity: Water’s Instagram account. There’s a lot of faces there, with, of course, some water thrown in. Their pictures are about the results and what they are trying to do, rather than about the organization. They draw you in and entice you to click to learn more.

All the Working Parts are Different

As you’re working through your nonprofit marketing campaign components, everything is going to be different. For instance, the imagery you choose may tell a story instead of showcase a product.

Where you run the ad might change too. You can’t use a shopping ad on Google for a donation, for instance. You want to be thoughtful about where you are placing your nonprofit marketing ads and whether that’s the place people will be in the headspace to convert.

You’ll also want to think about where they are going to learn more. It’s not just an e-commerce shop. You will probably want places on your website dedicated to telling stories about what your nonprofit does, with longer-form narratives and videos, as well as plenty of opportunities to engage, such as donate buttons and email newsletter sign-ups.

Goals of Nonprofit Marketing Ads

As we just talked about, there are a lot of differences between typical marketing and nonprofit marketing. The most fundamental difference is in the goals. Sometimes with e-commerce or for-profit advertising, the goal is very obvious. Nonprofit marketing goals may be more complicated. It’s not necessarily about making a sale; rather, the advertising goals might include:

  • gathering donations
  • spreading awareness
  • building follower base
  • recruiting volunteers
  • promoting an event
  • encouraging involvement

Of course, every organization needs to gather money one way or another, just to keep the doors open. That’s just the nature of things.

With nonprofit marketing though, it can all feel complex. When you ask someone what the goal of an ad is, the answers may include any number of the above, maybe more.

That’s because, with nonprofits, it’s all about the mission. When you’re working in this field, you just want to keep doing better at what you’re doing. You want to reach more, make more of a difference. When you think about marketing, you want all those goals. You want more people involved, more money to run the organization, more awareness of the problems, and more awareness of the solution you provide.

However, it’s going to be key to drill down as much as you can. Get a handle on what you want this marketing campaign or set of ads to do in particular. If you have to, maybe there are a couple of subgoals, but keep it as specific as you can.

Knowing exactly what you want out of your nonprofit marketing campaign will help you evaluate how well it’s working so you can pivot and leverage the parts that are succeeding. This will help your marketing stay cost-efficient in the long term, and you will have more to show your board of directors and other key players.

5 Tips to Make Effective Nonprofit Marketing Ads

As we’ve discussed, nonprofit marketing ads can be so different from other types of ads, not only in the messaging but also in what you’re trying to accomplish. Measuring effectiveness will come down to what exactly the goal is and how you’re going to track it. Once you know that, you can start designing and developing your nonprofit marketing campaign. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you are creating it to leverage maximum results for your goals.

1. Appeal to Emotions

We touched on this above, but let’s take a closer look at the emotional aspect of your nonprofit marketing. This comes down to the mission of your organization. what are you about? Why is your mission so vitally important?

Emotions of “Why?”

First, let’s talk about how emotions are relevant to any kind of marketing. Even if you’re selling a shoe, people want to know why they should buy that shoe. As in, why should they really? How are they going to feel after having that shoe? What kind of connections will they have with others because of the shoe?

Does that sound far-fetched? Well, think about Michael Jordan’s sneakers for a moment and it’s suddenly not so crazy.

The great thing about your nonprofit marketing is the emotional appeal is not a stretch. It won’t take you long to come up with stories and testimonials that speak to why your organization is changing lives and the planet.

Lean into those and let them drive your marketing.

Emotions of Urgency

Urgency is part of the emotional appeal, but with a specific drive. You want people to understand why your work is vital now, as well as why their support is vital.

Getting people to act is the foundational goal of any ad so building in urgency can help that happen faster.

Don’t fake it, though. This isn’t about drumming up fake urgency, which makes your organization sound slimy. Look at your data and share the numbers to help people understand why what you’re doing is important and why you need them.

feeding america facebook ad nonprofit marketing

In their Facebook sponsored ads, Feeding America highlights the number of meals they have distributed as well as highlight the urgency of needing to deliver even more. It ends with a call to action to learn more about the organization.

2. Clear CTAs

If you want to know if your ad is effective, you’re going to need to track how people interact with it. Beyond that, it needs to be very obvious what you want them to do next and how they can go about doing it.

Think about goals, and write calls to action that speak to those goals. Here are some examples:

  • If you need donations, say “Donate Now.”
  • If you need awareness, say “Learn More.”
  • If you need followers and volunteers, say “Join Us.”

Make sure once they click or do what you’ve asked them to do, the next step is just as easy. Build a great landing page that shares more of your story and inspires action.

3. Make Donate Options Easy

You may not be trying to sell a product, but you may be gathering donations. Whether it’s an annual fund drive or a critical need that needs to be covered, nonprofit marketing can help raise awareness of that need for donations.

To be as effective as possible with a donation drive, include as many ways to donate as possible:

  • Set up an easy and automatic payment via credit card, PayPal, Venmo, and other integrations.
  • Make it clear where they can send donations if they prefer a slower method, such as a check.
  • Give a phone option, or at least email, for anyone having trouble donating online.

Make sure to include an opportunity to sign up for your newsletter or otherwise stay in touch with you as they are donating.

4. Gather Followers

With nonprofit marketing, it isn’t always about immediate action. Sure, you may want some donations or shares of your content, but there’s also an important long game driving your initiative.

As you are creating your campaigns, make it clear how to join the mission and align with what you’re about.

You can gather email addresses or provide a section on your website where people can learn more about local events or gatherings.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to include links to your social media accounts. Make sure your social media is filled with pictures and videos that highlight what you do. If your accounts are new, be sure to upload a dozen or so photos and videos to make them look full and scrollable. Use the daily features, such as Instagram Stories, to make it clear it’s an active account. Make it enticing to follow, with recent updates so they know if they follow, they will continue to learn more.

5. Look for Grants and Other Opportunities

For nonprofit marketing, grant opportunities exist to help get your message out there for a reduced price or costs covered. Depending on your goals and where you want to place your ads, you may want to take the time to apply for these, save money, and learn more from the provider about how to create effective ads. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants provide some free search ads to eligible nonprofit organizations as account support and other resources. You can also browse the Google Ad Grants site to see examples of other nonprofits running effective campaigns.

Twitter for Good

Twitter for Good provides free ads, as well as marketing campaign support and a variety of resources, such as custom emoji options, to nonprofits that join. This program focuses on areas of interest like internet safety, freedom of speech, equality, environmental conservation, and crisis management. Organizations involved in those areas may wish to apply.

How to Make Successful Nonprofit Marketing Ads

5 Ways to Ensure Your Nonprofit Ads Achieve Their Goals

  1. Appeal to emotion

    Tug on your reader’s heartstrings so they open their pursestrings.

  2. Include clear CTAs

    Include buttons and clear statements that make it obvious to your users what action they should take next (like donate, follow, share, etc.)

  3. Make donate options easy

    Give clear instructions on how users can provide donations and offer as many methods of payment as you can.

  4. Gather followers

    The more followers you have, the more likely you are to get donations and spread awareness about the causes behind your nonprofit. To gain followers, be active on social media, host events, network, etc.

  5. Look for Grants and Other Opportunities

    Some platforms, like Google and Twitter, allow you to run ads for free. Be on the lookout for opportunities like these!

Conclusion

Nonprofit marketing can seem more complicated on the surface, with a larger mission and lots of different ways to engage with people. However, when you dive into the messaging, it often becomes a little easier. Nonprofits have a great story to tell, which can work into content marketing with ease. As you develop ads for your nonprofit marketing, focusing on an achievable goal can help ensure your ads are effective and keep your spending at a minimum.

If you are a nonprofit needing help with your digital strategy, reach out. Our team of experts can help!

How are you going to evolve your next nonprofit marketing campaign to make it more effective?

How to Launch a Business With PPC Ads

How to Launch a Business With PPC Ads

You came up with an idea, did your research, maybe even found some funding. You are ready to launch a business — but how do you get people to your website or store?

Pay-per-click (PPC) ads are one of the most effective ways to drive growth for your new business. Unlike brand building, content marketing, and social media, PPC ads can drive traffic today. There’s no need to wait weeks or months for your efforts to pay off.

Even if you have years of business experience behind you and are pretty well-versed in marketing, PPC ads for a new business need to be handled differently. Below, you can learn more about why PPC ads may be the way to go for your business and find tips for to make the most of them.

Why Should You Launch a Business With PPC Ads?

PPC ads can be a great way to launch a business because they allow you to reach your specific target market through keywords and target demographics. 

With PPC ads, you create an ad and pay only when someone clicks on it. The ad should do something to draw the audience’s eye and make them want to click.

This type of ad is for new businesses for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is since they’re paid, you don’t have to wait to get to the top of search engine results organically. They show up at the top of the list automatically. 

Some other reasons include:

Reach Only Your Target Audience

PPC ads are highly targeted. When creating a PPC ad, you get to enter a ton of details about who you want to see the ad. The ad is then shown to people who fit that description. For example, you can target people based on their location, age, income, likes, family status, and even what shows they like.

Budget-Friendly

While the platform requirements vary, you can set a budget limit upfront with PPC ads. You know the absolute max you’ll spend on an ad campaign when you start, then you can track the success of your PPC ad and make alterations for future ones. 

This also makes it easy to scale; when you a ready for more traffic, just up your budget.

Trackability 

Because PPC ads are based on each click or interaction with the ad, you can follow how people respond. If an ad isn’t getting the responses you want—though remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day—you can alter the way the ad looks and see if that works better. 

Being able to track the ROI of your ads directly makes it easier to pivot if things aren’t going well — or spend more money when they are.

How Are PPC Ad Campaigns for Launching a Business Different From PPC Ad Campaigns for Existing Businesses?

Existing businesses have name recognition working in their favor, while new companies don’t. So, your PPC ads need to work a bit differently. While both types involve keyword research and target audiences, your research and focus on both factors need to be more intensive. 

Keywords and PPC Ads for New Businesses

You need to use keywords specific to your brand and products in your PPC ads. Businesses that have been around for a while already know what keywords drive their traffic; you need to do a lot more digging as a new business owner.

Start with a keyword research tool. Search for words relating to your brand, determine which combinations seem to drive the most traffic for other brands, and tailor them for your needs. 

Once you’ve chosen your keywords, make sure they’re in your copy so potential customers know exactly what it is you’re selling, why they should choose you, and call them to action.

Here’s an example. When we search for tomato seeds, we get a selection of ads from various sellers:

PPC Ad Campaigns for Launching a Business - tomato seed PPC ads on Google

The ones that stand out showcase the tomato seeds keywords, as well as related keywords such as heirloom and organic. Unless a user searched for a specific brand, they’re likely to be drawn in by your keywords and not your brand name.

Target Audiences and New Business PPC Ads

Your target audience is the group you want to see your ads. You can define them by location, age, gender, income, and more. Again, this is about being as specific as possible, figuring out who you want to buy your product via intensive research.

Your potential customers are more than just data, though. They like specific things. When you launch your first campaign, you should find out what types of ads they’re most likely to click on and create ads lining up with those details. You also need to find out where they’re most likely to click on them. Are they on Google or social media?

If they’re on social media, use strong visuals to stand out. As a bonus, you can often have a bit more copy with social media PPC ads than with search engine PPC ads. To grab their attention, use your picture and content to make it clear your new business meets your audience’s needs.

Let’s take TapRm. When you see this ad, specially targeted for those who live in NYC, you know immediately what they are all about. The various selling points, such as same-day delivery, may entice you to click and learn more.

PPC Ad Campaigns for Launching a Business - TapRm Facebook PPC ad

5 Tips for Launching a Business With a PPC Ad Campaign

Are you ready to dive into PPC ads to launch your business? Here are some actionable steps.

1. Get Really Focused 

One way to ensure you’re getting the most out of your PPC ads is to zone in on exactly who you are targeting and what you want them to do right now. Don’t get distracted by possibilities down the line. 

Stay focused on the market your business is best designed for and limit your reach to the most qualified buyers. These early days are the time to build buzz among your most potentially loyal customers, who will fall in love with your business

2. Decide Where Your Audience Should Go 

Your audience likely found you because they searched for a resolution to a specific problem, so avoid the temptation to send them to your homepage.

Instead, think through exactly where you want them to go when they click your ad. Maybe it’s a product page, sign-up page, or landing page created just for this campaign. Since customers are likely new to your website, you want to keep the conversion journey short and straightforward.

3. Start Small

You could create a wide range of PPC ads when you launch a business, focusing on different aspects of your business and showing up in various online spaces. But in these early days, keep it simple. Choose one of the platforms where your target audience is likely to be, either on social media or search engines, and focus on solving specific problems your customers have. 

Keeping things this focused at first can help you figure out what types of ads people click on to find your site and whether or not they convert. Later, you can use this information to expand your types of PPC ads.

4. Analyze the Data

Once you launch your PPC campaign, keep an eye on how your ads perform. Luckily, most paid platforms track this data automatically, making it relatively easy to see how many people see the ads versus how many click.

Are people seeing the ads but not clicking? Maybe you aren’t speaking to your customers’ needs.

Are people clicking but not converting? Maybe you’re sending them to a page that doesn’t immediately solve their problem.

Keep watching the ads, figure out when and how people are converting, and change tactics accordingly.

5. Build on What’s Working

As you continue your PPC efforts, create campaigns using campaign strategies that worked in the past, making them better each time. If you had a copy-only ad at first, you could take that copy and use it to create a PPC ad with a photo or video, for instance. 

Measuring the Success of Your PPC Campaign When You Launch a Business

Watching your PPC campaign’s metrics can provide the feedback you need so you can create paid ads that actually convert.

The metrics you should pay attention to include:

Impressions 

These tell you how many people see your ads. Knowing how many people see the ad lets you know if your audience is too broad or narrow, particularly when compared to the number who click.

Click-Through Rates

Click-through rates show you how well your ad design and copy are performing. If people are clicking through, you’ve made a good first step.

Conversion Rates

Once you notice those click-throughs, you’ll need to watch for conversion. Are people buying, signing up, or other actions? If not, find out why and change accordingly.

Social Interactions

If your ads are on social media, look for interactions such as likes or shares. With your new business, these metrics may not be about conversions but to show some growth in brand awareness

When you launch a business, you’re bound to try things that aren’t going to work. Don’t be afraid to scrap an idea and start fresh. Success in PPC ads involves trial and error until you connect with your ideal target market with a message they respond to. 

Conclusion 

You’ve launched your big idea. As a struggling startup, what’s next? 

It’s time to get out there and start advertising. PPC ads can help you narrow down your focus, provide valuable feedback about how customers respond to your new business, and help you understand how to meet their needs.

What kind of PPC ads are you going to use for your next business venture?

Landing Page: What is it, Examples, Tips & Best Practices

Landing Page: What is it, Examples, Tips & Best Practices

A well-designed landing page can greatly increase conversions for your PPC or email marketing campaigns.

Rather than directing visitors from those sources to your general website (where they may have a hard time finding what they’re looking for), you can direct them to a specifically designed landing page that steers them in exactly the right direction.

Creating effective landing pages isn’t the same as crafting a successful website or email newsletter. There are certain guidelines you should adhere to in order to maximize your page’s success.

Here is what you need to know to create an effective landing page.

Set a Goal For Your Landing Page

Landing pages, like any other part of your online marketing strategy, need goals. Without concrete, specific goals, there’s no way to create an effective page. Your goal should be clear before you begin designing your page.

For example, your page might be designed to encourage:

  • sales
  • email list sign-ups
  • white paper downloads
  • software trials
  • webinar sign-ups

You also need specific expectations for your landing page, on which to gauge its success. These expectations can be based on previous experience, anecdotal evidence, or simply wishful thinking.

It’s helpful to have a specific number to compare your actual results with. This could be the total number of conversions, or the number of people who make it past your landing page, or some other number, based on your own goals.

A Clear Call to Action is Vital

Once you know what your goal for the page is, you need to come up with a clear call to action. This is possibly the single most important part of any landing page.

Your call to action should be specifically tied to your goal and should be supported by everything else on your page, from headline and body copy to images and overall layout.

37 signals backpack landing page example

The Backpack landing page has a very clear call to action, though they opt to first direct visitors to more information about their plans and pricing, rather than going straight for the signup.

Keep Copy Clear and Concise

Your copy should be clear and concise. It should be persuasive, too. Landing pages are not the place to show off your creativity, unless that creativity is clear, concise, and persuasive. Leave the creative turns-of-phrase for your blog.

It’s pretty safe to assume that most of the people who visit your page are already interested in what you have to say, because they’ve likely clicked through from a PPC ad or email. But just because they’re interested when they arrive doesn’t mean they’ll stay interested if you don’t get to the point.

Every single sentence and word on your landing page should serve a purpose, and that purpose should be to support your call to action. If it doesn’t do that, cut it. Be ruthless in editing your copy. Tell your visitors what they want to know in as few words as possible, and get them to respond to your call to action as quickly as possible.

videowizard landing page example

The VideoWizard example has a simple design with clear copy that has definite goals.

Keep Your Landing Page Form Simple

If your page includes a form, make sure it’s only asking for the most vital information. If you’re trying to get visitors to sign up for an email newsletter, make sure you’re just asking them for their email address. Anything more than that decreases the chances that they’ll finish and submit the form.

If you’re asking them to make a purchase, keep it simple. Just ask for the vitals: billing and shipping information, plus a confirmation screen before placing their order. Wait to ask them for additional information until after their order has been placed.

vitals landing page example

This form only asks for name and email address, neither of which are likely to deter sign-ups.

clickable landing page example

This form, on the other hand, has too many fields. Do they really need a phone number and company name? And wouldn’t it make more sense to just ask for a name in one field, rather than two?

Remove Navigation Elements

The major difference between your normal website and your landing pages is your landing pages shouldn’t include the usual site navigation. Instead, the only clickable links should be your call to action, and possibly a link to more information for those who are undecided.

Linking your logo to your regular home page can also be a good idea.

verisign landing page example

This example shows just the vital links, without a ton of extraneous navigation.

Forget about links to everything else. All they do is clutter up the page and increase the likelihood that your visitors will abandon your landing page (and ultimately, your site) without converting.

Simplify Your Normal Site Design

Your landing page should still echo the design of your regular website, though, to reinforce your branding. This can be done through the graphics, general look and feel, or your color scheme and font choices.

This is important for branding and lets users know they are on the right page.

Choose Long Page or Series of Pages

There are some questions about whether it’s better to use a single page for your landing page that requires scrolling, or if visitors respond better to a series of short pages (sometimes referred to as a “mini-site”).

Mini sites generally have multiple pages with short content that funnel visitors from one step to the next along the conversion process. This has the advantage of getting users in the habit of moving from one page to the next, which can help get them in the right psychological frame of mind to convert.

The downside to mini sites is that they work best for conversion funnels that need a lot of content.

Landing pages, on the other hand, are perfectly suited to shorter content. They also only have to load once, which can be a big consideration for companies targeting people in rural areas or developing nations, where bandwidth and connection speeds could be an issue.

The downside is a lot of content can get overwhelming and can come across as spammy if not well-designed.

cameraplus landing page example

The CameraPlus page is quite long, with all the information you need about the app. (The image above is split, as the entire page would be several thousand pixels long.)

groupon landing page example

Compare this page, which barely fills a single screen, and uses multiple steps to gather information.

Pay Attention to the Fold

While there’s a lot of debate as to the importance of “the fold” in web design, landing pages are one area where the fold is crucial. Make sure that your call to action is located near the top of the page, where someone can click it without having to scroll.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that your visitors won’t scroll down the page to read more information. Hopefully, at least some percentage of your visitors will be ready to buy as soon as they arrive on your landing page, either because the email or link that brought them there already persuaded them, or because it’s not their first time visiting the page.

Putting a call to action right near the top of the page makes things easier on these visitors. (Plus, it can increase your conversion rates.)

hummingbird landing page example

The most important navigation elements are located just above the fold, with the call to action well above the fold.

magnetize landing page example

The signup button is well above the fold here, too.

Below-The-Fold Calls to Action

That doesn’t mean you should neglect those users who scroll. Make sure calls to action appear at regular intervals on your page, tied into the page’s copy.

This becomes more and more important as your pages get longer. Make sure that your users have to do minimal scrolling once they decide to convert.

freshbooks landing page example

FreshBooks includes links to a free trial or tour throughout their landing page.

Use Minimal Images and Larger Fonts

Your landing pages should use only one or, at most, two images. You want to avoid visual clutter on the page, or anything that detracts from the message and call to action.

Larger font sizes are also a good idea to keep visitor’s eyes focuses on what matters and reduce eye strain. Just don’t go overboard and put everything in a headline-size font.

The ideal line length for copy readability is 39 characters, so size your font (and column width) accordingly.

purdue landing page example

The typography becomes a major part of the visuals of this landing page, minimizing the need for graphics.

Start With a Centered, Single-Column Design

Studies show that centered, single-column landing pages convert best. Yet, there are still plenty of marketers out there who are opting for two-column designs.

Make sure that you test single-column versions against any two-column versions prior to committing to a design.

campaignmonitor landing page example

This is a great example of a centered page that makes great use of the available space.

Match the Look and Feel of Your Campaign

If your page is tied to an email campaign or PPC campaign, make sure the landing page echoes the look and feel of the ad or email.

If the designs of the two are wildly different, your visitors may wonder if they’ve ended up in the right place. The easiest way to do this is to carry over fonts, images, and colors from your campaign to your landing page. This is especially important for paid ads, as it can increase your quality score.

Use the Landing Page Tools to Get it Right

If you don’t want to have to use a web designer for your landing pages, there are options for creating great pages without any technical knowledge.

Unbounce is one of the easiest to use and lets you create landing pages without any IT experience. They have best-practices templates available that you can customize (or design your own page entirely from scratch), and flexible pricing (including a free plan for sites with limited traffic). Unbounce also integrates with Google Analytics for tracking your traffic, and Qualaroo for gathering user input.

Don’t Forget To Test Your Landing Page

Creating effective landing pages isn’t a one-size-fits-all project. What works for one site might not work so well for another. Finding the most effective page design is a matter of trial and error.

It’s important to test the different versions of your landing page (called A/B testing)to find the one that works the best for your particular situation. Without doing so, you might be leaving a lot of potential conversions on the table.

A few features to consider testing include:

  • headline
  • CTA
  • button size and placement
  • number of form fields
  • images
  • right, left, or center column design
  • colors

Just remember to test each variant one at a time — if you change five different elements, you won’t know which impacted conversions.

Landing Page Guide

Time needed: 6 minutes.

A well-designed landing page can greatly increase conversions for your PPC or email marketing campaigns.  Here’s how to do it.

  1. Set a Goal For Your Landing Page

    Without concrete, specific goals, there’s no way to create an effective page. Your goal should be clear before you begin designing your page.

  2. A Clear Call to Action is Vital

    Your call to action should be specifically tied to your goal, and should be supported by everything else on your landing page, from headline and body copy to images and overall layout.

  3. Keep Copy Clear and Concise

    Landing pages are not the place to show off your creativity, unless that creativity is clear, concise, and persuasive. Leave the creative turns-of-phrase for your blog.

  4. Keep Your Landing Page Form Simple

    If your landing page includes a form, make sure it’s only asking for the most vital information.

  5. Remove Navigation Elements

    Your landing pages shouldn’t have your usual site navigation. Instead, the only clickable links should be your call to action, and possibly a link to more information for those who are undecided. 

  6. Simplify Your Normal Site Design

    Your landing page should still echo the design of your regular website, though, to reinforce your branding. 

  7. Pay Attention To The Fold

    Make sure that your call to action is located near the top of the page, where someone can click it without having to scroll.

  8. Use Minimal Images and Larger Fonts

    Your landing pages should use only one or, at most, two images. You want to avoid visual clutter on the page, or anything that detracts from the message and call to action.

  9. Start With a Centered, Single-Column Design

    Studies show centered, single-column landing pages convert best, so test that version first.

  10. Match the Look and Feel of Your Campaign

    If your landing page is tied to an email campaign, make sure that the landing page echoes the look and feel of the email. 

  11. Use the Landing Page Tools to Get it Right

    You don’t need a masters in computer science to design a landing page. Instead, use tools like Unbounce to create great looking landing pages.

  12. Don’t Forget To Test Your Landing Page

    Creating effective landing pages isn’t a one-size-fits-all project. What works for one site might not work so well for another. Finding the most effective page design is a matter of trial and error.

Conclusion

Landing pages are website pages designed with one goal in mind — conversions. Following the tips above will help you create a powerful page that drives users towards your business.

Just make sure to keep it simple. This is because landing pages have very specific goals and shouldn’t include any extraneous information that might distract your visitors and prevent them from converting.

Are you considering creating a landing page? What is your landing page goal?