Landing pages have evolved a lot over the past five years.
Back in 2007, landing pages were almost cliché — what I would call Landing Pages 1.0. Take this example from Google — yes, Google — with the prototypical structure: a headline, a short description or some bullets, a small image (“hero shot”), and a form.
Most of the fields on the form were required. The “submit” button was still in vogue. And the payoff for filling out the form? A phone call from a sales rep.
Okay, so this first generation of landing pages wasn’t very good. But such pages were effective enough in lead generation that they got the ball rolling. Marketers started to wonder what they could do to make landing pages better.
Landing Pages 2.0: The Beginning Of Best Practices
To me, 2008 was the year when a new generation of landing pages took off — call it Landing Pages 2.0.
Two great books came out that year, Landing Page Optimization by Tim Ash and Always Be Testing by Bryan Eisenberg, and launched what I would characterize as the “best practices” era of landing pages.
Best practices were things that everyone using landing pages could — or should — follow. They included:
A/B and multivariate (MVT) testing — test, test, test your ideas
“message match” continuity between ads/emails and their landing pages
shorter and friendlier forms with better calls-to-action (CTAs)
emphasis on text content (not Flash!) to improve SEO and quality scores
“social proof” with logos, awards, certifications, testimonials, etc.
A year and a half ago, I put together the READY Conversion Optimization Framework as a broad summary of the most universal landing page best practices of the time: