Home Page as Landing Page – 4 case studies in web design

Creating focused Landing Pages is a standard approach for digital campaigns, particularly for engaging the first prospect visit from Google AdWords.

But more and more savvy brands are applying the principles of landing page design to their home pages. Less is more! We’re not saying this is true in all cases (see the Amazon home page), but it was in these when testing was used to assess design.

2010 update – 2 new examples of home page as landing page

Both of the companies featured in this case have now simplified their home pages further in recent redesigns – see links below. Another sign of this trend is from two presentations I listened to in May 2010 at Emetrics. Craig Sullivan of Autoglass and Michael Gulmann of Expedia (compare US home page to UK home page) explain how they have boosted conversion through simplifying their home designs as a results of AB and multivariate testing.

Key value proposition messages

Both of these examples have clear messaging on the home page answering the “Why Us” question?

Autoglass:

  • Job Done: We guarantee our work for as long as you own your vehicle

Expedia:

Why it pays to book at Expedia:

  • More hotels (and more deals!) in more places
  • Serious savings on Flight + Hotel packages
  • No Expedia change or cancel fees on hotels & more

Original home page examples

Here I have two examples, one B2C, one B2B, which share in common a high involvement, relatively complex product. They are also effectively mono-product companies, so the home page as landing page model is particularly appropriate for these types of business and it is probably easier for them to develop such a home page than for companies with a diverse range of products.

Disclosure: I am not consultant to either of these brands – I don’t use companies I work for as case studies, but I do use these example of good practice when discussing improvements with my clients or delegates on training courses.

Ultralase home landing page

Ultralase is one of the UK’s largest laser eye treatments companies.  Let’s show their best practice through screengrabs:

ultralase-home

Incentivised response-form

Multiple incentives and prominent position consistent with eyetracking studies

ultralase1

Clear calls-to-action

Again, prominent on the LHS, these are likely setup as conversion goals in Google Analytics. Containers blend image and text to avoid banner blindness. These containers all highlight their Online Value Proposition.

ultralase2

Common questions answered

These “points of resolution” are often hidden in an FAQ, interesting that Ultralase highlights them on the home page. What are your 10 key prospect questions?

ultralase3

Social proof

The right sidebar is used for the map to show scale through number of clinics and engaging containers for customer testimonials.

ultralase4

Prominent phone response

Vital for high value, complex products since conversion tends to be higher via the phone channel. Unique web number can be used for tracking online influence.

ultralase5

Of course, I have accentuated the positive and this site perhaps suffers from an over-emphasis on Direct response. Some common features are missing such as an “About” page to reassure about the history and stability of the company and a navigation to appeal to different segments – main reasons for seeking treatment.

Salesforce.com Home Page as Landing Page

Salesforce.com are one of the best known Software As Service (SaaS) CRM providers in Europe and the US. I also use their site as an example of well-balanced design with perhaps a better balance than Ultralase on brand-building, education and response.

Many of the good practice points are similar to Ultralase, so a single image should explain the approach.

salesforce

Of course Salesforce.com also use more focused landing pages with nav removed for lead generation from Google AdWords:

salesforce1

Additional example – home page merchandising

This was an example from an Omniture Webinar where containers are used to serve different content to visitors depending on their profile.

merchandising

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  • Marcus

    good post

    • http://www.davechaffey.com Dave Chaffey

      Thanks for your succinct comment Marcus – I want to do some posts that are best practice case studies – not just the lists that seem to dominate blogs and get all the comments! Good to know someone appreciated it!

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  • http://www.webdesigncompany.com johnkenedy5

    nice to see that this topic is finally getting some airtime. Keeping hush-hush about it doesn’t make it go away…

  • http://www.emarketing-egypt.com Ahmad Nagy – Emarketing-Egypt

    A wonderful articel
    I will refer to you in my website

  • http://www.thevirtualinch.ca Carrie Anderson

    Excellent post of a dissected page, Dave!

  • Michelle Byrne

    great article Dave – can be difficult to find this type of info. I’m working on the homepage re-design for a leading car rental company. The booking form obviously has to take prominence and whatever other content we publish around the form can’t detract the user making a booking. We’re looking at generating real time banners in context with places people are searching for. My question is, do you think the examples you refer to above have too much content – what about the google clean approach? Perhaps for a well known brand a clean approach is the way forward. dunno…

    • http://www.davechaffey.com Dave Chaffey

      I’m glad you’re finding it helpful Michelle.

      Taking the right decision on the amount of content on the home page is a difficult call and I think it often comes down to a belief on what is the best fit for the brand / market.

      You’re right, both these examples do have a lot of content eventhough they’re effectively single product homepages. I think the decision should be is based on:

      • Strength of brand – well known brands can and should use less content since they need to work less hard to communicate their credibility and features and need to play to their brands’ strengths – Nike uses a very clean approach
      • Number of products / categories / promotions – retailers tend to have more complex home pages since they can give more choice of products and offers – I have heard Amazon present and they said a more complex home page resulted in higher Revenue per order when tested
      • SEO – many companies get this wrong since keyphrases on the home page tend to perform better since the home page has the highest PageRank of a site
      • Of course, the obvious answer is to use focus group or AB Test different home page treatments. I’m sure you’ve done this, but what people say in focus group is different to how they behave. Adding eyetracking to the focus group can help there.

        Problem is the risk of testing the most valuable page on the site. I did see a good presentation by Skype a couple of years ago and they found that to increase downloads a simple design was best. Interestingly they have different treatments in different markets and in some like Slovakia they have more detailed explanation of proposition.

        Finally – don’t make the banners too banner-like – or visitors will tune them out – ensure the text is compelling. I have added an image of dynamic home page merchandising from a recent webinar of how Omniture was being used for this.

  • http://gamblingseoconsultant.com Gambling SEO

    some excellent examples of how to maximise ROI and (in the 1st example) screen real-estate using JS. keep them coming.

  • Nick McGrath

    Another well thought through article. I’m doing a grad course in E-Commerce
    we use your text book but I mostly try to look things up on the web and end up
    at Chaffey.com. So far it has worked very well. Regards NIck.

    • http://www.davechaffey.com Dave Chaffey

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for buying my book and glad you find the site useful. Any improvements for the 5th edition / this site?

      Dave

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  • Caroline

    Firstly, brilliant site. I’m doing the CAM Digital Diploma and I’m also using your book and website. Just wanted to point out that the pictures are broken on the 4 examples above. FYI I’m using chrome as a browswer

    • http://www.smartinsights.com/ Dave Chaffey

      Thanks for alerting me to this Caroline, I will fix with latest images – caused by retiring another site hosting these images. All the best for your studies!

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