Posted by Jay Wilkinson

When organizations build their websites, a lot of time and attention is paid to their homepage. I understand why—but I would argue that we should pay just as much, if not more, attention to our site’s landing pages.

Landing pages are the gateway to your website. A user who enters your website through a specific landing page is typically closer to the content that she’s seeking than if she entered through the homepage. It’s like the difference between a driver dropping you off somewhere in the neighborhood or providing front-door service. Your landing pages get your visitors right where you want them.

That said, it’s important that your landing pages be designed correctly in order to increase conversions. Here are the top five mistakes that nonprofits tend to make with their landing pages—and how to fix them.

5. Too many options.
If you give people too many things to focus on, they won’t focus on anything. Their eyes won’t know where to go on the page, and they’ll get overwhelmed and leave. Understand how users navigate a page and make your design lead their eyes through the relevant information and to your one single CTA. We need to be singular in our focus.

4. Too much text.
Let’s be honest, people don’t like to read much, especially on a computer screen. If you have too many words on your page, you run the risk of turning visitors away.  Instead of trying to cram too many messages on one landing page, pick one central message that you want to communicate and build your page around that. The “less is more” adage almost always applies here.

3. Lack of images or video.
Simply put, compelling images make us want to help. If you use just text to communicate your story, you’ll miss out on an important opportunity to tug on heartstrings. It’s not that you can’t be compelling with words—you absolutely can. But remember how many words a picture is worth? If you don’t include images or video to support your message, you decrease the likelihood that someone will connect viscerally with your plea.

2. Asking the user for too much info.
When you’d like users to share their personal or contact information with you, your guideline should be to ask for the least amount of information possible in order to accomplish your goal. Want someone to sign up for your newsletter? Just ask for their name and email address—the rest is extraneous. Studies have shown that, as fields on forms increase, conversion rates decrease.

1. Call to action is unclear.
The number one mistake that I see on landing pages is an unclear call to action. This can include too many calls to action, because without a singular focus, it’s unclear to the user what you want him to do. Your landing pages will always be more effective and see higher conversion rates when they’re clean, clear and laser-focused on one call to action.