Landing Page Makeover Clinic #18:

Landing Page Makeover Clinic #18:

Reader Comments (44)

  1. Great advice.

    Pop-ups are the number one reason I escape a website.
    It hardly matters when they pop, I like to be romanced.


  2. Great tips as always Roberta! I would suggest using lightboxes instead of pop ups and a better design instead of plain black and white. This way when the lightbox comes up its visually appealing and will not look like 99.9% of pop-ups. 🙂

  3. Roberta,

    Your advice is most helpful, and I look forward to implementing your suggestions.

    From the time I launched the journal and until now, I have learned a great deal about such landing pages, especially from your earlier makeovers. My latest landigpages utilize many of the tips you have mentioned here, for example

    Thank you so much for your help, and to anyone else considering getting Roberta’s help, I highly recommend her services 🙂


  4. An excellent Case Study, Roberta. My e-business guru, Jiri Kram, is a great fan of SharePoint but, IMHO< it doesn’t appear to be as well-known as you’d expect outside the big corporate I.T. departments. Maybe, there’s another audience who first needs to know what SharePoint is and how it can benefit them, you know, WII-FM? (Every consumer’s favourite radio station, ‘What’s In It For Me’?).

  5. I am not great fan of pop up. However, I am also aware that they can be effective if it is used properly. For instance some pop up are enoying. You try to close it and you face with another message saying are you sure you want to close it? You close that one and get another one saying there won’t be another offer like this again. First one i can understand, but second one is enoying and makes me leave the site as soon as possible. I think pop ups should be used, when the visitor leave the site.

  6. Great Advice. I really like how you use SharePoint as a specific example instead of just listing 10 tips to improve your landing page. It makes the post really easy to understand and paints a clear picture. I also like how you have declutter your landing page of all distracts as your #1. People don’t have time or desire to search for what they are looking for these days. Making things as simple as possible is definitely the way to go.

    Thank you for a great post.

  7. If you believe me, the only way to killer pitch page is;
    1. Rocking product
    2. Easy on navigation
    3. Appealing and asking to take action
    4. Describing a need of customers

  8. What great information! I love the way you are demonstrating the how and why landing pages should be completed in a specific manner. This is quite helpful to those of us who are truly wanting to learn the correct way of designing our landing pages.
    Thank you very much.

  9. You did a great job in the makeover of the page, but the old page illustrates an issue with Microsoft’s marketing that has nothing to do with the design. They assume that everyone thinks the way they do and that’s how they write.

    As a tool, SharePoint may be managed by folks who would really appreciate this newsletter. However, those who bring SharePoint into an organization are folks like me in marketing who wouldn’t spend a micro-second on the first landing page or the second. They have to get better at speaking the language of their audience of buyers, not just users.

    Melissa Paulik
    (former marketer at Microsoft)

  10. Huh, interesting Melissa. In my old organization, it was IT all the way who would bring SP into an organization. Without IT buyoff, no way would marketing be allowed to purchase it.

    This product doesn’t seem, to me, designed to sell SharePoint to organizations. It’s an educational tool for developers who are going to use it. So unless I’m missing something (always possible), I think Bjorn has the audience right.

    It’s a very good and important point that you have to know (and talk to) the person who pays the bills. But for a $14.95 product, very few organizations will need marketing directed at an exec who’ll need to sign off on the purchase.

  11. It’s true that clutter can kill any sales presentation, no matter how compelling. It’s the number one goal in sales…know your goal. If the goal is to get subscriptions, nothing should distract from that, even if it’s “good” content.

  12. I appreciate your input, Melissa, but I agree with Sonia. This is a user-centric resource. At $14.95 the user can afford it to purchase him/herself or get a quick sign-off for a company purchase. A $1495 SharePoint system? Now that’s a whole ‘nother kettle ‘o IT fish.

  13. Nice take Roberta. I also hate pop-ups. I agree with InternetHow Blog, pop-ups should only be used when the visitor leaves the site. And only once, don’t make a follow up “Are you sure you want to leave.” It’s really annoying!

  14. I personally do not like pop up,pop in, pop over – Pop anything, but if you want to build a business sometimes they are a necessary evil. The ones that I will be personally using are the ones at the top (now that I writing about it the name escapes my mouth) you know the ones that play peak a boo. Great sentence for the business world. And the new one or at least new too me – the ones that slide up from the bottom. They are not to intrusive and do not take up the page.

    I had one earlier today come up and there was not X to close on it and you could not get rid of it -so I got rid of the page.

    I like what you are doing with the critiquing and will continue to look forward to more so that I can hopeful incorporate the suggestions and make my url (see above) better.

  15. This is such great advice. In particular the visual aspects of landing pages, which many don’t highlight — believing it’s all copy. I love the way you highlight layout, visual, and perceptions from the users stand-point — all very important in successful landing pages! Kudos 🙂

  16. When I’m not busy annoying the world in general on the Internet, I make my living as one of the top SharePoint people on the planet. Bjørn Christoffer Thorsmæhlum Furuknap is one of the top 5 SharePoint people out there, and it’s unfortunate that his site(s) suck.

    I like Bjørn, but he needs a lot more help with his sites so that people can find him and the super information regarding SharePoint that he offers.

  17. Mike,

    Thanks for your comments, I certainly appreciate your kind words.

    Keep in mind that the entire journal was conceived, created, and launched in less than a week while I was otherwise very busy writing on my ‘real’ book.

    However, compare the USPJ-related sites with my blog, and I think you will agree that the layout is a lot easier on the eye.

    My first order of business now, however, is to address the issues Roberta has mentioned, and then, perhaps I can increase the revenue enough to be able to afford a full makeover 🙂


  18. Melissa,

    The USP Journal is not targeted at buyers of SharePoint or SharePoint services at all, but rather the users looking to master SharePoint. Those users are very seldom corporate users, but developers, administrators, and end-users who more often than not pay for this from their own purses.

    I’m not sure if I completely understood your reference to Microsoft marketing, but I have absolutely nothing to do with Microsoft. In fact, after I released the SharePoint 2010 Beta series of the journal ( containing information that Microsoft had not intended to be public, they hate me, truly, madly, and deeply.


  19. I dont get why people still use Pop-up boxes or those annoying little ‘don’t leave yet offer boxes’ I assume its cuz they work? I hope not, but I assume so… Thoughts?

  20. @Maren, it is, indeed, because they work. I have friends for whom they’ve increased conversions by 2 or 3 times.

    However, they make me insane and I just can’t make myself go there. Exit pops don’t bug me nearly as much, though. (As long as it’s just one.)

  21. Maren and Sonia,

    The popovers I used were insane on conversions. Th latest version, having my pic instead of the banner, had a 12,9% conversion rate from visitors (2279 unique displays, 2295 total displays). The one you see above had 9,4% (3627/3615). I ran these for the first two or three months the journal was up.

    I stopped using them since I had gotten a few complaints, but I’m seriously considering re-implementing them for some of the pages to test if conversion is still as high.


  22. B, you’ve done the testing and it works for you. Keep testing! I’d test the exit pop-up and lightbox already mentioned. I’d test holding back for a few extra seconds before popping on the initial page visit.

    Test it all. 🙂

  23. I love these makeovers. And there is always something that can be taken away to improve my landing pages and blog.

    I now need to investigate WordPress to see if I can remove my column on landing pages 🙂

  24. @Pat Bloomfield You can most certainly remove the sidebars from any WordPress page. You have to create a custom template. Some more info here (if you’re technically inclined). Not sure if this helps, but it is certainly possible to remove all of the side navigation from a WordPress page.

  25. I used this series of articles to help me decide how to revamp my Pallets for Profit site. Your lessons helped turn my old landing page into this. Thank you for the invaluable research you continue to share! By all means, if you feel inclined to critique, please fire off the suggestions.

  26. Wow, Max – very impressive! So nice to see the principles I cover illustrated in such a dramatic way. How have your sales, CTR, etc. improved since you made the changes?

  27. Traffic and visit time has increased and so has subscriber counts, but, sales are about the same. No real increase. I wonder if the cheesy old page did something more than the new one. Your thoughts?

  28. @Max, that’s hard to say. Cheezy can underscore cheap, easy and that can certainly work for a lot of products, especially one-shot sales.

    But what I’m looking at is that you’re building a bigger subscriber base – that’s an incredible asset. In fact, it’s your most important asset.

    Now you have a growing list of folks who WANT to hear from you on a regular basis. Drive-by sales are good, but your subscriber list represents the real gold you want to mine.

  29. Max,

    Growing your list is as important as the short-term sales. People may need time to make up their minds about any purchase, and simply reading a page may not provide them with enough time. They may not be in a position to purchase right there and then. There are numerous reasons why people do not jump into a buying mode right away.

    However, they signal their interest in hearing more by signing up for your mailing list. That means they actively ask you to convince them.

    Sign-ups are very, very important for your future business, but may not put cash in your pocket right now.


  30. Would you say then that landing pages are more for sites that have a product or services they are promoting whereas a site where the “product” IS the blog (like this one) it’s best to jump straight into the blog? Or is this a case by case situation? Thanks!

  31. @Leslie, any place a visitor ‘lands’ from an email, a PPC ad, search engine result, etc. is a landing page. Some folks, as perhaps you’ve seen through the makeover series, consider their homepage the landing page. This could apply to an e-tail store or certainly a blog.

    But if you’re looking to sell something or generate a lead toward an ultimate sale or specific action, then you need a specific landing page. Just ‘dumping’ folks off at the front door isn’t enough. The landing page provides direction to the visitor’s journey through your product/service messaging.

  32. Great tips. The almost instant pop would typically make me leave, but I stuck around for the sake of review the page and your tips. So much copy along with the call to action being somewhat hidden.

  33. @Roberta & @Doron, thank you for your feedback, I think the best option is to create a new page template. Then I won’t need to keep re-inventing the wheel every time I create a landing page 🙂

    @Doron I can’t see your links on how to create a template. Could you post again?

  34. @Max Your new landing page looks awesome but I suspect the first may work better as it’s easier for viewers to scroll a page than try and jump backwards and forwards through multiple pages.

    As the first page is such a good hook, an idea might be to keep that but then have everything else on the next page so they won’t need to navigate back to original landing page.

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