Landing Page Makeover Clinic #8:

Landing Page Makeover Clinic #8:

Reader Comments (23)

  1. That’s kind of too bad that the free book offer is not available for download, poor links are #1 reason for leaving a site?

  2. This is a great critique.

    For #7, though, just to be perverse, I think Steve ought to split test the format.

    The idea of using a traditional info marketing long form squeeze page to sell a novel is just weird enough that it might work–and it might hook people who never buy books, but do buy Yanik Silver/Dan Kennedy/etc. products. Worth testing out, anyway.

  3. If only because it sounds as if the author doesn’t think it’s true, I feel the need to say that for my money the page design is awful. The header, border around the testimonials and the navigation are especially bad. They remind me of the free designs you used to get with applications in the late 90s. A complete and utter put off for me at least.

    Although I’m always of the view that copywriters, and particularly those who do landing pages, never put enough thought into aesthetics. Maybe I’m just shallow.

  4. Roberta clearly cares about design, which is why she called Steve out on it twice.

    Words are crucial, but a bad design can keep people from reading any of them.

  5. Sorry Brian, I should have clarified. I meant the author of the book, not the critique – who did a good job of pointing out some of the problems.

  6. I think this is a super critique, and while I might take issue with one or another of the individual points, I think anyone would agree that the overall revamped result is MUCH more likely to attract buyers than the original. My site is DIY and looks it, which I am sure has lost me business. I’m having it professionally redesigned right now, with an emphasis on clarity and simplicity. I have several books I’m going to want to sell eventually, and this makeover is going straight into my “recipe file.” Thanks!

  7. @ Sonia – You’re right, that is perverse. But I like the idea of running an A/B on the two. If the whole thing were properly executed, he might get the people who are more used to buying things from long copy landing pages.

    Although, IMO, whichever one he goes with, I’d bring it further up the page. Might be construed as “last ditch effort” at the end.

  8. As usual…great critique.

    I really liked the fact that you pointed out the need for landing page copy to be alluring, clear and crisp.

    All too often we forget that our readers need direct connection in a back-to-the-basics manners.

    And As always…Thanks for the Great Critique!

  9. The navigation serves as a distraction and needs to be removed. Also the headline is weak and should be more specific to draw in the visitor. It’s estimated that 70% of an ads success can be attributed to the headline alone.

  10. You were right on target with most points but after 25 years in main stream publishing (and now as a free lance book editor) I would suggest that #2 – comparing his work to the DaVinci Code – could be a major misstep. First, everybody and his grandmother has been making that comparison since the book hit the NYT list. Second, no other book has lived up to the hype. Third, if it WERE that good he would have found an agent and publisher. Fourth, the DaVinci Code is old news. If anything, he should emphasize a fresh approach – although, please, NEVER use the work unique!

  11. Virginia, in most respects, I couldn’t agree more. However, I will quibble on one point. I think more and more authors of all stripes/experience levels/talent are taking the plunge into self-publishing. Unlike the old days, self-publishing – in and of itself – no longer has a taint.

  12. Hi everyone,

    This was my makeover, so I felt it would be beneficial to make a few points about why I did what I did, which hopefully may stop others making the same mistakes.

    But first, a big ‘thank you’ to Roberta for an excellent review. If anyone’s on the fence about whether to indulge – do it! Really, you’ll be so pleased you did.

    The overall look of the site was to try to give a crisp, clean image with the fewest distractions possible –good thinking, poor execution! Hence there was only one column of text, little in the way of images, lots of white space so the reader wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. And comprehensive links to everything imaginable. Oh, well…

    The headline was developed after reading ‘The Irresistible Offer’ by Mark Joyner. (Writing copy is new to me so I’ve tried to read up on it.) This seemed a fair idea, so I went with it. However, the ‘headline’ Roberta pointed out would be better was in fact my first choice up to reading Joyner’s book. (The headline has now be replaced.)

    The white background was to present a clean, crisp appearance. (Now changed to black, with flashes of colour for interest/contrast.)

    By going with a white background and as few distractions as possible, my choices for presenting the testimonials were somewhat reduced. I was aware they were prominent (which I thought was good as they were important aspects of the copy and should draw the readers attention) but didn’t realize they were ‘so’ prominent (The testimonials have been revamped to be more in line with the rest of the copy and less of a distraction.)

    The chrome borders to the images was a theme from the images on the back of the book itself (the banner photos you see in the first illustration). This effect was carried over onto the navigation for consistency. (All but one of the nav buttons have now been removed.)

    The font was quite large to make it easily readable at any size resolution. (Reduced to the more common size of body text font found on websites)

    The author photo was on a separate page so that extra info could accompany it, info that would have overwhelmed a landing page. (The photo has been reduced in size and repositioned.)

    A full navigation system was provided so browsers had access to everything imaginable on the site. I was worried this meant they might click away using one of the links to other sites, but I figured the information provided ‘might’ make that worth it — if browsers perceived value in what I was presenting in a web page, that might translate into value in my book. (The nav bar is now gone. By getting rid of it the book image has been moved to the top of the screen, to the hero position.)

    The copy has been condensed and re-styled in parts for a more cohesive whole. This was made easier by replacing the original headline. Also, as per Roberta’s suggestions, tiny excerpts of the book have been added to spice up the copy.

    The guarantee was part of the headline so details had to be included. Plus I figured a guarantee would give readers extra confidence to buy. Like I said, writing copy is new, so I didn’t appreciate the negative aspects of such a guarantee. (Now deleted.)

    There were two sample chapter styles – one a simple web page, one a flash presentation. The flash looked really cool with pages that turned over like real pages. I figured providing a quality sample would show it was a quality product. Unfortunately, I didn’t know the software I’d bought to produce the presentation was so unreliable (tests were fine on the whole). (The chapters link directly from the landing page now and the flash has been removed.)

    As you can see I had a decent instinct of what to do just not how to do it. Roberta has pointed me in the right direction on a lot of these issues.

    Please feel free to take a look at the revamped site. It’s not perfect, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a vast improvement thanks to Roberta’s input. (Only the landing page and FAQ pages have been updated so far.)

    I hope readers find this insight helpful.

    Thanks, Roberta. Excellent job.

    Author of suspense thriller ‘What if…?’

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