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How to make your landing page count: 5 steps for landing page optimization

Landing pages play a critical role in digital marketing, driving leads and revenue by giving potential customers what they need, when they need it. 

Taking steps to improve your landing pages—with careful attention to landing page optimization (LPO) best practices—means you can push your performance to the next level and create better digital experiences for customers.

Last updated

30 Mar 2023

Reading time

8 min


Whether your goal is to generate leads, sell products, or collect data, landing pages are where the action happens. Optimizing your landing pages ensures they’re planned, designed, executed, and always working correctly to provide your visitors with the very best user experience (UX).

This chapter of the LPO guide gives you a list of actionable steps—along with landing page optimization best practices and tips—so you can start boosting your site conversions today. Ready to get started?

Take your landing pages to the top

Hotjar’s digital experience insights tools reveal what’s really happening on your landing pages, helping you identify issues and increase conversions.

5 steps + best practices to create high-performing landing pages

Many great user experiences begin on a landing page, setting the tone for how visitors will engage with your business moving forward

Outstanding landing pages help convert a higher percentage of website visitors into customers. The question is: how do you optimize your homepage and landing pages to fulfill these promises?

Follow these steps to give your landing pages—and your business—an edge.

#Five steps to effective LPO that drives business growth and increases customer delight
Five steps to effective LPO that drives business growth and increases customer delight

1. Analyze user insights and behavior

The best way to improve your landing page performance is to understand how—and why—your visitors really use the page. 

Knowing your users and analyzing their on-page behavior is critical to LPO. It helps you understand what drives, convinces, and persuades users to take action and puts you well on your way to developing a unique plan for optimization.

This three-step action plan leverages existing user data to identify areas of frustration and opportunities for improvement:

Discover the DRIVERS that lead people to your landing page

How do people reach your page, and what are they there for? They could come from a specific marketing campaign, online research, or someone’s recommendation—without knowing anything about you. 

If you don't consider the multiple paths users take, you can’t tailor the user experience and prioritize the right messages for the demographics that matter most to your business. These personalized user experiences are significantly more impactful and powerful than a blanket approach—letting you adapt and engage users when, how, and where it’s most valuable to them.

Instead of guessing or making assumptions, find out what drives visitors to your landing page by asking them to describe what they're looking for and why they want it in their own words.

Set up a quick on-page survey with open-ended questions. Ask them to share the main reason for their visit and find out what, if anything, is stopping them from taking action today. Then, identify the user personas representing your user base, and organize all the answers into a list of the main things people want to accomplish—or jobs to be done (JTBD)—through your landing page.

#An example of a Hotjar open-ended popup survey
An example of a Hotjar open-ended popup survey

Identify the BARRIERS that might stop them from taking action

A barrier is anything that blocks a visitor from converting on a landing page: what turned them off, scared them, or annoyed them enough to go elsewhere?

Session recordings, heatmaps, and feedback widgets are powerful tools to follow real visitors’ specific actions on your landing page, and pinpoint when—and why—they run into issues. Put on your detective hat (a monocle and pipe are optional), then dive into user behavior and feedback analysis to find the biggest barriers to conversion:

  • Watch how people interact with your page. Set up session recordings to see how real people on different devices browse, scroll through content, click on buttons, and eventually abandon your landing page. This lets you empathize with their journey, spot any issues they encounter, and gather the visual data you need to fix and improve their experience. 

  • Find the most problematic sections on your landing pages. Set up a heatmap for a visual representation of users’ clicking, tapping, and scrolling behavior. Look for any important elements people fail to see or interact with—think links, buttons, and calls to action (CTAs).

  • Figure out what’s causing user frustration. Set up an on-demand feedback widget on your landing page and wait for people to share their thoughts. When you give your visitors the power to tell you about their experience, they’ll show you exactly what’s working and what isn't right as they experience it.

#A Hotjar feedback widget in the wild
A Hotjar feedback widget in the wild

Spot the HOOKS that persuade them to act on your offer

As you build your plan for optimizing low-performing elements on your landing page, don’t lose sight of what’s already getting results. Stay on top of what works well to attract conversions, so you know what to double down on.

Use post-conversion surveys or polls asking visitors what convinced them to convert—and what almost caused them not to. Then, analyze the results and categorize the main hooks based on how frequently they appear. This helps you discover actionable, conversion-boosting insights to implement for all other customers (or even use on other landing pages).

For example, here’s how a senior performance marketer at Hotjar gained insights from redesigning the search ad for the highest-traffic landing page—and applied her learnings to other pages:

As soon as we saw such fantastic results from the new page, we repurposed the new design across over 20 other landing pages that we use for our paid search campaigns. We then collected feedback and watched heatmaps and recordings for the new version to see what we could potentially improve next.

Kayleigh Dibble
Performance Marketing Specialist at Hotjar

📌 Landing page best practice: the importance of hearing from your users

Companies that consistently deliver outstanding experiences for their website visitors and users know something you might not: customer feedback is the number-one driver to creating long-term success.  

Honest and critical feedback from users—through surveys, feedback widgets, and other voice-of-the-customer (VoC) tools—leads you in the right direction, no matter the problem. Feedback gives you a glimpse inside your users’ minds, providing valuable information to improve the user experience, reduce drop-offs, and boost conversions on your landing pages. 

#This open-ended question can highlight issues you never even considered
This open-ended question can highlight issues you never even considered

2. Draft hypotheses

Pinpointing the barriers and hooks your users encounter should bring major conversion issues and opportunities into focus. The next step is to develop strategies to minimize the barriers and maximize the hooks while considering your users’ unique concerns and desires.

Formulate hypotheses about how changes to the landing page might address these areas and improve the user experience. Here are a few examples of what that might look like:

3. Implement and test your changes

With your hypotheses in mind, it’s time to implement your changes and create and execute tests to measure their impact on the landing page

A/B testing—or split testing—any changes you make to your landing page lets you scientifically measure their effect on your conversions and determine their short- and long-term impact on your user experience. It’s also a great way to be bold and take risks without applying one hypothesis to all of your page traffic. 

Use A/B testing tools like Optimizely and Omniconvert to implement and test changes to the landing pages you’ve drawn from the research stage. The more you test your landing page elements, the more accurate your data is. 

Remember that A/B testing doesn’t have to be a complete redesign—it can be smaller landing page iterations tested over a few weeks or months. To learn what drives an uplift in performance, test the following changes:

💡 Pro tip: be sure to change one element on the page at a time when you perform an A/B test. This way, you’ll be able to determine if that change had an effect. 

4. Analyze results and measure performance

Once your experiment is complete, track and monitor the performance of your landing page variable to ensure the optimization efforts have been effective. 

Here’s how to analyze your A/B test results:

If you don’t see a significant uplift in performance from the variable, that’s okay too! You can still gather data from this experiment and go back to the drawing board with other iterations. Your experiment only 'fails' if you don't learn something from it.

💡 Pro tip: want to analyze the performance of your landing page control and variant with ease? The Hotjar Funnels tool has a (newly launched 🎉) comparison feature that lets you compare crucial metrics like conversion rate and average time to convert across two page versions.

📌 Landing page best practice: understanding the ‘why’ behind your A/B testing results

A structured A/B testing program makes your landing page optimization efforts more effective by pinpointing crucial problems and potential solutions. To get there, your tests should indicate more than just which variation of your test performed the best—you also need to understand why

These four Hotjar digital experience tools help you collect user insights and understand why winning A/B tests succeed, so you can double down on what works:

  1. Heatmaps: see where users click, scroll, and move their mouse on the page

  2. Recordings: watch users browse and interact with your web page across an entire session

  3. Surveys: ask users direct questions about their experience with your landing page

  4. Feedback: let users tag, rate, and comment on any web page element

#Recordings capture mouse movement, clicks, taps, and scrolling across multiple pages on desktop and mobile devices
Recordings capture mouse movement, clicks, taps, and scrolling across multiple pages on desktop and mobile devices

5. Iterate and continue optimizing

Landing page optimization is iterative: your job continues after the first round. Once you’ve started making changes to address your visitors' drivers, barriers, and hooks, and testing their effectiveness, it’s time to go back to Step 1 and uncover your next big opportunity.

This step-by-step guide to effective LPO is a great starting point to help you construct your best first attempt at an optimized landing page. After that, experiment! Let your customers decide—and tell you—what the best-converting page looks like.

Keep testing user experience and reiterating the continuous discovery process to improve results even further as your products and the needs of your target audience change.

This optimization process ensures each high-converting landing page is adapted to suit the users you’re targeting, the conversion goals you’re reaching for, and the means you need to get there. 

As you continue to iterate and optimize based on test results and user feedback, you invest in a user experience that will help you create a truly valuable landing page that solves problems for your users and helps them reach their objectives.

Next steps to landing page optimization

Optimizing your landing pages is a crucial part of marketing campaigns—both in getting the best return on investment and reaching and delighting more of your users. 

Following the tips above and testing and adjusting as you go ensures you're making the most of your landing pages and achieving the best possible results.

Take your landing pages to the top

Hotjar’s digital experience insights tools reveal what’s really happening on your landing pages, helping you identify issues and increase conversions.

FAQs about landing page optimization best practices