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What not to do: 5 landing page optimization mistakes and how to avoid them

There are some things that you just shouldn’t do with your landing page—like setting it and forgetting it, or not taking your target audience into consideration when designing. 

Avoiding these—and other—landing page optimization (LPO) mistakes provides visitors with a better experience, and ensures you’re making the most of your organic and paid marketing campaigns.

Last updated

17 Apr 2023

Reading time

11 min


Landing pages are proof that first impressions matter, and each step of your landing page optimization process plays a part in the page’s success—i.e. how well visitors experience and engage with it. 

This chapter of the LPO guide outlines some of the most common landing page optimization mistakes out there and how to turn them around in your favor.

Optimize your landing pages with Hotjar

Use Hotjar’s digital experience insights tools to understand your customers—and turn landing page visits into conversions.

5 common mistakes to avoid when optimizing your landing page

Your landing page has an important job: it informs visitors about your brand, product, and offer, and persuades them that you’re worth doing business with. So keeping it in tip-top shape ensures you have the best chance of converting traffic into leads and customers.

Landing page optimization can take many shapes and forms—from nailing the landing page user experience (UX) to creating compelling calls to action (CTAs). 

Even if you’re following LPO best practices, it can be tricky to make sure you’re implementing them correctly. 

Making mistakes when optimizing a landing page leads to pitfalls like:

The good news is that making mistakes is part of the LPO process—it’s how you learn. If you have the tools to create a landing page, you have what you need to fix it or avoid making these mistakes in the first place. 

Let’s look at five of the most common landing page mistakes out there and learn how to turn them around.

1. Losing focus of your users’ experience

As you begin optimizing your landing pages, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to lose focus of the visitor and their experience on your website.

Focusing too much on your product, its features, or how the landing page design looks leads to a page that checks all of your boxes but doesn’t truly reflect the needs of the people who matter the most: your potential customers.

Without user-centric optimization, this mistake often creates a misalignment between what the visitor needs or is looking for and what the page offers. This translates to landing pages with a higher bounce rate and lower conversions. So how do you prevent this common LPO error?

Put yourself in your visitors’ shoes

To avoid making this mistake in the first place, spend some time researching your market, your potential and existing customers, and their problems. Some useful questions to ask:

  • What are the drivers that lead people to your landing page? This means identifying the problems they’re having and which solutions they’ve tried before.

  • What are the hooks that persuade them to act? Pinpoint how you, your product, and your offer help solve user problems and translate that into your landing page optimization.

  • Which barriers are stopping users from converting? Put on your detective’s hat and dive into user behavior analysis to find the biggest barriers to conversion.

📌 LPO best practice: ask your visitors for feedback to improve their experience

Incorporating voice-of-the-customer (VOC) and user behavior insights into your optimization helps you pinpoint conversion issues and turn them into opportunities.

For example, using a post-purchase survey to ask people who have just converted what persuaded them to act helps you discover conversion-boosting insights you can then emphasize for all other visitors. You’ll also hear about the elements that almost stopped them, which you can similarly address for potential future customers.

#A simple Hotjar Survey helps you get clear insights from users
A simple Hotjar Survey helps you get clear insights from users

Emphasize value in the user experience

User-centric LPO isn’t just about pushing visitors toward purchases above all else or increasing your revenue—it’s about helping potential customers find value in your product or offer and giving them the confidence to help them achieve their goals. Here’s how:

  • First, use tools like Google Analytics or the Hotjar Dashboard to spot key behavioral patterns and problems in the user journey 

  • Then, watch session recordings and analyze user feedback to understand what’s preventing people from converting when they land on your site, so you can improve UX and reduce acquisition costs

These types of digital experience tools help you analyze qualitative and quantitative data to guide page updates, squash website bugs, and prioritize user pain points that impact conversions to improve LPO and UX alike.

We used Hotjar Feedback and Recordings to bring the voice of the customer and their experience into our landing page optimization decisions. Visitors told us that not being able to see Pricing with a condensed top navigation was preventing them from signing up, so we added it back in for them which improved conversion rates by 25%.

Kayleigh Dibble
Performance Marketing Specialist at Hotjar

2. Pushing lead gen forms that are either too long or too short

There’s a delicate balance to lead generation forms. Ask for too much information and they could end up turning people away. But including forms on your landing page with fewer fields may lead to lower-quality conversions.

That’s because ‘window-shopper’ visitors are less likely to fill out a longer form than serious prospects. So how do you get the best of both worlds?

Optimize forms for conversions

Use the ‘Breadcrumb Technique’ to craft a lead gen form that encourages visitors to finish it. Instead of presenting all your form fields in a long, single column, this method breaks them up into a couple of steps, guiding visitors smoothly through the process.

#KlientBoost’s multi-step form following the breadcrumb technique uses behavioral psychology to micro-convert prospects from one question to the next
KlientBoost’s multi-step form following the breadcrumb technique uses behavioral psychology to micro-convert prospects from one question to the next

Use heatmaps to spot issues and test forms

In a now-famous test, Michael Aagaard, Unbounce‘s former senior conversion optimizer, discovered that reducing his lead capture landing page form from nine to six fields resulted in a 14% decrease in conversions. Turns out, he had removed the three forms visitors engaged with most, leaving only the fields that people were least willing to fill out. 

To avoid this landing page optimization mistake, use heatmaps to spot issues and opportunities and A/B test (we'll explain more on this later) lead gen forms for conversions.

📌 LPO best practice: how to use heatmaps to optimize your lead gen forms

Hotjar Heatmaps help you detect where visitors spend most of their time on your landing page. Use the tool to see how people interact with different versions of your lead gen forms and boost your conversion rate. Here’s what to look at:

  • Clicks: see which fields get the most (or least) interaction and make changes to the form if necessary

  • Interaction: engagement zones help you detect if users spend a lot of time looking at a specific area of your form, indicating that it’s taking them longer to complete some fields

  • Scroll depth: if a lot of visitors don't scroll down to the submit button, something might be putting them off from filling out your entire form

Furthermore, the Custom Date Range feature lets you view heatmap data for a specific date range, so you can compare heatmap data before and after a design change, product update, or marketing campaign.

#Example of a Hotjar Heatmap on a blog website with a custom date range filter
Example of a Hotjar Heatmap on a blog website with a custom date range filter

3. Forgetting about mobile users

Not optimizing your landing page for mobile users—who make up over 50% of all internet traffic—is one of the biggest LPO mistakes that impact UX, ultimately leading you to lose customers. But how do you ensure your landing pages work well on mobile?

Ensure mobile responsiveness 

Ensuring visitors who use a mobile device have a good experience is essential in building a great landing page. When it comes to mobile optimization, you have two options: 

  • Responsive design: these are identical versions of your pages across desktop, tablet, and mobile, only resized and reorganized for a smaller screen size

  • Mobile-dedicated: a version of your landing page built specifically for mobile ads 

Regardless of which version you choose, ensure your mobile landing page passes the Mobile-Friendly Test Tool available on Google’s Search Console. 

Usability testing

While responsiveness is necessary, it’s also important to go back and see which elements of your landing page are affecting your users’ experience.

One of the easiest ways to get started with usability testing is through Hotjar Recordings, a tool that helps you identify issues with your landing page by letting you watch real people interact with your site pages and elements, so you can:

  • Spot major problems with your landing page’s intended mobile functionality 

  • Watch how users interact with page elements, like calls to action 

  • See places where visitors stumble, u-turn, or completely leave

#Hotjar Recordings require little setup and are a simple way to enhance your user research and improve the functionality and effectiveness of your landing page
Hotjar Recordings require little setup and are a simple way to enhance your user research and improve the functionality and effectiveness of your landing page

4. Using a CTA that isn't clear and compelling

CTAs are another key element website owners often overlook and can result in landing page mistakes that impact your conversion rates. 

Without a clear call to action that entices your visitors to click, your landing page won’t achieve the results you’re looking for, whether that’s collecting leads or making sales. Let's take a look at how you can get users to click that all-important button.

CRO for CTAs

It’s time to get into a little CTA-focused conversion rate optimization (CRO). 

Your first step is to decide what you’d like to achieve with your landing page, so you can figure out the best means of getting there. 

  • Are you collecting email addresses?

  • Are you attempting to make a sale?

  • Do you want visitors to like and share?

First, try to limit your landing page to one main CTA to avoid overloading your website visitors with too many options and ensure it’s clear and visible to each user—whether they’re accessing your page from a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. 

Also look out for:

📌 LPO best practice: how to use customer insights and feedback to get more CTA clicks

There's no magic formula for creating effective CTAs. It requires ongoing experimentation to see what works for your specific audience.

Hotjar offers tools to make this process simple. 

First, use Hotjar Heatmaps to identify the areas of a landing page that get the most click-throughs.

Then, use Feedback, Surveys, or Interviews to engage your visitors directly and increase those button or link click-through rates (CTRs). Ask for insights like:

  • Can they find the purpose of the page?

  • Do they understand what the page is talking about and what you’re offering?

  • Do users know where to click next?

If a batch of visitors quickly achieves the above-mentioned tasks, then you know your CTA is well-placed and will work well with future users.

#Hotjar Engage lets you automate the entire user interview process
Hotjar Engage lets you automate the entire user interview process

5. Failing to monitor performance and iterate

You’ve implemented LPO best practices and managed to dodge landing page mistakes along the way—great! But your job isn't over yet. It's time to measure the true impact of your changes.

If you're not measuring how well your optimizations perform and iterate based on those results, you risk losing conversions. Set it and forget it for too long, and you'll miss out on opportunities to grow leads and sales. Let's take a look at how to get ahead of this LPO mistake.

A/B testing

Is your new mobile interface hitting the mark? How well are your CTAs performing? Could they be doing better? The best way to find out is to run A/B tests on your landing pages. 

When you A/B test two elements, you send half of your users to a landing page that features one element and the other half to another page with a different version of that element.

Making A/B experiments a regular part of your digital marketing strategy helps you:

  • Remove gut-feel decision-making and guesswork from LPO

  • Avoid making LPO mistakes with a larger audience that has a big impact on your bottom line

  • Consistently improve performance and create the best landing page possible 

First, choose an element to change, such as the color of your CTA, landing page copy, or form placement and length. Compare the change with the original to see which one works better. Do this with multiple versions to identify the changes with the best outcomes. 

Once you’ve got a large enough sample size, you’ll know which version gives you the most conversions. Then you can iterate and test any future optimizations you create against the winner.

📌 LPO best practice: monitor your optimizations and understand your A/B test results

Hotjar’s digital experience tools help you understand why certain website changes lead to better conversions. That’s something Senior Performance Marketing Specialist Kayleigh Dibble can attest to, based on her own experience: 

“Before I discovered Hotjar, I was optimizing landing pages on a hunch. I wasn’t using the insights that were readily available to me to guide my decision-making and prioritization. I was changing things on landing pages that didn’t have an impact and only looking at what was best practice. What’s best practice can indeed help, but often there’s a quick change that can have a big impact that isn’t always obvious.”

For example, Hotjar gives you the ability to visualize and ask landing page visitors about their experience—what they like about the page, what can be improved, and what stopped them from converting. 

Observe visitors navigating your page with Recordings, and hear exactly what they think with Survey and Feedback tools for deeper insights into A/B test results so you stay focused on addressing your customers’ needs.

#The Hotjar Feedback widget lets your visitors highlight parts of your landing page they like or dislike
The Hotjar Feedback widget lets your visitors highlight parts of your landing page they like or dislike

Next steps to landing page optimization

LPO has the potential to help you improve your customers’ overall experience and drive revenue for your organization. 

As long as you approach optimization holistically and stay focused on understanding and addressing your customers’ needs, you’ll avoid making costly mistakes that impact your conversions, customer value, and user satisfaction.

Optimize your landing pages with Hotjar

Use Hotjar’s digital experience insights tools to understand your customers—and turn landing page visits into conversions.

FAQs about landing page optimization mistakes