Affiliate Blogger Tip: Create Landing Pages
Guest post from Mike CJ
It’s common knowledge that most bloggers create specific landing pages – for example for people coming to their sites from Twitter. Let’s examine some other situations where you might want to have a bespoke landing page.
Traditionally on the web, whenever people create a link to their site, they do so to the “Home” page, which on a blog is the front page. The problem with doing this for a blog is that you are bringing people to what is basically a list of your most recent posts. For people arriving there, it’s like walking into the middle of a conversation, and trying to pick up what’s going on.
One of the best things about blogs is that it takes moments to create a page, and if you don’t publish it to the front page, it remains hidden in your blog, waiting for the right people to be sent to it. It means we can have an infinite number of pages, specially designed for people coming to us from different sources, or for different reasons.
Let’s look at some reasons to create landing pages and the key elements of each:
When you’re selling something
This is an obvious one. If you have a product to sell, there isn’t any point in sending people to your front page and hoping they will find the necessary link. In this case, you want to create a “Sales” page which can also be called a “Squeeze” page. It means you can send anyone interested in the product directly to that information.
A sales page is simply focused on talking about the product. One key element of a sales page is that you should take away any distractions, so try to remove the adverts, navigation buttons and popular posts lists on the page. In fact, on my own blog I take the side bar out all together on sales pages. The idea is that people focus on the product and simply make a yes or no decision about it.
Any product you sell should have it’s own sales page, and you should use the link to it whenever you want to tell people about that product.
When people are coming to your site from a specific place
Many have done this with Twitter already, so you have the idea. By creating a bespoke page, we can make people feel more welcome and explain what the site is about in relation to their needs.
You would only create a bespoke page if you are getting significant traffic from somewhere else. An example would be a forum you frequent. You can create a landing page for people coming to you from the forum, welcoming them from there, and showing them how to navigate and get the best from your site. All you have to do then is replace your home page URL in your forum profile, with the URL of your new landing page.
To make this effective, you provide them with relevant navigation. So if someone has come to me from a “Make money blogging” forum, I would be welcoming them to my site, but offering them links to the posts I have that are about making money, rather than to ones about community or the internet generally.
You’re far more likely to keep them on the site and get them to subscribe if you’re offering them content tailored to their interests.
To help people who have a specific objective in mind
If you have people who are looking to achieve something specific, you can create a landing page for them. Let me give you an example – I had people regularly emailing me for information about selling my products as affiliates. I had a pretty standard email that I would send each, but it dawned on me that I should use the site, so I created a landing page for that specific purpose.
There is one objective only on that page – to get people to join the affiliate email list. And once they do, they get a short course in how to sell affiliate products, and regular updates about what they can sell and how best to approach it.
By creating that page, I saved them and me a lot of time. Now when I am asked about it, I simply send people to that URL. I also use it as a signature in relevant forums, along with my main page.
You can create “facts” pages on your site like an FAQ section about your niche, or how to advertise on the site – these are landing pages, and used appropriately, you can refer people directly to them. It’s so much more elegant to send them directly to the information they want rather than telling them to visit the front page then click “Advertise here.”
Many bloggers also have a “Press” page, so press know where to go to relevant information. And you’d use that URL on press releases for example.
And don’t forget, you can use any post as a landing page! If you have a particular post that is relevant to a particular group of people, then use that as the landing page to get them into your site. It will speak to them and their needs immediately.
As you can see, any page on your blog can be a landing page, and you should think hard in future every time you use your front page URL in an online community. Would I be better off creating a landing page for these people? Should I send them to an existing landing page or post on the blog? Make sure you keep asking yourself that question.
And don’t forget the same applies to your comments on other sites. Instead of using your front page URL in the comment link, use one which may relate better to the readers of that other blog.
How to create the link
This is so important! Every time you link someone to your site from another site, use relevant keywords to do so. Please avoid “Click here” or untidy full URL’s.
Remember the search engines read both the link and the words attached to the link and they index accordingly, so take the time to think of relevant words and use them. They may not always be the same as the title of the page either. For example you may be sending people to a page about polishing cars called “Ten best waxes to use” Now it’s pretty unlikely that people are going to search for “Ten best waxes to use” but they are likely to search for “Best car polish” so your link should use those words, with the URL hidden behind them. This is called “anchor text.”
Doing your link this way means your page will start to rank well in search for the actual term “Best car polish” rather than the more awkward and unlikely “Ten best waxes to use.”
Here are a couple of actions you can take today:
1) Examine where your traffic is coming from. If you have significant traffic from a source where you don’t have a landing page, create one and change your links on that site to direct people to your new landing page.
2) On an on-going basis, each time you create a link to your site on another site (forums, comments, doing guest posts etc) get into the habit of pausing to decide the best place on your site to send them. If nothing comes to mind, consider creating a bespoke page for those people to visit.
Mike CJ is a full time pro blogger and author. You can check his blog out at www.mikeslife.org and you can also catch him speaking at Blog World Expo in Las Vegas later this year. He’s also on Twitter @mikecj