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How copyblogger got it wrong

How copyblogger got it wrong

The latest copyblogger post by Brian Clarke, “5 Landing Page Mistakes that Crush Conversion Rates” disappointed me.

Rather than being the witty informative genius I have come to expect, it was a sales pitch recycling old information with no actionable content for the punters.

The 5 tips were:

  1. Blowing the headline
  2. Using your regular site design
  3. Asking for more than one thing
  4. Ignoring basic aesthetics
  5. Being lazy

These are nothing more than a shopping list of commonly accepted truths about landing pages.

The problem with truths is that they can become so ubiquitous that they are no longer critically questioned and therefore are no longer useful.

Kind of like the flat earth theory.

It is pointless telling me I need a good headline without telling me what one look like, or how I go about getting one. That is just teasing.

And sometimes it is completely valid to use your standard site design. Tell the reader why it might not be, provide a few examples showing why version b performed better than version a.

A loud property developer once told me that there was no accounting for bad taste. All irony aside, he was right. Taste and aesthetics are highly subjective. The thing about basic aesthetics is that they are, well, basic. If a punter thinks that fuscia comic sans font on a bright yellow background is beautiful they will read this get nothing from this tip.

In fact they will probably congratulate themselves from not making a  crushing mistake. And they will of course be wrong.

A more useful tip would have included information about how you can benchmark yourself against competitors, or how you can use free usability testing tools to work out what real humans think of your beautiful landing page.

A more useful approach would have focused on how a landing page is used by buyers. That’s right, real humans. Without them you have no business model and no business.

It stands to reason that not understanding your buyer can have a devastating impact on any landing page. All buyers are different. A landing page for aged care insurance will be very different from one for summer holiday activities, or one selling an book touting the secrets to being a home mechanic.

The point is there are no hard and fast rules except you must understand your buyer before building your lander for them.

Oh and test, test, test.

The post does advise that punters “[t]hink about it from their perspective” but doesn’t provide any tools or insights about how this can be achieved.

Unfortunately copyblogger were trying so hard to generate leads they forgot that the secret to their success has been to provide short, sharp, actionable online marketing insights of a phenomenal quality.

Balancing the conflicting goals of creating great content and generating leads is hard. Normally copyblogger nail this, unfortunately in this case they got it wrong. Because they are so very cool, I’m sure they will correct this very soon.

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  1. Jon, this article was the first in a series that covers landing pages. See the note at the bottom of the post.

    We’ve already covered an introduction to the “human” part of landing pages on the podcast the very next day. Did you get a chance to listen to that?

    This initial article may not be useful for you, but for many, this was the correct starting point. A lot of people simply don’t know the basics, so your patience is appreciated. 🙂

  2. Brian, thanks for reading and clarifying that the post was part of a series. I have to admit that wasn’t obvious to me. As I said in the post your stuff is normally gold, so I will be patient and keep reading.


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