In this article, we’ll address one of the most critical parts of your article marketing efforts: The Landing Page
Landing pages are the crucial link between your polished article and the product creator’s sales page. If you don’t convince your reader to make the leap from your landing page to the sales page, you’ll have no commissions to speak of. Fortunately, figuring out the best landing pages for your niche is just as easy as finding the most popular article types. All you have to do is go to the most popular articles, and click through to their “landing pages.”
Find the landing page of a popular article
At the end of every article there is a section that tells you about the author. Here is an example:
This outlined area is called an “Author Resource Box.” It’s where you get to put links to your website or landing page.
This particular author is using what appears to be a blog template, monetizing it with contextual Google Adsense ads and affiliate links (appear further down the page).
Find one of the most popular articles in your niche using the guidelines covered in the last issue, and then check out the author’s landing page. Make a few notes and then repeat the process – identifying several of the top articles in your niche and then clicking through to the landing pages. Take notes of the common themes and designs.
- Do they share the same basic layout?
- What products are they promoting?
- What kind of content is on the page?
- Does the page have a headline, and what does it say?
- Do they have a place for you to sign up for a newsletter?
- Do they compare a few different products on one page?
- Do they have a product review on the page?
It’s worth investing a good portion of time on this part of the process. Look at 20 to 30 landing pages in your niche, or at least as many as you need to in order to get a sense of what is working for other people. If you see a particular type of landing page repeated over and over again, there’s a good chance that you’ve identified a winner.
Identifying Your Landing Page Type
Building a website is the next step in creating your profitable article marketing campaign. There are many different types of websites online and your choice will depend on your niche and the product you are promoting (we’ll get into this next month). For now, you just need to be aware of the types of landing pages to choose from – for the purposes of article marketing, there are just five types that work.
The difference between these types of website is their purpose. When you’re building a website specifically to support your article marketing efforts, you need to think about what you want the website to do. What’s the primary goal that you’re aiming for?
In several years of article marketing, I’ve learned that there are basically five reasons to build a website:
- To earn AdSense income.
- To promote your newsletter and build an opt-in email list.
- To present a direct sales pitch for a product or products.
- To start a blog for quick indexing and free targeted traffic.
- Purely for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes.
In practice, you will usually combine a couple of the above purposes into one website. If you’re smart, you’ll ALWAYS include an opt-in form on ALL of your sites so you can build an e-mail marketing list.
Let’s take a look at these five types of websites in more detail.
The AdSense Site
If you’re not already aware, AdSense is an advertising program offered by Google. Unlike affiliate programs, where the visitor has to make a purchase for you to get paid, AdSense pays you whenever someone clicks one of the ads on your pages. The goal here is to make a site with good AdSense ad placements.
An AdSense site should offer your visitors quality information, but also display AdSense in a way that encourages them to read the ads and click on the ones that interest them the most. What you make from an AdSense click depends on many different factors and it can be anywhere from a couple of cents to a couple of dollars. There are two reasons why Google Adsense is a great option for experts and beginners.
A) With AdSense you start making a little bit of money immediately which can be very encouraging when you are first starting out.
B) In certain select niches, AdSense pays very, very well! With these niches you can make a lot of money from just a little bit of traffic.
The blog template site we looked at earlier is an example of a site optimized for AdSense. In the next issue, I’ll share my tips and tricks for getting the most out of this type of website.
The Opt-In Site
As I mentioned earlier you should actually build an opt-in list on ALL your sites but sometimes you will build a site for just this ONE purpose — to get subscribers to your opt-in list.
On an opt-in site, there will be nothing else on the main page except your opt-in box and a call to action which encourages the visitor to subscribe. It’s sometimes called a “squeeze page”
because you are trying to “squeeze” the name and e-mail address out of your prospect.
The main goal of your opt-in site is to achieve a high conversion rate. You want a lot of opt-ins from the traffic you are sending there. The site offers nothing for sale initially but you will be promoting your product later on, through your autoresponder emails.
This is an example of an opt-in site. Next month we’ll go over the aspects you must concentrate on to realize a high conversion rate.
The Direct Sales Site
The name says it all. Everything on this page from the layout, to the content, to the graphics, is designed to “pre-sell” the reader on owning the product. By the time they finish looking at your landing page, they should be ready to buy. In short, the Direct Sales site is designed to encourage visitors to click through to the merchant’s sales page and BUY the product.
There’s a lot you can do with this type of website in order to pre-sell the product. You can provide full product reviews, host a series of mini-reviews, display videos of the product, include testimonials and endorsements, and even compare several similar products in side-by-side breakdown.
Direct sales sites can be very effective if they are done correctly. In the next issue, I’ll show you how to put together a successful direct sales site. For now, here’s an example of a direct sales site that uses reviews to promote several products.
Blogs have a couple of distinct advantages over ordinary websites. First, search engines love them. If you set up your site correctly, Google will index your blog pages very quickly. This means that if you put the right keywords into the posts you create for your blog, you’ll start to get free traffic from the search engines almost immediately.
Secondly, blogs allow you to get free traffic from social bookmarking sites and networking sites. You can add a plug-in (a small script) to your blog to allow readers to easily share what you’ve written. With just one click, your post can be entered into Digg.com, Reddit.com, Propellor.com, Del.icio.us, StumbleUpon.com, MyBlogLog.com, Twitter.com and many more. This results in more free targeted traffic that you don’t have to create yourself.
If you don’t consider yourself to be technically savvy, don’t worry. Blogs are easy to start and even easier to update. You don’t need to have any web coding skills and they are very accessible.
The only possible downside to a blog is that you need to post consistently in order to keep the content fresh. You can pre-load the content to be posted automatically but you still need to have a lot of it compared to the other types of site.
When you combine their ease of use with the search engine ranking benefits they can provide, blogs make good sense to use in conjunction with your article marketing campaigns. I’ve been using blogs almost exclusively since I discovered their effectiveness.
The SEO Site
As I’m sure you’re aware, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, the art of creating web pages that the search engines — especially Google — will display on their first page of results for the keywords you’re targeting.
An SEO site is designed to give you a strong presence in natural search results through lots and lots of excellent content. For example, let’s say one of your niche keywords is “heal acne breakout overnight.” The goal is to have your site come up on the first page of results for that term… without having to pay to be there.
When you build an SEO site, you have to make sure every single aspect of the site — page code, headlines, writing, and graphics — are all designed to work WITH the way search engines rank pages. You also need to work at getting lot of links to your web pages from important sites on the web with anchor text related to your niche.
There are very specific ways to accomplish good SEO. While it’s not too hard, it’s also not something you can learn overnight. You’ll need to do keyword research using a keyword tool such as that provided to Google Adwords customers. You also need to make sure your web page code makes it easy for search engine scripts — called “spiders” — to read and index your pages. Finally, you’ll have to start a link-building campaign to get other sites, especially important sites called “authority sites,” to link to your web pages.
This may seem like a huge undertaking when compared to the other types of sites in this issue. However, you can’t discount the power of natural search engine results. Google’s spiders are getting better all the time at figuring out whether a site is relevant to a keyword phrase or not. In some respects, it’s getting easier to dominate a keyword if you have quality content and a good layout.
In the next issue, I’ll share tips for dominating a keyword phrase with an SEO site. Until then, complete the suggested exercises.
- Do research on the top articles in your niche.
- Find their landing pages by looking at the author’s resource box.
- Take note of which type of landing page from these five categories seems to be working for your niche.
- Decide on the purpose of YOUR landing page and be ready to use the next issue to help you build it.
By Anik Singal
Anik Singal is the Founder and CEO of Affiliate Classroom, Inc. and Lurn, Inc. Anik began as an Internet marketer and affiliate in 2001. In 2008, Anik Singal was among the top three finalists in Business Week’s Top 25 Best Young Entrepreneurs in the U.S.