How to Suck at Startup Landing Pages

Don’t you hate it when people actually want to USE your product? I mean sure, you poured countless hours of sweat and tears into it, and it’s not like you aren’t proud of what you’ve built, but it can be so annoying receiving emails like…

“You’ve made my life so much easier!

or

“I’ve told all my friends to use this, it’s incredible!”

Ugh! So annoying! Why can’t people just leave you alone, you’ve got no time for this!

To make things worse, the internet is filled with a ton of information about designing these “effective landing pages” that can actually cause MORE people to sign up. More people! Who wants this?!

Note: I’ve included an example of one of these terrible guide books called “Fixing the Top 10 Most Common Landing Page Mistakes Made by Startups”. 
Don’t bother downloading it here. It sucks and reading it will just cause you to get more users.

Luckily, I’m here to help you out. If you want to avoid this terrible trend of increased growth and revenue, follow these 5 simple tips for creating the absolute worst landing page possible that’s sure to drive people away without giving you a second thought.

1 — Write a Super Creative, “Play On Words” Type Headline

The headline is the first thing people read when they get to your landing page. This is the best chance you’ve got at getting rid of people. You want the them to read it, scrunch their nose up a a bit, and then click away out of confusion.

I’ve found one of the best ways to do this is by writing a headline that doesn’t really talk much about the benefits of your product, but instead uses a play on words to vaguely get your idea across.

The goal here is to sound clever.

Take a look at the headline below for Kwilia. It does way too good of a job letting people know that this product is going to save them time when it comes to finding good stuff to share on their social feeds.

That kind of talk promotes sign ups!

To fix this, we want to remove any benefits it describes, and instead replace it with a pun. If you can’t think of a pun, that’s okay, just try to be as clever as possible without actually describing what people will get if they sign up.

Take a look at how we can de-improve this headline.

Now that is how it’s done. Hilarious.

By changing the headline to “It’s about TIME to get Social Sharing RIGHT” we’ve isolated any relationship between our product and how it’s going to improve people’s lives.

Sweet.

2 — Use Really High Res Images at the Best Possible Quality

We’re off to a great start with the headline trick, but what if you’re just too lazy for that? Well, you’re in luck!

A great way to ward people away from signing up for your product is by ensuring that your landing page loads so unbelievably slow that they die of starvation before they can sign up for it.

I should have brought my lunch today…

Most landing page guides tell you to “optimize your site” by using things like fancy image compressors or simplified code. Pfft! Whatever.

The best thing you can actually do is use full resolution JPEG files which are then scaled down to the size you want them.

Why? Simple. 57% of people will abandon your page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

It’s easy to do. First, save all your image files as full resolution JPEGs. Next, use an HTML tag to manually shrink them down to the size you need. Simple right?

Now your page will download the ENTIRE image file. Do this for every image and you’ll make sure people leave before your page ever loads.

3 — Ignore Mobile Users Because They Won’t Sign up Anyways

Not a single day goes by that I don’t hear people talking about the importance of responsive design for mobile users. Yawn! Boring!

So what if over 50% of traffic on the web is mobile now? Those people are probably just watching Netflix with their friends, or killing time in the bathroom at work.

They aren’t going to sign up anyways, so why bother?

And feel free to ignore all the stats that say having a mobile optimized landing page increases conversions. Just because O’Neil Clothing increased conversions by over 400% on Android devices with a new responsive design doesn’t mean the same will happen for you.

I mean honestly, who believes a case study anyways. They’re only facts.

Confused about how to implement this? Don’t worry, it’s simple. If a team member raises the point of responsive design, simply plug your ears while yelling “I’m not listening” over and over again.

After a few minutes, stop to take a sip of coffee then move on with the meeting.

4 — Be Mysterious

Being a man of mystery works great for James Bond, and that’s exactly the lead you should follow. You want to build an “international landing page of mystery”.

I take my call to actions vague — not specific…

Taking the time to write out all the benefits and features of your product is exhausting. Not to mention the fact that giving too much context is only going to lead to more people signing up and becoming users. Yuck!

When it comes to mystery, the key to success is to be vague. You want a visitor to land here and be completely oblivious to what you’re offering, even after scouring the whole page in search of an explanation.

Try using images that are out of context, like the ocean or a field. Make sure not to use any screenshots of your product, and certainly don’t include any kind of explainer video. They’ve been shown to increase conversion by 20%.

5 — Give People a Ton of Options

Let’s use our imagination for a brief moment. Picture that you are going to lose your sense of taste the moment you finish your next meal. Nothing medical. Just a bad luck type situation.

Tonight will be the last meal you’ll ever taste for the rest of your life. Your choices? A delicious steak dinner, or a plate of plain rice cakes. Simple choice right? Of course it is (for me anyways — I LOVE rice cakes!).

Now instead imagine being presented with a table full of 25 of your favorite meals that you had to chose only one from.

Now what do you do? How do you choose? It would be the most difficult decision of your life, and you’d be paralyzed with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.

It’s called the Paradox of Choice, and it’s the exact tactic we want to use to paralyze people upon visiting your landing page.

How do you do it? Simple. Include as many links, call to actions, and navigation items as you can. I’m talking everything. Contact us page, a page with team bios, a page with the history of your company. The more links the better.

This way, when someone lands on your page, they won’t be able to figure out what it is they’re actually supposed to do / the thing you actually want them to do, so they’ll most likely click one random link and then after being bored to death by your team bios, they’ll leave.

Mission accomplished!

Let’s Take a Moment Here

As you can see, it’s very easy to slip into this current trend of designing effective landing pages that help encourage the growth of your product. But you and I both know that’s not something you want.

The best thing people like us can do is to completely ignore our landing page and treat it as the lowest priority item on our list.

What’s that? You’re already doing that? Oh… well then… carry on!

No But Seriously…

The fact is, most of startups I consult with have put very little thought or effort into the landing page for their product. This means that 100% of the effort they put into marketing and growth is wasted.

Think about it… Put in time and effort letting people know about your product… Send people to your “landing page” or homepage… fail at communicating your idea and grabbing people’s attention… convert zero of those people into users.

See what I mean?

Whether you’re running Google AdWords, Facebook ads, guest blogging, or any other kind of growth tactic, if your landing page doesn’t convince people to sign up, then all that time and money is wasted.

But knowing how to design an effective landing page can be confusing. So to help you get started, I’ve put together a free eBook called “Fixing the Top 10 Most Common Landing Page Mistakes Made by Startups”. You might already be making one of them.

You can download it here.

This book will help you pinpoint what you’re doing wrong on your landing page, and give you straightforward advice on how to fix those problems.

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This post was originally published on my blog at http://usabilityhour.com/anti-growth-hacks/