Landing Page Makeover Clinic #16:

Landing Page Makeover

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

We’ve got a sweet #16 makeover today that features a core program of our humble host and major domo, Brian Clark, right here at Copyblogger. So let’s dig in right away …

Barrie North is a member of Team Simplweb, a webhosting company that promotes attractive, turnkey, Joomla-powered site hosting and site building services at affordable prices. So far, so good. Inspired by Brian’s Teaching Sells program, Simplweb developed a turnkey membership site building/hosting service. The membership service includes hosting, attractive templates, lots of print and video tutorials, and support all for $89.95/month.

But here’s the problem. The raw conversion from visitor to buyer is quite low, practically a non-starter with the SimplWeb homepage driving the traffic to the landing page. I’m going to examine three basic areas: finding the right prospects, funneling them to the right place, and creating stronger offers.

  • The Goal:
    Pop conversions, generate sales.
  • The Problem:
    Solid product offering isn’t enough to drive sales from existing traffic.
  • The Current Landing Page:
  • Cost:

The Maven’s 10-Point Critique


#1 – Put yourself in all the places your prospects expect you to be.

If you want to attract prospects who need or are thinking specifically about creating a membership/subscription site – as opposed to general site hosting/building needs — then you need to promote yourself specifically and precisely where these prospects reside. Your competition is. When I put “building membership sites” into Google, I see a ton of organic listings and PPC ads.

What I don’t see on Page One is Simplweb.

In the very least, you’ll want to test PPC advertising, Twitter, Squidoo, JV (joint venture) deals with complementary sites serving the same markets, perhaps even guest blogging on the right sites to give Simplweb face-out promotion to the right, most receptive audiences.

SimplwebClick image for larger view

#2 – Strengthen your organic rankings with strong SEO.

Speaking of organic, when I view your title tag, I see nothing about membership or any of your other site-building specialties for that matter. If your specialties are what makes Simplweb unique, then again, put them upfront where folks can see ‘em and search on ‘em. While SEO involves a whole lot more than simply get smarter about the title, it’s a good place to start.

Right now your title tag reads:

Build a Website with Turnkey Joomla Hosting and Expert Support :: Simplweb

What about a change to something like:

Build Turnkey Membership, School, & Restaurant Websites | Joomla Hosting, Expert Support :: Simplweb

What are the key search phrases your best prospects are using to find your kind of services? Those are the keyphrases you want to have in your title, meta description and overall content.

SEO really isn’t rocket science. It’s about learning/using the language of your prospects in ways both meaningful and effective for their understanding.

#3 – Want to sell more membership sites? Don’t hide your info behind a drop-down menu on the general homepage.

Right now, the only way to your membership info page is through the homepage via a link I may or may not see, notice or engage with. Why? Because it’s hiding in a dropdown and part of a laundry list of other kinds of site-building specialties you offer. Can you hear the hard brakes of momentum stalled? I know I can.

Maybe I click the link, maybe I don’t. Maybe I get distracted. After all, I’m on the home page. It’s easy to get distracted here.

If you want to let the casual visitor know you specialize in affordable, turnkey membership sites, then let them know – big, bold and obvious. Incorporate a little of the Copyblogger gloss in your copy and get that casual visitor – who may/may not be all that casual about needing a membership site – and direct them to your membership-specific landing page. (More on that in a moment.)

SimplwebClick image for larger view

#4 – Don’t present me with a “better” offer than the one you actually want me to buy.

I see free-trial here. I’m going to remember that if/when/as I spend more time clicking around your site and find the membership info. Your membership site service, however, does NOT include a free-trial. I’m already at a disconnect and feeling confused. Maybe I’m thinking I don’t need a turnkey membership site and can use your basic service. Or maybe I’m thinking I’ll just go find another web hosting service.


#5 – Create a separate landing page/s for all membership-specific promotion and strip it bare of all irrelevant distractions.

I’ve suggested ramping up your promotion via organic search, PPC, etc. Now you have to send them to a landing page that takes that first glimmer of interest and expands on it toward a sale.

Right now your landing page uses the same template as the rest of your site. Ideally, you should strip all standard navigation and start with a reasonably clean page from which to work. Why? Because every link that is not specifically tied to your sales message is a potential exit door for your visitor. Keep your visitor on point and on the page. The longer on the page, the more engaged your visitors remain.

SimplwebClick image for larger view

#6 – Craft a headline grounded in your unique value proposition and visitor’s self-interest.

Almost never ask a yes/no question because if the answer is no, you haven’t given your visitor a reason to stay. That’s why your headline needs to grab the attention of your visitor through the lens of THEIR self-interest. In other words, they don’t care about building a membership site except as a means to additional income, higher self-esteem, etc. The second part of your headline (or headline/lead) is to establish Simplweb as the best solution/option to build a membership site.

Your unique value proposition comes down to this – It’s what you and only you can say about your service. Are you strongest in support? Have the most attractive templates? Best pricing? That’s what you emphasize. It’s what helps to distinguish you from the competition.

#7 – Try a 2-column format for your landing page.

You got some excellent content to work with, especially your testimonial from Brian. That’s why you want to get most of the essential information “above the fold” where it will be most likely read and acted upon. Using a 2/3 – 1/3 column format, you’d put your primary sales message in the larger column and your secondary info – client sites links, other testimonials, satisfaction guarantee seals, etc. The secondary info is supportive. It’s the information that makes a prospect feel comfortable about giving you their money.

#8 – Break-up the laundry list of benefits into better organized chunks.

Eyes glaze over with long bulleted lists. Help your visitor to understand the benefit context of a small group of bullets. Center these info chunks on service, support, design quality, ease of use, etc.

#9 – Forget the demo, use video to engage your prospect.

When I saw your demo link I was thinking video and when I didn’t find it, I thought I was in the wrong place. Visitor attention spans have shortened to the point where if the demo isn’t completely obvious, it won’t be used – at least not initially. Instead, I believe you could use a short intro video very effectively toward addressing the visitor and making them feel comfortable and engaged with your messaging.


#10 – Make me an offer and guarantee your services.

Remember that “free trial” verbiage on the homepage? In your info to me you mentioned you don’t offer free trials for membership site customers. That’s fine if you have something else you can say to a prospect who is almost ready to say yes. $89.95 is a lot more $$ than your standard website packages which DO offer free trials. How about a super-strong guarantee so no one feels like they’ll be out $89.95 on a product they ultimately decide they don’t like or want.

My thanks to Barrie North for his patience and support of Heifer International. Look for my next makeover in approximately 4 weeks.

Here’s your chance to be the Copywriting Maven’s next landing page makeover!

Got a landing page that’s more poop than pop? Willing to share with Copyblogger readers? Prepared to put a little of your own “skin in the game” for a Maven Makeover? Then follow your click to Maven’s Landing Page Makeover page for all the details.

(The response to the return of the Copywriting Maven Makeovers has been tremendous – thank you! The downside is I’m booked for new gratis critiques until 6/1/09. If you’re interested in a private critique/makeover or other services, please email me directly.)

About the Author: Roberta Rosenberg is The Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Reader Comments (32)

  1. says

    Thanks for the review Roberta!
    We’re hard at work implementing the ideas you have. One thing we want to make sure we can communicate effectively is that we have two different packages, basic Joomla websites and the more sophisticated, membership package.
    If anyone wants to see a sample of who is using Simplweb (apart from Brian), check out:

  2. says


    You put an incredible amount of effort into these makeovers. I appreciate it.
    Speaking of membership sites, I expect to see a Makeover Membership site from you soon! :)

  3. says

    Hi Roberta,
    I love your insight! I like looking at websites through your eyes, and then using those lenses to critique new sites. These teach me which questions to ask…if that makes sense. Thanks!

  4. says

    @Shane – thank you! I’ll add a makeover membership site to my list of things to do. (Great idea, btw :)

    @Brindey – that’s why I do these. So that folks can look at their work with a more critically constructive eye – and Heifer gets a few bucks, too. All good.

    @Barrie – looking forward to seeing your revision!

  5. keith lovgren says

    As usual, Roberta, makes excellent points.

    Someone who has never built a website is going to feel a bit overwhelmed. When they land on the current page, which is heavy with text, it will increase this feeling. (I would be surprised if they don’t have a high bounce rate for this page.)

    Simplifying as much as possible will increase their conversion rate.

    This can be done by :
    Dropping the tagl ine beneath the logo.

    Change the headline from

    Simplweb Membership Sites


    “Create Your Own Membership Site”

    Make these 2 questions into bullet points and switch their order for clarity.

    Do you want to sell paid subscriptions to your website?
    Do you want to build an Online Community?

    -Build an Online Community
    -Offer subscriptions to your site

    Much of the current text can be presented on different pages after the user has digested the initial message of “Yes I can build my own website/community/newsletter using this software.”

  6. says

    @Murray – you’re welcome to submit your page for a makeover here on Copyblogger if you’re not in a hurry and make a contribution to Heifer or you may contact me for a private consultation.

    @Keith – excellent points, thanks for sharing!

  7. says

    Great analysis; thank you Roberta! I’ve been told many times by people who should know that an ironclad guarantee is the way to go. Yet I’ve held off for years. Not sure why; my services are very good. Maybe it’s time to bite the bullet. Best regards, P. :)

  8. says

    Wow, a lot of excellent suggestions. Some of them were so simplistic. For instance I like the idea of an outstanding headline, you need to grab their attention and keep them interested long enough to make the sale. Why are they at your site? To make money – right?. So … show them what they need to do. Be straight forward.

  9. says

    I think SimplWeb can make use of a configurator. The visitors may be too diverse. Rather than offering a separate path in the copy, a configurator allows faster and more accurate targeting.

  10. says

    This is a very good primer on how to make a solid landing page. I gleaned a lot of useful info from this piece.

  11. says

    Great post.

    I have one more point to add.

    If you’re going to go to all the trouble to get me on your site, don’t make it so damn easy for me to escape.

    Make links off your site open into a new window/tab.

    Take the example sites you list. They’re all beautiful websites with interesting content. I signed up for a couple of the “fly catchers” offered on those sites.

    But I get distracted.

    Real fast.

    After looking at those sites and getting a couple of clicks inside, I could forget all about you back there several clicks removed.

    Hitting the “Back” button more than once is just against my nature.

    Making your site stay in a window or tab helps me remember what I was looking for in the first place.

    When you get someone on your site – keep em there.

  12. says

    That’s an interesting though Joe… I know some people look at it and say “stop trying to control my browser, if I want a new sindow I’ll ask for it”


  13. says

    @Barrie – Yep, it can sometimes be annoying and not always appropriate. If I’m linking out to an affiliate offer that I hope will make me money, and I want my visitor to be in the best mood possible when they get there, I might stay in the same window.

    In your case, you just want them to see the great looking work you’ve done and come back to order from you. The best practice in this case would be to put a warning at the top of the section – “(links open in a new browser window)” – so nobody is surprised.

  14. says

    This post led me to all of the tutorials that are available here at Copyblogger to create compelling landing pages. I´m in the process of rewriting the landing page for my ebook, “How to Be More Creative – A Handbook for Alchemists”, and I’ll be sure to read through these tutorials carefully for tips. Thank you for these!

  15. says

    Good info thanks for sharing with us.Nice information, valuable and excellent, as share good stuff with good ideas and concepts, lots of great information and inspiration, both of which we all need, thanks for all the enthusiasm to offer such helpful information here…

  16. says

    I agree with the point 4 that the visitor should be presented with the offer that is actually being sold. Instead of demos, use of videos is perfectly fine rather it gives grace and uniqueness to your site.

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