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Looking back to 2020 these are 5 landing page mistakes indie hackers keep doing over and over

Hey makers,

I spent the whole of 2020 giving my opinion/advice on YOUR landing pages, as video feedbacks, in this group.

I spent hundreds of hours reading through IH, crafting posts, answering questions, doing reviews...

🎯 What did I learn from the community?
Glad you wonder, I summed up my major findings below...

The idea started around March/April. I had a lot of time on my hands, as probably many others on here working remotely

I set myself a goal

What if I could follow this community religiously for ONE WHOLE year, and provide as much help as possible as I could?

So I did just that, I picked a group Landing page feedback and followed it religiously - I think I became one of its most vicious ̶s̶h̶i̶t̶posters!

The results

In fact I have recorded over 100 landing page feedback pages on my YouTube Channel (live-streams, and single page reviews) - I can say this year I've seen it all.

https://snipboard.io/2axk6n.jpg

Click for proof

So here are the TOP 5 mistakes I have seen repeatedly on your pages

Mistake ONE 🔴 - Lack of social proof

I know, you might think it's HARD to get someone on the internet to put their name and face up to promote someone elses' product.

Guess what, it's not.

Everyone has at least a "successful" friend that you can ask help from.
They can review your product and leave a testimonial that will act a social proof.
The best social proof comes from people or companies that have some impact in your "vertical"

I use this small tool called LInkedIn and search for 1st degree connections that could appear on your landing page and leave a mark

Here's a LInkedIn search of my 1st degree connections, for example.

Tons of CEOs/CoFounders that I've met throughout the years, I am sure at least 1 person can provide me with a testimonial to slap on my landing page.

How to solve this?
You're an indiehacker, reach out to some CEOs/founders/friends - give them an account, get their perspective, ask their permission to use their perspective and use it as a powerful magicspell! Don't forget to link name+face of your testimonials for max authenticity ;)

Mistake TWO 🔴- Using images that add nothing to your "story"

Enough using these

There's literally no value in adding the same images that we've all seen all over the internet ALL THE TIME.

I understand not having resources and being boostrapped but even with Paint.exe you can create better images to support your landing page's copy.

Use anything like:

  • Canva (freemium)
  • Adobe Spark (freemium, free for students)

and make sure to use REAL screenshots from your own product.

Companies like:

  • Intercom
  • Mailchimp
  • Shopify
    -Squarespace

THEY ALL do it because they know that people want to know what their tools look like, reinforces the fact that they're real things the audience can sign-up and use NOW - not tomorrow.

You would argue - well I'm just validating my market / audience - I haven't build anything yet.

That's okay, create mockups and slap them all over your page.

That's 10x better - even if you've drawn them by hand - than re-using a generic image that has NO meaning.

Here's a product from an IH @alexandra_yeo https://teamo.team/ - look how beautifully crafted her landing page looks - YET it's very simple. Notice how there are screenshots of her app on the page that blend in perfectly in support of the copy/text?

Here's a pretty fairly large SaaS in Europe called Qonto - see how they're not using screenshots but they still use beautifully crafted icons and photography to render the idea that you're in good hands?
That's the feeling you're going for!

How to solve this?
Spend some time asking yourself if the images you use, whether they're real pictures, mockups or something else, add authenticity and support the text of your page. One image a worth a thousand words.
P.S. Same story goes for video, if you have a video autoplaying with loud music that's a nono.
P.S.2 Even worse if you add a video but the quality is too low or it's too hard to read or understand anything you're saying when you do a voice-over

Mistake THREE 🔴 - Way too much text, lack focus

Copywriting is hard. Writing words on your page that mean nothing to your customers/audience, could throw them off your product.
It's always good to proof-read everything you write to spot errors AND inconsistency in messaging.

Speak about your feature but highlight your benefits, don't just speak the technical jargon.

Everyone's product is - beautiful, fast, saves you time and money.
But very few products tell you on the homepage exactly what they solve for the users and how well they do it.

@HarryDry - a fellow indiehacker - has an amazing guide to show you how you can stand out with copywriting without writing tons of words on your landing page

Every page is different and cutting the bullshit from your page is hard when you also try to keep it SEO-friendly

How to solve this?
Luckily there are a lot of indiehackers on this community that can help, finding them isn't too hard. For example @pascallaliberte, love what he does and his blog is an amazing start for copywriters and bootstrappers! Another one is @pedrocortes

Mistake FOUR 🔴 - No "about" page

This is a similar issue to the lack of social proof.

Lack of trust.

Why sign-up, purchase, or worse get locked into relying on a tool that might not be around in 6 weeks from now?
How do you trust that the maker/team behind the product will continue to develop, enhance, fix the tool?

When people create a product, a side-hustle or even just an ebook to sell...
most times they forget to write a little bit about themselves and why their product is worth someone elses' time.

After Gmail launched in beta hundreds of companies started offering email hosting with Gigabytes and gigabytes of email storage and yet - getting a Gmail was THE thing to do.

Because it was powered by Google. Not just anyone!

Selling a book, a SaaS or even just putting up a landing page to see if anyone express their interest in what you're building isn't ENOUGH.

That's literally like writing a book and forgetting to attach the first chapter.

I am not saying you should write a whole manifesto like some founders do, but at least a few lines that would allow people to relate to you/your product/your ethos.

How to solve this?
Adding a few links to who you are and what you do, can go a long way - that's why I love people who are "building in public". That's literally putting their face where their mouth is. That's amazing.

Mistake FIVE🔴 - Weak CTA

So many times people use an unusually boring call to action.

Call to actions are those big buttons that get people to sign-up, try a demo or leave their email address.
Whether you drop a call to action at the top of your page or a call to action just before the footer make sure you add enough kick to it.

How to solve this?
You need write calls to action that attract visitors’ attention and drive results, that's why you add things like

  • Risk reversals
  • Tiny subtle animations to your buttons
  • A color that makes your CTA stand out
  • Write actionable text, that can express "what the intent" is but also shows "what to expect" after the button is clicked.

Be consistent with the rest of the page, be precise by showing what you're sending the user towards, be straightforward and let the user get their "reward".

That's it - 5 things that anyone can improve on their first, second or 100th landing page.

After years of working for YCombinator, Techstars and on my own, I think I've learned a thing or two about marketing software!

If @Rob Hope hadn't done it already, I would write my own 100 Landing page tips book :)

I suggest you buy his ebook, alternatively you can ask questions about your landing page in the comments!

so now I ask you?

What's the one thing you're going to work hard on, in 2021?

P.S. You can access a subset of my feedbacks on this Trello board, for free:

  1. 10

    I want to add a controversial comment to this thread, 50% of the people who will give you feedback that tell you to "tweak" this button or this color, have no clue what they're talking about. Take feedback from the mouth that gives it. Sadly it's hard to see who's got a good insight and who doesn't with the current system.

    Use your brain 100% of the time, don't believe in upvotes too much.
    I'd rather have 1 good comment by someone who's been through the ups and downs of making something and succeeding, than 100 comment-advice from people who just stop by to "crap" on your hard work!

    1. 1

      100% agreed here. But you can take feedback from if they verify their claims with actual data (doesn't have to be theirs).

    2. 1

      When I was starting out, I saw too much of a comman sense tweaks like dark text on black background, which made it unreadable almost.

      I of course shared it with them. It is easy to forget tweaks such as this when working closely on a product.

      Do you think that is not useful or do you mean something different? Like listen to all the feedback and cut down the noise and take only a few?

      1. 2

        Common sense tweaks are good but they account for very small % increase.

        You could listen to all the feedback and identify patterns - for example when I make a video feedback for someone's page, I end up saying some things that other people in the comments also mention.

        That means there's a pattern, that multiple people are thinking the same.

        The keyword is thinking.
        But what should you prioritize?
        Easy changes aren't usually the ones that will give you a higher conversion.

        You always need to work on the things that will give you the most UPLIFT.

  2. 3

    I launched last week and good feedback from several IH on some of the lines you mentions. I think you hit the nail in the head!
    Thank you for sharing this good actionable plan.

  3. 3

    Great post orliesaurus!
    As a developer, writing the code is easy, but actually making something that will make people sign up is super hard. Thanks for the list and examples!

  4. 2

    This is a gold mine. Thank you for sharing this :)

  5. 2

    This is super helpful. My key takeaway is to get testimonials on my landing page

  6. 2

    The "enough using these" part made me laugh. I didn't realise how often I'd seen those style of images until now 😂

  7. 2

    Great post! I've definitely made a few of these mistakes myself.

  8. 2

    Yep, awesome post, thanks much for these details. Comes to the exact right time as I'm working on a landing page! Much much appreciated! Have a good new, healthy & wealthy year 2021!

  9. 2

    Awesome post. 🙏 🙏

  10. 2

    Great post, Orlie.

    Absolutely love the resources shared and linked in the article.

    I strongly agree with all the mistakes. The biggest ones for me are not using the right visual to complement the value and not using the words in the right tone and length to address the value.

  11. 2

    That's an awesome post to start the year and review current landing pages.

    On separate note. I always mess up brackets when linking like this too .

    (Qonto)[http://qonto.com/]

    It's actually the other bracket and get me to edit it, every time.

    1. 1

      Haha I always make this markdown mistake woops!

  12. 1

    Amazing and actionable tips @orliesaurus. I now have 4 things to change on my landing page immediately! Thanks!

  13. 1

    Thank You for the detailed post cant wait to take action from your post.

  14. 1

    Thanks, they all great!

    Every day I rethink my landing page (https://oopspam.com). It is sometimes hard to see mistakes.

  15. 1

    Thanks so much for this post. Although my landing page is converting decently well, it’s a great reminder that I haven’t checked off everything on your list. Next up for my Parent’s Club landing page is to add more social proof. I have a few quotes on there, but you’re right that adding photos will help. I’m also thinking about using Trustpilot to collect reviews from new members a month after they’ve joined. Does anyone have recommendations for on-site review widgets?

      1. 1

        Thanks so much @orliesaurus, I’ll check it out!

  16. 1

    I also found one common mistake in almost 90% of the landing page and website, which lacks understanding of the customer perspective.

    Working as a designer in a CRO agency is my day-to-day work to see this single biggest in all websites and landing pages.

    That's why sharing here so that you guys don't make this mistake.

    1. 1

      Cool, what are the tool you use to understand better their perspective?

      1. 1

        There is a very simple process which you can take by yourself and you don't need a tool for it!

        Actually, I have written a short article about it! I think it will definitely help you.

        You can check here
        https://www.khadush.com/single-biggest-landing-page-mistake/

        I hope this will help you!

  17. 1

    is your internal monologue SEO optimized?

  18. 1

    Thank you for the great suggestions provided. I can feel there's a lot of work distilled into them.

    I'm not sure about the about section, it might be too much for a simple project.

    • Weak CTO
      I can totally relate to that. Finding a good balance can be tricky, and sometimes it takes a few tries.

    I'll go through my new landing page and see if I can apply improvements based on your suggestions 👉 routergram.com

    Thanks again for sharing these tips!

  19. 1

    Thanks for enlisting examples that really helpful.

  20. 1

    I'll add something that I want to do, but haven't figured out how to yet – test your copy :)

  21. 1

    Great post! There is certainly some work to be done for us :-)

  22. 1

    Hi Orlie, great posting. You're the pro. In 2021 are working hard on making our product work perfectly. Could you take a look at timz.flowers and give me some tips on how we can improve our landing page?

      1. 1

        Hi @orliesaurus great video, we were just watching it. Thank you so much for your engagement and the time you have invested. It's so interesting to listen to somebody completely outside. Most of the critical topics we know and it's a matter of time and resources to improve them. It Will be fun to watch this video in a year or so when everything has changed. Can I be of assistance to you somehow?

  23. 1

    Well done! got alot from this!

  24. 1

    I just launched https://waterfaller.dev/ and have re-written my landing page many times. Reading these 5 suggestions really helped me edit and get better. I'm sure it still needs work. Thanks. I was also inspired by your public Trello board and will be using one to demonstrate how to use Waterfaller to build a backlog.

  25. 1

    I'm still conflicted about incluing in about page.

    I think it's a recommendation more suited for products aimed at indiehacker/makers. As you've said, we love people building in public and it gives off a more personal connection to the product.

    But... for an enterprise product, I don't think so.

    Companies want to make sure your product will still exist 10 years from now. If you make an About Us page about the founders, they will realize that all it takes is an unfortunate accident to occur for that author - and therefore the product they rely on - not to be available anymore.

    From what I've seen, most About Us pages for enterprise software - when they exist - is aspirational. They are focused on the mission/values, not about the people are building the software.

    1. 1

      Yep...correct in saying this advice aimed at indiehackers!

  26. 1

    Hey man! (a hundredth upvote)

    Thanks for this shortlist of main things to remember. To be honest, nothing special and I heard everything. But it should be repeated every time it could not to just "heard" it, but to remember these 5 main things and to thing according to them

    Thank you for this reminder!

    1. 1

      I agree, these things are/have been repeated over and over and over, so why is it that people don't do it? Look at my Youtube channel for example...look through like 10 videos I made from product reviews from this community, what will you see?

      You will see why it's important to remind people :) Otherwise I would be the first person to say, this thread is repetitive...

  27. 1

    All your points are good! We actually work on point 4 & 5 with paperless.io

    If you have any feedback it would be great!

    1. 2

      ...and where is your social proof? and why should I trust you with my documents? who are you?
      ;)

      One more thing...I am not sure Next-level documents is the best headline TBH. You could definitely come up with something more catchy

      1. 1

        That is a good point, thanks!

  28. 1

    Short and to the point :)

  29. 1

    Hey, amazing tips, I'm building my first landing page right now, I think you'll save me from these common mistakes 🙂. Will wait for your feedback on my own page, thank you for sharing!

  30. 1

    Is my about page at https://CrystalCUBED.com personal enough @orliesaurus ? Wanna strike a balance as I'm tryna long-term build an agency brand that's not super tied to me personally.

  31. 1

    All is well, i think most mistakes is putting too many illustrations

  32. 1

    This is basically a checklist of things I need to work on for Frontend Mentor! 😅

    Thanks a lot for posting. This is the nudge I needed to make the necessary changes!

    1. 1

      Big big fan of your product, sent it around to a lot of newly formed devs!

      1. 1

        Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing it around, I really appreciate it. And thanks again for this post. I'll be coming back to it when I re-work the Frontend Mentor homepage and PRO subscription sales page 🙌

  33. 1

    very informative thanks!. I have also started my Less Code Tool . Please check my landing page http://getautomator.com/ if you get time. Thanks.

  34. 1

    A nice write up. I am glad to see that we have addressed most of these issues with our own landing page! :)

  35. 1

    This comment was deleted a month ago.

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