Great curriculum? Check. Helpful visuals? Got it. Experience with and excitement about educational technology? Check and check. Online course landing page? Uhh…Err…
The latter item is one of the ingredients that are sometimes forgotten about or overlooked when designing an effective and interesting online course. But the landing page may be one of the most crucial pieces.
The course landing page is the first item that many prospective students will encounter when searching for information about your particular class or topic on an eLearning site or through a search engine. Viewers can receive an overview of what you and your class are all about and hopefully become excited or at least interested enough to click to sign up or learn additional details.
It’s not necessarily easy to create the perfect balance of informative and persuasive text, but the extra effort pays off in terms of convincing viewers to want more, especially when visitors have so many choices and limited time.
So, how to work around it? Try these strategies for those wanting to make memorable and beautiful landing pages that also encourage click-throughs:
1. Get the images right
Forget about cheesy clip art from your Word or PowerPoint templates or similar pre-installed graphic files. Instead, put serious thought into what images sum up your class and what can create favorable impressions, either at a conscious or unconscious level.
- Consider shapes: Certain shapes are more appealing than others, even something as simple as a gentle curve vs. a thick line. Your choice of colors can also get people excited or relaxed. Reds can create tension, while blues can be more soothing. The brain is tricky to convince.
- Do it fast: The marketing professionals and eLearning experts say that prospective students will decide within 30 seconds if a course appeals to them, and a big part of this process is how their brain responds to the images. So, you have to impress your audience in just a few seconds.
- Make it familiar – but with a twist: Incorporate recognizable, comforting images to get people calm and relaxed. But then throw in a few other new elements to attract their attention. They should be aware that something different is going on. But there’s a limit. Too much new or different can make people wary or uncomfortable – even if they don’t know why. Likes and dislikes generally have no logic.
- Find great images: Visit free or cheap stock image sites like istock for basic artwork. Or make your own with programs like Paint or Easel.ly. The latter program lets you easily create basic circles and arrows to literally point readers in any direction – such as the ‘click’ button and ultimately the course homepage. The guiding theme can even be further accented in familiar road sign images, further directing visitors.
Once their curiosity is engaged by your landing page, they mentally will be telling themselves that more fun and unexpected things are awaiting them if they check into the course.
2. Course Title
Not much thought goes into a course name, but there are some aesthetics in content that can make people instantly interested or uninterested.
- Familiarity: Familiar is picked first. The same logic applies here. The verbiage should appeal to people’s desire for familiarity.
- Function: Simply tell what it is. Make clear what it is about right at the glance.
- Tone: Something too crazy or outlandish can make people feel confused, threatened, or at least uneasy. Set your tone carefully.
It also may be tempting to get punny, but humor can be sometimes difficult to understand by everyone, unless it’s clear that the fancy wordplay is deliberate, such as quotes or single quotes.
3. Course Subtitle
Your online course landing page should begin with the basic title, but the description can provide more detail about what goes on. This is where you can have a little more room to wow your readers with words.
- Say more: There’s more room to give more info, compared to the simple title space.
- Don’t say everything: Avoid the temptation to get overly verbose. Less is more where words are concerned. You don’t need to tell readers every detail of what will be explored in your online course, but contain enough highlights to keep them interested.
- Use ‘chunks’: eLearning experts suggest grouping similar information together for your course materials. This principle could also be used on your landing page – separate each thought into sections and related bullet points rather than one block of text.
4. Call to Action
If you’ve impressed people with the content and images on your online course landing page, nice job! Now, what? Seal the deal by explicitly telling readers what to do next – “If you’re ready, click here.” That will satisfy their urges that have already been elevated, and convince them that more good things are coming.
- Offer more: Sweeten the experience with actual incentives like discounts or extra services. “Sign up for two more classes and get a third for free or at a discounted price!”
- Add to the urgency: Nudge them with commands like “hurry!” or “Act now!”
- Include a challenge: “If you’re prepared to boost your knowledge in new ways, click here.”
- Visually loud: Make fonts larger and bolder (visually louder!)
Don’t worry about being pushy (to some extent) either – our brains have become accustomed to hearing the pitch[¹] after learning about any commercial product or proposal, and we’ll be confused if we don’t. Getting to the ‘call to action’ level is a reward in itself, but promises even greater things beyond this.
5. Keep your promises
It’s great to build up what’s waiting for visitors on the other side of the click button with your good-looking landing page, but you also should be realistic. “You’ll achieve a detailed understanding of Algebra” is much more honest of a claim that “your wildest dreams will come true and your very world will be rocked.” You also can incorporate some of the visual themes included in the landing page such as fonts, colors, and language into your course to remain consistent.
Overall, creating anticipation through a great looking landing page can go a long way towards helping people to decide to register for your online course. However, this is when your job becomes tougher. You need to deliver on the expectations of your audience. While the landing page of the course is your sales guy, your course is the actual product. Its content, structure, format, flow and supporting elements has a direct impact on the satisfaction level of your learners.
If you are looking to create courses online, WizIQ makes it easy for you with its integrated, brandable, easy to use and affordable online course creation software.