There are so many terms when it comes to conversion rate optimization that it can make your head spin. Landing page, splash page, lead gen page, bridge page, etc. are just the start.
If you want to make the most of your website then it’s important to know what each page is and what they do. In this guide, you’ll learn about splash pages, see examples, and get a crash course in optimizing your own.
What is a splash page?
A splash page is an intermediate page that a website visitor sees before they’re able to interact with the rest of the website.
I fondly refer to them as demand pages because they’re always asking for something.
Splash pages can vary based on the design, use case, size, and everything in between. A few factors tie them together:
- Appear before accessing the main content
- Have short concise language
- Contain a clear CTA leading visitors to the next step
- Minimal or no navigation
Splash pages are far from ideal for every situation. Oftentimes, they’ll make users bounce from the website. Lack of navigation or the ability to navigate away from the page may turn some users off.
They should be used only when the positives clearly outweigh the negatives.
Here are a few times when you may consider using a splash page.
- When you have to collect important information before accessing a website (like Heineken)
- During a major product launch
- To create a better user experience (asking people which sports or type of content they prefer)
- Share important information
- To generate email subscribers
The list goes on and the reason you’d use a splash page may be different than the examples given above.
What makes splash pages unique (how they’re different from other pages)?
Homepages VS Splash pages
A homepage is the most unique page on your website. It’s designed to appeal to the largest target market possible while explaining what you do.
There are menu options, different sections, multiple links to other important pages, a dedicated footer, and different types of imagery.
It needs to communicate your unique value, help visitors understand why you’re unique, and generally has abysmal conversion rates.
It’s the nature of the beast.
A splash page often sits on top of the homepage and has a single action for the visitor to take.
Let’s break down the major differences between the two:
- A homepage often has multiple sections
- The homepage has navigation links on the footer and top menu
- With a homepage, you’re explaining the value the entire website or business offers
- The homepage has multiple graphics and different media formats like video, images, audio (usually)
- A homepage will present multiple actions for people to take (a primary and multiple secondary)
- A splash page has a single section
- There are no navigation links on splash pages
- There may be a single graphic or no graphics on a splash page
- There’s only one call to action or piece of information on a splash page
Landing pages Vs Splash pages
Landing pages and splash pages share many similarities but they’re not the same thing.
It’s easy to mix the two up so let’s look at what a landing page is.
A landing page is a webpage disconnected from most of your website that’s designed to encourage the user to perform a single desired action.
In other words, it’s a page that’s designed for conversions such as:
- Downloading a resource
- Submitting contact information
- Registering for a webinar
- Buying a product
The conversion goal isn’t as important as the fact that it’s built around a specific action.
While a splash page does have many of the same elements as a landing page, it’s not necessarily designed around a conversion action.
That’s a splash page on Harvard Business Review but there’s no conversion action. In fact, it barely has a clear call-to-action.
I’m assuming that it was designed this way because the creators thought the visitors would be able to infer the action that should be taken.
Another distinct difference between splash pages and landing pages is that landing pages are usually disconnected from most of the website.
Optimized landing pages don’t allow you to easily get to other pages. The logo isn’t linked to the homepage, there’s little (if any) navigation, and it’s designed to get your attention on what’s on the page.
Splash pages, though sharing some similarities, are often easy to leave. There may be a close button or an option to ignore the offer/announcement/link and proceed to the content you’re interested in.
Additionally, splash pages sit on top of the content a visitor is interested in as opposed to having a standalone page. OF course, this isn’t true in all cases but a large number of them do it.
The final difference I’d like to point out is the potential length of the two pages. Landing pages can be as short or as long as you’d like. It can be a 10,000-word behemoth because that’s what’s necessary or it can be a 100-word lead gen page.
Splash pages are almost always short.
How to optimize splash pages
Let’s look at how to make splash pages that people will read, interact with, and take action on. Since they’re so concise, it’s important to get everything right from the beginning.
Clear headline (and copy)
I’ve been stressing it throughout this guide but it bears repeating – splash pages have short focused copy that delivers the message and gets out of the way.
Most of the battle is your headline.
If you have a message that’s important enough to put on a splash page, you should be able to spend the time to boil it down to its essence.
Please don’t make your visitors read the complete works of William Shakespeare (that was a joke BTW) before they can access the content they came for.
When creating your splash page headline and the supporting copy, ask yourself if you’ve clearly explained what it is, the benefits, and why they should take action now.
The headline formulas on this page will help you speed the process along. You should also have your market research and segmentation down so you’re sharing the right messages (instead of what you think is the right message.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Headline should be clear and benefit-driven when applicable
- Add a sense of urgency to act now whenever possible
- Make it short
- If relevant, use numbers to make it concrete
Imagery isn’t required on a splash page but when used properly – it can be powerful.
Since it’s what people will see the first time they visit your website, they should be as striking as possible, on-brand, and relevant to the topic of the splash page.
You can get creative here and use different types of imagery for example:
- Full-screen background images
- Full-screen video backgrounds
- Product imagery
- Tutorial video
Of course, it’s your call. A software brand would go a different route from a luxury fashion brand or spirits brand.
Keep in mind that each one has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, videos will slow down your loading time while certain animations will be unable to load when ad blockers are enabled.
You’d be surprised but many people feel the more CTAs they have the better. After all, if they don’t like the first one, maybe they’ll like the second one.
While that logic may be sound in a supermarket, it’s not ideal when creating splash pages (or any type of focused page for that matter).
A CTA will focus their attention on the thing the headline mentions or promises. They don’t have to look around to find it.
Follow the best practices for CTAs which include:
- Contrasting colors
- Action-oriented copy
- Use buttons whenever possible instead of links
- Place it in a central or prominent location on your splash page
- Test different formats, sizes, text, and locations
Legal and trust indicators
This is an optional aspect of your splash page but it bears mentioning. If someone is visiting your page or website for the first time, it stands to reason that they’re not familiar with your brand.
If your splash page is asking them to sign up or buy something, then the onus is on you to convince them you’re not shady.
Design goes a long way towards this but it’s not everything. You also want to add trust signals so they know they’re on a secure site.
- Customer testimonials
- Payment seals
- An https: website
- Anything else you feel is relevant
Splash pages are an important part of your entire marketing strategy. It helps you share important information or get people to take your desired action more easily.
They also have negatives like increasing your bounce rate.
It’s important to balance the use of splash pages with the user experience. If it’s worth it then go for it but follow the insights laid out in this article.
Let me know what you think about splash pages or how you’re using them in the comments and don’t forget to share.