The Best Order of Elements For Your Landing Page

Xander was the one to ask the question on IndieHackers, and I think it’s a good one: What is the definitive best order of elements for a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) landing page?

Okay people, I’m frustrated.
I’ve spend plenty of time on optimizing the homepage for ratemymeeting.co. But there is too many opinions around me of non-techies that I’m looking here for what I hope is somewhat of a definite answer. ❓ What is the best order of elements for a SaaS homepage?
The options of elements:
A. Hero
B. Company logos
C. Testimonial(s)
D. Problems
E. Essential features
F. Benefits
G. Integrations
H. Team
I. ?
J. ?
K. ?
I’ve had people tell me everything, so any (grounded) advice is welcome. I need volume to make up my mind.
My own idea: A, D, E, F, C, B

Is there even such a thing as a definitive answer?

Let’s try to avoid “it depends” tropes and let’s expose a few conventional structures, and some unconventional ones for fun. And at the end of the article, we’ll talk about the importance of flow.

Let’s Run Through a Few Structures

Xander’s proposed structure (A, D, E, F, C, B):

  1. Hero
  2. Problems
  3. Essential Features
  4. Benefits
  5. Testimonial(s)
  6. Company Logos

Xander here didn’t list “Calls to action” (CTA), those parts of a page that provide a button for the next step (signing up, trying the software, seeing a demo). Usually, that’s in the Hero section (implied by Xander’s order), but Julian Shapiro’s starter template makes those explicit, and adds them more than once on the page:

  1. Hero
  2. Social Proof
  3. CTA
  4. Features
  5. CTA
  6. Footer

Julian also says this in his guide, which is smart:

Counterintuitively, concise doesn’t mean short

It’s true. Long landing pages make calls-to-action work better, because:

  • people naturally scroll anyway;
  • you get multiple chances at making your point with a variety of words (one of the words will eventually connect), and;
  • you help your visitor make progress by offering them the next step (the CTA) right where it makes sense.

But then there’s this unconventional page structure:

  1. Pain
  2. Pain
  3. Pain
  4. Product Peak, CTA
  5. Pain
  6. Pain
  7. Dream
  8. Social Proof
  9. Dream
  10. Social Proof
  11. Fix: Product Intro
  12. Social Proof
  13. Product Options, CTA
  14. Alternative: Newsletter signup
  15. About the author
  16. Social Proof
  17. CTA

That, my friends, is called the Pain-Dream-Fix page structure, and it is glorious.

  1. Pain
  2. Pain
  3. Pain
  4. Pain!
  5. Dream!
  6. Fix!

You start with Pain: relating to the user how much you understand their struggle. No struggle, no need for a solution.

You then describe the Dream, a way to tell your visitor there’s a better way.

Only then do you describe the Fix, your product or service. The visitor is completely on board at this point. You’ve tended to each of their hesitations. “I feel understood and I want that better future” is what they’ll be thinking by the time you present them with the fix.

But do you need to start your page by describing the struggle. Can’t you just describe the product briefly first?

Can I Still Keep the Hero First?

Here’s a simple heuristic:

  1. If your audience has an established mindset for the product and its need, starting with a Hero describing the product is not a bad idea. Less is more, to the point, nothing wrong here.
  2. But if your audience does not have an established mindset for the product and its need, a simpler headline and short text isn’t too helpful. Instead, start the page with “struggle-first” copy, copy that relates the visitor’s struggling situation to them so they can say “I feel seen” and then proceed to scroll.

Example: when Intercom started, it didn’t have a hero with a “what you get” headline. Intercom had a Before and After illustration contrasting the struggle and the solution because their solution wasn’t mainstream. They used a struggle-first approach for their home page until the point where Intercom became synonymous with user communication in the SaaS market, until the struggle and the solution were a de-facto standard.

A Struggle-first or Pain-Dream-Fix page structure is generally your best bet unless your product is something popular and super obvious.

Final Note About the Best Order

So what’s the best order for your page?

Again here’s a simple heuristic. Whether you do a Pain-Dream-Fix layout, or a Hero-Features-CTA page layout, you want to do this:

Have each section answer the question the previous section creates.

This will create flow.

The Pain-Dream-Fix layout does that by default. It builds up a big honking question, and then delivers it by unveiling the fix.

But in the case of a more typical landing page that Xander proposed originally…

  1. Hero Do you fix my situation?
  2. Problems But how do you pull this off? (So far, so good)
  3. Essential Features Will I have to change the way I do things? (Starts to fall apart right about here)
  4. Benefits What other costs are there for me?
  5. Testimonial(s)
  6. Company Logos

In this case, right after exposing some of the essential features, it might be a good bet to re-assure the visitor about that big anxiety: Will I have to change my own process to adopt this new software?

And maybe there are other anxieties you can address throughout your page:

  • ←⚬ “That low price seems suspect
    • in which case you’d explain how you get the job done, how you’re planning to stick around for the long term.
  • ←⚬those are too many features for me to have to learn”
    • in which case it might be a good idea to pare down the features you show on the home page, and only show the ones that support the main job-to-be-done, the main struggle, and leave the rest of the features for power users (or cut them from your product completely.)

So it pays to map out the forces that push and pull in the mind of the buyer as they scroll through your home page.

So whatever your page structure, make sure it flows: it catches the struggle the visitor came to your site to solve, and it catches all the mini-struggles your page creates as the visitor scrolls.

Stay Sharp!



@pascallaliberte

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