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Blogging Guide

How to Create a Landing Page that Converts with Spark CMS [Step-by-Step Guide + Tips]

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spark cms homepage

A landing page is one of the critical pages to have on your blog. It’s what helps you grow your email list and get your visitors to buy the products and services you’re promoting.

Yet, it may surprise you how many bloggers—and even professional marketers—don’t maximize landing pages. In fact, according to the 2nd edition of Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook, 44% of B2B businesses direct their leads to their website’s homepage instead of a dedicated landing page. Another 62% of them have less than 6 landing pages on their website!

Why the disconnect?

As it turns out, the reason even though brands and bloggers don’t utilize landing pages despite recognizing its importance lies in the fact that they find the process of creating a landing page intimidating.

The good news is that those days are long gone. There are now lots of companies that’ll allow you to create a landing page in minutes without even knowing a single string of code. One such company is  Spark CMS.

What is Spark CMS?

Spark CMS was created to solve a fundamental problem that many bloggers face: having a blog that’ll wow their readers, give them all the features they need to make money from it, and not have to spend a fortune.

If you’re dead serious about making money from your blog, you got to invest money to make that happen., that amount can set you back as much as $245 in your first three months!

Spark CMS is a self-hosting content management system. That means it doesn’t just help you create landing pages. You can also have a self-hosted blog with a stunning theme and a custom domain and even integrate a host of other features.

Why should bloggers use Spark CMS for their landing pages?

Easy landing page customization

This video below shows you just how easy it is to create a landing page on Spark’s CMS.

Quick integration

Spark’s landing pages integrates with the most used blogging tools and apps like Google Analytics, Facebook, Drift, and other with just one click.

They are optimized for search engines

In addition to being mobile-friendly, Spark’s user-friendly interface helps you optimize your landing page so that the keywords you want to rank to appear in the right places. That way, your landing page will rank higher than those belonging to other bloggers.

Ultra-fast loading speeds

How fast your landing page loads can affect its ability to convert and your blog’s bounce rate.

You need to make sure that your landing page should load within 2.4 seconds. Otherwise, it’ll decrease its ability to convert your readers by as much as 68.42%!

Steps to create a landing page using Spark CMS

Step #1: Be clear about your goals

Before you create your landing page, you need to have a specific and concrete goal that you want to achieve. Without this, you have no way of knowing whether it’s giving you the results you expect.

Ask yourself why you are creating this landing page. Is it to grow your email list and send them a follow up email to get the balls rolling? Or perhaps you’re doing some affiliate marketing, and you’re looking for a way to make more money? Maybe you’re a freelancer, and you’re trying to get more clients?

Your answer will give you a clearer idea not only of how your landing page should look like but also the different elements you’ll include here.

Step #2: Choose a template

The next step is to choose the right landing page template to help you meet the goals you set.

Most landing page builders and CMS platforms list their templates based on their designs. Spark CMS categorizes its templates based on their functionality.

spark cms templates

By doing this, they not only make it easier for you to find a template design that you like, but you’re also sure that it’s got all the elements needed to make it effective.

Step #3: Tweak the template to match your branding

One of the most critical landing page creation best practices to remember is that it should give your visitors the same look and feel that they’d get if they visit any other page of your website.

If the landing page your create looks very different from the rest of your website, your visitors may feel lost and wonder if they perhaps went to a different site altogether.

You can make sure that doesn’t happen by tweaking the landing page template you’ve chosen to use the “Elements” feature in the Spark CMS dashboard.

polygon

Here, you can change the colors on the landing page template so it matches your brand colors. This is also where you can add your logo to your landing page and change the font to match the one on your website.

Step #4: Write an eye-catching headline

Your headline’s the most crucial part of your landing page. It’s so vital that legendary David Ogilvy once said that your headline’s worth 80 cents of every dollar you invest in your copy.

The reason’s simple: your headline’s the first thing that your visitors see when they search on Google.

google serps

No matter how amazing your landing page looks, if your headline doesn’t catch the attention of your target market as they scroll through the search results page, you won’t convert them into leads, much less into customers.

One practical tip to make your headlines more eye-catching is to use words that trigger your target market’s emotions, those that’ll touch their pain points.

There are two reasons that a person will take action: loss aversion and gaining pleasure. Of the two, the desire not to lose something is stronger. One study shows that feelings of loss are 2x stronger than feelings of happiness. As a result, when you give your target audience a solution for this, they’re more likely to click and visit your landing page.

Step #5: Focus your ad copy on your target readers

One of the biggest mistakes bloggers and marketers make when writing the copy of their landing page is that they focus too much on them and their offer.

The problem here is that’ll be visiting your landing page don’t care about any of that. They only care about answering one thing: “What’s in it for me?”

It’s true!

Visitors to your landing page are searching for a solution to their problem. So if you want to get them to convert, you got to answer this question right at the beginning of your landing page’s copy.  An effective copywriting technique to use is to follow the Inverted Pyramid model.

Initially used by journalists and reporters, the Inverted Pyramid model immediately lays out to your landing page’s visitor the answer to their question. This is then followed by details to support and justify your answer.

The reason this works is that the attention span of people is short when they’re online. By giving the essential information at the beginning, they’ll be compelled to either read the rest of your copy or make a beeline for your landing page’s call-to-action button.

Professional Wingman’s landing page is an excellent example.

professional wingman

Source

Notice how everything you need to know about the service and the CTA button is right in front of their visitors the moment the landing page loads. Even if they don’t read the whole thing, they’ve read enough to convince them to click the CTA button conveniently provided.

Step #6: Create your opt-in form

This is a relatively easy step to do because all of Spark’s landing page templates come with a pre-designed opt-in form that you can quickly customize.

polygon page builder

The challenge is knowing how much of your visitors’ personal information will you ask on the form.

On the one hand, your visitors should find the amount of information you’re asking is justified by what you’re offering. If you’re asking too much, they’ll not fill out the form altogether.

At the same time, you need to get the information you must help you convert them into paying customers.

To find that balance, you must understand what buyer’s journey stage your landing page belongs. As a rule of thumb, the further into your buyer’s journey, the more justifiable it is to ask for more information.

For example, if you’re creating a landing page that falls in the Awareness stage, a simple opt-in form asking for your visitor’s name and email address would be enough. There’s also this need to use an email verification tool for confirming the emails.

On the other hand, asking for your visitor’s phone number is understandable to them if your landing page offering is a scheduled demo or consultation, which usually happens in the Decision stage.

Step #6: Add a compelling CTA

Next to your headline, your call-to-action is the most vital element of your landing page. It’s that final step that’ll turn your visitors into either a lead or a customer.

Two critical elements go into a compelling CTA:

The first is the text. A compelling CTA should include action words so it prompts your visitors to take the right action. Your CTA’s text should tell your visitors what they’ll be getting when they click it.

The second is its location. Most bloggers and marketers would only add the CTA on the bottom of their landing page’s copy. While that will convert some visitors, not all of them will have the time nor the patience to read everything.

That’s why it’s essential to include a CTA on the upper third of your landing page. This is what they call “above the fold.” This is the first thing that loads on your visitor’s screen the moment they arrive on your landing page.

Combined with the right copy, your visitors won’t feel the need to scroll to the bottom to learn more or to sign up.

Step #7: Test your landing page before publishing

Although you may be excited about launching your landing page, there’s just one last step you must do, and that’s to test its effectiveness.

Most bloggers skip this part because they don’t know how to do it. Marketers do the same because it’s downright tedious.

Spark CMS’ dashboard has an A/B testing tool that’ll allow you to test each section of your landing page to get the most from it the moment it goes live.

Also, as you can see in the short clip below, it’s straightforward. Just click on the section you want to test, fill in the details, and Spark will do the rest for you.

spark cms 2

Spark CMS makes it easy to create a landing page that converts

Landing pages have now become an integral part of any blog or website. Spark CMS’ platform is a cost-effective and convenient way for professional bloggers and online business owners create a landing page that looks professional and reflects your brand.

However, it’s not enough to have a professional-looking landing page. You also must hone your copywriting skills so you can capture the attention of your target audience and get them to keep reading. Only then can you get them to take action and convert.

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who provides actionable and useful web content to small businesses and startups. In his spare time, he religiously watches professional wrestling and finds solace in listening to '80s speed metal.

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Blogging Guide

How to Develop a Customer Experience Strategy with Your Blog

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Customer Experience Strategy

Customer experience or CX is about the interactions between your company and customers.

These interactions include the moment he navigates your website for the first time and when he buys your product.

If you think giving importance to customer experience won’t make a big difference in your business’ success, think again.

CX is vital to the growth of your business. Feedback from 10,000 consumers shows that customer loyalty levels change based on customer experience.

Therefore, you’ll learn how to develop a customer experience strategy with your blog in this post.

This way, you can turn fairweather site visitors into rabid and loyal customers.

Write a clear About Us page

A brilliant customer experience strategy should start with a clear customer-centric vision.

A part of this is about finding out what your customer wants. And the other part is about creating statements that will serve as guiding principles for him.

For this, turn to the About Us page on your blog.

There, introduce your company and share your vision. Remember to always be clear with your message to avoid misinterpretations.

By writing your core values on your About Us page, readers have tempered expectations on what you publish on your blog.

With every post, they start to understand and familiarize themselves with your company.

To get your creative juices flowing, check out these awesome About Us pages from different brands.

Determine a customer avatar for your blog

Creating a persona helps your customers identify with the person they’re dealing with.

It’s one of the best ways to connect and empathize with each of them.

With a carefully-chosen avatar, you have a clear idea of how to help your target audience from your blog.

You’re also doing something to overcome the different customer misconceptions.

To guide you in the process, here’s what you need to do:

  • Do your research – Find out what characteristics you want your customer avatar to have. Give it depth and purpose
  • Take note of negative personas – Determine the type of people that you don’t want to attract
  • Use a spreadsheet to track the results – List down the results of your research so you can narrow them down easily

Get readers to care about your content

Conducting keyword research or using the right search phrases into your content is the way to go.

By writing about topics that people search for in your niche, you fill in a gap that helps these people improve their lives.

Think about it:

Readers are already on the lookout for certain pieces of content. What the keyword research process will do is to help bring your content to them!

To achieve desirable results, you should use keyword research tools like Ahrefs.

You should also consider leaning towards the use of long-tail keywords because of less competition.

On top of that, remember these things as well:

  • Write unique and updated content – Compared to older content, the newer posts are much more useful for readers and are therefore prioritized by Google on search results
  • Consider questions – Think of how people would turn to Google to ask questions in a natural manner. For example, “how do I increase sales for my product” sounds like something a person would say than “sale increase guide.”
  • Variations matter – The search terms “music file” and “audio file,” for instance, may not be too different. But one receives more keyword hits than the other

Find ways to capture feedback

Interacting with your customers is simple.

It’s also a smart approach to know if you’re delivering customer satisfaction.

So if you head to your blog’s comments section, you can gain actionable insights from what they are saying.

Aside from referring to the comments section, a live chat system or chatbot will help you get useful customer feedback.

customer experience strategy - chatbot

It keeps people engaged and it helps them keep in touch with your brand from your blog.

Some of the tools that you can use are as follows.

Track and measure results

Find out if your customer experience strategy is working.

To get around to it, you should use NPS or Net Promoter Score.

net promoter score

It presents valuable information that can help you measure the effectiveness of your approaches.

It uses a very straightforward question about whether a customer recommends your company to a peer.

If he does and gives your company a high score, you’re in for some good news: your strategy is working!

Conclusion

A winning customer experience raises customer loyalty levels and lets you herd in loyal customers.

And it also gives your company a competitive advantage and significantly drives up revenue!

Therefore, don’t set aside the importance of a great strategy.

If you want to follow the lead of many successful marketers, you should also invest in customer experience.

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Blogging Guide

A Quick Guide to Blog Analytics

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blog analytics

Your blog traffic is the key indicator of its overall performance.

And if you do not truly understand how blog traffic works, then you need to ask why you’re even blogging at all!

In fact, there’s more to blog traffic than the number of visitors your blog.

You must understand where the traffic is coming from, the quality of traffic your blog receives, and more!

Knowing all these things should steer you in the right direction as far of improving your blog’s process is concerned.

To help you make better blogging decisions, you must use one of the most powerful tools for analyzing traffic: Google Analytics.

If you’re not using it yet and want to learn more, then read on!

How Can I Check My Blog Traffic?

Your blog traffic is the metric to weigh your blog performance.

However, and as mentioned above, traffic is just an overall term to call all the users who visit your blog.

A user coming in from social media is not the same as the one coming in from a guest post.

Why?

For example, if you haven’t set up any social media presence yet, then you’ll question the traffic you are getting from social media.

It could be because people are starting to share your blogs now, which can give you a clue on what people like to read.

Here are some traffic metrics to track and analyze:

  • Source – Describes where your traffic is coming from. Use this information to identify sources you need to focus or improve on
  • Bounce rate – The percentage of a single session where your visitor has no interaction with your page. It tells you how frequently users leave your blog without visiting any other pages
  • Average Time on page – The average length of stay of your visitors on your page. Aim to make your visitors stay longer by writing better content and optimizing your page speed

Knowing and understanding all of these using Google Analytics helps you fix any leaking holes that you didn’t know existed before.

Your content marketing strategies, better blog post, and the development and design of your blog are all going to benefit if you can analyze what you are currently doing.

How do I use Google Analytics for my blog?

Installing Google Analytics is easy and doesn’t require any plugins.

Here’s a quick guide on how to install it regardless of what CMS you use.

Create a Google account and make sure that you’re logged in to it before you head to go to the next step.

Go and sign up a Google Analytics account for free and fill out all the needed information such as your website URL and country.

From there, Google will automatically create a property for you. You will find a tracking code similar to this below:

google analytics global tag

This the Global Site Tag, a unique tracking code that you need to paste on the header or footer file of your website.

Once you have it all set up and installed properly, you can wait for a few days and review all the traffic your blog receives. Note that it will take approximately 24 hours for GA to start collecting data from your site.

Once GA has collected enough data for you to analyze, you can click on any metric buttons they have available.

Here’s a screenshot that shows the acquisition channels which includes source, number of users, bounce rate, and average time on site for seven days.

blog analytics using GA

As you can see, the referral channel is lagging in all the above metrics compared to other channels.

When someone clicks on a link to your blog, GA marks it as referral traffic. In the data above, this traffic source shows a higher bounce rate and a much lower average session duration.

What this data tells is there could be better improvements on what kind of websites the link building strategy is doing or focused on.

Additionally, the average session duration on all channels can also be improved by working on the quality of the content and fixes for a few design properties.

But, you don’t always have to look at the negative side of things.

This GA screenshot shows that almost 90% of the users are from organic search, meaning, the SEO efforts are going quite well and just needs a few tweaks for improvements.

These are just some of the details GA will show you to help you understand what your blog’s traffic is about.

However, web analytics only uncovers your blog’s traffic information.

Most of the performance problems of a blog stem from having SEO problems. In this case, you can ask Pathtorch to identify the problems for you and help you understand what’s wrong.

Conclusion

Blogging is a great platform to share your ideas with an audience.

However, to truly be effective, you need to understand how your blog is performing under certain factors.

Understanding these allows you to create better content and promote it in the right places to generate even more traffic.

The post above should shed light on the value that Google Analytics brings to the table.

So if you are serious about your blog, Google Analytics tells you the next steps if you deeply analyze what your data tells you.

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Blogging Guide

Newsletter vs Blog? You Need Both for Your Business

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The goal of content marketing is to get your brand messaging in front of the right people. And not in hard-sell kind of way that we’re accustomed to. But in a way that tells people; “Hey, I exist to make your life easier for you.”

Even though there are plenty of ways to get your message across, bloggers and marketers alike still ask; which works better, email newsletters or blogs?

The short answer? The one that will help you connect with your audience and increase your conversion rate.

The long answer? Well, you’ll find out more as you read on.

Because we want nothing more than to help you connect with your target audience, we’ve come up with a quick guide to help you understand newsletters and blogs better. This way, you’ll know how to take advantage of both.

What is an email newsletter?

Email newsletters are company-centric publications that you send to a specific group of people. They contain company news, articles, and marketing content specially created for the recipients. Email newsletters are often used to target different segments of an email list, allowing brands to maintain their top-of-mind awareness with their target audience.

Creating a newsletter is pretty much the same as writing a blog. The only difference is, instead of formatting content for a website, you’re formatting content for an email inbox.

What is a blog?

Blogs, on the other hand, cover a wide range of topics and content, for all the world to see. They contain articles, images, videos, even music playlists that can be helpful to site visitors in some way.

Blogs are mainly used to educate and entertain visitors of a website, and so much as a promotional tool. They also make a website more dynamic, which encourages visitors to check back again and again.

Blogs can be a great jump-off point for discussions with an engaged audience.

Here’s a chart to make it easier for you to understand the differences between the two.

Your Email Newsletter… Your Blog…
Is only visible to your email mailing list. Is visible to anyone who visits your website.
Allows you to customize messages for specific groups in your target audience. Can help you build your credibility as an authority of a specific niche.
Can help you deepen the connection with your potential and existing customers. Keeps your subscribers in the loop. Can educate your prospects about your brand, product, or service, and move them from the awareness stage to the buying stage.
Lasts until the message is received and read. The newsletter has already served its purpose once your recipient opens the email. Lasts for a very long time. blog posts will stay on the web until you take them down or you stop paying your hosting provider.
Can be used to drive qualified leads to your website. Can be used to improve your search ranking since search engines consider blog posts as web pages.
Can be forwarded to non-subscribers via email. Can easily spread via social media. The more shares your blog gets, the wider your reach.

What’s the best option for you?

Email newsletters and blogs are not that very different if you’re going to think about their purpose. Both tools give you avenues to reach out and communicate with people in your sales funnel. Whether you’re teaching a prospect about the benefits of your product or convincing a long-time customer to make a repeat sale, incorporate both newsletter and blog in your content marketing strategy will help you communicate better.

Is it possible to have the best of both worlds?

Of course! If you want to get your audience engaged, you need to weave both email newsletters and blogs into your campaign. When used together, both work much better. Let’s take a closer look at how you combine newsletter and blog in your content marketing strategy.

  • Step 1: Publish a blog post. Don’t forget to check if on-site optimization is on point.
  • Step 2: Promote your blog post to your subscribers using an email newsletter. Generate traffic to your post by giving your email list first dibs.
  • Step 3: Wait for subscribers to open and read your email. You can easily track your email open rate via any email newsletter tool.
  • Step 4: Send follow-up emails to subscribers who didn’t open your last email. Maybe they’ve missed it or maybe they’ve forgotten it. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to send a friendly reminder.
  • Step 5: Track your progress. Not happy with your campaign’s email open rate? Check analytics and do A/B testing to get it right the next time.

Conclusion

In the battle of newsletter vs blog, it’s best to settle on a tie. With their own sets of advantages, both tools will make great additions to your content marketing arsenal. At the end of the day, it’s about creating a communication strategy that connects with your target audience.

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