Why I Use Multiple Landing Pages [Reader Question]

When I relaunched The Twitter Manual on it’s own landing page, I was asked on Twitter why I used a separate landing page. The question posed by Brent (@function_ality) was:

Why do you setup different url’s instead of putting these on DavidRisley.com site? I never understood this.

He went on to say it dilutes my brand and also spreads my inbound links around so that I don’t get as much SEO benefit. I thought it would make a cool blog post, so let me address his points that he emailed in.

Issue #1: Dilutes The Brand

He says:

Your URL and your brand is DavidRisley.com not FreeTwitterManual.com, BlogMastersClub.com, BlogwealthGap.com, Bloggingin2010.com etc..  These are products of the DavidRisley.com brand and should be under your domain.  By splitting them off you are not only creating confusion to your readers, but you might actually be harming your “real” brand by doing so. You now have several micro-brands to keep going.

Personally, I disagree with this (although you’ll see my comments below about a solution). The brand is “David Risley” and the focus of that brand is the blog. All of my stuff is listed in one way or the other on this blog. I have not noticed any brand confusion with my audience due to multiple properties.

My thought is that these other properties…

  1. Provide a more singular purpose to the page, which makes for much better conversions than anything I could do on this blog (due to all the other activity here).
  2. Act as feeders into the main property, all as separate lead generators.

Picture 2 See, a dedicated landing page (or squeeze page) will outperform a blog any day of the week and twice on Sunday – when it comes to conversions. Blogs are great for building and fostering the brand and the relationship, but when it comes time to convert (either into a sale or an email opt-in), a squeeze page will always out-perform by many orders of magnitude.

So, I have these satellite properties that perform and convert. People then get onto my list(s) and/or become a paying customer. That brings them, once again, into my circle and they usually become a reader of this blog.

What this creates is a big network of sites that feed the brand, rather than all effort focusing on the one site where the blog layout itself will harm conversions.

The other issue to consider with dedicated landing pages is that they make for much better word-of-mouth promotion via any number of means.

Issue #2: Dilutes Inbound Links

Brent’s next point is:

Each of these new URL’s will get inbound links to them and this will take away inbound links that “should” be going to DavidRisley.com. This in turn could hurt your Page Rank and search engine listings for your “main” brand. We both know that brand new URL’s and sites will not get good rankings for a period of time anyway, so you would be better off leaving them on your established site.

His point was that a search for “free twitter manual” had the old location in this blog’s archives in the SERPs, and that I’ve now re-directed that to the new landing page and it will hurt my rankings.

Personally, I don’t care. I set things up for real people, not search spiders. And with the keyword volume I was seeing in the prior location, I can get much better performance with a stand-alone page, optimized to put people onto my email list (so I can build the relationship) and to allow people to more easily share the resource across social media.

In the end, each of these resources would perform much worse if located on my blog, and that matters to me a lot more than the inbound links from Google. My regular blog posts bring in plenty of search traffic.

Issue #3: Causes Confusion

Next point…

It might cause confusion to some of your readers.. They signup for a report on FreeTwitterManual.com and they get an email from DavidRisley.com. No brand support from site to email. They might not confirm subscription etc..

We’ll see if that becomes an issue, but it would be easily fixed by creating a sub-list in Aweber for it, and still tying into the main brand. I can even tell them what to expect on the confirmation page. So, not a huge issue.

Proposed Solution

Brent also offered a worthy approach:

Create a products tab on your site and showcase all your products in 1 area of your site. You can separate into Free and Paid products. Then you will be building 1 build, 1 email list with tons of Categories and Groups, you will have less work, more inbound links, better SEO and most likely a better conversion rate since you will have a unified brand.

This is a good idea and one that I am working on now, however it will act as a springboard into my existing properties. There has been a little bit of ambiguity on my offers when one arrives on this blog. I’ll be talking more about this a little later, but I am working on it.

That said, again, the main issue for me is conversion performance on the satellite sites. Conversion rates on blogs suck when compared to a squeeze page. That is my primary motivation for the separate sites and why I do it that way. Forming a stronger and more apparent connection between those sites and this blog is a work in progress, but I will never merge those sites with Davidrisley.com for the above reason.

Thanks to Brent for the input and the fodder for this post. Follow him on Twitter @function_ality.

And if you have some thoughts, I’d love to hear them. I’ve also had students of Blog Masters ask this same question, so I know it is on people’s minds as they launch their own reports, etc.

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Responses

  1. No doubt. Squeeze pages will convert better than a blog every time. There's one clearly marked call to action whereas with a blog, there's so much more going on. I don't know anyone who gets a 20-30%+ opt-in rate on a blog opt in form. For well-designed squeeze pages, that's not unheard of at all.

  2. No doubt. Squeeze pages will convert better than a blog every time. There's one clearly marked call to action whereas with a blog, there's so much more going on. I don't know anyone who gets a 20-30%+ opt-in rate on a blog opt in form. For well-designed squeeze pages, that's not unheard of at all.

  3. I'm showing my ignorance here, but don't all those new squeeze pages as domains have to be paid for and registered? I don't see why a dedicated page on my own site wouldn't work as well, or as Robb suggests, subdomains.

  4. I especially like the idea of creating feeder sites for your main site. This post also shows that you can write something from a good conversation with one of your site's visitors.

  5. Since I am developing some products of my own for future launch, this exact question was on a list of decisions I had to make over the next 30 days. While I like the fact that having the product on my blog where I am already working on a brand and traffic, I see the benefits of creating a sep domain as well. Also, having the absolute attention to the product with no distractions to leave has to help with conversions.

    Thanks David…

  6. Hi Dave,
    I believe having new links out of your main URL dilutes you inbound links, hence your search engine ranking. But, if you are more more interested in the readers, not search engine spiders, then you point is great.
    Landing pages out of your URL works best and it's more flexible.

  7. Hi David, here's my take on this discussion. Not trying to suck up but I agree with your strategy of having a separate domain for each products and services.

    Rather than dilute your brand I think it will strengthen it. Here's why. If I offer a product on my own blog and sell it exclusively there, it will just be a part of my blog.

    If that product has its own domain using the product name, of course, it will protect the branding of that product. Imagine if I did not get that domain before someone else does.

    Now that will create a confusion to the customers since they see the product on your own blog but might also see a product with the same name at another domain that doesn't belong to you.

  8. Hi Dave, GA I can use fairly well, I wasn't clear enough: I'd like to script up some automated A/B testing scripts. Money or time!

    Totally agree on #2, and it's even better: I might “borrow” a technique someone else is testing, but doesn't turn out for them, works for me, but I wouldn't know the difference.

    Pitfalls abound!

    It strikes me how simple this stuff is in principle, and how persnickety it is in practice.

  9. Yeah, I'm gonna implement that one, too. I started working on it before… just need to finish it. 🙂

    Curious why you use separate hosting for a membership site. Separate site and domain is obvious, but separate hosting, too?

  10. Well, realize that a sub-list is just that – a list. And, with Aweber, you can email more than one list at a time very easily. So, it is really all just one big list. So, it isn't as if somebody being on a sub-list in any way makes it harder to manage.

  11. Just two quick points, Dave:

    (1) No need to pay for testing. It can easily be done for free with tools like Analytics.
    (2) Just because somebody you think is an expert does something doesn't mean it was right. They all try stuff, and the test is do they keep doing it or do you just notice one day that they stopped. 🙂 So, don't assume you missed something because a strategy one person does didn't work for you. It is all about testing for YOUR audience to see what works.

  12. Yeah, I use sublists for the same thing. However, I don't necessarily always use a sublist for small little reports. Sometimes I'll just throw them onto the main blog list. But, for products, I ALWAYS use a sublist for the reasons you stated.

  13. For myself it is absolutely better to have separate domains and sites for products. When you're building membership sites you really want a separate domain and hosting.

    A products page to link out is a great idea. I've already done this in one membership site and it's worked well, so I'll be doing it on Remarkablogger, too.

  14. David, I get segmentation no problem.

    But this notion of AWeber “sublists” is a new one. I'd like to have people on the same list in more than one segment, as brought in using an ad tracking code.

    Otherwise, list proliferation. 🙁

    I've tried adding to a single list with separate tracking, that's a no go.

    I like how Kern set up List Control to track people interest. Getting to the next step in the launch required signing up again. (At least, my path through it did that)

    Time to RTFM.

  15. Brett, I would have asked the same questions you asked up until very recently, but the more I learn about this stuff, the more I realize I don't know what actually works.

    Now, when I see some Big Time Blogger doing some thing or another, I take a look and see if any of the others are doing it. They can pay for testing, I can't, yet. So I'll emulate what they do and learn from my results. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and I figure I must be missing some key ingredient.

    Blogging is a funny beast because there are so many hobbyists, and their voices are so loud concerning right and wrong ways to earn a fair living. Most of them would be more credible were they earning a fair living at blogging, but now I'm threadjacking.

  16. Thanks for clarifying this and providing details. I never really thought that the increased conversion rates from the focused squeeze type pages would outweigh all the negatives, but I guess it does.

    Your point about the small sites being Feeders into your main site makes sense.

  17. I do the same thing. Sometimes with subdomains…but the idea is still the same.

    There is too much leakage on a blog if you are trying to convert the person that lands on that page into a customer. You do not want that visitor going…”cool product so I'll scroll down…oh..that blog post is something I have been looking for!”.

    By having your landing/squeeze pages separate from your blog, the focus is on the task at hand without distractions.

  18. Hey David,

    Personally I think having separate sites is a smart strategy for you, but I am not sure from your discussion above whether you have separate email lists. I would say making multiple squeeze pages with separate lists (or sublists) is the way to go, because in addition to higher conversions – it also lets you market your different products at different intervals

    I am setting this up for a product launch I have coming soon, and I have registered a separate domain for the product as well.

    So for example you might promote your blog to all the lists, but then when you are about to launch the BMC, you know that I've raised my hand saying hey I'm interested, and I'm more open to receiving lots of promotions for that than perhaps your regular readers.

    I can't recall where I read about doing this, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The interested buyers such as myself you could email perhaps every day or multiple times a day even without burning us out, whereas “regular” blog newsletter subscribers may respond better to slightly less promotions.

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