WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems (CMS) and is widely used because it’s powerful, flexible and offers a host of features through plugins and themes.
There is quite literally very little that you can’t do with WordPress now. It has become much more than a mere blogging platform and the best part is that it’s free (well you’ll have to purchase themes and plugins if you need them).
Today we’ll look at how businesses (such as yours) can use WordPress to create effective landing pages. If you aren’t sure why you need to make landing pages, you should read our post here.
Let’s get you started.
Generally speaking, you have three options when it comes to creating landing pages using WordPress. You can custom code your existing theme (which needs web development knowledge), use a pre-made theme and customize it, or use a plugin to add landing pages to your existing theme
If you know web development, you probably wouldn’t be reading this guide. So here we’re going to walk you through the latter two methods – using themes and plugins.
How themes and plugins work
If you use a smartphone, you can think of themes and plugins as applications. They allow you to modify and customize your existing blog or website on WordPress. There are literally tons of themes and plugins available for purchase and there is no shortage of free ones either.
The only thing you need consider before purchasing a theme or plugin is whether they are compatible with your existing setup. A new theme will require you to change a lot of settings and can alter the whole layout of your website. Plugins can also break your existing setup if they are not compatible with your theme or version of WordPress.
The best way to go about this is to contact your theme’s developer and try out available demos.
Creating landing pages with themes
Choosing a theme to create your landing pages on WordPress is a good idea because you won’t have to worry about compatibility and can simply work with one complete package. Moreover, the design elements and the overall layout will remain the same throughout your site, providing uniformity.
Let’s take a look at a few themes you can use for your landing pages.
If you are selling an e-book or a course online you should consider FlatBook, it is custom made for e-books, is responsive (works well on mobile devices), has a drag and drop page builder, works with Contact Form 7 and Mailchimp.
JustLanded is an excellent landing page theme for selling a product or a service and building an e-mail list. It has a more business-like appearance and has a host of features including custom forms, pricing tables, newsletter opt-ins, subscription boxes and even the regular blog page and posts.
Petrichor s a modern-looking theme perfect to create generic landing pages for web-based startups and applications. It has a built-in newsletter opt-in feature, a contact form and ready-made buttons for App Store and Google Play.
Creating landing pages with plugins
Plugins are more convenient than themes because they preserve your existing setup and allow you to create highly customized landing pages. You can create complete pages, add opt-in boxes, integrate contact forms and offer downloads for list building – all using plugins. Let’s take a look at some of the paid and free plugins you can use for your landing pages.
There are a several great paid plugins to create landing pages and optimize them as you go along. Some of these offer complete solutions but can be costly or require subscription. In the end it depends on your needs and the scale of your business.
Pt Instant is a powerful WordPress plugin which allows you to create landing pages, squeeze pages and sales pages with relative ease. It allows you to remove all navigation and place attractive call-to-action buttons and tables.
This is one the most popular paid plugins for creating WordPress landing pages. The new version includes a live editor, split testing for each element, countdown timers and templates for sales pages and squeeze pages. If you are considering investing into a plugin, this should be at the top of your consideration list.
If your website is in pre-launch and you want to create a landing page that allows you to build an e-mail list, SeedProd is a great choice. It is responsive, works with every WordPress theme and has MailChimp, Aweber & Gravity Forms integration.
Not all good things are paid. There are a couple of great WordPress plugins available for free, allowing you to create your own landing pages or customize your existing pages and add elements to help gather e-mails and place opt-in forms. While you won’t have the same customization options paid plugins provide, you’ll still be able to create pages that get the job done.
This free landing page builder has a lot of options, including the ability to remove headers and footers, add Contact Form 7 shortcodes, define different sections, set backgrounds for all sections and insert CTA buttons. There is a paid version of the plugin as well but the free one offers plenty of features as well.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is an amazing free form builder that can be integrated into any theme or page using shortcodes. You can set up your own custom fields and even use it with other plugins to create complete opt-in and download systems.
MailChimp for WordPress
If you are using MailChimp to compile your e-mail list you can download the MailChimp for WordPress plugin and create custom signup forms to place on your landing pages. The plugin allows you to use shortcodes which are also compatible with Contact Form 7.
Simple Subscribe is an excellent list building plugin for landing pages if you don’t want to use any service like MailChimp. It allows you to set up opt-in forms, collect e-mails and send out newsletters from your own server. There is no need for any other subscription, just download the plugin, install it and you’re ready to go.
This is an excellent plugin for creating pop-up based opt-in forms for your landing page. You can offer special deals, limited time offers and exclusive access in return for e-mail addresses. There is a paid version of the plugin as well, but the free one should suffice for your purposes.
Landing Pages Builder
This plugin allows you to create and manage all your landing pages on a WordPress hosted site. However, only the first two weeks of this plugin are free, after which you will need to pay a monthly fee to use it. So while technically this is not a free plugin, you can use it for two weeks to see whether it works for you before deciding to purchase it or not.
We hope this guide helps you create landing pages for your self-hosted WordPress site. Whether you decide to go with paid themes and plugins or free ones will depend on your requirements. If you are just starting out on a small scale, the free tools listed here can help you set up a temporary system before you can decide whether investing money is feasible.
If you decide to use list building services like MailChimp and Aweber, you can seamlessly transfer from free plugins to paid ones and your lists will be carried along as it is. However, if you are using an internal list building mechanism, you will need to export all subscriber information and import it onto new systems.
Let us know if any of these tools help you and feel free to share any of your own as well. Good luck with your landing pages!