Whether you’re building a simple site, blog or an ambitious tech product, landing pages are essential for turning traffic into signups and revenue. We wanted to see if Strikingly, a website builder, was up to the task of quickly building a high-converting landing page.
Given their importance, landing pages are rarely “done” the first time they’re deployed – there’s usually significant testing and iteration done to them to improve conversion rates for the landing page’s call-to-action.
Iteration on landing pages = dev cost, which can spiral out of control when you have dozens or even hundres of them. Here at Barely Built, we’re on a mission to reduce coding and developer costs to zero wherever possible, so we decided to try using Strikingly, a zero-code website builder, to try to create a quick landing page for an imaginary startup.
Some of the keys to a successful landing page are:
• Short, vivid, page copy
• Clear call-to-action above the fold, tied to the copy. For example, "Sign up"
• Have tracking code like Google Analytics
With these in mind, we headed over to Strikingly to build.
Getting Started with a Template & "Sections"
Getting started with Strikingly is straightforward. Things begin with you selecting one of many pre-defined templates.
The Strikingly editor is so easy that you don't need a tutorial - you can get right into the flow of designing your landing page. The basic workflow involves selecting and customizing "sections" of your landing page, which you can re-order or remove at any time using the side-panel.
As a seasoned web developer, this is immediately familiar to me; when I code a landing page, I similarly think in page blocks and build the divs and styles up piece by piece.
Sections: The building blocks of a landing page
Most modern elements of a website are available as Strikingly page sections, including contact forms, image galleries, people profiles, etc. and they all can be customized. For example, for list section with three elements, you can customize whether or not each element has a title, image, caption, and whether to display the the items vertically or side-by-side. Each section has it's own Edit Layout Button which enables such functionality.
Some of the more complex elements, such as image slideshows and dynamic grids, are only available with the pro paid version of the site (we’ll discuss the Pro account option more later). Depending on the type of landing page you’re creating, these may not be relevant.
Most editable sections allow you to click straight into the content that you want to change and edit it directly, and will display a toolbar recognizable to anyone who has used Microsoft Office or Google Docs which allows you to customize style and formatting.
As a developer who has done my fair share of pixel nudging, Strikingly sections feels rigid as I cannot adjust element spacing or drag elements into subtly different positions. But I can’t blame them; allowing that level of customization would introduce complexity that could jeopardize the clean structure of the sections.
When it comes to landing pages, though small stylistic changes can make a difference in conversion, you need huge traffic over long periods of time to your landing page to detect the impact of subtle stylistic changes on your conversion rate (usually low-single-digit relative change). It’s usually more effective testing strategy to big content and layout changes changes vs. button colors and padding-width. In this sense, Strikingly is well-suited to designing landing pages, and straight-jackets you from scratching that itch of “can we adjust this spacing a little bit?”
Some people may find this a little frustrating but the benefits are that you can build something that looks good without diving into any code.
Great landing pages have media – and Strikingly does media well
Editing images on Strikingly brings up the option to replace the image or open a custom image editor, which has nifty tools such as cropping, rotating, and other image enhancements. This means you’re not no-code, but for simple visual design tasks you don’t need to bug a designer or even load other software. It did fairly good job of resizing say oversized or large files into something more manageable, and going beyond images, you can also add video by linking it to Vimeo or Youtube URLs.
Publishing your site to a Live website address is as simple as clicking the Publish button, after which it gives you a URL.
Pricing - You'll want to go Pro
Most landing pages will require features in the "Limited" plan ($12 USD per month):
• Embed HTML/JS (including Google Analytics etc., needed to monitor performance of your landing page)
• Your own domain name (instead of a site.strikingly.com), which will increase trust and conversions, also essential for LPs
• Remove the 'Powered by Strikingly' footer logo
• Use some of the more powerful design sections
• Be able to sell take payments directly from Strikingly
Basically, the Free version is good for playing around with, experimenting and showing the site to friends/partners etc.
In our opinion the $12 per month or $96 per year is worth it. It gets you 2 sites worth and 50GB worth of monthly bandwidth.
The Final Product
And here it is. Zach Brown's Health App Site. We spent a grand total of 60 minutes to create this from scratch. We could easily spend much more time refining the landing page and adding more complex sections with Strikingly.
To get a professional contractor/freelance designer and frontend developer to come up with the equivalent from scratch, including testing on different browsers and devices, launching, and hosting it, would in our opinion take ~2 days of setting the basic design and another 3-5 days of development time, and cost at least several hundred dollars.
Strikingly is more than suitable for building landing pages quickly, though you'll have to use a paid plan if you expect any real business results.