WordPress is great, but sometimes you want to create a custom page for a variety of reasons. Often the type of page you want to make in your WordPress theme is a landing page, requiring creating a WordPress landing page template.
What is a landing page?
Generally it’s a dedicated page to make a sale, be contacted, and/or or get people to subscribe to your mailing list and/or website.
General features of a landing page
1. No leaks
By no leaks I’m referring no options for a visitor to click out of the page other than clicking the “back button.” This includes no navigation menu or links to another Web page.
2. Custom layout optimized for conversion
A landing page is typically not formatted like a blog post. You don’t want a sidebar with navigation or a top horizontal navigation bar. Instead, you want well-written sales copy that:
- grabs attention
- pulls in the visitor
- provides a clear call-to-action
- Gets the sale, a contact, or an opt in to your subscribership.
3. 1 or two columns
Most landing pages are either 1 or 2 columns. If a two-column page, one column is dedicated to the sign up form. Landing pages dedicated to making a sale are generally 1 column.
Why not use a full-width page for a WordPress landing page template?
Many WordPress themes offer a full-width page option which removes the sidebar. You might be tempted to use a full-width page layout for your WordPress landing page, but it’s often not the best solution. I know, because I’ve tried.
4 options for creating WordPress landing page templates
My two options for creating WordPress landing pages are doing so within your existing theme. This is different than getting a WordPress theme specifically designed for landing pages.
For example, this site uses a magazine style theme and I want to keep it that way. However, within this website I have landing pages. I didn’t want to get a landing page theme for this site. It’s this situation that my proposed options for creating a WordPress landing page applies. If you’re building a website strictly for creating a landing page, then I suggest you get a WordPress landing page theme or use the Premise for WordPress plugin and make a created landing page your home page.
OPTION 1: Create a new page and customize the CSS – More difficult
I’ve done this and it’s not my preferred method. However, if you’re into coding, it’s easily done. In fact, I was surprised how easy it is to create a new page in WordPress.
Note that the code you use will depend on the theme; the following is the general principle behind creating a custom WordPress landing page. The code examples that follow are what I used for the Genesis framework.
Step 1: Open a new a .txt document or whatever text editing software you use. Microsoft Word is not good.
Step 2: Place the following code at the top of your .txt document:
Template Name: Whatever you name your template
Step 3: Add or remove whatever elements you want in your landing page template.
For example, if you want to include youre header, use the following code:
<?php get_header(); ?>
If you want to remove elements from the page, use the following commands:
// Remove Header
remove_action(‘ELEMENT TO BE REMOVED’, );
Step 4: save your .txt doc whatever you want.
Step 5: Upload your new WordPress landing page template to your server.
Step 6: Start a new page. Select your new page template from the drop-down “template” menu (note, if you don’t have this option in your theme, you’ll need to create this function, which is beyond the scope of this WordPress landing page template tutorial.
Step 7: Input your content in the visual editor.
OPTION 2: Use a WordPress landing page template plugin
I use this method on this site and other sites. It’s my preferred landing page option.
The plugin I use is Premise for WordPress. It’s a highly customizable landing page template creator with 7 built-in templates and loads of customization options. You can read my in-depth Premise for WordPress article here.
OPTION 3: Use a WordPress theme builder
If you’re open to changing themes, and you want to be able to create totally customized page templates, including landing pages, then consider switching to a WordPress theme builder or generator theme. There are 3 excellent options:
- Builder by iThemes (my Builder theme review)
- Catalyst Theme (my Catalyst theme review)
- Headway Themes (my Headway themes review)
All three of these theme frameworks use drag n’ drop technology for creating customized page layouts. Note, that these are not specifically landing page template themes, but instead are themes that make it easy to create fully customized pages. With the drag n’ drop technology, you can create pages with pretty much any layout, including excellent landing page templates.
OPTION 4: Use a WordPress Landing Page Theme
Like I said above, there are WordPress themes that are specifically designed to create landing page websites. If the main purpose of your site is to create a landing page, then consider migrating to a WordPress landing page theme. 2 WordPress landing page themes to look at are:
Check out my live landing pages using these 2 landing page themes:
That said, if you’re like me and you simply want some landing pages within your site, then options 1 to 3 above are better.
Pros and Cons to the above landing page template options
Option 1: Create your own
- Costs you nothing
- If you’re adept at coding, the sky is the limit. You can fully customize it anyway you like.
- Unless you’re adept at coding, you’ll have to learn, invest time, and may still not get the exact landing page template you want.
Option 2: Use the Premise for WordPress plugin
- Extremely easy to use
- It’s a plugin so it creates landing pages within your existing theme
- 7 landing page templates to choose from
- Graphics library included for sprucing up your landing page
- Copywriting tips and templates to follow
- Read more features and benefits of the Premise for WordPress plugin here.
- Costs money. You have to buy the Premise for WordPress plugin.
Option 3: Using WordPress theme builders
- Very easy to use.
- Create pretty much any type of page you like.
- Costs money.
- You must migrate your website to a new theme.
Option 4: Use a WordPress landing page theme
- They look very cool, are easy-to-use, and offer plenty of landing page features.
- Costs money.
- You must migrate your site to a new theme … a theme that may not suit the rest of your site if your site contains content other than landing page content. Or you can create a new website (use a subdomain) strictly for the purpose of building a landing a page.
What not to do for landing pages
Use a regular blog post. I’ve done this and conversions simply are not as good. I still do it on some older posts on this site, but going forward all landing pages are created with the Premise for WordPress plugin.
Choose an option above and take the time to create highly-converting landing pages. Test them and tweak them to improve conversions. Yes, it takes some work. You may try different WordPress landing page template creation methods above, but when you find the right one for your site, you’ll be glad you took the time to create effective landing page templates.