What is a Splash Page? - Instapage Guide

What is a Splash Page?

Why should you read this guide?

Splash pages allow you to converse with your visitors before the conversion happens — learn how to get that conversation started

Not all splash pages fulfill their purpose. Discover which elements go into creating an effective splash page

Find out what differentiates a splash page from your homepage and other landing pages

Create optimized splash pages that your visitors want to interact with

What are Splash Pages?

A splash page is a page that precedes any page on your website. The purpose of a splash page varies: You can promote a new offer, show a disclaimer, or a warning depending on the industry or niche your business operates in.

Unlike a squeeze page or a post-click landing page, splash pages don’t necessarily ask visitors to enter their name or email address. The basic purpose of a splash page is to inform visitors of something, such as a new company update or a thought-provoking quote like Forbes does with their splash page below:

Forbes Splash Page Example

A typical splash page contains minimal copy, a background image, and most importantly a link that takes the visitor to the main website. In Forbes’ example, the “continue to site” directs visitors to the homepage.

A splash page can be a welcome screen to the main website or a teaser that gets visitors excited for the website they’re about to view.

Or, you may notice many alcoholic brand websites include an “age disclaimer” splash page, which serves as a warning to the visitor. Although Federal law does not require these splash pages, the Federal Trade Commission says brands selling alcohol should self-regulate themselves and use age verification technologies.

These are special types of splash pages because they are industry-specific, do not have an exit link, and force the visitor to verify their age before granting access to the main website.

Look at Budweiser’s splash page, for example:

Budweiser Splash Page Example

The evolution of splash pages

According to Smashing Magazine splash pages were mainly created to serve one of these main purposes, among others:

  • Visitors were asked to select the language they would like to view the website
  • Visitors could choose the website version they wanted to view based on their internet bandwidth
  • The pages were used to display disclaimers or warnings for websites that had restricted access for some users such as gambling websites or pornography
  • Visitors were alerted the main website has sound enabled, so to receive the full experience they would need to turn on speakers
  • Visitors are told how long it would take to load the website

Due to the fact these types of splash pages didn’t add any value to the user experience and slowed down site speed, Google and other search engines began penalizing websites that hosted these pages.

Splash screens also contained redirecting JavaScript, which most search engines disliked as well. This redirection is also why websites hosting traditional splash page designs started getting ranked lower in most search engines.

These pages were often poorly-designed and turned visitors off from the website altogether. In essence, splash pages were causing a hindrance for users to engage with the website and business as a whole.

Hrubes’ splash page is a perfect example of a poorly designed splash page causing user frustration:

Hrubes Splash Page Example

The page has an eye-piercing background color and a small message informing visitors to download a Flash player to proceed with the website. Visitors are also given the chance to “ENTER” — of which many would assume this directs you to the website without having to download the Flash player.

However, once you click the “ENTER” button, this is the page you land on:

Hrubes Flash Player Page Example

Both options prohibit you from entering the website until you download the flash player – not a great user experience to say the least.

However, most splash pages have evolved into something more optimized. Visitors are not brought to a splash page so they can wait around for the website to load. Now, a splash page is opened to enhance the user’s experience. Users are either informed of something, a promotion is featured, or they are asked to become a part of something the website has to offer.

Splash pages are no longer just flashy screens. Instead, they are pages that have some valuable information for the visitors. Also, they have a noticeable and easy-to-find link to navigate away from the page.

The splash page of Harvard Business Review is a perfect example of this; it has an exit link that takes you to the page you intended:

Harvard Business Review Splash Page

Difference Between a Splash Page and Other Pages

Splash pages vs. post-click landing pages

A post-click landing page is a standalone page that is created to fulfill a single conversion goal. This goal can vary from collecting webinar registrants to securing ebook downloads.

A splash page, on the other hand, is not a standalone page — it’s more of a large window hosted on the main website page. The goal of the splash page is to provide valuable information to the visitor. This information could be in the form of a quote — like Forbes’ splash page on chapter 1 — or it could be a notification as featured on Their Circular Life’s website:

Their Circular Life Splash Page Example

Their Circular Life’s splash page notifies the visitor that:

  • The homepage has sound, so the visitor needs to turn on their speakers
  • The page is made in Macromedia Flash
  • The project is open to contributions

This example shows how you can use your splash page to convey any preliminary message you want to while providing the best user experience.

Your splash page can also feature a giveaway that will excite your visitors. This will heighten your credibility even before they officially enter your website — making them more likely to buy whatever product or service you are offering.

The Conversion Gods splash page is a great example of this giveaway-type of splash page:

Conversion Gods Splash Page Example

There are also splash pages that force the user to identify which language or version of the website they want to see. Football.com is one example that demonstrates this:

Football Splash Page Example

Clicking “Football” takes visitors to the website version that includes everything American-football related such as NFL and NCAA football. On the other hand, clicking “World Football” directs visitors to the website version with everything soccer-related such as professional, semi-professional, club teams, and more.

Splash pages vs. homepages

A splash page is hosted on your homepage, any content page, or your blog (like the Harvard Business Review page in chapter 1). A splash screen is a “welcome screen” and is the first page the visitor sees before the website.

The homepage, content page, or blog page (and its respective splash page) share the same root URL, which essentially make it the same page. However, there are some subtle differences between the main website page and a splash page.

Let’s analyze the differences between a splash page and a homepage:

  • A splash page has very few elements — only a message and an exit link
  • A homepage typically has navigation links and a lot of information on the product or service
  • A splash page doesn’t necessarily have a background image or graphic
  • A homepage has one or a combination of graphics
  • A splash page has a single purpose (either present visitors with a choice or relay a message to them)
  • A homepage can have multiple purposes; it’s offering visitors all of the products or features at the same time (via navigation links or otherwise)

As an example let’s look at Zara.com and identify the differences between the homepage and splash page.

This is Zara’s splash screen, also known as the splash page:

Zara Splash Page Example

The splash page has:

  • A background image that’s relevant to the website
  • A single message (the choice of which country you want to view products)
  • A CTA button that takes you to the website

This is what Zara’s homepage looks like:

Zara Homepage Example

The homepage has:

  • Multiple images as it showcases multiple products
  • Multiple navigation links taking you to other pages within the website
  • A search bar that allows you to find the products you’re looking for

A splash page is a welcome screen placed on top of a page on your website. Even though both pages share the same root URL, they do not share the same page properties.

What to Include on Splash Pages

A post-click landing page must have the following elements for it to be successful:

  • A descriptive headline with a featured unique value proposition (UVP)
  • A relevant and eye-catching graphic or picture
  • Benefit-oriented copy
  • A clear and contrasting CTA button
  • Trust indicators (these can be customer testimonials, customer badges, or trust seals)

A splash page doesn’t require any specific elements, but it should include:

  • A message (this can vary from giving them information about a new product to just giving them a chance to share your website on social networks)
  • A clear exit button that takes them directly to the website

To see what a typical post-click landing page looks like, let’s use the example of Outbrain’s post-click landing page:

Outbrain post-click landing page Example

This page has all the necessary ingredients to fulfill the conversion goal. In the case of Outbrain, to get sign ups:

  • The headline explains that the service helps grow visitors’ website traffic
  • The subheadline elaborates on the headline and mentions the UVP
  • The graphic shows how your content will get discovered
  • A directional cue that points toward the CTA
  • A clear and contrasting CTA button
  • The features and benefits are described in bullet points
  • Detailed customer testimonials

Another major difference between a post-click landing page and splash page is that a post-click landing page doesn’t have any navigation links whereas the splash page should always have a navigation link that allows visitors to go back to the main website.

Because splash pages are hosted on your main website, you don’t need to promote them separately as you should with post-click landing pages. Each time you promote your main website, your splash page gets promoted along with it.

How Do I Create a Splash Page?

When creating a splash page you essentially have two options:

  1. Hire a third-party designer and developer to create a splash page template — and then host the page on your website
  2. Use Instapage to design your splash page quickly using our professional templates

With the first option, you will most likely spend too much money and experience a lot of waiting time for the designer to create the page and coordinate with your IT department in hosting the page.

If you choose Instapage, simply browse our templates and select the design that best applies to your brand. You can also edit the templates quickly and easily in the Instapage fully-customizable builder. Finally, when you’re satisfied with the design, click “publish” and you’ll have a beautifully-designed splash page online to start generating traffic and leads.

Short-form post-click landing page templates will function best as splash pages:

Instapage post-click landing page Templates Example

Splash pages are making a comeback in online marketing. Why? Because they help marketers inform their visitors of valuable messages applicable to them. What’s best about splash pages is they don’t require much work from the visitor — something visitors greatly appreciate.

Create and optimize your splash pages today and see just how much your visitors welcome them.

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