I was scrolling back through a bunch of unread items in my feed reader today and came across a post by Andy Jenkins highlighting a bunch of good and bad landing page designs. On really jumped out at me -- Google's page for the Nexus S.

The design is beautiful, simple, and clean. But there's much more to learn from it than just the visuals. Let's give it a look.

The first thing that jumps out at me is how little content and how much white space there is on the page. Assuming it's an effective sales page (which I suspect it is), some people might look at it as the ultimate refutation of the long-form sales letter. But I don't think so.

What I see is an ingenious web implementation of a long form letter. It's just not all on one page.

One key to long effective form sales letters is making them scanable so that each person can quickly home in on the sections that are going to sell the product to them. In a typical long form sales letter, you do this with subheads, bullets, etc.

Navigation

The Nexus S sales page does scanability by making it drop-dead easy to figure out how to get to the information you want, and puts links to those in the top navigation.

This will not work for every product. Depending on how ready your prospects are to buy, you may need to grab attention and generate interest with a great headline, followed by a great introductory paragraph to keep them from immediately clicking their browser's back button, etc.

With the Nexus S, people arrive at the site knowing what they're there for, wanting to buy, and just needing to find the parts of the "sales letter" that are most interesting to them.

Take a look at the links across the top: "Features", "Gallery", "Tech Specs", "Help", "Buy Now". What are the 2 or 3 classes of information potential customers might want to see about your product? These are your top navigation links, along with a help or contact link and a buy now link.

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You'll notice as you navigate the Nexus S site that the top navigation always stays in view, so you can always get to the buy now link.

Also notice that "features" and "tech specs" are different. With most products, you'll want to focus more on "benefits" than "features", and "tech specs" may be irrelevant. With a smart phone, features and specs are some of the key points buyers look at when making a purchasing decision.

Also, with a smart phone, style is important. So "gallery" scores high and gets one of the few spots in the top navigation.

Along the bottom of the landing page are 4 images that link to more information. All 4 link to sections of the "features" page. "Features" owns the left-most spot on the navigation bar at the top. I think it's safe to say that Google has determined that highlighting features is one of the most important functions of the page.

But there's one things that's even more important. Let's look at the content of the page and find out what it is.

Landing Page Content

Here's the content of the page: "Pure Google The new Android phone from Google."

Add to that an image and a buy now button, and you're nearly complete. It could hardly be simpler. But in this case, anything more would be clutter. Customers arrive at this page wanting, if not planning, to buy this phone. So give them what they want -- a buy now button.

For your product, it may be different. You may need to give more information to help customers make a buying decision. You still want to make it easy to buy, but the buy button may not belong in such a central position. If new arrivals at the Nexus S page weren't usually ready to buy, the buy now button may have been dropped -- but the buy now link at the top would remain.

Bullets

Some information is best communicated through sentences and paragraphs. Other information just needs a bunch of bullet points of a few words each. Tech specs for a phone fall into the latter category. Check out the tech specs page for the Nexus S:

Each section has an image and a bold headline to help customers quickly find the information they want. Underneath each section is a list of extremely concise bullets.

Once again, this is the way to do it for a phone. Your product make need longer bullets that highlight benefits or explain things more. You'll want to be concise. But don't be so concise that you fail to give the needed information, if that's what your product needs.

I've got some ideas brewing for revising a few of my sales pages now...