Landing page optimization is more of a methodology than an actual piece of software, and it can be performed on an ad hoc basis without the assistance of a third-party system. However, those third-party systems can add greatly to the efficiency of your optimization initiative.
There are hundreds of systems available to assist companies in optimizing their websites, and selecting the right landing page optimization solution may be difficult. If you host your own website on-premise, then a landing page optimization solution that can run resident on your own server may be more appropriate to allow for the greatest control–although this would take more management overhead than a Software-as-a-Service alternative.
Next, consider the degree of sophistication required and the scope of your Web project. For smaller projects that may be run by beginning Webmasters, a lower-cost or free landing page optimization solution may offer the most intuitive interface and easy operation, although the degree of analytics offered will be less than a higher-end solution that provides much more granular detail about your Web traffic and visitor patterns.
A landing page optimization solution should include Web site analytics, which gathers Web traffic data, parses it, and generates easy to read and actionable reports. These reports give you a greater idea of which pages are working best, where your visitors are coming from, and how long they are staying. If you sell products, for example, analytics can go beyond purchase reports and give you an idea of what visitors looked at, but did not purchase.
One of the most common analytics tools on the market is Google Analytics, which is available for free to AdWords account holders. Google also offers a higher-end analytics package called Urchin, which can be installed and managed on your own servers, as opposed to Google Analytics, which operates as a Software-as-a-Service offering.
Other analytics packages such as MetaSun offer a bit more detail, including tools for analyzing and tracking different ad campaigns and measuring conversion. OneStat, which is well-suited for larger Web sites and enterprise use, also provides deep insight into ROI and other metrics. WebTrends, one of the best-known analytics offerings, offers a great deal of flexibility in creating highly specific and granular reports and precise targeting.
As undisputed king of Internet marketing, Google also offers a landing page optimization solution with its free Website Optimizer, which provides basic tools for testing and what-if analysis.
Omniture also has a widely used landing page optimization solution called Omniture Test&Target, which provides several tools for experimentation, allowing Webmasters to design and carry out tests to determine the best content and landing page possible for the greatest results. It can be used to create highly targeted campaigns and analyze the target audience, using both simple A/B testing and multivariate testing procedures.