Demand Curve: How Ahrefs’ homepage educates prospects to purchase


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Joey Noble


Joey Noble is growth manager at Demand Curve.

More posts from Joey Noble

If you want your homepage to convert, it’s crucial to ensure that there is minimal confusion and friction for the user.

Conversion can be thought of as a formula: Conversion = Desire – Labor – Confusion. Keep this formula in mind when building your website. Your goal is to increase desire while decreasing labor (friction) and confusion. People have short attention spans, so if your homepage is confusing, they’re going to leave.

This post is going to tear down the homepage of Ahrefs, an all-in-one search engine optimization platform that allows marketers to perform competitive analysis, audit their site’s search traffic and find keywords that will allow them to rank better on search engines.

This teardown covers all the key sections of a landing page so that you can apply their conversion tactics and copywriting strategies to your startup’s homepage.

Capture attention with an objection handler

The first section of your website that a visitor will see is your above-the-fold (ATF) section. This section is important, because this is your chance to make a good first impression on visitors when they visit your website. If your ATF section is confusing or uninteresting, you risk the visitors leaving and reading nothing else.

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Ahrefs’ ATF section has four pieces that we’ll dive into individually: the header, call to action, social proof and a subhead.

Ahrefs' above the fold section has four pieces: header, call-to-action, social proof and a sub-header.
Image Credits: Demand Curve

A header that tackles the most common objection

Your header must hook readers with your most compelling feature framed as a bold claim. When you handle your target audience’s biggest objection, it can serve as the bold claim that gets visitors to continue reading.

Ahrefs uses a common header template: Get [benefit] without [problem]. In this case, it’s flipped: With [product] you won’t have [problem] in order to get [benefit].

Ahrefs knows a lot of businesses need SEO but don’t have the time or resources to build expertise. So, Ahrefs tells their visitors you don’t have to be an SEO professional to use its product.

The underlying benefit here is that users will get more search traffic and rank higher on the web while not needing SEO expertise to do so.

Ahrefs tells their visitors you don't have to be an SEO pro to use their product.
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Make your call to action stand out

Calls to action (CTAs) are the only way to move visitors down the relationship funnel. It’s nearly impossible to get someone to sign up without encouraging them to do so. Visitors instinctively don’t want to sign up.

Most visitors have seen “Get started” and “Sign up today” a thousand times, so they’ve built the reflex to ignore it. Ahrefs bypasses this reflex with a unique CTA: “Start a 7-day trial for $7.” It has a nice ring to it and hasn’t been overused.

To minimize visitor confusion, keep your navigation bar CTA and above-the-fold CTA to the same request.

Ahrefs bypasses the reflex to avoid signing-up with a unique CTA, "Start a 7-day trial for $7."
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Use social proof to build urgency and establish credibility

Ahrefs makes visitors feel like they’re missing out by showing how many users signed up in the last seven days. This gives visitors an incentive to sign up now.

The company also establishes credibility by showing big brands that use its product. This bypasses any suspicion as to whether this company is legit.

The subhead should fulfill the promise of the header

The subhead should answer which feature makes the claim in the header believable. Ahrefs tells visitors they will rank higher and get more traffic to their site. But how? We don’t know until their subhead tells users: “All-in-one SEO toolset.”

The sub-head should back up the header
Image Credits: Demand Curve

To explain how users don’t need to be SEO pros, Ahrefs explains they’ll get free learning materials and support from a passionate community.

Features continue the narrative set ATF

Ahrefs highlights three main features in its subhead: the all-in-one SEO toolset, free learning materials and a community/support system. It wouldn’t make sense if the features section explored three different value propositions.

Structurally, it makes sense for Ahrefs to start with the all-in-one toolset. It’s the first feature they mentioned in the subhead and it’s the main product being sold.

Ahrefs lays out the benefits of its main feature: the all-in-one toolset
Image Credits: Demand Curve

To prevent readers from skimming their copy, they use bullet points and short sentences beginning with action verbs.

We recommend against using images like this, as it doesn’t help anyone understand the product. Ahrefs could add product images instead that show off each tool so that users aren’t left guessing what’s inside.

Be careful about video placement

Users are next presented with a product demo. The video itself is great but could have worked much better alongside the features section. Users understand what a product is faster if they’re able to see it in action alongside the feature descriptions.

Ahrefs could build momentum faster by replacing the cartoon images with product images, GIFs or this video.

The product demo comes next
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Cater to multiple audiences with one landing page

So far, Ahrefs has been marketing to SEO beginners. But in this next section, Ahrefs makes it clear that it also provides powerful and easy-to-use tools for SEO experts, too.

Ahrefs uses a toggle to show experts the features they'd like to see, without making its beginner audence see it too
Image Credits: Demand Curve

As this landing page is catered toward beginners, they hide the value props that would entice experts behind a toggle. This allows experts to explore why this tool is for them without forcing jargon or confusing topics onto beginners.

Create educational material to help your audience see the value of your product

If your product isn’t intuitive or your audience is relatively uneducated on the topic, you should create content demonstrating the value of the topic. Education also builds trust, and if your audience learns from you, they’re more likely to buy from you.

Ahrefs likely knows that the more SEO knowledge a user has, the higher the chance of a free trial conversion. Their blog is very informative and educational but always uses Ahrefs for the examples. Their content always pushes readers back toward using Ahrefs.

Ahrefs highlights its education materials to push users into learning and converting to the free trial
Image Credits: Demand Curve

At this point, Ahrefs has only told users to learn but hasn’t shown them where they can learn. Ahrefs knows users won’t read their content without a nudge, so immediately after telling visitors to learn how it can help them, the company gives them the resources to do so.

Cater to your audience

Ahrefs highlights its beginner tutorials to ensure its core audience learns how to use its products
Image Credits: Demand Curve

These tutorials are all catered toward their core audience of SEO beginners. Ahrefs has plenty of advanced tutorials, but none are listed here. It also gives visitors different mediums of learning: videos, guides or help from support.

Continuing the narrative set in the subhead

Your landing page should read like an essay. Your header hooks readers in, your subhead tells readers what the essay will be about and the features are the supporting paragraphs. Ahrefs continues with the promise set in the subhead by introducing its community feature.

Ahrefs continues with the promise set in the sub-head by introducing its community feature
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Ahrefs creates exclusivity with “Ahrefs Insiders” and “private Facebook community,” both of which encourage users to join the community.

Ahrefs puts emphasis on the fact that this community isn’t a bunch of SEO newbies, either. It says the community is filled with “10,000 SEO-obsessed marketers who have seen it all,” implying that if you join, you’re in good hands and you’ll soon be just as knowledgeable as the rest.

As a general rule of thumb, give users multiple ways to contact you. Everyone has their preferred contact method, so Ahrefs gives you the ability to chat directly with support or message them on Twitter.

Use testimonials to target different customer personas

People like to know if other people vouch for a product, especially those who are in the same profession. Ahrefs uses a breadcrumb-style widget that displays a testimonial for many different personas. They want to show users that if they blog, they can see what other bloggers have to say. If they run an e-commerce company, they can see e-commerce operators’ opinions.

Ahrefs uses a breadcrumb style widget that displays a testimonial for many different personas.
Image Credits: Demand Curve

More specific social proof is more believable

Marketers know that social proof is how you gain the trust of your visitors. Being specific and detailed with your social proof can make you seem more honest and genuine. Ahrefs adds decimals to their ratings, which is a subtle detail, but it increases believability.

Ahrefs adds decimals to its ratings to increase believability.
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Ahrefs builds trust further by being transparent and showing when the review data was supplied.

It also shows when the review data was supplied to build trust
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Push for conversion with urgency in the final CTA

Your final call to action is your last change to entice visitors to sign up. People buy with their emotions, so using things like fear of missing out and time pressure (urgency) are a great way to get conversions. Ahrefs bluntly states that you’ll be missing growth opportunities if you don’t use Ahrefs.

Ahrefs bluntly states that you'll be missing growth opportunities if you don't use it
Image Credits: Demand Curve

Founder’s note

Ahrefs’ landing page doesn’t actually end with a CTA. Instead, they summarize the value of Ahrefs through a personal founder’s note. Readers like to see that there’s a person behind the company and a founder’s note is a great way to show that.

A founder’s note typically looks like this:

  • Calls out the problem.
  • Frames the company as the problem solver.
  • Bridges the problem and problem solver together.

The first paragraph of the note calls out the problem its users face and makes it relatable. Then, Ahrefs positions itself as the solver of that problem and reinforces the values mentioned in the second paragraph by saying “all our learning materials and some of the tools will stay free.”

Summarize the value of your offering through a personal founder's note.
Image Credits: Demand Curve

How to apply this teardown to your homepage

To summarize, here are the key points you should take away from this teardown of Ahrefs:

  • Use unique CTAs to differentiate from the crowd. Ensure the CTA is always the next step you want the user to take. “Get my free unicorn” is unique but doesn’t tell the user what the next step would be.
  • Use the subhead to explain how your product fulfills the claim made in the header.
  • Use product images to help readers better understand your value proposition.
  • You don’t always have to push for a free trial sign-up or a demo call. If there’s a gap between your audience’s understanding of the product and the product itself, push for education.
  • Use exclusivity to entice visitors.
  • Entice multiple personas by using testimonials tailored for each target audience.
  • Use founder’s notes to seem more human and personable.

Apply these takeaways to your startup’s homepage to increase conversions. Once implemented, the traffic you send to your website will turn into revenue for your startup.

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