Before I get into page design, remember first and foremost: the page itself isn't likely to be the real draw. The first thing your project is going to need is a decent-sized number of fans and supporters who are already looking forward to your launch!
Start your footwork early, reach out to your friends, write up a press kit, do some local advertising and marketing, and captivate your core group of backers long before launch day. That way, when your project goes live, you've got a good deal of loyal and eager fans ready to pledge right away! Many successful Kickstarter projects fund simply because of their out-of-the-gate popularity, and have relatively straightforward and simple pages.
As far as the page itself, I would recommend checking out other successful Kickstarter projects in your intended genre's (Game, Tech, Crafts, etc.) category. Take note of the way those project creators chose to organize their page; the basic layout and composition, how much or how little text they used, and even the color palette itself. Creative projects are likely to have very creative backers, who might expect a little more in the way of layout and design.
Look at no fewer than a dozen successful projects on products / services similar to your own, and take a little motivation and inspiration from each. And finally, never underestimate the power of a great project video...
Hope this helps.
I'll be honest, my first project was not a huge kickstarter, it was an experiment for me, and it was successful.
I looked at a lot of Kickstarter pages, many which were unrelated to my subject. It starts to become obvious what doesn't work - a paragraph or two of project and 2 or 3 "rewards" that dont give anyone anything. The real battle is going through and figuring out what elements you like of various pages, the graphics, the text, the style.
I modified my kickstarter page pretty much every day. Keep fine tuning it, move content around. I didnt think my rewards were very clear, so on day 4 or so I spent half the night taking photos and then added a big graphic of the rewards - by the next morning I had more backers after not getting any the previous day. I trimmed down text to make it lean, and take out much of the fluff that was cluttering things up. I also added graphics for headings rather than the default text.
Ideally, I would have done all of this before posting the kickstarter - but I had been delayed by an over-deadline project at work, and I wanted to be able to get all my rewards out by Christmas, so I did much editing on the fly. This worked out pretty well for my experiment, as I found some things that obviously worked to increase the number of backers.
If graphics are not your thing and you're not planning a $100-1000 project, then I suggest you head to elance/freelancer and look around for a good graphics artist. Explain in the job post what you want, link to kickstarters you liked, tell them why you liked it. If you get people sending you a form to fill in asking for the project detail, or something that looks like a canned response - reject them immediately. There will be 3 or more who will actually look at your job description and have some intelligent input on their bid - follow up with those people to select a graphics artist/content editor or whatever you need.
#1) Other successful projects for very similar goods.
I can't stress that enough. Before our campaign for Halfsies Dice I researched EVERY dice Kickstarter that had come before me. I read their entire project pages, and many of their updates. I saw what trended towards working, and what didn't.
I like what Blackstone said about the video, but it's not nearly as important to START. Most people don't watch the video until they've browsed your page, looked at pretty pictures, and took a quick glance at your pricing. THEN the Video is the "Sinker" of the ol' Hook-Line-and-Sinker. If the Hook and Line don't work... the sinker is irrelevant.
#2) Gate Keeper Games' Kickstarter Advice Columns blog. (Mine) Article #15 is a step by step record of when I built a campaign in 7 days flat. Kind of a crazy thing to do, but it was done to be able to create the the Designer Diary there-in. That might really be of use.
#3) Stonemaier Games' Blog.
These resources will help even if you're not in the gaming industry. The concepts remain the same.
Stephanie from Kickstarter here. We have some great tips posts on our blog that can help you answer this question:
The project matters, but so does the page, since we tend to judge books by their covers. So I included my book's cover. I wanted to avoid text overload, but my project is a young adult novel, and it's not illustrated (although I'm hoping to reach enough of my stretch goals to add a graphic element.)
So I created concept art for my book and used this website to mock up a cover. I also divided my campaign description into sections and created customized headers to break up the text. I made my headers look like fake search engine autofill results to try and add a little humor to my page.
It depends on your category, but in general, I'd say:
Make your page short and sweet. Don't feel you have to tell backers your whole life story, or every detail of your project. Get down to the essence, and leave the rest as answers to questions, and updates.
Keep your video short, as well. Some of the best project videos I've seen are simply the creator speaking directly to the camera, telling their story, quickly and concisely.
Use some of that prime front page real estate to show photos of rewards, if that will help your project.
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