What do winning soccer teams and winning landing pages have in common?
They both score more goals by using kick-ass checklists.
To score more goals, a soccer checklist might verify skills like:
- Speed and power
- Nutrition and wellness
- Injury prevention
To score more conversions, a landing page checklist can optimize things like:
- Call-to-Action (CTA)
- User Experience
- Goal Clarity
Checklists allow you to be more thorough in your game plan. They help you to remember to include all the right things on your landing pages, so not a single concept is forgotten.
Wanna see for yourself? Here are 37 items (within eight categories) for you to check your landing pages with:
- Check the sub-category box if you can answer yes to the related question(s). Score one point for each checked box.
- Total your tally at the end out of 37 max points.
Is your headline clear as day? Does it answer a specific question that answers why your visitor needs your offer before anything else?
Unbounce claims three essential ingredients of landing page headlines are necessary:
- Focus – your headline should be focused on one topic, one goal.
- Relevance – your headline should directly relate to your offer and CTA.
- Benefits – get to your unique selling proposition (USP) ASAP.
Airbnb gets right to the point in their headline. Here’s a landing page for hosts:
Does this include your unique value proposition? Is the sub-header giving your visitors even more clarity on your offer? Does it support the same single goal of the call-to-action (CTA)?
Here’s Airbnb’s landing page for visitors. The sub-header tells you exactly what you can expect if you take up the offer:
▢ Message Match
Does your landing page CTA match the ad message that got me there in the first place? Does the copy use the same phrasing and language from the original ad?
Oli Gardner tells us how not to fail:
“Match your ad copy with your landing page or you fail.”
Here’s an example of PawBoost’s ad message:
Their ad copy matches the exact same phrasing:
Is it easy to quickly scan your page for info? Is the font large enough? Is the font type legible? Can I be a lazy reader and still understand the offer?
Does your landing page create a sense of act now? Are you tapping into your visitor’s psychological sense of loss aversion and FOMO (fear of missing out)?
Crate and Barrel has limited time offers and an urgent “sign up now” CTA:
Did you use the right tone? Did you use conversation momentum (tip #10)? Do you sound like a human?
Your tone and voice provide a glimpse into your brand’s personality, so use your copy to provoke the right emotions.
Did you include this in your image?
Adding alt-text (alternative text) to your image is simple and helpful in improving your SEO ranking. This is especially useful if your image breaks, because screen readers can still identify and show your description label to visitors.
Wix recommends using less than 70 characters:
▢ Unique selling proposition (USP) image
Is there an image of someone using your product or service? Can I see an image or illustration of how your offer works?
To show off their USP, YogaGlo features a hero shot of an actual yogi using her home as a meditation and yoga studio:
Does your image support the same single goal of the CTA?
Is your brand identity on your landing page prominent? Does the page include your branded colors and identity?
Does your hero shot trigger the right emotion? Does it tell a story that pulls on your visitor’s heartstrings?
Make-A-Wish Foundation makes it very obvious where your donation dollars are going, starting with the landing page imagery:
▢ Visual Cues
Did you include any directional cues (subtle or obvious) that guide the visitor to your CTA?
ConversionXL tested out various directional cues, which resulted in different user reactions:
Regardless of your visual cue of choice, including one that looks toward your CTA is beneficial.
Do your colors evoke the right emotions? Is there enough color contrast in your CTA offer and button?
▢ Clear Design
Is your CTA button obvious? Does the CTA button color contrast and stand out from the rest of the page?
▢ Clear Message
Did you avoid generic CTA copy (i.e. submit, click here)? Are you super specific in your CTA message?
Neil Patel’s CTA message is so clear, it includes an entire sentence:
▢ Threat Level
Have you tested the threat level of your CTA to find out if it matches? Did you consider where your visitor came from and where they are in the PPC traffic temperature cycle?
It’s important to speak directly to your visitor’s stage in their decision making cycle. Different CTAs work better (or worse) depending on whether your visitors came from search, display, social, or video.
Have you tested the length of your form to see which is optimal? It’s important not to assume on this one. Too often people assume shorter forms are better, and too often this is not the case.
Does your form have multi-steps? Have you saved the highest threat form fields for last? Did you start the form with the least threatening fields? Did you set up your form for first receiving a micro-conversion?
Can’t tout this one enough. Here’s what we do:
Getting a small commitment first is the idea behind this. We’re more likely to complete something once we’ve started it, so try to get that initial micro-conversion.
Psychology Today’s Stephanie Sarkis, PhD explains this Zeigarnik Effect in her Why We Hate Not Finishing What We Start post:
“It turns out that the brain has a powerful need to finish what it starts. When it can’t complete something, it gets stuck on it.”
Tip: Ask non-intrusive super easy questions in your first-step form fields, even if the info isn’t necessary for engaging in your offer. Do this to warm up your visitors first and to nudge them toward making increasingly larger commitments, saving the most threatening fields (i.e. contact info) for last.
Did you remove your navigation bars? Is your landing page easy to move through? Do visitors know what to do? Do you have a 1:1 attention ratio?
VWO did a case study that tested out Yuppiechef’s navigation bar:
Is your layout responsive?
People are likely to be visiting your landing pages from multiple devices. Don’t miss out on mobile conversions and be sure to have a responsive layout that adapts to smartphone displays. Better yet, have a dedicated mobile landing page.
Have you tested the length of the page itself?
This one can flip flop depending on your landing page content, so be sure to test it out. Here’s an example of how a longer landing page converted better:
Here’s an example of the opposite:
Is your logo in the standard header placement (upper left)? Is your logo clickable to the homepage?
There’s such a familiarity with having your logo placed in the upper left corner, that it’s become a standard practice across the board. Don’t try to be different on this one or you’ll lose layout usability.
Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media Studios researched top 50 websites and found:
“100% of the websites researched had a clickable logo in the upper left corner of every page on the site. That’s a standard.”
Did you remove your footer navigation?
Similar to the main navigation bar at the top, the footer is a distraction and can pull people away from your CTA. Don’t include your footers either and aim for that 1:1 attention ratio.
Have you tested your landing page on a mobile device?
In addition to ensuring a responsive layout, test out your landing page on all devices, especially mobile devices. How did it feel? How did it work? Did it look great?
▢ Functional Elements
Have you gone through the user experience to make sure all the interactive parts work?
▢ Thank You Page
Have you optimized your page? Have you clearly defined next steps?
Don’t forget about the back-end. Your Thank You page is your chance to seal the deal and delight your converted visitors. Tell them exactly what to expect, how and when, now that they’ve engaged in your offer.
Here’s Hubspot’s layout recommendation for the ideal Thank You page:
▢ Detailed Opt-in Experience
Do visitors know exactly what to expect if they engage in your offer? Do your visitors know exactly what will happen after clicking your CTA?
Similar to the Thank You page, make it very clear what happens next. Written has a content upgrade on their site that makes it easy to understand how you get the offer.
▢ Blink test
Did you pass the 5-second test?
Simple as it sounds – if your audience can’t figure out what your CTA goal is within the first few seconds of scanning your landing page, you need to make it more clear.
▢ Obvious Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
Do visitors know, with hardly any cognitive load (aka thinking), what your unique value proposition is? Do visitors know how their lives will benefit from your offer?
Your UVP should be reflected at every possible opportunity on your landing page: your headline, sub-header, copy, image, CTA, etc. This all comes together to support your single page goal. The more pronounced your UVP, the higher your chance of converting your visitors.
▢ No Distractions
Did you use enough white space? Is your design clean and free of clutter? Do you have a 1:1 attention ratio?
Here’s an example of a cluttered vs. clean landing page:
Did you leave out any extraneous questions or info? Did you comb through your copy and clean out any extra verbiage?
Simplicity should also be visible in every element of your landing page so your CTA goal remains clean and free of distraction. Keep a simple message, copy, image, design, CTA, button, etc.
▢ Social Proof
Did you include any evidence of other ideal visitors using your offer?
Basecamp includes at the very bottom of their homepage a graph that shows the exponential amount of accounts that they’ve accumulated since 2004:
If security is an issue for your visitors, do you have logos or badges that ensure safety if people engage in your offer?
Do you have evidence of testimonials, quotes, images or other satisfied people using your offer?
Here’s an example of how featuring a testimonial increased conversion rates by 102.5%:
Are your testimonial examples credible and realistic? Did you use real quotes, images and people in your testimonials? If you have reviews, did you include both good and bad reviews?
Basecamp has a long list of real quotes on their homepage as you scroll through:
▢ No Negative Thinking
Did you remove any chance of inviting negative thinking?
Even though we mean well when adding words like won’t spam or won’t sell emails, having them near your CTA button can deter people from clicking. Your visitors likely weren’t even thinking about those negative things until you mentioned them.
Did you evoke the right emotions to gain your visitor’s trust?
You can build more trust in your brand by going beyond solving your visitor’s problem, and appealing to your their emotions. Follow this pathway:
Ready to up your conversion game?
Hitting these checkpoints with a solid yes answer will increase your landing page conversions and get you that much closer to reaching your ROI goals.
There’s no perfect landing page without your uber testing of each element… buuut checklists can help you break down the components for a simpler designing process. And you can save time and delegate more easily, too.