There’s a reason Kris Kringle had a checklist.
Because it freed his mind from having to remember every kid on the planet.
Without a checklist, the cognitive load on his brain would have been so massive that he never would have gotten anything done.
Could you imagine trying to plan next year’s hottest new Christmas gifts while simultaneously remembering 2.2 billion names and addresses?
Freeing your mind of repetitive tasks helps you improve:
- Productivity: Not just activity, but achievement (fewer mistakes, more efficiency)
- Delegation: Break up checklists into smaller tasks; delegate with confidence
- Creativity: Use a checklist for repetitive tasks, free up brain power for creativity
- Motivation: Who doesn’t love checking off every box of a list?
- Peace of mind: “Did I forget something?”—check the list
When it comes to designing effective landing pages, you’re going to need all the productivity, delegation, creativity, motivation, and peace of mind you can get.
So, naturally, we created a landing page checklist comprised of all the best practices that our own team uses (with results that can get up to a 413% increase in conversion rates 🤯)—and we’re sharing it with you.
The very same landing page checklist we use to capture loads of conversions from PPC ads.
In this article, we’ll explore 39 critical factors to consider when creating a high-converting landing page, broken down into seven different categories:
We made a list. All you have to do is check it twice 😉
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Landing page checklist: Copy
Landing page copy is the easiest thing on the landing page checklist to change but the hardest thing to get right.
It needs to grab attention, communicate your value proposition, and motivate action quickly.
When building your landing page, check the following:
- Message match
- Conversational tone
- Formatting and legibility
- No negative speak
Does your headline grab attention and communicate your value propositions? Does it answer the question, “What’s the cost of doing nothing?”
According to Unbounce, effective landing page headlines have three essential ingredients:
- Focus: Your headline should focus on one topic, one goal.
- Relevance: Your headline should directly relate to your offer and CTA.
- Benefits: Describe a clear benefit; communicate your unique selling proposition ASAP.
We couldn’t agree more.
For example, Jarvis hits a homerun with their free trial headline: focused, relevant, clear benefit:
Does the text immediately following your headline support your value proposition and provide context to your offer? Does it expand upon your headline or continue the thought, not start a new idea?
Sticking with the Jarvis example, their subheadline provides much-needed context and clarity to their headline: “Artificial intelligence makes it fast & easy to create content for your blog, social media, website, and more! Rated 5/5 stars in 1,000+ reviews.”
3. Message match
Does your landing page copy and offer match the ad copy and offer that drove visitors to it in the first place (AKA message match)? Does the copy use the same phrasing and language from the original ad?
If your ad makes a promise, your landing page needs to deliver it.
As Oli Gardner of Unbounce would say: “Match your ad copy with your landing page or you fail.”
For example, ADP perfectly matches their PPC ad copy and offer with their landing page headline and offer:
Matching ad copy with landing page keywords also benefits your Google PPC Quality Scores: the more aligned, the more relevant Google will find your ads.
What’s the average reading level of your landing page visitors? Lower than you think.
The average American reads at a 7th-8th grade level. This means your landing page copy should do the same.
How do you measure reading level? A few of our favorite tools:
Does your landing page motivate visitors to act now? Are you tapping into your visitor’s psychological sense of loss aversion and FOMO (fear of missing out)?
Great landing pages increase urgency in a number of ways:
- Countdown timers
- Bonus incentives
- Limited inventory
- Limited time offer
- Low inventory warnings
- Social proof
For example, Freshly uses a call out to order today to create urgency by making it feel like the deal is only available for a limited time:
6. Conversational tone
Do you sound like a human?
- No industry jargon
- No fluff
- Second-person voice
- Short sentences
- Contractions (e.g. it’s, not it is)
- Active (not passive) voice
- Informal transition words (e.g. “Plus” instead of “Moreover”)
- Shorter words (fewer syllables)
- Ask questions
Can tone really make a difference in conversion rates?
For example, for our client Mention, we swapped out stuffy language for a more conversational tone and increased conversions by 31%
7. Formatting and legibility
Is your copy legible and skimmable?
- Typography (no more than three fonts)
- Visual hierarchy (big headings, smaller subheadings, even smaller paragraphs)
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
- Strong contrast (text vs. background)
- Short copy (no long chunks)
- White space (white space can increase comprehensive by as much as 20%)
- Consistent style
For example, the New School of Architecture in SD is an example of an illegible landing page: competing headlines, no white space, chunks of words, too many colors, inconsistent style, etc.
Shopify, on the other hand, uses white space, visual hierarchy, short sentences, and iconography to make their landing page legible and skimmable:
8. No negative speak
Did you remove any copy that might encourage negative thoughts?
Even though we mean well when we add phrases like "won’t spam" or "won’t sell emails," the mere presence of negative reminders can deter clicks.
Reframe that content to be positive. Try this:
Won't spam ❌ → Only valuable content ✅
Won't sell your email❌ → Your information is safe with us (and only us) ✅
Stop wasting money on XYZ❌ → Get money back in your wallet with XYZ ✅
See what I mean? Keep things positive.
Landing page checklist: Design
Design brings words to life. Period.
Good conversion design reduces cognitive load, draws attention to important elements, and drips with distinct brand codes (colors, style, typography, etc.)
When it comes to your landing page’s design, check the following:
- Information hierarchy
- Hero shot
- Directional cues
- 1:1 attention ratio
- Mobile responsiveness
9. Information hierarchy
Does your page flow from top to bottom using either an F-shaped layout or a Z-shaped layout? Do you use different column layouts (i.e. two columns vs. one column) to establish new sections?
Bottom line: Use a heatmap to test how visitors read your page, and every time they’ll follow one of these two patterns:
The general rule of thumb is that for information-rich landing pages (i.e. lots of words), stick with an F-shaped hierarchy. For an image-rich, minimal landing page (ie. not a lot of words), stick with a Z-shaped hierarchy.
10. Hero shot
A hero shot refers to the primary visual element (background image, graphic, video) that every landing page visitor sees first, above the fold.
Does your hero shot add context to your value proposition? Does it draw attention to your CTA? Does it support your copy, not overwhelm it?
For example, the landing page below uses a diapered baby to add context to their value proposition (quality diapers) and draw attention to their headline:
11. Directional cues
Does your landing page include explicit directional cues like arrows or icons to draw attention to important elements of the page, like your CTA? Does it use implicit directional cues like white space to guide visitors down your page?
How’s this for a direction cue (or four)?
Note: Not all visual cues are created equal. In fact, ConversionXL tested out various directional cues near forms and discovered a wide variety of reactions:
Don’t forget white space. White space gives your design breathing room, but it also works covertly to corral your visitors’ gaze.
For example, notice how the white space on this Intercom lander keeps your eyes zig-zagging from left to right down the page:
Does your landing page use images to add value, not fill space?
Good landing page images check the following boxes:
- Relevant: Images that add context to the copy in a way that makes the words more understandable
- Distinct: Images that look and feel like your brand, no one else’s
- Real: Custom photos and illustrations, not stock photography
- Emotional: Images that elicit an emotional response, and in doing so, help sell your value proposition
- Optimized: Don’t forget image alt text (search engines use them to understand your images and better rank pages; screen readers use them for the visually impaired)
For example, GatherContent uses custom illustrations to communicate the pain point their software solves:
And Hers uses custom photography so they can fully control their brand while providing context, emotion, and authenticity to their products.
Does your landing page use the colors, typography, and visual elements most distinct to your brand? Or does your landing page look like everyone else's in your industry?
In many cases, familiarity is all you need to win a sale. But if your landing page lacks any identifiable brand codes, you may get mistaken for someone else- and lose the sale.
For example, no one does distinct brand assets better than Jarvis. When compared to their competitors, who stands out, and who blends in?
Option 1: Anyword
Option 2: Copysmith
Option 3: Jarvis
Answer: Option 3, no contest. 🏆
14. 1:1 attention ratio
A 1:1 attention ratio refers to the number of links on your landing page to the number of conversion goals.
In other words, if you have one conversion goal, you should only have one link (the CTA).
More links = more distraction = fewer conversions.
Which means removing unnecessary navigation menus, footer links, and social icons.
Don’t believe us?
VWO did a case study that tested out Yuppiechef’s navigation bar:
Removing the navigation increased conversions by 100%.
Is your landing page mobile responsive? If not, do you use mobile-optimized landers for mobile campaigns and traffic?
Mobile traffic makes up more than half of all internet traffic. If your landing pages aren’t optimized for smaller screen size, you’re losing conversions.
And mobile-optimized doesn’t just mean “resized;” it might mean new graphics, less content, or different CTAs.
Is your logo featured in its standard header placement (upper left)? And does it open up your homepage once clicked on?
Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media Studios researched 50 top websites and found that “100% of the websites researched had a clickable logo in the upper left corner of every page on the site. That’s a standard.”
Logos build trust and establish credibility. Don’t forget it, like Act-on 😑
Landing page checklist: Calls-to-action (CTAs)
People don’t know what to do next; they want to be told.
Your CTA opens a door to conversion and walks your visitors right through it.
When optimizing your landing page CTAs, check the following:
- Button contrast
- Clear benefit
- Conversion intent
- CTA Placement
- Single conversion goal
17. Button contrast
Does your CTA button pop off the page?
It turns out more conversion has less to do with button color than it does with button color contrast. In other words, does your button color clearly contrast with your background color?
In a study from ContentVerve, they discovered that adding contrast to their button increased conversions by 35%.
What’s a good color contrast? How about only using the button color for the button, nowhere else, like Unbounce does with royal blue:
If you’re uncertain whether or not your button contrasts well enough with your background, use this free color contrast tool to find out.
18. Clear benefit
Does your button avoid generic copy like submit, start, or click here?
A good CTA uses action-oriented copy that communicates a clear benefit.
For example, Jarvis crushes their CTA button copy by directly supporting the value proposition and reminding visitors what’s on the other side of a click:
19. Conversion intent
Different sources of traffic (i.e. different channels) have different temperatures.
For example, PPC traffic tends to skew hotter since you can bid on bottom of funnel, purchase-intent keywords, whereas social media traffic tends to skew colder since social media visitors aren’t actively shopping.
Does your CTA and offer match the intent of your visitors? One CTA does not fit all.
20. CTA placement
Is your CTA button prominently featured above the fold (the top section visitors first see when they arrive)? And do you feature it several more times through your landing page?
Where should you feature your CTA, anyways?
- Above the fold
- Middle of page
- Bottom of the page
- Close to your benefits
For example, Hubspot features their CTA in the header, above the fold, close to their benefits (middle of page), and at the bottom of the page:
Whatever you do, don’t bury your CTAs in a sea of text, like this example from Apple:
21. Single conversion goal
Does your landing page offer a single path to conversion, not many?
More offers = fewer conversions.
In fact, one study discovered that adding multiple offers (i.e. multiple conversion goals) decreased conversions by 266%.
For example, Monday’s landing page includes one conversion goal only: Get started with a free trial.
Landing page checklist: Forms
For lead capture pages (i.e. lead generation pages with forms), the lead form can make or break your conversion rates.
Is it too long? Too short? Too complicated? Too intimidating?
So many variables, so little margin for error.
To ensure your forms capture leads (instead of scaring them away) check the following:
- Breadcrumb technique (multi-step form)
- Form length
- Thank you page
- Autofill (or Google One Tap)
22. Breadcrumb technique (multi-step form)
Does your landing page form use multiple steps? If so, did you save the most threatening questions for the last step?
The breadcrumb technique (pioneered by our founder) is a type of form that uses multiple steps to increase conversions, one micro commitment at a time.
For example, instead of asking seven questions on one giant form, split those questions up into three stages, and ask for an email and phone number on the last stage.
Tip: Ask a non-intrusive, “softball” question first, even if the info isn’t necessary. Then ask progressively more intimidating questions in stages two and three. Whatever you do, always ask for contact information last.
For example, let’s look at our KlientBoost form:
Or Lytx’s form:
Generally speaking, people are more likely to complete something once they’ve started it, so getting an initial micro-conversion can be a big deal.
Stephanie Sarkis explains this Zeigarnik Effect in her Why We Hate Not Finishing What We Start post for Psychology Today:
“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.”
23. Form length
Have you tested the length of your form (i.e. fewer form fields vs. more form fields)?
Don’t assume that shorter forms perform better, because that’s not always the case.
For example, in an A/B test from former Unbounce conversion designer, Michael Aagaard, he discovered that removing form fields actually decreases conversions by 14%:
Bottom line: Shorter usually does mean better, but not always. Eliminate unnecessary form fields and A/B test everything else.
24. Thank you page
Does your form lead to a thank you page upon completion?
Though often overlooked, thank you pages offer prime real estate to promote upsells, restate your value proposition, prime leads, share social links, or offer trust-building content upgrades.
At a minimum, a good thank you page does the following:
- Restates the value proposition
- Provides next steps
- Shares social icons or newsletter opt-in
- Makes an upsell or delivers a second CTA
For example, the following thank you page from Hubspot checks all the boxes and some:
25. Autofill forms (or Google One Tap)
Let the browser do the work: Do your form fields auto-populate (AKA pre-fill) information?
In one study, Google discovered that pre-fill helped visitors checkout up to 30% faster.
Or if you’re a SaaS brand that offers a free trial, do you use Google One Tap account creation so users can use their Gmail credentials instead of creating a new username and password?
According to Zapier, Pinterest, and Reddit, Google One Tap increased conversions by 20%, 47%, and 100%, respectively.
Landing page checklist: User experience
Without a proper user experience, nothing else matters.
Even the best copy, design, or offer won’t convert a potential customer if your page loads too slow, your forms don’t submit right, or your images don’t render.
When it comes to landing page UX, check the following:
- Page speed
- Mobile friendliness
- KISS (Simplicity)
- Quality assurance
26. Page speed
When your page speed drops from 1s to 3s, the probability of a bounce increases 32%. When it drops from 1s to 6s, the probability of a bounce increases to 106%. Yikes.
Not to mention 53% of your mobile visitors will abandon your site if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
To make sure you’re not hemorrhaging conversions due to high bounce rates at the hands of slow-loading landing pages, run your landing pages through Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool before pushing live.
For example, according to PageSpeed Insights, Pipe’s landing page needs a bit of work:
27. Mobile friendliness
We already touched on mobile responsiveness. But does your landing page pass Google’s Mobile Friendly Test?
Consider the Mobile-Friendly Test the true arbiter of “responsiveness.”
I’ve seen plenty of “mobile responsive” websites or web apps fail the Mobile-Friendly Test.
28. KISS (Simplicity)
Keep it simple! Don’t make visitors think.
That means sticking to web design best practices that your prospects instinctively know how to use, not avant-garde features and functionality they’ve never seen before (looking at you, fancy mouse icon and scroll effect) 👀.
29. Quality assurance (QA)
Did someone other than you QA your landing page before pushing it live?
Like a real, breathing human?
I hope so!
When QAing landing pages, check the following:
- Functionality check (links, buttons, tabs, menus, forms, etc.)
- Browser check (compatible on all browsers)
- Content check (images render, content loads, etc.)
- User experience check (compatible on all devices, page speed)
- Measurement check (analytics, pixels, conversion tracking, etc.)
Landing page checklist: Social proof
Social proof fills your value proposition with trust and credibility.
And you don’t get conversions without it.
When it comes to trust seals, check that your landing page includes the following:
- Client logos
- User stats
- Star ratings
Do you have evidence to support your testimonials beyond quotes? Images, screenshots, video case studies, and other examples of people succeeding because of your offer can support your landing page goal.
Here’s an example where featuring a testimonial with an image increased conversion rates by 102.5%:
31. Client logos
Does your landing page feature relevant client logos? If so, are you sure your top 1% of clients aren’t scaring away the other 99%?
For example, on our KB landing pages, we feature some of our most recognizable clients:
However, even though we manage some of the biggest accounts in the world, most of our clients are small to mid-sized businesses.
To ensure our prospects know we’re a good fit for them (since most of them aren’t in the top 1% of their industry), we include a link to over 600 client case studies from every industry and size.
Either way, if you include client logos, don't let it backfire on you. If you only serve enterprise clients, sure, only feature enterprise clients, but if you also serve smaller businesses, don’t scare them away with big logos.
Whatever you do, always test.
32. User stats
If possible, does your landing page feature collective wins that your customers have experienced from using your product or service? Like money earned, time saved, clients won, interest accrued, etc.
For example, Namogoo features user stat social proof above the fold:
And Coinbase features user stat social proof below their subheading:
33. Star ratings
Do you share your aggregate star ratings from different review platforms unique to your industry?
For example, CaptivateIQ features their aggregate star ratings from G2, Capterra, and GetApp:
Security matters online more than ever. Do you have logos or badges that promise protection if people share their information with you?
A badge can help encourage a purchase. Some badges help more than others.
Landing page checklist: Tracking and integrations checklist
Depending on your campaign goals, industry, or budget, the number of tools or apps you integrate with your landing page will vary.
Nonetheless, connecting analytics and tools so they talk to each other is how you mine data and make improvements.
When it comes to tracking and integrations, check the following:
- Google Analytics
- Convertion tracking
35. Google Analytics
Did you paste your Google Analytics (GA) tracking snippet into the <head> section of your landing page? Or if you’re using a paid analytics platform instead, did you paste that tracking snippet into your <head>?
If you’re using a landing page builder like Unbounce or Instapage, they’ll have a script manager section somewhere in the dashboard. Simply paste your GA snippet in the box:
Did you embed social media pixels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest) and remarketing pixels (Google, AdRoll, RollWorks, etc.) into your landing page code too?
Even if you’re not running social PPC campaigns or remarketing campaigns, best to collect audience data anyways. If you want to run them in the future, you’ll have the data you need.
37. Conversion tracking
Have you set up conversion goals in Google Analytics? And if you’re running PPC campaigns, have you embedded the Google Ads conversion tracking snippet?
Any landing page builder worth its salt will track conversions within their platform, but we recommend setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics too. GA will give you a layer of data your landing page builder can’t.
Have you integrated your landers with the following marketing tools (all that apply):
- Email marketing (Mailchimp, CampaignMonitor, etc.)
- Marketing automation (Hubspot, Autopilot, Drip, etc.)
- Ecommerce (Shopify, Stripe, PayPal, etc.)
- CRM (Salesforce, Hatchbuck, Zoho, etc.)
- Call tracking (CallRail, CallHub, Callingly, etc.)
- Live chat (Intercom, LiveChat, etc.)
- Email verification (NeverBounce, etc.)
- Conversion tools (Hotjar, UsabilityHub, etc.)
All the landing page checklist boxes are checked
Phew! That’s a lot of boxes to check.
Did you have any idea how much tedium went into launching a new landing page?
But as digital marketers, we have to keep our eyes on the forest, not the trees: target audience, message, and offer.
This is why a landing page checklist like this works so well: Use it to offload repetitive details so you can free up cognitive space to think about what matters most.
But we’re not done…
Last, but certainly not least, we’ll leave you with one of our favorite tricks for testing landing page clarity: The Blink Test.
39. The Blink Test (seeing without thinking)
Does your landing page pass The Blink Test (AKA the five-minute test)?
If you've never heard of a blink test or five-second test, it's as simple as it sounds.
Simply ask real people (customers or friends, not colleagues) a series of 3-5 questions pertaining to your landing page’s purpose, value proposition, offer, and goal, and see if they can answer correctly in 3-5 seconds (a blink of an eye).
For example, “What is this page about?” Or “Who is this page for?” Or “Can you find the form?”
A blink test is a true test of whether or not your landing page’s design, copy, page speed, user experience, and conversion goals all work together to make an indelible (and clear) first impression.
If they can’t answer your questions, then you need to check this list twice.
Happy conversion optimization 🙂
P.S. If you’re one of the few who want your landing pages indexed by search engines, we’ve got an entire hub of SEO checklists right here: The SEO Guide. Or if you're looking to offload all landing page responsibilities onto a team that will do the hard work AND brings you insane results, we do that.