This is the best, most comprehensive landing page checklist on the internet.
If you want to:
- Attract more visitors to your landing pages
- Convert more visitors into paying customers
- Make more money per customer
- Sell to visitors who leave your site without buying
… then this checklist will probably be the best thing to happen to you in 2019.
Here’s what to expect:
- Page Layout Checklist
- UX & Framework Checklist
- Copywriting Checklist
- Graphics & Images Checklist
- Onpage SEO Checklist
- Visitor Tracking Checklist
- Pre-Launch Testing Checklist
Let’s dive in!
Page Layout & Direction Checklist
They say, “Don’t miss the forest for the trees.”
When it comes to building a landing page, the page layout is the forest, and that’s why we’re kicking off our checklist with a focus on layout.
1. The page has a clear, singular objective.
By definition, a “landing page” is a transitional page. We are intentionally sending visitors to “land” on the page from some other source with some goal in mind. In 99% of cases, that goal isn’t for the visitor to hangout on the page. We want them to take action, usually one that brings them closer to making a purchase.
If you don’t remember anything else from this checklist, remember this: you should have a crystal clear, singular objective for every landing page on your site.
- “We want them to subscribe”
- “We want them to contact us”
- “We want them to select one of three services”
The core objective is the beginning AND the end of any good landing page, so make sure you have this locked down from the start.
2. The layout creates an intentional, linear journey.
In addition to having a clear objective, it’s also important that your page takes visitors on an intentional, relatively linear journey from arrival to objective.
What does that mean?
When visitors arrive on a page, we don’t want to offer them a buffet of information. We don’t want them browsing, wandering, or meandering about. A good sales pitch or persuasive presentation doesn’t simply offer up a number of points in a random order and hope they get the picture.
Your landing page is your sales pitch, and just like a good sales, it should take visitors through a very intentional journey, moving them through a series of points designed to shift their mentality and prime them to respond to your call to action, achieving the page’s objective.
You should be able to convincingly answer the question, “Why is this here?” for each section on your landing page.
For a deeper dive into creating the optimal landing page layout for your business, click here.
3. The page is an appropriate length relative to the objective.
You can find a case study hyping the virtues of short landing pages, long landing pages, and everything in between. Trying to define an ideal landing page length is like trying to define an ideal height that all humans find optimally attractive. It’s both an impossible pursuit and a meaningless goal.
The real question to ask is, “What length is most appropriate for my specific landing page?” The following factors (and many others) will heavily affect page length.
- Do visitors arrive on your landing page knowledgeable about their problem, or do you need to spend time educating?
- Do visitors arrive on your page with an understanding of your brand, or do you need to invest space towards proving your brand value?
- Do visitors arrive looking to make a quick, low-friction purchase or is this something that requires some really heavy psychological lifting for them to take action?
- Is this the first touch with the visitor or are they on the backend of a lengthy nurturing process?
All these questions affect what you need to include on your page, and your page needs to be exactly as long as it takes to include what you need to include.
4. The page is free of unnecessary distractions.
When a visitor lands on your page, you’ve invested a lot to get them there. We want to make sure the page is free of any unnecessary distractions that can take the user away from your page and place there somewhere less optimal.
Does your landing page have a sidebar with catchy blog posts headlines? Why would we want to send a user on a landing page to a blog post? Get rid of it.
Do you need your main navigation bar on the page? Why would we want to give people the option of browsing instead of buying? Get rid of it.
Does your steak dinner really need a salad? Get rid of it.
Okay, that pretty much covers layout. Let’s jump into some important UX stuff.
UX & Framework Checklist
User experience can make or break your landing page. If the page is taking too long to load, isn’t working on the user’s device, or has broken page elements, you will immediately lose a huge chunk of sales.
Make sure you are hitting these fundamentals with 100% accuracy.
5. The page loads within 3 seconds.
According to Google, “53% of mobile users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load.” (data reported via MarketingDive.com)
Please don’t lose half your visitors for the dumbest of reasons. If you aren’t sure how fast your page loads, click here and enter the URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights app.
Pro tip: If you are managing your own web design via WordPress, pay the $100 for a premium theme. Having a good framework will eliminate 75% of your future page speed problems.
6. The page is mobile responsive.
This probably doesn’t need to be said in 2019, and frankly, if you need a checklist to catch this, I’m guessing you got 99 more pressing problems, son.
That said, make sure your landing page is not only mobile responsive, but that it actually looks good on both mobile, tablet, and desktop devices. Screenfly let’s you test this quickly across numerous devices.
7. The page has a clean design with plenty of white space.
This is one of those best practices that may not hold up to every case study but is generally a good strategy. Clean, minimalist designs with few distractions and plenty of white space tend to offer a more pleasant user experience that is easier to respond to.
8. All page elements are functional and responsive.
If you paid attention to the layout checklist, your page is creating an intentional journey where every piece is intentional and nothing is superfluous. If that is the case, you can’t afford for any site elements to not be working correctly, as it will put a roadblock in the customer journey.
Make sure all elements are not only working on desktop, but also across all devices.
9. Forms work smoothly and are at an appropriate length.
When it comes to online forms, there are two opposing forces at work.
The first force is friction. As a general rule, adding more required fields to a form decreases the form entry conversion rate.
On the other hand, being able to provide more personalized lead nurturing and follow up, which more field forms can help with, tends to increase conversion rate.
All this tells us is that your “optimal” form length could be anything, so for the purposes of this checklist, apply some common sense and include the number of fields that you think will result in the best user experience over the course of the entire sales funnel.
I did just tell you that layout was the most important part of your landing page, but at the end of the day, the goal of a great layout is to highlight great copy.
Copywriting is the star. It’s how you achieve your core objective. Without great copy, the best layout in the world won’t achieve diddly squat.
10. Visitors can understand your value proposition in 5 seconds.
- What are you offering on this page?
- Who are you offering it to?
- Why should they care?
This is what your value proposition – the opening statement to your landing page – should communicate to visitors.
Grab a random person off the street, have them spend 5 seconds on your landing page, and then ask them those questions. If they can provide a fairly accurate summary, you’ve done your job and can move on to the next item on the checklist.
(Someone in your target market is ideal for this test, but if you don’t have the time or resources to do that sort of user testing, literally just grab a relative or friend.)
11. The copy focuses on the benefits to the user.
Since we’re both obviously still thinking about steak, let’s use that classic sales mantra: “sell the sizzle, not the steak.”
Focus on the sizzliest details of your offer, because the truth is that nobody cares about your product.
People care about themselves. They want to solve the problems they are facing and improve their lives in any way possible.
Instead of focusing on what your product or service does, your copy should focus on how it will benefit the user’s life.
12. Reading just the headlines provides a decent page summary.
As we discussed earlier, your page should be laid out to create an intentional user journey.
Typically, each section within this layout is going to have a headline, and those headlines should be written similar to a table of contents, in that if you were to just scroll down and read the headlines (as many of your visitors will do), you will end up with a pretty solid understanding of the page narrative.
In other words, treat your headlines like an expedited landing page, which means you’ll need to make sure that the benefits we just talked about are worded into the headlines themselves.
13. The subheadings compel interest in the section copy.
As you might have realized after reading the previous section, we are pretty limited in what we can do with our headlines.
Headlines need to summarize the section, while also focusing on the benefits, while also staying relatively short in length for the purposes of page design.
While you don’t necessarily need subheadings, they give you more flexibility and allow you to do stuff you can’t do with the headline. Use the subheading to support the headline and compel the reader to dive into the section copy itself.
14. The CTAs are bold, direct and hard to miss.
Your call to action (CTA) is where the action happens and the objective is achieved. Make them bold. Make them direct. Make them really hard to miss. And put them in intuitive places, usually multiple places.
The reader’s eye should naturally be drawn to your CTAs as they scroll down the landing page.
15. The message is consistent across the entire page.
From value proposition to headline, to content, to call-to-action (CTA), it’s incredibly important that your messaging is consistent.
This tends to happen naturally when you have your clear, singular objective in mind, but hey, we’re all human. It’s easy to forget about the objective during the copywriting process, especially if copywriting isn’t your forte.
16. The message is consistent with the broader sales funnel.
Your landing page is not an island. It’s one cog in a machine. It’s a piece of your larger sales funnel.
Just like we want consistency throughout our landing page, this consistency also needs to extend to the messaging that brought visitors to the page in the first place, as well as the messaging they will see after they click on the CTA, whether that’s a post-click landing page, a checkout cart, a thank-you page, etc.
17. The copy is readable at a middle school level.
First of all, aiming for simplicity and clarity in your copy is always a good thing.
Second of all, 88% of US adults read at an 8th-grade level or below, so unless you want your copy to stumble with the vast majority of readers, keep it at a middle school reading level.
Here’s a quick, easy app from WebFX that you can use to immediately test the readability of any published page.
18. The copy leverages persuasive writing techniques.
To be honest, persuasive techniques and principles are a bit overblown in the marketing world. They are talked about like a healthy diet, when in reality, they are more like supplements.
If you are doing the main things we’ve discussed well – writing clear, consistent, benefits-focused copy -, using persuasive writing techniques can help maximize your “gainz” and further improve your page’s performance.
19. The copy is free of negative language.
You might think it’s important to tell readers about all the bad stuff you don’t do, but in reality, negative language has been shown to decrease conversions.
More importantly, using negative language tends to create a negative lens for the reader which colors everything in the immediate vicinity, including your sales pitch. While it’s not necessarily a hard and fast rule, starting with positive language is usually the safer, more effective option.
20. The copy uses an appropriate tone.
Whether you are attempting to write the copy yourself or hiring a copywriter, it can be difficult to hit the right tone. What makes sense for your landing page? The answer probably isn’t “stale” and “formal”.
Aiming for a conversational tone is a good default target, but a healthy dose of common sense should be all you need to identify the appropriate tone. And once you do, really commit to following through, even if you need a few drafts.
Amateurs and pros alike can struggle with defaulting to the formal language they are so used to reading.
Graphics & Images Checklist
They say a picture is worth a thousand words… definitely not my words… but somebody’s words.
The graphics and images you use on your landing page can have a big impact on your ability to convert visitors. Keep the following points in mind.
21. The value proposition is supported with a custom visual.
Your value proposition is more than just a written statement. It also includes the imagery surrounding the statement, whether it’s just a background image or involves some sort of featured image, graphic, illustration, or video.
Make room in your budget to create a custom graphic, illustration, explainer video, or other visual that specifically and effectively supports your value proposition.
The custom image doesn’t have to entail a large budget. One trucking company improved its landing page conversion rate 45% just by switching out stock photos with snapshots of their trucks and team.
They could have taken these photos free with a smartphone. You don’t need a big budget to get big results.
22. The page uses only relevant images and graphics.
Not every piece of real estate on your landing page is created equal. Some areas are more important than others, with your value proposition area being the most important.
For everything else on your page, the same standard doesn’t quite apply, BUT it’s still important that you maintain relevance and consistency across the entire page. Stock photos and $5 graphics might be perfect everywhere else on the page, provided they are relevant.
23. The page includes visual social proof and credibility signals.
83% of consumers trust the recommendations of their friends and family. 66% also trust the recommendations of strangers online. If you can show visitors that other people recommend you, it has a profound effect on creating trust.
Testimonials, reviews, and star ratings can be very effective here. Even something as simple as posting the logos of the businesses you’ve worked with can help convince people you are who you say you are.
24. Visual branding is consistent throughout the page.
Just like our messaging needs to be consistent, our visuals should be consistent as well. Try to keep graphics consistent in style, and try to keep a fairly consistent color scheme throughout the page.
25. CTAs are highlighted with contrasting visuals.
The one exception to the consistency rule is that sometimes, we don’t want to be consistent. We want to make something stand out.
Earlier, we talked about using bold messaging in our CTAs and the same can be said of the CTA design. CTAs should visually stand out from the surrounding design and draw the eye to them. Contrasting colors are a great way to accomplish this, although color isn’t the only visual tool you have at your disposal.
26. Visuals are used to direct attention correctly.
Even beyond your CTA, visuals can affect how the visitor interacts with the page. At a minimum, make sure your visuals aren’t directing attention away from where you want your visitors to be looking. Ideally, you can use visuals to direct attention directly where you want it.
27. Smiling face images are used to support testimonials.
There’s been a notable amount of research on this subject, and studies consistently find that smiling faces increase landing page conversions. They are especially powerful when attached to the social proof of testimonials.
Whenever possible, have people include a picture of themselves along with their testimonial, but if that’s not an option, you can consider using an AI face generator like this to get the effect of a smiling face on your landing page.
28. You’re conscious of how color and images can affect emotions.
This is less of an action item and more of a consideration item. While it may seem obvious that images can trigger emotions, did you know that colors can as well?
While it’s unlikely that your color scheme is going to have a notable impact on your conversions, it’s good to understand how color impacts emotions and then consider if there are any places on your landing page where there might be a big contrast between the mood created by the colors or images and the mood you are trying to create with your copy.
29. All images are sized and compressed correctly.
Most page speed issues are caused by either bad code or poor image formatting. Make sure your images are sized and compressed correctly.
If you use WordPress, one of these compression plugins should do the trick.
30. All images include alt tags.
Include alt tags for all your images. It’s simple, easy to do, improves the UX of your site in certain scenarios, and the more pages and images you have, the more potential it has to result in some additional traffic to your site.
Speaking of traffic, let’s dive into the SEO side of things.
Onpage SEO Checklist
Most of what we cover in this 47-point checklist deals with conversion. With SEO, however, you can also attract visitors directly to the page, from the page. In fact, one of the most powerful assets in all of online marketing is a landing page that is also ranking for targeted, organic search traffic.
Not every landing page is a viable candidate for bringing in organic search traffic, but for those that are, the following checklist is really everything you need to do on the page to position it for ranking.
This checklist is assuming that you are targeting the landing page toward a primary keyphrase, which is standard practice for SEO.
31. The meta title is compelling and includes target keyphrase.
We have two goals for our meta title and around 70 characters to work with:
- Help us rank the page for the target keyword
- Influence Google users to click on our entry in the results
To do this, we typically want to include the exact target keyphrase in the meta title, and then we want to make that title into a compelling headline. If there is no possible way to make the exact match wording sound interesting, then we can consider doing a similar type of keyphrase, known as an “LSI” keyphrase, instead.
32. Meta description is compelling and includes target keyphrase.
We have the same rules and objectives for our meta description. We want to include the exact match keyphrase and we want to be persuasive in compelling Google users to click our entry. Aim for around 150 characters.
33. Page URL includes target keyphrase.
In most cases, your landing page URL should look like this:
Some people will say to eliminate filler words like “to” or “a” or even “the”, but personally, I have found using the exact match keyphrase to be more effective.
34. The first 100 words include target keyphrase.
This means your value proposition should probably have the target keyphrase included in it somewhere.
What this REALLY means is that you should be selecting your keyphrase from within your value proposition. If you are choosing the right keyphrase, and creating a good value proposition, there will at least be an LSI match.
35. One mid-page headline (h2) includes target keyphrase.
This is one of those classic SEO listicle tips that probably doesn’t do a whole lot but is worth including just in case. Most of the top dawgs getting great SEO results are doing this, and if it works for them, it will probably work for you too.
36. The page has at least 1,000 words of content.
It is very, very unlikely that you are going to rank anything in 2019 with under 1,000 words.
This is where we wrap back around to your objective. If the length of the page is naturally getting up to 600-800 words, bumping it up to 1,000 for SEO purposes is probably viable. If your completed page is around 300-500 words, it’s probably not a great candidate for SEO.
Regardless, you never want to sacrifice conversions for a long shot at ranking. The first and foremost goal of your landing page is to convert visitors.
Visitor Tracking Checklist
As we mentioned earlier, your landing page isn’t on an island. It’s part of a larger sales funnel, and visitor tracking is the heartbeat of a sales funnel.
On that note, we recommend setting up the following types of tracking on your landing page.
37. Google Analytics is installed and set up properly.
If you don’t have Google Analytics, you are literally trolling yourself. It’s free. It’s more powerful than most premium tracking software.
38. Facebook Pixel is installed and set up properly.
From the moment you install Facebook Pixel on your landing page, it adds anyone with Facebook cookies that navigates to your page to a little database. This allows for easy Facebook retargeting ads, allowing you to sell to people who are interested enough to visit but not ready to buy.
It also means that even if you have no plans to advertise on Facebook now, you can begin collecting data automatically (for free) in case you decide to advertise down the road.
39. Adwords Conversion Linker is installed and setup properly
You don’t need this one unless you are actively using Adwords, but if that requirement qualifies you, it’s mandatory.
40. Hotjar tracking is installed and set up properly.
Heatmap style tracking is a great way to visualize activity on your landing page. It’s also relatively cheap and intuitive to use. Hotjar is the go-to recommendation for heatmap software here at Linear, but if you already use another heatmap tool, feel free to substitute it on this checklist.
41. CallRail tracking is installed and setup properly
If direct calling is an important part of your sales funnel, you absolutely need to be tracking it, and the go-to recommendation here at Linear is CallRail.
42. Google Tag Manager is installed and set up properly.
“Wow Jacob, that’s a ton of tracking code. Isn’t that going to slow down my page speed?”
Yes, it’s the greatest thing ever. I agree. And here’s everything you ever needed to know installing and using Google Tag Manager.
Pre-Launch Testing Checklist
Well, we’ve worked hard and we’ve played hard, and now it’s just about time to launch this landing page.
…… and it’s gone.
Run through the following pre-launch checks to make sure your landing page doesn’t blow up in your face.
43. Test all conversion actions to make sure they work as intended.
Forms, buttons, carts, checkout, follow up emails… make sure it’s all working perfectly! The LAST thing you want is a bunch of people scrambling to convert and not being able to because of technical problems.
44. Test all conversion actions to make sure they are tracking correctly.
The whole point of all that tracking installation was to get valuable data. Make sure that the data coming in is accurate before you launch and open the floodgates.
45. Do a final proofread and run the copy through Grammarly.
Even as a writer, I actually think the damage of mild grammar or spelling issues is a lot less severe than many people seem to believe. That said, there’s no reason not to have your copywriter or editor do a final proofread and run the copy through an app like Grammarly.
46. Test page load speeds multiple times across multiple devices.
We talked about load speed earlier, but this really can’t be overstated. Run speed tests across multiple devices, and run the test multiple times.
47. Test UX multiple times across multiple devices.
In addition to testing for speed, it’s a good idea to test the enter user experience across multiple devices. Test multiple times to make sure that all elements are loading properly and make sure that you are running all the previous tests covered across devices as well.
Download The Checklist In Convenient PDF Form
Well, that just about wraps it up.
Let’s be honest, while having a more in-depth blog post makes for a great one-time read, trying to actually use this post like a checklist wouldn’t actually work.
That’s why we’ve condensed just the checklist items themselves into this handy PDF that you can download and reference easily as you create your own high converting landing pages and sell 10x more in 2019.
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Jacob McMillen is a website copywriter and email marketing specialist.
He enjoys pretending to think in his spare time and will absolutely steal your dignity on the basketball court.
Connect with him on Twitter.
Jacob McMillen is a website copywriter and email marketing specialist.
He enjoys pretending to think in his spare time and will absolutely steal your dignity on the basketball court.
Connect with him on Twitter.