Whether you're setting up a landing page for the first time or the billionth time, it's easy to forget something. Though it's just one page on your website, there are lots of moving parts you need to juggle. Some of those moving parts are more important than others -- if they get dropped in the chaos, you will lose out on valuable conversions.
To make sure the ball doesn't get dropped on their landing pages, people have lots of ways of coping. One of the best ways to make sure you've crossed all your t's and dotted all your i's on a landing page is to have a checklist handy of all the things you can't forget to do. That way, anytime you want to publish a landing page, you can do a quick scan of all the optimization essentials to make sure you've accounted for them, and move on your merry way.
If you want a checklist to help you streamline your landing page creation and optimization processes, keep on reading. We'll outline the essential elements you need to have on your landing page before you hit publish, broken up into three categories: the content on the page, the design of the page, and the user experience of the page. Use this checklist as a jumping-off point -- there are probably some other company- and technology-specific checklist items you need to double check as well.
Landing Page Content
This section is dedicated to all of the content you put on the landing page -- namely the copy, images, and form. It's a zoomed-in look at the elements that you're creating for the landing page. For bigger-picture issues such as the landing page layout or user experience, skip to the sections below.
Headline uses actionable, value-driven words.
Your landing page headline is just like any other headline -- it should entice people to do something. In this case, that something is filling out the form on the landing page. Make sure that your copy uses action-oriented words that communicate the value of the offer behind the landing page. For example, compare "Free Checklist: Your Go-To Guide for Optimizing Facebook Ads" to "Facebook Ads Ebook." The first is much more enticing.
Headline matches source copy.
How do people get to your landing page? You want to make sure that the copy on your landing page matches the copy at the referring source. For example, if your traffic is coming from someone who clicked a CTA on your blog, you should use similar language in your headline that you've used on your CTA. The referring source sets expectations on what'll be on your landing page -- don't let people click through and be disappointed.
Sub-header concisely describes the benefit of the offer.
Think of your sub-header as a more practical extension of your headline. Your headline should be flashy yet indicative of what people will get by filling out the form. Your sub-header is a much less flashy tagline -- it's very clear on what the benefit is of the offer. So if your headline is "Free Checklist: Your Go-To Guide for Optimizing Facebook Ads," your sub-header would say something like "Learn all squeezing more traffic, leads, and customers out of Facebook."
Body copy is scannable, scrollable, and compelling.
Next up is the actual body copy of your landing page. People shouldn't have to read this part of your landing page to know what your offer is about -- the headline and sub-header should accomplish that. But if they want more info on the offer, the body copy's the place to find it. There's not a set length on the copy -- just make sure it's informative and enticing, yet easy to scan.
Bullet points can help with scannability. Also, think about keeping your paragraphs to only a few sentences -- that'll help people on mobile, in particular, scan through your page. If you need help with making your copy informative and enticing, get a checklist specifically for landing page copy here.
Page title, URL, and meta description are all optimized for search.
If you're hoping to get long-term traffic, leads, and customers out of your landing pages, you need to optimize for search engines. Make sure that the page title, URL, and meta description all have keywords in them -- not necessarily to get you ranked in search engines, but to get people to click on your listing if they find you there. If you need to brush up on your landing page SEO skills, check out this post.
Image is indicative of what you'll get after filling out the landing page form.
People always say that you should use a "compelling" image. But what the heck does "compelling" mean if you don't already know? The best landing page images are ones that tell you what lies behind the landing page. So if people will get an ebook on Facebook Advertising, your image should be a high quality visual representation of that ebook on Facebook Advertising. You wouldn't put a high quality stock photo of, say, a beach, even if your offer promises to get the person who downloaded it a raise, which'll end up allowing that person to take vacation. Make sense?
Image has alt-text.
You should never optimize your marketing for the best-case scenarios -- trust me, it never works that way in real life. So even if you've chosen a perfect image for your landing page, it's possible it won't show up. Maybe there's something wrong with your visitor's browser. Maybe there's something wrong with your website. Whatever the reason is, just make sure you have a backup plan: adding alt-text to your images. Bonus: That text is crawlable, so it could give search engines one extra little reason to feature you in search.
Form is the proper length for landing page goal.
Your form doesn't need to be short or long to be effective -- it just needs to match the goal you have for the page. So if you want a lot of contacts from your form but don't really care how high quality they are, keep the form short. If you care for quality over quantity, make it longer. The key is to know your landing page goal and stick by it with your form length.
Submit button copy is customized.
Look at the bottom of your form. Does the button that submits the form say "Submit?" STOP. This button should have action-oriented language, too. For example, on a landing page for an ebook, you could change that bottom copy to, "Get Your Free Ebook Now." Much better than the generic "Submit."
Form enabled progressive profiling for return visitors.
Some people who fill out your landing page forms have already filled out forms on your website, which means if you have a contact database set up, you already have their information. So why make them fill out information you don't need? Instead, you can enable progressive profiling -- this'll show new form fields to returning visitors. You'll get more information on your leads and customers, and they'll have much fewer form fields to deal with each time they come to your website (which is especially helpful on mobile).
Landing Page Layout
Now, let's zoom out slightly to look at elements that affect the page as a whole -- not just the content you're creating.
Landing page content passes the blink test.
Even if you've checked off all of the above off your landing page to-do list, you still need to step back and take the "blink test." Look at your page for five seconds (aka the time before you need to blink again). Do you know what your landing page is about? What the value proposition is? How to get the offer behind the landing page? If not, you'll need to tweak the above items again.
Top navigation menu is removed.
This is one of the things you should test on your own to confirm, but from our tests, we found that removing our top navigation bar improved conversion rates on our landing pages. If you're doing the same with your landing pages, triple check to make sure that top navigation is gone.
Let's zoom out once again to look at some of the features of the page that play into the user's larger experience with your website.
Smart content has logical default tokens.
There are few things more embarrassing and noticeable than poorly set-up smart content. You've probably gotten emails before that say "Hi [FIRST NAME]," right? That's unfortunate, but it's only visible to one person -- not everyone who visits your landing page. So if you're going to go the extra mile to personalize your landing page with smart tokens, make sure the "default" ones are customized and logical in the place they're used. For example, you can use "there" as the default token so that when you don't have someone's contact record on file, it just says "Hey there," not "Hey FIRSTNAME."
Content behind the form is mobile-friendly.
If you've gone to the trouble to mobile-optimize your content on your landing page, be sure that people who fill out your landing page form can actually access the offer on a mobile device -- or at least have an easy way to find it once they get back to their desktop. If you can't make your content mobile-friendly, at least make sure you have a kickback email enabled so contacts can easily access the offer at a later time.
Thank-you page and/or kickback emails are set up and functional.
Last, but certainly not least, make sure the entire conversion process is functional. After people fill out your form, are they really taken to the thank-you page? Do they really get a kickback email? Make sure this is all working properly so you don't put your contacts through it.
Which of these do you often overlook? Let us know in the comments.
Originally published May 7, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 26 2017