Let’s talk best practices for a minute.
There’s a reason best practices are called best practices. It’s because they have been proven to work time and again. That’s why I sometimes talk out of both sides of my mouth: I want you to respect best practices for what they are and use them as a starting point. But I also want you to disregard best practices and try different things. Best practices work, but they don’t always work best.
That said, landing page best practices are a great place to start. Here is a best practices checklist I often use when evaluating a landing page. I’ll use this before a page goes live, to make sure the bases are covered, or I’ll bring it out when evaluating a landing page that isn’t converting as well as we’d like it to.
- Is there message match between the ad and landing page copy? When I look for message match I look for words and phrases that are used in the ad to be echoed on the landing page. Message match needs to be obvious, not hidden.
- Is there motivation match? This is a little more subtle than message match, but equally important. Every ad holds the promise of a ‘carrot’. That’s what gets the user motivated to click. The landing page needs to stay focused on the carrot and the visitor motivation.
- Is the page actionable? The landing page needs to literally show the visitor what you want them to do. What’s the action you want people to take on the page? Don’t be afraid to make it very visually obvious.
- Is the page focused and simple? It’s easy to clutter up a web page. Much harder to pare it down and keep it focused. But clarity leads to focus and focus leads to conversion. Stay on point—both the content and the visuals need to be clear, simple and focused.
- Is the call to action positive? Users don’t want to ‘submit’. Don’t make your call to action a command, make it something they want to do. Make it about the promise of your conversion. For example, use “Get started” instead of “Submit”. Or “Download tips to boost performance” instead of “Download”.
- Is the copy scan-able? Copy-heavy pages are dense. Dense looks like work, and work doesn’t convert. Use bullets and keep them short. Use subheads and short copy blocks. Vary your sentence length. Make sure your copy looks easy to digest and understand.
- Does the page make the user feel good? This is subjective, but important. Does it feel trustworthy? Is it visually appealing? Is it positive?
If your landing page meets all of the above criteria, then launch it and start testing!