Landing Page Copy Checklist – a Quick & Dirty Introduction to Heuristics

Landing page copy checklist

It’s freaking hard to write a good landing page copy. One would have to know and feel the psychological landscape of their client, the buying stage they are in, incorporate business tactics, know the persuasion tricks, and understand implicit and explicit ways to communicate all of this. Besides being a gifted writer, that is. 

But there is a hack. A specific way to look at the convoluted set of tasks you need to check off when writing a landing page. It’s not magic and it will not replace talent or years of work. It won’t even produce the best possible result. But it’s something you can do right away and be confident you’ll achieve improvements. And save at least a couple thousand $. 

The insights you will gain by going through the checklist is worth at least $1000. That’s how much a semi-decent copywriting job would cost you.

The approach is called heuristics. It’s basically common sense applied to a specific task. The word comes from the Greek word heuriskein. It means “serving to discover or find out”. It’s a set of strategies and processes which make the complex task of writing copy palpable and prepare the kindle for future creative improvements. Read more about heuristics

I will not tire you more with theory or sources or even reasons why. There’s a small reading list at the end of the post. Expert copywriters, who wrote those posts, are great writers (who would have thought so) and their work is definitely worth reading!

How to Use the Checklist?

I’ve prepared a Google Sheet version of the list. Copy it to your account. 

If you already have a page you’re working on – great! 

I would seriously recommend you start with assessing websites of your top 3 competitors. Doing so will increase your objectivity once you start checking your own website. 

Take some time, open the page, and go through the list. If you can, get some collaborators and instruct each one to go through it. Compare results at the end and discuss the areas you did not agree on.

If you haven’t built your webpage yet use the checklist as a to-do list. Read through it and collect ideas in a document. When you finish the draft copy, go through it again. 

After you finish the assessments open the sheet ‘radar charts’ where you can check how your site is compared to your competitors’ sites. Remember – it’s not about the numeric values themselves. It has more to do with comparing and seeing which of the aspects you are neglecting the most.

radar chart showing comparison of multiple websites heuristic assessment

Writing copy is a creative process – so optimize for creativity! Try to stay open, relaxed, and receptive to new ideas that pop up in your or your teammates’ minds. 

In the best case, you’ll use the list to detect miscommunications and create a killer landing page. In the worst case, it will make you think and reconsider if your ‘truths’ are also the truths of others.

The Checklist

It’s a Google Sheet. Copy it here.

Rank each item from 1-5. If there is more than one rater each should fill out his own copy. Compare results and discuss the items which have a difference in rates equal to or greater than 2 points.

All of the questions currently in the list are below. This will 100% change in the future since we use it often in our agency. No worries, it should only get better.

Clarity

  • Are you being as CLEAR as possible about what you’re offering and why?
  • Is all of the top priority information above the fold?
  • “There shouldn’t be any text that isn’t doing at least one of the following tasks: 
    • reflecting/matching your reader’s motivation 
    • conveying/clarifying value that’s 
    • being offered – proving a claim 
    • addressing an anxiety 
    • adding authenticity or memorable specificity”
  • Is the body copy font size large enough for easy reading? (min 16px, depends on the font)
  • Is it clear that they should scroll? (there shouldn’t be any logical breaks that stop the eye flow)
  • Does your copy explicitly call out things that should be noticed in your imagery/video?
  • Does your imagery/video explicitly support the messaging of the copy?
  • Does the landing page show the range of products?
  • Is it clear what range of pricing is offered (low/mid/high)?
  • Is the whole experience coherent to other pages?

Relevance

  • Is above the fold copy CLOSELY aligned with the copy that most users see before they click-through? (ad copy, SERP copy, etc.)? 
  • Can you answer: „Is that for people like me?“ (use personas)
  • Would your copy stand up to and clearly address a skeptical, grumpy prospect’s 2 questions of “So what?” and “Prove it”?
  • Is emotional resonance created? Is implicit/explicit messaging aligned with the emotional state of a typical visitor?
  • Do value propositions exist that fit to the emotional values?
  • Is storytelling used to create resonance? (in case studies, testimonials)

Trust & Credibility

  • Is the information architecture clear and according to expectations?
  • Does the brand stand clear and imply trustworthiness?
  • Does the website use seals or any other similar codes?
  • Are user transactions visible (social proof)?
  • Are celebrities or other authorities used as testimonials?
  • As a shop: Do you show the famous brands you are selling?

Orientation

  • Is there a strong visual hierarchy in place? Does it follow the most wanted action?
  • Is the page without distracting elements? (There shouldn’t be any blinking banners or automatic sliders stealing attention)
  • „Where should I click“ – does the primary CTA stand out enough?
  • Do CTA Elements communicate clear consequences of action?
  • Does the site help users overcome the paradox of choice? (too many options is bad)
  • Is it easy to compare options? 
  • Are secondary CTAs used to work on objections of users? (to learn more about the product …)
  • Is there an effective email capture process? Does it have a proper lead magnet?

Stimulation

  • Would someone read your page and think “holy crap, this is an amazing opportunity that would make my life SO much better”? 
  • Are features translated into benefits?
  • Are the value propositions unique? Really?
  • Is the price/risk perception designed well?
  • Did you remove dull, abstract, or generic descriptions with word pictures (i.e. copy that paints a picture)?
  • Are free gifts/elements of reciprocity used?
  • Does the site show free wrappings/packaging?

Security

  • Does the site answer typical questions on transactional pages? (is it safe to do X? Is it safe to do X here? …)
  • Are questions of customers anticipated?
  • Are common objections anticipated?
  • Is there a FAQ page?
  • Are there links to service areas to answer open questions?
  • Is there chat available? Call center?
  • Is it possible to book additional insurances to reduce the risk?

Form Convenience

  • “Design is light and easy:
    • big fields with a clear description
    • round corners
    • enough space around fields
    • big types
    • light grey borders”
  • Maximum simplicity & shortness
  • Positive UX/interaction (e.g. inline validation, cheering)
  • Chunking + Tunneling – easy questions first
  • Functionality follows mental models (is the flow natural?)
  • Is there an explanation of why information is needed?
  • Help is provided (on hover or easy to understand links)

Confirmation

  • Show rationally good reasons for buying decision
  • Use micro-feedback on pages and elements (e.g. inline validation)
  • Present good reasons on a thank you page
  • Use fun and interactions to increase fun + give positive feedback

Further Reading

We were mostly inspired by the amazing CXL team. We took content created by various instructors and coupled that with other resources and also our own experiences. 

 

Hi there!

Let’s start a project, schedule a call, or just say hello.

stay informed!

Subscribe to receive exclusive content and notifications

Success!

Thank you for connecting with us. We will get back to you soon!