Web applications are rarely a commidity. Commodity web apps are things like file format conversions, URL shorteners, Twitter pic uploaders, File-hosting sites. They’re disposable one-off transactions and the user doesn’t really care what URL they get out of the exchange. They’re tough rackets to be in.
Users aren’t looking for the cheapest app, they want fastest, more reliable, best supported app. The only thing that matters when designing your sign up page content that supports their desire. Are you convincing users that your product does something useful for them. Does it make them rich, make them laugh, pique their interest or get them laid?
If you offer me an invoicing solution and print “easy to use” everywhere on your site, it means nothing to me. Just like everyone thinks they have a good sense of humour, everyone thinks their software looks good and is easy to use.
via Contrast – Designing your sign up page. The initial sign-up page is the hardest for me to judge in terms of effectiveness.