Editor’s Note: This post was originally written in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.
Landing page vs. homepage. They’re the same thing, right? Just different names for the same thing.
Well, you can technically land on a homepage, but that doesn’t make it a landing page by any means. And you shouldn’t refer to them as if they’re interchangeable.
The fundamental difference is that you design them for different purposes.
When you know the exact action you want your audience to take, like sign up for a newsletter or call for an estimate, show them a landing page specifically designed to make them take that action.
If you don’t have a specific action you want them to take, or you want to capture a larger demographic, then you link to your homepage. But, you need to make sure that your homepage allows for action. Visitors always need to see your phone number or know where they can find your shop.
One way or another, you want your most enthusiastic website visitors to have a way to connect with you as soon and as efficiently as possible before their enthusiasm fades.
What does a good homepage do?
– Occupies your root domain (like www.digitalstrike.com)
It’s the central hub of your website. It’s where your logo links to, and it’s where site visitors can find easy navigation to the rest of your site.
– Gives a comprehensive overview of what your business does
You should be able to look at a homepage and be able to tell definitively what that company does. But the information should be broad, so you want to explore the website further.
– Links to every other crucial permanent page of your website
People who land on your homepage should be able to find all of your service pages, your blog, the contact page, etc.
– Tells visitors how to connect with you in different ways
Make sure your phone number is prominently displayed and that people can find you on social media.
What does a good landing page do?
– Is designed to receive traffic from one or several specific sources
It’s a page you “land” on after you click an ad or a link in an email, so you should be offering information that they’re expecting when they click.
– Prompts visitors to take one well-defined action
Instead of making it possible for them to click away and explore your site more, a landing page funnels people toward one thing like “sign up for our newsletter” or “call us about our siding replacement services.”
– Stays focused on a single topic or offer throughout the page
It’s kind of like a long print ad, except it’s on the internet. You don’t want a landing page to try and do too many things because then it isn’t clear and it’s harder to track.
– Omits or downplays navigation options
Unlike a homepage, you don’t want a navigation menu on your landing page. If people click away, you’ve probably lost the conversion.
– Is not necessarily intended to be a permanent part of your website
Your homepage is optimized to be the face of your website, but a landing page is a more temporary site. It’s meant for use in campaigns, and that’s it.
Landing Page vs. Homepage: How to Use Each One
It all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. Let’s look at some of the most common scenarios and when you might have to choose between landing page vs. homepage.
When you’re listing necessary information about your business
Landing page or homepage? Homepage.
Why? When you’re listing logistical details like your address, phone number, office houses, etc., you don’t need an action-oriented landing page. People will likely interact with you offline if they’re searching for this kind of information by calling you or visiting your office or store.
It’s still a good idea to include an opt-in opportunity to your homepage anyway because it can provide you with a steady source of new leads.
When you’re running Facebook ads (or any other paid social campaign)
Landing page or homepage? Landing page.
Why? Just informing people your business exists is not an effective angle for your paid search campaigns. Facebook users don’t go to Facebook to look at your ads, so it usually takes a little extra nudge to get them interested enough to click through and then to connect with you.
The best kind of nudge is to offer something special, like a freebie, a signup bonus, or a limited-time discount. Who doesn’t love a deal?
While you can use your homepage for the special deals, you’ll have a lot more space to make an impact on a landing page. The homepage has too many things to click that visitors might get distracted and click away before they can give you their information.
Plus, when you use a landing page specifically designed for the campaign, you can track your success much more easily.
When you’re running a paid search campaign
Landing page or homepage? Landing page…usually.
Why? The same factors that make landing pages a good fit for paid social campaigns make them the best choice for PPC campaigns. You’re choosing keywords that relate to specific things in your business offers, and a landing page gives you the chance to get as accurate as possible.
For example, say you were running a campaign for a construction company that wanted to promote their siding services. Instead of making the primary focus of the homepage all about siding (and ignoring all of the other services they offer), you can create a landing page designed specifically to showcase siding services and funnel the site visitors toward contacting the company so they can make the sale.
One possible exception is if you’re doing a paid local search campaign and targeting extremely broad keywords like “construction companies near me,” then you could use your homepage. Because in that case, you are just advertising that you exist and not targeting anything in particular.
When you’re launching a new product or service
Landing page or homepage? Landing page.
Why? Whether it’s a new product, a live event, a big sale, or whatever you’re promoting, a landing page is the best choice.
A great landing page is where visitors can channel their excitement over something new into immediate action, which provides immediate results for you. Get them to RSVP to the event, pre-order your new product, or give you a call about the new service from the landing page.
But what do they look like?
Just reading what a landing page or a homepage is supposed to do isn’t always helpful. But now that you know the key elements of a landing page or a homepage, you can look at visual examples and pinpoint those elements.
Homepage Example #1
You have probably seen a million homepages, so we’re just going to share one.
Our favorite example is our own homepage. It didn’t always look this good, but right now we’re pretty damn proud of it. As you can see, we give an overview of the solutions and services we offer with a couple of calls-to-action sprinkled throughout the page. We have a “sticky header,” which means our header stays at the top even when you scroll down – and our phone number stays prominently displayed.
But we also have a navigation menu that lets you explore the rest of our site depending on what you want to know.
Landing Page Example #1
Here is an example of a landing page we designed for a client. We specifically designed it for a campaign to promote the company’s fire damage restoration services. The call-to-action is to schedule your free estimate, and as you can see below, the phone number is prominently displayed three times. And there’s a form you can fill out.
It gives you just enough information that makes you want to call them and see how they can help you restore your home.
Landing Page Example #2
Landing pages aren’t always as short as the one above. Sometimes you need to have more information available because your business is intricate.
This client is a laser micro-machiner, which, as you can imagine, is a complex process. That’s not easily whittled down to a one-scroll landing page.
But as you can see, we have bright call-to-action buttons that take you down to the form at the bottom. It’s a relatively long page, but it still funnels you toward a single call-to-action.
So there you have it. Now you know everything you need to know about landing page vs. homepage. And when you land on one, you’ll be able to tell what kind of page you’re seeing.
Need help optimizing your homepage or designing a landing page? Digital Strike can help you develop a customized, solution-driven strategy to take your digital marketing efforts to the next level. Contact us for a free consultation.