They’re the same thing, aren’t they? Just different names for the same thing, right?

Wrong!

Technically, while a visitor to your site can land on its homepage, this does not necessarily qualify it as a landing page. Nor does it qualify any other page of your site as a landing page.

The fundamental difference between a landing page and homepage is, you design the two with completely different goals or purposes in mind:

  • The homepage of your site sets the stage
  • A landing page allows visitors to accomplish a specific goal

These are both broad definitions, so let’s get more into makes for an effective homepage and typical landing page.

[customcta heading=”Looking to increase your paid search performance?” text=”At Digital Strike, when pairing landing page development with our paid search accounts, we’ve proven time again to outperform those campaigns that are sent directly to the main website.” tagline=”Let’s chat and see if we could do the same for you and be a good fit.”]

What makes for a good homepage?

Aside from giving you a small ideal of how a homepage differs structurally from a landing page, let’s discuss what it should accomplish:

Occupy your root domain (i.e. www.digitalstrike.com) It’s the central hub of your website.

It’s where the link in your company logo links, and it’s where site visitors can easily find navigation to the rest of your site

Give a comprehensive overview of what your business does

When looking at your homepage, a visitor should definitively know what your company does but also feel compelled to venture within the site for more detailed info

Link to every other crucial permanent page of your website

People who land on your homepage should be able to easily access all valuable web pages, including all service pages, your blog, the contact page, etc.

Tell 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

Your homepage does not need to all someone to conduct a specific action, but it should allow for some type of action.

After all, visitors, while they may not want or need to fill out a form, click a button, etc., you’ll want them to see your phone number or know where they can find your shop.

You want all site visitors to engage your brand in some way as quickly and as efficiently as possible before their enthusiasm fades. Anything less is a wasted visit — and opportunity for new business.

What makes for a good landing page?

Conversely, let discuss what an effective landing page should accomplish:

Feature design elements to receive traffic from one or several specific sources

A landing page is designed to welcome traffic from a click on an ad on Google or a link inside an email; the info on the page should expand on what’s found in the ad/email

Prompt visitors to accomplish a goal through a strong call-to-action (CTA)

A landing page funnels visitors in the direction of accomplishing on central goal, such as signing up for a newsletter, requesting a free quote, registering for a webinar, etc.

Stay focused on a single topic or offer throughout the page

A landing page should never say or do too much; anything above and beyond a single topic distracts the visitor from the main goal

Omit or downplay navigation options

Unlike your homepage, a landing page should not include a navigation bar; this allows visitors to click out of the page, lessening any chance for meaningful action

Not necessarily intended to be a permanent part of your website

Your homepage is the face of your website, but a landing page is more of a temporary microsite, meant only for use in conjunction with marketing campaigns

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 your homepage and a landing page.

Listing necessary information about your business

Landing page or homepage: Homepage.

Why: When you’re listing core business details like your address, phone number, office hours, 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.

Note: Don’t necessarily shy away from the idea of including an opt-in opportunity on your homepage, in addition to your general business info; doing this can help cultivate 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 to click through your ad and connect with you.

The best kind of nudge is to offer something special, like a freebie, a signup bonus, or a limited-time discount.

While you can use your homepage for special offers, you’ll have a lot more space to make an impact on a landing page. Your homepage likely contains too many areas that can distract the visitor and entice them to click away before they commit to the specific action you want them to perform.

Plus, when you use a landing page specifically designed for a social campaign, you can track your success much more easily.

Running a paid search campaign (i.e. Google AdWords)

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. Visitors from paid search campaigns are acquired by using keywords that relate to specific elements contained within your business offers, and so a landing page gives you the chance to write content that is a reflection of these keywords.

For example, say you’re running a campaign for a construction company that wanted to promote its 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 dedicated landing page designed specifically to showcase siding services and then funnel the visitors from the campaign to this specific page, significantly increasing the company chances of acquiring potential customers.

One possible exception is if you’re running a paid local search campaign that uses extremely broad keywords like “construction companies near me.” In this case, the homepage could be used since you’re just advertising that you exist and not promoting a specific service.

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, providing immediate results for you.

This includes an RSVP to your event, a pre-order process for your new product, or a mobile-friendly CTA button that visitors can use to call you directly from their device.

What do homepages and landing pages 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.

Look how pretty it is.

Digital Strike homepage

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 a 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 this company and see how they can restore your home.

Singular call-to-action!

Landing Page Example #1

Landing Page Example #2

Landing pages aren’t always as short and sweet as our previous example. Sometimes, you need to have more information available because your business is intricate. This particular client specializes in micromachining laser services and systems, which, as you can imagine, can be complex in nature. The concept of micromachining lasers is not easily whittled down to a one-scroll landing page.

But, as you can see, we were able to temper this complexity by including a series of bright call-to-action buttons that guide the visitor’s eye to the form at the bottom. It’s a relatively long page, but it still funnels the visitor toward a single call-to-action.

This landing page is a little longer, but it does everything it needs to do.

So there you have it. Now you know everything you need to know about a landing page versus a homepage.

Landing Page Example #2

[customcta heading=”Looking to increase your paid search performance?” text=”At Digital Strike, when pairing landing page development with our paid search accounts, we’ve proven time again to outperform those campaigns that are sent directly to the main website.” tagline=”Let’s chat and see if we could do the same for you and be a good fit.”]

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