Often confused are the terms “homepage” and “landing page”. Learn the differences of both in terms of website optimization, purpose, and setup. The two are not synonymous, and serve businesses in very different ways.
In essence the traffic leading to your landing pages will be circumstantial. Whereby your home page will be the broad generalist of your website and online presence. You’ll see totally different page structure between a landing page and a homepage. Content within your homepage broadly serves as an explanation of your business, brand and online presence. Content for a landing is specific and targeted to convert niche audiences. User experience between the two pages is totally different.
A feeling of pressure to illicit action in the user is one the most common goals of landing pages. Homepages may not target specific outcomes of users at all. Overall, for most businesses the two pages should have totally different purposes. Below are 5 distinct differences between the two pages you should understand when utilizing either in your online presence.
Basic structure and content.
A home page and landing page should look very different considering they have very different purposes. The structure of a home page serves to inform and entice the user. Where a landing page’s structure captivates and converts the user.
Your home page has some basic critical elements.
Firstly, a headline and sub-headline will be evident. Within 3 seconds your homepage tells the visitor what the site has to offer. The sub-headline offers a description of your service and narrows down a pain point your services or product solves. A good supporting image can fit here, above the fold. Add in a primary call to action button and your navigation menu and this would be a basic homepage. In certain circumstances the home page and landing page might share a very similar structure. This would just be a website whose home page is actually just a typical landing page structure. They’d then have a separate overview page with a homepage structure.
Try to structure your landing pages to convert.
Similarly to a homepage include clear headlines. Input your unique selling proposition right off the bat. What are the benefits of your offering? Do you have social proof? The answers to these questions should be evident to the reader right away. Add reinforcement statements, a closing argument and finally a call to action. Typically, your call to action should center around the user buying the product of service you we’re advertising for. You are more likely to keep your visitor on the landing page if their search intent is being answered within your content.
Navigation and options for the user.
Notably your landing page and home page will provide the user two totally different navigation experiences. You home page contains a navigation bar with multiple links, one or more call to action links, content with more links etc. Basically, the reader has allot of options to choose from on your home page. Most home pages provide the typical array of home, about, services, etc.
Your landing page is going to be a bit more strategic. Providing many clickable options mean less likelihood the user will pick the option you desire them to choose, ie. buy now or sign up. You’ll find best conversion rates using one button then, the desired result of your landing page. Don’t lose the attention of a potential customer to a list of links they can click on to escape your landing page. Content should be structured and design to draw attention to the call to action button. A good place to to put the call to action is at the end of the landing page. It gets placed after you’ve done all your ‘selling’ in the content above.
Goal of the page vs. the audience.
The audiences between your landing pages and homepage will be different. Traffic will be routed to both pages from different avenues. These avenues include social media, google ads, search engine results, in person connections, physical marketing (flyers, pamphlets, billboards), and other digital marketing avenues.
Landing page purpose and traffic sources.
Your landing page’s purpose is to convert an audience that you’ve already pre-determined has some interest into your business or service. First off, you are gathering information on your audience’s intent, and your landing page gets tailored around that customer intent. Learn more about how search intent is a crucial ranking factor for search engines. A deeper understanding of user search intent will lead you to better break out targetable search optimized niches from your existing customer and client base.
Definitely use this information to develop your ads and marketing links integrating long term keywords and phrases you’re able to prove match your customer’s search intent. Neil Patel’s article here further explains in detail the importance of having singular goals for your landing pages.
Most importantly you should specific landing pages drawing audience and traffic from various specific sources in your online business’ presence.
Where your landing page traffic should be coming from:
- Paid search engine advertisements and ad campaigns
- Links or promotions on other websites
- Social media advertising
- Email marketing campaigns using an email list(your site) for product or service promotions
- Any other form of digital marketing with a narrow goal or objective for conversions
Home page goal and audience.
Alternatively, your home page is the overview of your business. Descriptive, detailed, and generally with more content and links. Your home page’s purpose is more to give the reader a holistic overview of your services and web sitemap. Give access to various links, menus, social media accounts etc. You can still instill a purpose of driving users to the contact us page with call to action buttons.
Where your home page audience should be coming from:
- General search engine results
- Links from your home page from social media
- Your business cards
- Other broad sources of online traffic
Metrics and page analytics.
Metrics on the two pages will be different for capture and tracking. A home page has various outcomes of the user. Perhaps the goal is to keep the user on the page, and click through a variety of links to a desired result of giving you call or email eventually. Tracking this with a software such as Google Analytics might not result in the clearest interpretation of what your users are doing. Implementing a tool like Crazy Egg could help to discern where your users are clicking or looking. But basically, there are allot metrics to be tracking. By the way, check out how Crazy Egg’s homepage has a landing page structure. They have a separate page /overview which is structured like a traditional homepage.
Time on page.
Time on page is the average amount of time a user spends on the page on your website.
Bounce rate indicates roughly how many of the landing page’s visitors leave your page without going to other pages. A high bounce rates indicates a majority of users that your page is not what they are looking for.
Conversion rate is the percentage of time your visitors convert on whatever you’re measuring. Communicate an incentive in your landing page to see how well your audience is receiving that incentive.
Check out this post from iProspect to better understand these three key landing page metrics.
Overall home pages and landing pages should be serving your business in totally different ways. Some businesses might find themselves with upwards of 10 landing pages if they have an extensive catalog of products. Each product will be getting it’s unique landing page. Most businesses will only have one home page though, serving a general purpose for their business. The design and content of landing pages is there to provide customers an incentive to convert on what you are selling. Desing and content of a home page informs the reader as to what your business is and who you work with.
Online marketing utilizes landing pages as pieces of sales funnels. They are the middle gateway and sometimes final salesman for products, services, or whatever your call to action may be. Homepages are the broad spokesperson for your business.
Have you ever wondered if your business should be utilizing landing pages for it’s online presence?