Lots of marketers wonder about the difference between a landing page and a website homepage. It’s a great question because your choice could impact your company’s lead generation, website conversions, profitability, and branding.
So, What’s the Difference Between Them?
Here’s the biggest difference between a landing page and a homepage: purpose.
A landing page and a website homepage serve different purposes for your business. To determine which one you need and whether it will be effective, look at its purpose.
What a Website Homepage Does:
- Establishes your brand identity.
- Sparks interest and attention for your company.
- Directs visitors to go deeper and view other pages of your website that contain the relevant content they’re looking for.
- SUMMARY: A homepage captures interest and spreads it out to your site.
What a Landing Page Does:
- Satisfies a visitor’s desire for an answer to a certain question.
- Draws attention to a specific offer.
- Converts visitors with a single call-to-action, like completing a form or clicking to buy.
- SUMMARY: A landing page captures interest and drills it down to one action.
Take a moment to review the bolded points above, and you’ll instantly see the primary difference between the two types of pages: the purpose that each serves
12 Ways to Know What's Best
Now let’s look at 12 handy ways to know whether you should be directing people to your homepage or setting up a specific landing page for a campaign.
1. Consider Your Need for Conversions.
Landing pages are built to convert. Homepages are not.
2. Your Audience Wants Something General vs. Specific.
Visitors have a range of reasons for visiting a homepage, and one of the most common is seeking general knowledge about a company’s services after searching online. By contrast, landing page visitors have a specific reason for visiting that’s tied to a certain marketing campaign.
3. Are You Linking to Ads, Posts, or Emails?
A landing page is often linked to pay-per-click ads, social posts/ads, emails, and other outside traffic-building channels. A homepage is the page visitors see when they navigate to your main website address.
4. Is a Single Action the Top Priority?
A homepage contains robust website navigation, so people can click around and choose to do lots of things. But a landing page contains no navigation that could inspire a visitor to leave the page. You want them to do only one thing: follow the call to action (CTA).
5. Broad vs. Focused Behavior
The desired behavior of a visitor to a homepage is to visit more pages on your website. The desired behavior of a visitor to a landing page is to click a single button or complete a short form.
6. Is the Headline a Special Offer?
Landing page headlines focus on a specific offer, using language that connects the visitor to the content they just clicked, so there’s no question they’re in the right place. Homepage headlines focus on clearly communicating your company’s value proposition.
7. Value vs. Vision
Both homepages and landing pages use subheadings as segues to the body copy. However, landing page subheads usually reinforce the value of taking the individual offer. Homepage subheads often speak to a visitor’s bigger-picture vision of your company.
8. Consider the Photos/Videos
Both landing pages and homepages feature images, artwork, photos, illustrations, and videos. But while homepages share a robust vision of your entire brand, landing pages typically feature only the product or service in the offer.
9. Storytelling, or Straight to the Point?
Homepage text tells the story of your company and makes different points about your brand. Landing page text gets right to the point and is focused on presenting value to the viewer. In fact, a landing page could almost be called a “leading page” because its intent is to drive new leads.
10. The Power of Persuasion
Both homepages and landing pages take advantage of the power of persuasion from social proof. This includes things like testimonials, reviews, likes and follows, media mentions, verification or trust seals, and powerful statistics. But this is especially true in a long-form landing page, which answers every possible question while still guiding the viewer to a single “buy” button.
11. Does it Need a Prominent Form?
A landing page needs a simple form placed high up on the page so visitors can take action right away. The landing page form’s effectiveness is measured by the percentage of visitors that complete and submit it. If a form is placed on a homepage, it should still be simple, but it doesn’t need to be as prominent on the page.
12. Testing! Testing!
Landing pages can improve dramatically with testing. Optimize conversion rates of landing pages by utilizing A/B or split testing, which compares a control page against a variation of the page. You can test the headline, on-page copy, call-to-action copy, images versus video, form length and style, as well as CTA button design, page design, social proof, and the offer itself.