If you have a business website, you should understand the concept of homepage vs. landing page. Getting your homepage and landing pages right benefits your business in important ways. It raises your business’ profile, improves your reputation, and brings you more customers. The thought you put into developing your homepage and landing pages pays off quickly.
It’s essential to know the difference between homepages and landing pages. Then you can determine which one you need to use, and where.
Follow tried and proven best practices when designing landing pages and home pages. Learn which common mistakes businesses make with these critical pages as well. Doing so can make your entire business website perform better and efficiently funnel more customers your way. Here’s what you should know about getting your homepage and landing pages right.
Homepages vs. Landing Pages: What’s the Difference?
Homepages welcome and direct your customers. Homepage visitors may be new to your product or service, or they may be ready to purchase. Your homepage directs them to exactly where they want to go.
Landing pages stand alone, and direct visitors only to a specific offer or page. For example, an insurance agency might use a landing page for clients who clicked their Google ad for a car insurance offer.
In short, homepages and landing pages have different purposes and different target audiences. Here is a brief summary of the differences between landing pages and homepages.
|General customer base
|Relevant to right now
|Additional, specific details needed to encourage visitors toward a conversion
|Details directing visitors to the information on your site that they want, such as “About Us” or your blog
Homepage Design That Leaves Visitors Wanting More
While landing pages are standalone pages with a single goal (a conversion), homepages serve as a gateway to your website. Your homepage offers multiple paths from which visitors choose. This does not mean, however, that your homepage should be jam-packed with information.
A great homepage should inform visitors and make it easy for them to explore your website further. Unlike a single-purpose landing page, a homepage should have clear navigation with links to a variety of pages. Homepages typically include multiple links rather than just one. Effective homepage elements include:
- A catchy headline
- Bullet lists or italicized text
- Text located to the left to correspond to typical eye-tracking behavior
- Forms and/or navigation on the right, again to correspond to eye-tracking behavior
- Imagery that captures your brand or shows people using your products
Essential Features of Outstanding Landing Page Design
Simplicity is a hallmark of a well-designed landing page. For example, landing pages cater specifically to people whom you want to convert. Therefore, your landing page should appeal by giving your visitors only the information they need. This helps them conclude that your offer is worthwhile. Here is what landing pages need most:
- A strong, benefit-oriented headline
- Specific information they need to entice them to click on the landing page offer
- One single offer per landing page
- Relevant supporting data presented lower on the page
- Only one clickable navigation link
Which One Do You Need?
Every business website needs a strong, vibrant homepage. Visitors form an opinion of your website in less than one second, so you must impress them immediately. Your homepage should make it clear what you offer and who it’s for, and it should act as a starting point for your many different customer types to get to know you better.
Not every website needs landing pages. Landing pages correspond to specific offers, like free white papers, coupon codes, or email newsletters. Landing pages work to attract specific visitors for specific, relevant offers. For example, if you want to give new customers a discount code to use at checkout, you could put it on a landing page designed specifically for that.
Creating Effective Homepages and Landing Pages
Knowing the difference between homepages and landing pages is the key to putting them to work using best practices for each. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Homepage Best Practices That Deliver
Like a storefront on a street, your homepage should be inviting, clean, and welcoming.
The goals of your homepage are to engage new visitors quickly and direct them to the content they need based on where they are in the sales journey. It should provide links to additional resources for those who want to dive deeper for more detailed information. Follow these best practices to optimize your homepage:
- Choose a clear, simple, informative headline
- Include your primary call to action high enough on the page that the visitor doesn’t have to scroll
- Use strong supporting imagery while avoiding cheesy stock photos
- Answer your visitors’ “So what?” questions by showing clear benefits of your product or service
- Use clear, non-fussy navigation
- Include social proof of your excellence. This could be customer testimonials, or certifications, for example
- Include a more general content offer than would go on a landing page
Common Homepage Design Pitfalls
Like a good landing page, your homepage should be clean and captivating. However, it does not have to be as narrowly tailored as a landing page.
At the same time, your homepage is not a catch-all for every single thing about your business. Avoid these common mistakes when creating your homepage:
- Trying to cram everything about your business onto the homepage
- Having confusing navigation or navigation that doesn’t work as expected
- Focusing solely on homepage design and giving content short shrift
- Not having CTAs
Proven Landing Page Best Practices
Businesses have been using landing pages for many years now. Time has shown what works and what does not. These best practices can help ensure that your landing pages work hard for your business:
- Create specific landing pages for each type of customer you target
- Use headlines that directly appeal to the intended page visitor
- Put your call to action (CTA) high enough on the page that visitors do not have to scroll down
- Only have one CTA per landing page
- Use lists instead of paragraphs of text
- Include a picture of someone like your target visitor using your product
- Test different versions of your landing page and use the one that works best
Common Landing Page Design Mistakes
Simplicity is paramount in a landing page. Because your landing page caters to a specific type of visitor, you must keep it simple and relevant. Avoid the following common landing page pitfalls:
- Landing pages with too much information or information that is irrelevant to the target audience
- Multiple navigation links
- Headlines that are too general or target the wrong audience
- Landing pages with a broad, diverse audience
Homepage vs. Landing Page: How They Work Together
Designing a homepage should result in multiple, diverse visitors and potential customers coming to you over the long term. Your landing pages make specific offers to specific customer personas right now. Great homepages support great landing pages and vice versa. Therefore, you must design both landing pages and homepages with care.
Know the difference between a great homepage and great landing pages, and you can make your website perform optimally. Proven best practices, plus avoiding common mistakes will ensure that homepages and landing pages perform as you want them to.
Don’t worry if you don’t have time to learn and implement these practices for homepages and landing pages yourself. We can help. Schedule a call with us at your convenience to learn more about how we can help you with website solutions tailored to your business.