It is easy to confuse a homepage with a landing page. I mean, you do land on a homepage, right? Though technically, you do land on a homepage, that does not make it the same as a landing page. So, what is the difference between a landing page and homepage?
First, let’s set up what a homepage is. A Homepage is the main page of your website. It is the page that comes up when you pull up www.yoursite.com. Because of this, you have only one homepage. By contrast, you can have multiple landing pages on your website. For example, you could have yoursite.com/garagedoorrepair.
Function and intent.
One of the first and foremost differences between a homepage and a landing page is the function and intent of the page. To illustrate my point, let’s look at a website like an office building. Your homepage is your first-floor lobby, front desk, and elevators. Essentially, you get an idea of what the building is, the purpose of the building, which companies are on which floors, and ways to get to each floor. A landing page is like a floor of the building that is resided by one company.
Your homepage introduces your company and directs you to what you’re looking for. There are a broad range of audiences that will visit your homepage. Your homepage’s function and intent is to direct that broad audience into specific landing pages depending on what they are there for. Your landing pages are about specific services or products your company has.
Design of the page.
Following function and intent, your homepage and landing pages will have differences in the design. Your homepage design is meant to give a broad feel of your business. You might have multiple sections on your homepage that give a quick synopsis of different parts of your company or services, then will direct to other parts of your site, including your landing pages.
Your landing page(s) will have a different design, and that design will be based on what type of landing page you are going for. More about that in just a sec. The one thing that all forms of landing pages have is a focus on the subject of the page, whether it’s a service or a product.
Different types of landing pages.
In my experience, landing pages come in two major flavors. The first is what I call your “quick in, quick out” landing page. This is generally what a lot of digital marketers would think of in terms of a landing page. These landing pages are built for single campaign uses, like for Google ads or email campaigns. The website copy is usually short and to the point. This type of landing page uses a very noticeable (either above the fold or just below) call to action on a very specific topic.
One BIG key difference with this type of landing page in both design and function is that it has very little to no links. This type of landing page usually does not have a navigation bar. The reason is that you want ALL your viewers’ attention on that page, instead of trying to find a way off or getting distracted.
The second flavor is a bit more controversial, because many groups these types of pages as just webpages, but hear me out before forming your opinion. In service companies (and other types as well), your service pages are a different type of landing page. The reason I suggest this is because they, too, are built for only one reason, to get you to book their service. You’re looking for the viewer to take that single call to action when they land on that page. Yet, there are several key differences. They do have the navigation bar at the top. Where your “quick in quick out” landing pages can be a temporary page built for campaigns, these are built to be permanent extensions of your website. In many cases, they are built with the idea of garnering organic traffic of those searching for that service. These types of landing pages also focus on a very specific call to action. The difference (besides the navigation) is there tends to be more copy, designed not only to give the reader more information but Google as well, in order to increase organic traffic.
So, in summary, the key to remembering the difference between a homepage and a landing page is to think broad versus specific. A homepage is a broad overview of your company, and a landing page is designed for a specific action to be taken place.
Chris Hughbanks is the owner of Hughbanks Design and has spent over a decade immersed in the fields of design, UX UI and digital marketing.