People often confuse landing pages and web pages (or homepage), assuming they look and do the same thing. But there is, in fact, a huge difference between a landing page and a homepage.
First, let us have a look at what landing pages are. Landing pages are a form of a web page but intended for a specific purpose such as to sell a product, gather information, offer a free trial, etc. They are simple and focuses on just one thing, unlike web pages.
A landing page is designed to encourage visitors to take action and has no distractions. They have a common design and are focused on conversion. Their whole purpose is to capture leads and drive sales.
Homepage or webpage is used to form websites that have other page links to them, such as About, Services, Blog, Contact info, etc. They are an integrated group of pages that aims at all visitors of the website and guide them to their area of interest. A homepage is interconnected with pages that describe your organization and what your business is all about.
Factors that make them different
This is the main difference between homepages and landing pages. Landing pages are action-oriented than homepages and have Call-to-action buttons that encourage users to convert.
This CTA can be anything, a sign-up form, a phone number attached to call or simply a buy button. Attachment of specific offers like, “ Sign up today and Get 20% off!” or “Free delivery available. Call now” near CTA buttons help boost sales faster.
Contrary to this, a homepage does not have a strong focus on CTA and it focuses on providing the visitor with information. CTA buttons are a small part of the multi-page website.
Purpose of the page
The second major difference between landing and homepage is their purpose. Landing pages are exactly what they sound like, a page you land on to perform an action. For example, if you see an Ad for a product and click on it, you will land directly on a page with an option to buy that product.
Landing pages are targetted for potential buyers, unlike webpages where viewers see more information and content for exploring your website. While a homepage is to get an overall idea about the product, landing pages have information and content that push the viewers to buy it.
Attaching External Links
Webpages have many links, each directing attention to specifics that the user might be interested in. There are site links in the footer, social media links, links to your blog, and a lot more present for the user to interact with your website.
However, on your landing page, there are no links. As mentioned earlier, the landing page is focusing on just one thing, conversion. The aim is to keep your audience engaged in your page until they convert. Unnecessary links will divert the viewer’s attention and act as distractions on a landing page.
For example, social media links on your landing page to show your massive social media presence might sound like a good idea. But, if the user navigates to a social media website, gets distracted by some notification and exists your landing page, you lost a prospect from converting!
It is best advised to provide all such information on a landing page that keeps the viewer's interests up but avoid providing external links.
Content in the page
The content of the homepage can be used on a landing page, provided it is specific to the product or service the page is offering. Unlike the homepage that needs organic traffic, the landing page only requires people who are genuinely there to buy the products. The content on the landing page is to be the same as that of the Ads and search terms that brought the viewers in.
For example, if you run an online store and someone sees an ad of biscuits from your store. Instead of leading them to your homepage and showing them what other items you offers, you should point them to the landing page specific to biscuits. The person who clicked on the Ad obviously is interested in buying the biscuits, so instead of distracting them with irrelevant content give them what they want.
When to use each of them?
Now that we have seen how landing page and homepage are different, let us see how to use them properly. This totally depends on what you are trying to achieve. When you are listing necessary information about your business, like logistical details, etc. a website with the homepage is ideal.
Whereas, if you’re running social media ads directed specifically to your potential audience, a dedicated landing page is ideal. Add some offers and you are good to go.
Homepage and landing page both are equally useful depending on your needs. In short, we can say that homepages have a lot of info and landing page have tightly focused content targeting conversion. At the end of the day, both are designed to help people and guide them towards the marketing funnel.
If you're interested in checking out landing pages, I'd suggest Marshmallow. With its simplistic yet responsive design, it is suitable for all types of projects.