Websites are a business’s digital springboard, a jumping-off point for visitors looking to explore. Landing pages, however, serve an entirely different purpose, making efficient use of visual space to deliver the information the visitor came for.
Most visitors won’t even realize they’re on a landing page, and they don’t need to. But for web designers, knowing the functions different pages serve can have a massive business impact. And exploring landing pages versus websites is a great place to start.
Types of web pages and their roles
Pages of all different types come together to make up a website, and the differences between web pages are what make the site effective as a whole. Here are six types of pages and components you’ll typically see on a smartly designed website and the purposes each serves:
- Homepage — the website’s main page, which gives visitors their first impression of the brand
- About page — offers helpful background information and explains what the business does in an engaging way
- Product/service pages — offers details about products or services and how they’ll benefit visitors
- Contact page — includes addresses, phone numbers, social media links, and other contact information to help visitors connect with the company
- Blog page — educates visitors with regularly updated information, tips, and stories about the business and related topics to increase brand awareness
- Search bar — a box or field where visitors can enter keywords, phrases, or questions to search for content within the website
Each page plays an important role in the digital marketing strategies of businesses of every type, from ecommerce to professional services. Once strategists map out these components, the web designer can spin a site that’s visually appealing, smooth to navigate, and primed to engage.
What is a landing page?
When potential customers click on an ad or link to learn more about a product, service, or promotion, they connect to a landing page — an action-oriented standalone webpage that serves as the hub for that particular marketing campaign. This type of webpage has a specific goal, like generating leads or sales, promoting a product or service, or encouraging visitors to take an action.
Within websites, landing pages are what convert visitors into buyers with a mix of powerful components, including:
- Headlines: short, attention-grabbing statements that communicate a product or service’s main benefit or value proposition
- Subheadlines: a line of text below the main headline that offers additional context and further encourages visitors to explore the page
- Images or videos: visual content that conveys the benefit or value proposition while creating a more engaging user experience
- Calls-to-action: a call-to-action (CTA) button or link that inspires immediate action (like “buy now” or “learn more”)
- Lead forms: an input form visitors fill out to take actions like requesting a quote, initiating a subscription, accessing gated content, or joining a mailing list
- Optimized content: web copy including keywords that optimize content for search engines (SEO) so the landing page appears in related search results
You can create as many different landing pages as needed and exclude them from your website’s navigation. Instead, visitors will click a link or CTA in an email, social media post, or another marketing channel where the target audience will most likely respond.
The key differences between websites and landing pages
Websites and landing pages are different, but share some similarities. For example, both use SEO keywords to improve the brand’s search engine rankings. And both use the brand voice and design elements like the company’s color scheme, layout, and typography to create a consistent experience for visitors.
But what they don’t have in common is arguably more important than what they do. Here are some of the key ways they differ:
While a website is a collection of pages that takes visitors on a journey to learn more about a brand and its products or services, a landing page is a compelling single page designed to capture attention and prompt potential customers to act.
Most websites have several pages, subpages, sections, and other places a visitor might navigate to from the homepage. But on a landing page, both the visitor and the landing page’s creator share the goal of driving an action related to the incentive or offer that entices the potential customer.
Website content is often longer and more fleshed out to inform visitors of the business and its offerings, but there’s no room for fluff on a landing page. Landing page content gets right to the point with a blurb about the ecommerce store, ebook, webinar, or whatever offer brought them there, quickly followed by a CTA button that gets them to the next step.
Websites and landing pages require responsiveness and branding elements, but landing pages need a streamlined design to eliminate distractions and ensure visitors hone in on what’s most important: a compelling value proposition and corresponding CTA. Websites aim to drive traffic and engagement across the entire site while landing pages operate with a specific conversion goal, and the distinctive design elements of each reflect this.
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3 reasons to differentiate between websites and landing pages
Understanding the function of landing pages helps drive successful conversions. Web designers don’t create enticing offers or copy for landing pages, but they play an important role in their success. Here's why differentiating landing pages from the rest of the site is important:
1. Meet client needs and expectations
Creating a page that caters to visitors' expectations helps them stay focused on the intended action without getting sidetracked or confused. By providing only the necessary information and eliminating any irrelevant web elements and distractions, visitors are more likely to remain engaged and follow through with the desired action.
2. Optimize conversion rates
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategies help focus on the specific goal of the landing page and increase the percentage of visitors who take the desired action. Leveraging A/B testing to measure users’ responses to different versions of the same page can give insight into the most effective approaches, and that helps improve the page’s chances of converting visitors into customers.
3. Streamline design and development
Creating or redesigning a website takes considerable time, user research, and stakeholder input. Once a new site launches, it’s likely to remain unchanged until a strategy shift calls for an update. But the landing page you create today may only be in circulation during a specific marketing campaign. You’ll want to create templates that bypass the need for back-end development and streamline the landing page web design process so you can produce new pages quickly.
Create landing pages that make an impact
At Webflow, we offer the tools to make websites and landing pages and the tutorials you need to master them. Explore the differences between static and dynamic websites, the best practices for prototyping, and more with guidance from our blog and educational resources from Webflow University. Draw inspiration from our collection of templates and websites and start building your best sites and landing pages yet.