We explore a lot of websites here on Site Builder Report. And sometimes, we label some web pages as “landing pages” in our analysis.
When do we say a web page is a ‘landing page’? And how is it different from a ‘website’? That’s precisely what you’ll learn in this article. You’ll also understand when to use a website or landing page and how to make one by the end.
But let’s start from the top, shall we?
What Is a Website?
A website is a collection of different web pages, each serving a different purpose.
Let’s understand it better with this simple portfolio website example:
Meiwen is a professional photographer and designer. Her website has different web pages, each serving a different purpose: Design to showcase her design work; Photography to show her photos; Contact to help potential clients reach her; Journal pages to publish her interviews, thought process behind her work, etc.
Portfolio websites are just one category of websites. Here are some of the other standard website types you see every day:
- eCommerce websites: To sell online;
- Blogs: To share educational/entertaining content as a medium to attract & engage visitors;
- Personal websites: To show an individual’s personality and vibe;
- Membership websites: To offer exclusivity to users; etc.
A quick note about single-page websites
“One-page websites” is another category of websites. They don’t fit in the “collection of webpages” definition of a website, but they are an exception.
Technically, a one-page website is a landing page. But it is different from the usual marketing-speak definition of a “landing page” (more on it below); a single page “website” is that because it serves multiple purposes like a regular website. A single page can include an about section, a contact form, links to social media profiles, an opt-in email form, a gallery, and more.
Related: ‘Link in bio’ websites are also single-page websites in most cases.
What Is a Landing Page?
A landing page is a standalone web page designed for users to take a well-defined action. The action could be anything - a purchase, an eBook download, registering for a free trial, scheduling a consultation call, signing up for a newsletter, etc.
👆 This is the standard definition of a landing page and one we’ll consider throughout this article. But technically, a landing page is a web page visitors land on (from social media, Google search, ads, etc.) — so any page can be a landing page.
Let’s see a simple landing page to understand better:
Yellow Co is a networking platform for women professionals. Their memberships page is an excellent example of a landing page. (Their website, in general, is a great example of a (Squarespace) website).
The page has just one goal: convert visitors to members. So everything about it directs visitors to take that action. The page has information about memberships, pictures that show what’s on the other side of the membership, CTAs to the membership purchase page, social proof that encourages the action, etc.
Overall: Unlike websites, landing pages are optimized to generate quick results and are often linked to paid marketing campaigns. Most lead generation campaigns take users to a landing page for conversion.
Website vs Landing Page: Key Differences
Now you know what’s a website and what’s a landing page. You probably also understand the primary differences between both. So let’s go into more details.
|Goals||Awareness, sale, and information.||Capture leads.|
|Audience||Users in search for products, services, or information related to your company or the type of product/service/information you give.||Users with clear intent, interest, or preference.|
|Information||Everything a customer/prospect in your industry is interested in knowing.||Offers, case studies, testimonials, etc., to convince the visitor.|
|Navigation||Yes, to all the main pages on the website.||Typically, no navigation.|
Even though landing pages can be a part of the website, they both serve two different purposes. Websites focus on awareness, sales, and information. In comparison, landing pages focus on getting visitors to take the desired action.
Some identifiers that distinguish the two are as follows:
Number of web pages
Since most websites have a lot of information, it hosts multiple web pages. On average, a personal website has 5+ pages, and a corporate or ecommerce website can go from 5 to 500+ pages.
Then there are single or one-page websites (often confused as landing pages). Single-page websites are pretty similar to homepages that provide a blend of the entire website’s information on a single page.
Like landing pages, single-page websites might offer information on a single page, but the nature of content and goals are very different. For example, a single-page website can have multiple CTAs throughout the page; landing pages typically don’t.
Landing pages are standalone, i.e., a landing page is one page. It can or cannot be interlinked to a website.
Nature of Information
Websites host every piece of information a potential customer or employee would need. For instance, a website can have different web pages to tell about the company, its values, services, products, offers, news, success stories, etc.
Landing pages only focus on one particular campaign at a time and share information specific to the campaign. Most information focuses on product USPs, case studies, testimonials, and anything that gets customers to click a CTA.
Even though a company’s buyer persona might be the same, the stage at which a website and a landing page target them are poles apart.
Websites are for customers in all stages of the buying journey, including awareness, consideration, or buying phases. Marketers often call these stages the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, or bottom of the funnel, respectively.
Landing pages mainly target customers in the bottom of the funnel stages, where the visitor is likely a potential customer who knows about your brand and want to buy from you.
Let’s say you sell dog food. You can use a website to target all users researching dog food, comparing them, or even buying them. However, if you’re marketing a limited-time offer on your dog, a landing page would be ideal for targeting customers with strong buying intent.
Side note: Websites usually get their audience from inbound sources, like Google or social media profiles. The landing page gets its audience from paid campaigns on social media and other ad networks.
“Navigation” is a bit tricky differentiator between a website/homepage and a landing page.
Websites have a menu bar to help visitors navigate to other website pages. Example:
On the other hand, landing pages can have a navigation bar, like in the Yellow Co landing page example. But, generally, when a landing page is associated with a marketing campaign, they don’t have a navigation bar. For example, Wix’s Google ad leads to this page that only has information and CTAs relevant to the search query (“website builder”) and no navigation bar:
It is because pages without navigation have higher conversion rates:
Website vs Landing page: When To Use a Website?
You can create a website if you find the following use cases relevant to your business:
1. Win trust by describing your story
Since websites can accommodate multiple pages, you can use different pages to narrate your story, describe motivations, highlight what inspired you to create the products, what you wish to achieve, etc.
Narrating your story is a brand-building exercise that wins users’ trust by giving them details about your company and establishing authenticity in the market. Unfortunately, landing pages don’t allow you to share so much information as it’s just one page.
Standard web pages that can help you do this are:
- About us page: To describe your mission, vision, values, motivations, goals, about the founders, etc.
- FAQ page: To answer common customer queries about your brand.
- Contact page: If you still miss some of your visitors’ questions, they can directly ask you.
Example: Knapsack Creative Co. is a website design company. They have an awesome _About _page, highlighting their mission statement and describing what makes them unique.
2. Describe products or services
Visitors want more information about your products or services. With dedicated pages, you can give them the information they need and push them further in the buying cycle.
Here are some of the pages you can have on your website to describe products or services:
- Hub pages:** **Hub pages are central introductory pages that help visitors find other relevant pages. For example, a blog page has a list of blog posts; a store page has a list of products; etc.
- Service pages: Describe each service in detail.
- Product pages: For ecommerce stores, you can have a separate web page describing each product. Note: Product pages can also be landing pages.
- Location pages: Describe locations you serve and create pages designed for those locations.
- Help center: If you are in a business like SaaS, users will want to know information about how to use the product. Have different help center pages for that.
- FAQs: Answer frequently asked product/service-related questions on a single FAQs page.
Example: Yellow Co has an Events page that gives information about their upcoming events (i.e., their service).
3. Provide different functions
If you want to engage people in multiple ways, use a website. For example, a website is a better option if you want people to book appointments, learn about your different services, AND see your case studies.
Here are some of the functions your website can offer:
- Booking appointment: Create a web page visitors can use to book appointments or schedule a call/demo with you.
- Forums: You can create a forum on your website that allows users to interact, comment, discuss, etc.
- Members exclusive pages: Host a members-only area that will give exclusive access to special users.
- Store: To sell your products.
- Learn more: If you offer multiple products or services, you need multiple pages, each with a different function.
Let’s revisit the Meiwen See website example. She offers both design and photography services. Therefore, she has two different web pages, both serving a different function/audience - the Photography page acts as a photography portfolio, and the Design page acts as a graphic design portfolio.
4. Search engine rankings
Chances of a website ranking on search engines like Google are way higher than a landing page. This is mainly because a website can have more content and target many relevant search terms, which is good from an SEO or search engine optimization standpoint.
In contrast, landing pages only go after a single search term (that is, if they do — most landing pages attract traffic using ads or other outbound methods).
Using a website, you can optimize for
- Local keywords: You can optimize your website for location-specific keywords by designing web pages targeting particular locations and hosting content supporting the keyword.
- Product or service-specific keywords: You can target product or service-specific keywords potential customers search for.
- Top of the funnel keywords: Nurture top-of-the-funnel traffic by going after general high-volume keywords that can bring significant traffic to your website.
- Long-tail keywords: Solve long and specific queries users search for on the internet.
Website vs Landing Page: When To Use a Landing Page?
Landing pages are sales pages that work best when you fully understand the intent of your target visitor and want to promote only a single service or product.
Here are some times you should turn to a landing page instead of a website:
1. Advertising campaigns
If you want to run targeted ad campaigns, landing pages are better than websites.
- Landing pages are customer focused and offer higher conversions. Most paid ads on the internet are linked to a landing page.
- It’s easy to customize landing page design and content. This helps you keep consistent messaging with the ads directing traffic to them.
Let’s look at Squarespace as an example. They run hyper-targeted ads to invite freelancers to learn more about their platform.
Once they click on the ‘Learn more’ button, the ad takes them to a landing page that hosts information that persuades them to try Squarespace:
2. Lead magnets
Remember when you visited a landing page that provided a free guide or ebook in exchange for your name and email id? That is a lead magnet - a unique and helpful gated content piece brands package in the form of PDFs, eBooks, coupons, etc.
The page that hosts this information is called a lead magnet or lead capture page. It’s essentially a landing page that provides an opt-in form visitors need to fill out to get their free whatever.
If you want to use lead magnets and turn unknown visitors into leads, creating a landing page that can offer gated content pieces is a good idea.
Some of the most popular lead magnets are:
- Free trial: Direct website visitors to a landing page offering a free trial and slowly nurture them for sale.
- Webinar or podcast invite: Record videos and host discussions visitors can access by offering their contact information on webinar or podcast landing pages.
- Ebooks & Gated PDFs: Allow users to get a free ebook that showcases your expertise in the subject they want to learn more about.
Testing a change on the entire website is impractical. But using landing pages to test ideas and copies to understand what works and doesn’t work is possible.
For example, you can create multiple landing pages with different copies, social proofs, design, colors, etc., and send visitors to these pages to study the effects on KPIs.
4. Notice pages
You can notify your visitors about changes in the company, the website, maintenance, etc., with landing pages. Plus, you can promote anything suitable alongside.
For example, All Birds, the popular Shopify store, had this landing page in the UK before launching there. They collected interested customers’ email addresses using it so they can notify once the UK site is live:
How To Build a Website?
Building a website is no longer as complicated as it once was. Most of the time, you don’t even have to write a single line of code — you can use a website builder like Squarespace or an ecommerce builder like Shopify instead. But before that…
1. Select the right goals
You obviously want your website to accomplish something for your business. If you are not clear on what that is, first, define your website goals. This is important because the goal will dictate the design, layout, content, domain name, and the kind of website you’ll build.
Some common goals are:
- Lead generation,
- Product sales,
- Sell memberships,
- Take donations,
- SEO, etc.
2. Finalize how you’ll make your website
Depending on your goals, you can choose one of the following ways to build your website:
1. Use a website builder
Website builders are all-in-one website building tools that typically come with a drag-and-drop visual editor, hosting, templates, and more. They make creating web pages a breeze. You simply have to choose from a variety of templates, photo galleries, forms, etc., to create good websites fast.
Here are some of the website builders you can consider:
- Squarespace: Comes with modern templates, excellent features, and beautiful designs.
- Shopify: Known for its clear interface, extensive app store, and industry-leading ecommerce features.
- Webflow: Best for custom designs.
2. Use a CMS
CMS or a content management system is a platform that makes it easy to store, search, manage, update and edit the content on your website. You can’t directly build a website using a CMS platform, but you can use templates and page builders on top of CMS to create one. Also, you might need to code a little here to get your ideal website.
The most popular CMS is WordPress. It’s free and open source, but you need to buy hosting, domain, SSL certificate, security plugins, etc., on your own. There are some great WordPress alternatives too.
If your project scope is vast and you have time and budget, then you can hire a developer or code your website. Its main advantage is it gives you endless possibilities.
Things to remember while building a website
- Keep Navigation Simple: Think of website navigation like elevator buttons: people use them to get somewhere. It needs to be simple and positioned in the obvious place, i.e., typically header and footer.
- Make Your Contact Details Obvious: Don’t try to get clever here. Make your contact details super obvious.
- Add Testimonials: Testimonials build trust with customers. A good testimonial addresses fears and concerns to build trust.
- Avoid Jargon: Write clearly and in words your target customer understands.
- Be Human: People will respond to your website if you make it clear there is a real, live human behind it — don’t try to hide behind corporate language or vague stock photography.
How To Build a Landing Page?
If you are already getting a website builder, you can simply use it to create your landing pages. For example, here’s how you can build a landing page with Squarespace.
Otherwise: Using a landing page builder is the best way to create landing pages.
Some commonly used landing page builders are:
- Swipe pages: High converting templates, pre-built blocks, built-in analytics, easily integrated with third-party apps.
- Unbounce: AI-powered templates, powerful integrations, A/B testing, dynamic text replacement for SEM campaigns.
- Leadpages: Low starting price, 200+ templates, unlimited page publishing.
- Hubspot: Built-in library for mobile-optimized templates, A/B testing, personalized content based on CRM data, and good customer support.
Things to remember while building a landing page
The goal of a landing page is conversions. So you must focus on the following elements to increase the landing page’s effectiveness.
- Persuasive headline: The headline’s the first thing a visitor sees. Make sure it grabs the visitor’s attention and draws them in. Here’s a great article on how to write landing page headlines.
- Social proof: Actual customer reviews and testimonials influence landing page conversion rates more than anything you include. So make sure you include social proof and convincing success stories.
- Clear CTAs: Make your call-to-actions clear and value-driven. This article by Unbounce may help you write better CTAs.
- Short forms: Visitors don’t like to fill out lengthy forms. Only ask for relevant information - email, name, and phone number should be enough for most cases.
- Mobile responsive: Your landing page will not have visitors from desktops only. Hence, go for mobile responsive templates or designs while building your landing page. Your page should respond to all screen sizes and devices.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the best website builder?
Do I need a website or a landing page?
It depends on your goal.
Landing pages are sales pages that work best when you fully understand the intent of your target visitor and want to promote only a single service or product.
For everything else, i.e., all types of web pages (blog posts, portfolio, contact, about, etc.), you need a website.
Side note: Landing pages are a subset of websites/web pages.
Can I make a landing page with my website builder?
Yes! For example, here's how you can build a landing page with the Squarespace website builder.
It's just that if you use a landing page builder like Unbounce or Leadpages, you'll get landing page-specific templates, which are hard to find in website builders.