Landing Page vs Website: What’s the Difference?
A landing page usually serves a single, specific purpose, whereas a website is a flexible platform that can offer various types of content. Websites consist of multiple pages, each serving a different goal or function.
On the surface, both landing pages and websites can seem very similar. They’re both hosted solutions on the web designed to showcase specific branding and information. However, there are some differences between the structure and purpose of a landing page or website.
So, how do you decide which tool you actually need to help you grow your company and achieve your specific goals? Here’s everything you need to know to make the right choice.
What is a Landing Page?
To understand the difference between a landing page and a website, we first need to define each asset. A landing page is a stand-alone web page, designed to achieve a specific goal or purpose. It’s not the same as your website homepage, despite common belief.
For the most part, landing pages are used for lead generation. They often include forms where users can enter details in exchange for a “lead magnet”, such as a download or eBook.
Landing pages, however, can also serve specific purposes, like encouraging people to sign up for a webinar or event, or asking people to request a quote from a service provider. There are even businesses who create landing pages to launch “coming soon” campaigns for upcoming products, new services, and similar solutions.
Landing pages are highly focused digital assets. Unlike a product page on a website, they don’t typically link out to other locations, potentially distracting users. Instead, they remove all menu and navigational components to keep people focused on one action.
Like websites, landing pages can be created using digital builder tools such as Wix, WordPress, or Shopify. However, they’re specifically focused on generating as many “conversions” as possible, with direct insights into product or service benefits, unique offers, and CTAs (Call to Actions).
There are plugin tools and page examples available online to help you create landing pages for everything from launching a new product, to driving conversions from Facebook ads. Plus, you can usually test and optimize your landing page over time to increase your opt-in rate.
What is a Website?
A website is a little more comprehensive than a standard landing page. While a landing page is typically just one specific page with a dedicated purpose, a website is a versatile tool with access to a range of different types of content.
Most websites are made up of multiple pages, intended to address different purposes. They may include:
- About us sections
- Home pages
- Product pages
- Service pages
- Blogs (or news pages)
- Terms and conditions
- Links to social media
Websites are built using website building tools or code. They can be created from scratch using developer components, or designed using a drag-and-drop solution like Squarespace, Weebly, or WordPress. In some cases, websites can also include built-in ecommerce functionality, such as checkout pages and payment processors.
While it’s possible to add ecommerce functionality into a landing page too, websites also typically include more features to help users manage their online store or website. There are back-end CMS (content management system) solutions, and inventory tracking tools often built-in.
A single website can also include access to landing pages for multiple different marketing campaigns. For instance, there may be landing pages connected to a website which allow people to book an appointment, request a quote, or sign up to a membership or online course.
Landing Page vs Website: Key differences
There are some commonalities between landing pages and websites. Both are typically created using online tools which make it easy to organize content into a specific structure. With both a landing page and a website, you can create contact forms, checkout pages, and payment processing sections.
Additionally, most website and landing page builders will provide access to tools for reporting and analytics. For instance, you may be able to monitor important metrics like conversion rate and engagement for both your website and landing page. You can also sometimes A/B test or split test a landing page or website component to improve performance.
Landing pages and websites can also be integrated with digital marketing tools, to help you boost your reach to potential customers, and improve your chances of making a good first impression.
However, the core difference between landing pages and websites is their pre-defined purpose.
A landing page has a single, specific purpose. It’s designed to convert customers in a certain way, convincing them to sign up for a course, webinar, or request a quote. Some landing pages can also include lead magnets to improve your chances of conversion. They help you collect contact details for an email list, testimonials, and contact requests. Some companies also use landing pages as sales pages, to increase conversions for a specific product.
They often include very few distractions which could reduce conversions, such as links to other parts of the website or navigation tools. Additionally, landing pages are highly targeted towards a specific audience with a unique goal or pain point.
Alternatively, websites can have more than one specific purpose. They can be designed to appeal to a wide range of different audiences, with a multitude of pages. While websites typically are created with a certain audience in mind, they can assist customers through all stages of the purchasing and relationship building journey.
While landing pages focus on conversion, websites are often designed to develop rapport with customers, through the delivery of various forms of valuable information. A website can tell customers all about your brand, provide contact details, share insights into a range of products and services, and even contribute to marketing campaigns through content creation.
Landing Page vs Website: Which Do you Need?
Both landing pages and websites are incredible tools for business leaders, content creators, and brands. They both can help organizations to capture leads and increase conversions. However, their different purposes mean they best used in specific circumstances.
Landing pages are excellent for one thing: conversions.
Landing pages are free from any distractions, such as navigational tools and website menus, which means there are fewer chances of customers clicking away from the page. This makes them excellent for businesses looking to achieve a specific outcome, such as getting customers to sign up for a course, webinar, or subscription. They usually focus on driving attention to a specific CTA button, and some even remove a navigation bar or navigation menu completely.
However, landing pages are limited. They may increase conversions, but they won’t necessarily help companies to develop a relationship with their target audience, or strengthen engagement. They also only focus on one part of the marketing and sales funnel, which means most companies still need to create other assets to get customers to the point when they’re willing to convert.
Websites are intended for companies and creators looking to build a full online presence.
Websites help businesses to boost reach and awareness for their brand. They provide numerous ways to connect with audiences, through content creation, marketing, ads, and even SEO (Search Engine Optimization). They also give customers more freedom to choose their next step in the purchasing journey, allowing them to navigate through each page at their own pace.
Notably, while many websites include multiple pages, it’s also possible to create a single page website which doesn’t necessarily act as a landing page. Single page websites are often brimming with additional content, such as portfolio pictures, videos, and contact forms.
How Do You Create a Landing Page or Website?
Though landing pages and websites have very different goals and purposes, the process of creating them can have a lot of similarities. While there are dedicated landing page builders available on the web, such as Unbounce, ConvertKit, HubSpot, and so on, it’s also possible to build landing pages using website building tools, such as Wix, WordPress, and Shopify.
With both landing pages and websites, you will need to access some similar tools. For instance, since both solutions are delivered through the internet, they both need a web hosting account. Additionally, most companies will need to invest in a domain name for their landing page. A sub-domain could be a good option for a company with an existing website or domain they want to build on.
Once you have your hosting solution and domain name, you’ll need to create your landing page, or website. There are various ways to do this. Some people with developer and programming knowledge will be able to work with open-source code to build a solution from scratch.
However, for the most part, many content creators and businesses prefer to access pre-built tools which minimize the amount of coding they need to do. A website or landing page builder can provide you with all the functionality you need to create your preferred solution, ranging from themes and templates, to a drag-and-drop builder for customization.
The main difference between building a landing page and a website is the amount of work involved. Typically, when building a website, you’ll need to produce multiple pages, each with their own function. You might create a blog page, a range of product pages, a contact page, and more.
You’ll also need to take steps to optimize your website, to ensure it appears in the appropriate search engine results pages. This means using backlinking and internal linking strategies, keyword research, and other strategies to boost your domain authority. While SEO can still be valuable for landing pages, it’s often less necessary, as links to landing pages are often shared as part of marketing and promotional campaigns, so they reach customers directly.
Landing pages only require you to create a single page, with all the appropriate assets required to convert users. This will mean designing content which highlights the value of whatever it is you’re offering, a contact form, and an engaging headline. If you want customers to be able to complete transactions within your landing page, you’ll need to add ecommerce functionality.
Websites vs Landing Pages: Pros and Cons
Both websites and landing pages are excellent at serving their own distinct purpose. If you want to convert prospects into webinar subscribers, course consumers, or customers, you might choose a landing page. If you want to build relationships with customers, expand your online presence, and generate awareness, you might opt for a full website.
Landing page pros:
Focus: A landing page has a single goal, which makes it easier to convert your customers in a specific way. There are no distractions which could guide your customers away from taking a certain action. Most of the time, landing pages only include a single offer and call to action.
Targeting: With landing pages, you can create a highly targeted experience for a specific audience, focused on driving certain results. You can also choose exactly who you promote your landing page to, using your audience segments and marketing strategies.
Conversions: Because landing pages are designed specifically to increase conversions, they’re excellent for generating leads, sales, and subscriptions. They concentrate on achieving a single goal, with a specific audience, and leverage a high level of intent. Many companies use landing pages alongside paid ads, to drive conversions for a specific product or service.
Landing page cons:
Restriction: Landing pages aren’t the best strategy if you want to help your customers move through the purchasing funnel with various forms of information. They don’t necessarily target people at the top of the buyer funnel very well.
Engagement: Because they’re focused on pushing customers to take an action, landing pages are rarely ideal for building relationships and generating new opportunities. They’re not typically used for initial engagement, or to retain customers.
Flexibility: A website can serve a range of purposes, from providing customers with insights into your brand and vision, to boosting awareness of your products and services. They can also help you strengthen your position online through content creation.
Branding: Websites give you an excellent opportunity to differentiate your company from competitors in your industry, with a range of different types of information. You can showcase your brand in the best possible light, with many forms of content.
Growth: Websites help you connect with customers through every stage of the purchasing funnel, from the initial awareness stage to the point of retention. They can help you to build relationships with your customers, and increase the loyalty of your customers.
Effort: Full websites often take more work to build and maintain, as they consist of many different factors. While a landing page can be built once and used multiple times for a single campaign, websites need to be constantly optimized and improved.
Conversions: Because websites aren’t focused directly on conversions, they’re not always as effective at converting customers at the final stage in the purchasing funnel. The range of options customers have on a website could mean they’re less likely to immediately convert.
Landing Page or Website: Which Should You Choose?
The truth is, most business owners won’t need to choose between having either a landing page or a website. The most common strategy is to design both, and use them for their assigned purposes. Many companies will have a business website to raise brand awareness and connect with customers. However, they may also use action-oriented landing pages for lead capture and email marketing.
You can use many different landing pages alongside your website to achieve specific results, such as increasing sign-ups for events, or collecting customer emails. Landing pages can also commonly be used as part of pay-per-click (PPC ad) campaigns. These attention-grabbing pages are excellent for driving specific results, with carefully-chosen copywriting and offers.
However, a good landing page won’t necessarily negate the need for a website. Even if you showcase social proof, product pricing, and other details on different types of landing pages, you’ll still want to create a central environment where people can learn more about your brand.
For the most part, it pays to have both a website, and a series of landing pages designed to drive attention to specific campaigns.