Think your homepage is good enough to send paid traffic to? Think again.
First of all, what is the difference between a homepage and a landing page?
A homepage is the central focus of your website
It’s used as the front-facing asset for the various forms of traffic coming to your business.
A homepage is meant to:
- Clearly align with your audience and their needs
- Be easy to navigate to other areas of your site
- Make it obvious how to convert into a lead or take next steps to engage further with your company
- Be clear and comprehensive about what you do
- Leave a good impression about your brand and what it stands for
A homepage is important because a lot of the disparate traffic across the web will somehow be pointed to your homepage, including SEO backlinks which are generally pointed towards homepages.
If you’re doing a lot of networking or emailing you could also see a lot of direct traffic typing in your name and going straight to your homepage. In general, more than 50% of your website traffic will go to your homepage.
A lot of companies take great pains to make sure their homepage is optimized to convert. This amount of effort on the homepage can sometimes lead a marketing manager or decision maker to favor the homepage for paid traffic rather than a landing page. The thinking is usually that if you’ve put in the effort to raise conversion rates on the homepage, it should be a strong enough to capture paid traffic as well.
So, in comparison, what is a landing page?
A landing page is a narrow-focused page. It’s designed to align even more closely with a specific need your audience has. According to Neil Patel, a landing page is developed with One reader in mind, for One big idea.
A landing page is meant to:
- Have 100% Ad -> Page consistency with messaging (i.e. your paid ad is about an upcoming webinar and your landing page is all about that specific webinar topic with a form to fill out to save your seat)
- Leave the audience with one option of what to do next, usually in line with their specific pain point (i.e. you send paid traffic looking for the Keyword ‘Promo Product Samples’ to a page where they can get samples of your Product, not the homepage where they can get samples, mock ups, catalogs, and join the mailing list)
- Be the solution they’re looking for (i.e. someone is looking for Apple Macbook Pro and you send them to a page all about the Macbook Pro, rather than sending them to a page with various apple products to choose from)
- Follow the best practices for a homepage like leaving a good brand impression and being easy to convert
A landing page by its customizable nature is a better choice for (increasingly expensive) paid traffic because it aligns more closely with the customer journey. In fact, companies that test their homepage versus landing pages have seen big increases in conversions, up to a 55% lift.
The reason is that a landing page speaks directly to a user’s need, which you should have already hyper-focused using your ad targeting and ad copy. By the time the customer gets to your page they should be relieved to have found exactly what they’re looking for.
Homepage vs. landing page
When deciding on sending paid traffic to a homepage versus a landing page, think of the customer and where they’re at in their journey.
If they are showing any kind of buying intent or product/service specificity within their paid search, think about catering to that with a landing page. Another case for a landing page would be remarketing specific products (Macbook Pro) to specific segments of audience (cart abandoners) that showed interest in that product.
But my homepage is still good enough, it converts well!
If your traffic is very top of funnel and searching for more vague terms, or if the searcher is simply searching for brand terms, you could get away with a great homepage. Another case for the homepage is remarketing to that top of funnel traffic, the people that aren’t as familiar with your brand.
As always with marketing, think of the customer first and where they are in their journey. Then, test using a landing page versus a homepage, catering your funnel to the user’s needs, and watch your conversions skyrocket.
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Ellen is the founder at Tuff and one of the team’s core growth marketers. She is a versatile marketer with expertise in multiple channels – from ppc to seo to email to others – responsible for the experiments and testing. She is happiest when she’s on the ski hill or outside pointing her mountain bike downhill.