Having a great website for your business is essential, no matter what kind of service or product you offer. And yet the number one question we hear about websites is: “Can’t I just have a landing page instead?”
We can see where they’re coming from. A landing page is usually regarded as the easier, cheaper option. Why build an entire website when a simple landing page will do?
Here’s the thing: There are very few cases where a landing page will suffice. In fact, sometimes the cheaper option ends up costing you more money in the long run. Here’s why.
How a landing page differs to a website
To understand why a landing page isn’t always a suitable replacement for a website, you need to know the general purpose of each one.
A website provides a complete impression or your business or brand. It contains all the necessary information on who you are, what you do, and why you do it. It answers common questions the user might have— for example, your opening hours. A good website should also encourage the user to take various actions, such as making a purchase or an enquiry.
“The biggest misconception about landing pages is they’re a pared-down, cost-effective version of a website.”
A landing page, on the other hand, is a simple navigation tool designed to encourage the user to take one specific action. A landing page’s design gives the user a very clear view of where to look and which action to take. This means it doesn’t contain the depth of information or features found on a website.
You can read more about landing pages in our comprehensive blog post here.
To put this into context, imagine an art gallery that has many pieces of art displayed. Now imagine an art gallery with one room that holds one single piece of art. The gallery filled with art is a website, and the gallery with one single piece of art is a landing page. While a website serves many functions and provides the user with many options, a landing page is special in that it creates a specific path to get the user to take a very specific action.
Is a landing page cheaper than a website?
The biggest misconception about landing pages is they’re a pared-down, cost-effective version of a website. But as you can see from the art gallery analogy above, they serve an entirely different purpose.
This also means that if you opt for a landing page when you really need a website, you’re missing out on potential profits for your business.
Just like someone who might be disappointed to visit an art gallery with one piece of art, someone who visits your website to find a landing page may leave because they don’t see everything they were looking for. This then leads to a higher bounce rate and more lost customers. That’s a costly mistake you don’t want to make.
When you should use a landing page
Landing pages aren’t a suitable replacement for a website, but they’re still a great tool when used for the right purpose.
Wondering if you need a landing page or a website? Let’s compare the two and what they’re best used for.
Landing pages are great for:
- A lower initial budget
- A project that only requires a singular page
- A teaser or holding page in anticipation of a full website launch
- Driving sign-ups for a campaign
- Directing campaign-specific traffic from search or social ads
- Hosting content from an EDM, such as a video
- Promoting one single product— for example, a course
- Promoting a limited-time-only offer— for example, 50% off for the first 100 sign-ups
Websites are great for:
- Publishing and hosting regular blog posts
- An online store
- Deeper content and page depth, keeping people on site for a long time
- Housing a library of resources, such as eBooks, guides, and informational videos
- Hosting an FAQ about your business
- Showcasing the work you’ve done for customers
- Explaining your products or services in detail
- Hosting a gallery of images
- Displaying photos of your office or team
- Sharing your company bio or history
- Providing easy-to-find details about your location and business hours
- SEO and organic rankings— landing pages are notoriously hard to rank, and also have limited potential for ranking due to the one-page structure
Why you should always start with a website
Regardless of how much you really do need a landing page, it’s never a replacement for a website.
You should always start with a website. Having a proper online presence for your brand is crucial. It makes you look legitimate, provides far more information that customers will be looking for, and is always worth the investment.
Or to use another analogy, your website is your entire outfit, while a landing page is a handbag. A handbag is super useful and sometimes necessary, but you can’t expect to walk around wearing nothing but a bag and have people take you seriously.