Many elements go into building a great website. But no matter how proud you are of your homepage, there's one thing it certainly is not: a place to direct your traffic from PPC or social media campaigns.
If you want to show more than an overview of what your business does, you'll have to create landing or product category pages, made with more specific purposes in mind. Still, it may not be 100% clear how the two differ. So, if that's the information you're after, read on to find out the main differences between landing pages and product category pages.
What Each Type of Page Is
Before we start talking about the differences between landing and product category pages, let's first look at what each type is.
Landing pages are standalone destinations created for marketing campaigns. Because these advertising campaigns have a clear focus, landing pages reflect that purpose. They concentrate on the type of conversion you want to achieve, whether that's generating leads, getting downloads, or making a sale.
Product category pages, on the other hand, are usually geared towards e-commerce. They are a sort of filter, allowing visitors to only view products which they're interested in learning more about.
The similarity between the two types is simple: both landing and product category pages help provide focus and prevent visitors from becoming overwhelmed with choice, which can often be the case when they land on your homepage.
Key Differences Between Landing Pages and Product Category Pages
Despite having some similarities, these two types of web pages tend to be quite diverse. For the most part, this is due to the function which they serve.
1) Types of Conversions
The most important difference between landing and product category pages is going to be their primary function.
If your objective is to generate leads, then a landing page with a newsletter sign-up form is going to be the best way forward for you. If, however, you want to make an e-commerce sale, then a product category page might be the better choice.
The reason behind this is that different types of conversions require different levels of familiarity. A newsletter sign-up or free trial period subscription is, naturally, higher in the marketing funnel than making a sale, so you'll want to turn to strong and concise language that's to the point and does a good job of pointing out the benefits of your product.
For example, Forms on Fire promotes their app functions using bold bullet points. Users who are intrigued can click on the CTA button immediately, or scroll down to read more about the features (and then sign up for the free trial or paid version).
2) Traffic Sources
Where you want visitors to land will greatly depend on where they came from. The rule of thumb is never to link your PPC campaigns
to your homepage.
If you're running a paid marketing campaign, a specifically designed landing page – such as this one by Mizuno
– is the better choice. It provides information, shows off key features, and directs visitors towards product pages where they can make a purchase.
But, if your visitors are already on your website, and you want them to further explore a specific part of your offer, then a product category page may work better. Considering that they're somewhat familiar with your offer, you won't have to address the basics, but can, instead, focus on specific details.
Gourmesso uses a clean but functional layout
to provide visitors with all the necessary information on its product category pages. Visitors already know that they're looking at eco-friendly coffee pods, and can move on to choosing the best blend for them based on intensity, roast level, or taste.
When it comes to landing pages that convert, you should try to limit the number of actions people can take. Ideally, they should be designed in a way to keep visitors on the page until they've completed the desired action. Among other things, this means that your CTA buttons should all do the same thing.
But, if your visitors are in the consideration stage of the sales funnel (or better yet, know exactly what they're looking for), more advanced functions can come in handy. Filters and sorting methods are great for anyone with a large assortment of products, as they allow visitors some control over what they see, and increase the chance of ending in a sale.
A standard version of this can be found on most websites. Nike's Jordan line
, for example, features hundreds of different products, and several categories. Filters that allow visitors to choose product type, color, or price range can, thus, help avoid the previously mentioned decision fatigue.
Get the Most out of Landing and Product Category Pages
Despite their main objectives being different, there are some tips you can apply to both page types so that you get the absolute most out of them.
For one, to achieve high clickthrough rates and minimize bounce rates, you'll need to keep an eye on your loading speeds
. Faster is better, so don't use more elements than you need to and avoid heavy images.
Keep in mind that minimal designs tend to be more effective, but don't be afraid of experimenting either. After all, your target audience is unique, and what works for one company may not yield the same results for you. There are numerous small variations you can make on your pages, and split testing
is an excellent way of finding out how they affect performance.
Finally, make sure that your entire website is fully optimized for organic traffic
. This will allow you to reach your audience more easily, rank higher on SERPs, and keep your PPC marketing costs low.
Whether you run an online store, a blog, or simply use the web as an aid to your brick-and-mortar business, at some point, you'll want to direct visitors to a specific section of your website. And in these cases, understanding what type of page works best is going to be crucial.
Still, know that there is no absolute prescription for success that applies to all situations. So make sure that you always keep an eye on your analytics and make any necessary changes to maximize conversions. This way, your landing and product category pages will be able to rise to their full potentials.
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