The term "landing page" crops up a lot in marketing articles; so what are they, how do you create them, optimize them and use them effectively?
What is a landing page?
In marketing terms, it's a specialized page that visitors are directed to once they've clicked on a link, usually from an outside source such as a Pay Per Click add. The page is usually tightly focused on a particular product or service with the aim of getting the visitor to buy or take some form of action rapidly that will ultimately lead to a sale.
A different view on landing pages
To me, a landing page also refers to every single page on your site. Many site owners believe that the way the visit to sale process works is this:
Client arrives on their home page
Client selects an option from a menu or an offer on the page
Client arrives on the page with the offer/product
Of course, this does happen, but it's my experience that every single page on your site should also be considered a "home" page.
On Taming the Beast.net, the number of people who enter the site via search engine listings to sections other than the home page; or links from other sites to specific articles, far outweighs the number of people who hit the home page first. Over 90% of people who visit Taming the Beast start their visit on pages other than the home page.
Many landing page strategies are relevant to all pages of your site and are worthwhile considering in general page writing and development.