Update #2, March 2020:
Thrive Themes legacy themes have been replaced by Thrive Theme Builder, the best way to visually design high converting WordPress themes with complete control over your site. Thrive Theme Builder works in perfect harmony with Thrive Architect to give you unparalleled control over your entire site, from your marketing landing pages to your sidebars and 404s, you’ll never have to worry about WordPress design restrictions again.
With our new Landing Pages feature, it's easier than ever to create conversion optimized pages... which might lead to the question: do you even need a theme anymore (especially considering that we'll continue adding new page templates for different purposes)?
In this post, you'll discover the difference between landing pages and theme pages, so you'll know exactly when to use which, for the best results.
The Isolated Page
The crucial point about a landing page is that it is an isolated, single-purpose page. A typical landing page has only one conversion goal and one purpose. A landing page is an island unto itself, since it exists almost completely independently from any other pages.
This is true even when a landing page is part of a set or funnel, like in this lead generation example:
The set consists of 3 pages: the first one is where the email lead is captured. The second page explains the email confirmation process and its purpose is to send the visitor to their inbox, to confirm the subscription. Finally, the third page delivers free product the new subscriber signed up for.
While these 3 pages clearly belong together in this set, each page is still an isolated page and they can be navigated through in only one very specific way.
For example, if there was a link directly to the download page from the opt-in page, that would make no sense.
In fact, any link on a landing page to any other page on your website will instantly reduce the landing page's effectiveness. The landing page must stand on its own to be truly effective.
A landing page must stand on its own to be truly effective.
Embedded in a Network
If there is such a thing as the opposite of a landing page, it would be the blog post. A good blog post is deeply embedded in your website and interlinked with other posts and important pages:
A blog post can stand on its own, but it makes more sense in the context of posts that came before it. Posts interlink between each other and link to other important pages on your website.
This is the crucial difference between landing pages and theme pages: a landing page is isolated while a theme page or post is part of and interlinked with other pages on your site.
2 Setups for Selling
For a marketing website, there are two basic ways you can set up your pages. The first is a linear setup, where the pages on your site can only be navigated through in one particular order. For example:
- Sales page.
- Upsell page.
- Second upsell page.
- Product/membership page.
In this case, using landing pages makes a lot of sense.
The second setup is one that encourages more browsing. Pages on your site might include:
- Main product page.
- Feature tour page.
- Customer testimonials & case studies.
- Plans & pricing page.
- A blog with informative posts.
In this case, using a theme is the right choice. On a marketing website like this, you give your prospects a chance to have a look around and collect the information that's most important to them. You'd also be collecting leads, so you can take a longer term approach to converting visitors into customers.
As a rule of thumb, the linear setup tends to work better for simple, straight-forward products while the networked setup is better for more complex products.
However, there's no hard and fast rule about this and the only way to really find out which approach works best is to test both setups against each other.
Both landing pages and themes have their own specific purposes and in many cases, you'll want to use them side by side.
We will continue to develop our Thrive Themes products with this in mind, so that you have all the flexibility you need and are never limited by software. Whether you want to set up a simple, linear funnel (Thrive Landing Pages), a complete, content rich website (Thrive Themes & Content Builder) or anything in between (Landing Pages within a theme), we're here to provide you the tools to do it.
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