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Home Page vs. Inside Pages for Websites

An example of a web page layout on a computer screenThe Website Design Process at Webstix

As we go through creating wire frames (which just show layout, no design) and then designs from those wire frames, you'll hear us talk about the home page and inside pages. To clear up any confusion, we thought we'd explain what each of these terms mean and what the difference is.

Home Page

As it says, it's the home page. When people type in your domain name (yourdomain.com) or your URL (https://www.yourdomain.com/), they will get to your home page.

The home page kind of acts like a book cover for your website. It's like an introduction. It gives an overview of what your company or organization is about and what you provide. It needs to first help confirm to your website visitors that they got to the right place and then have calls to action to get people to click in to the website.

What is an Inside Page?

All inside pages are basically all pages except the home page. A good example of an inside page is your "About Us" page, which explains the "who" to your website visitors. On inside pages, there's more room for content, so the layout / format is different than the home page but it will look similar and is based off of the home page design.

An Example - Home Page vs. Inside Page

Here is an example showing the difference between a home page and an inside page:

Home Page:
Home Page Example
Inside Page:
Inside Page Example
You can see how the inside page has room for content. It has the same, general header and footer but a sidebar has been added to aid in navigation.
Remember that not everyone enters your website from the home page. They may do a search or follow a link to an inside page. The inside page needs to still tell them they ended up in the right place. The design must look good, confirm it's what they're looking for and that they ended up in the right place while still allowing them to know where they are (using breadcrumbs and other design features) and how to get around to other sections.

Other Types of Pages

There might be other types of pages besides your home page and standard inside pages. Your website does not need to have these pages but, depending on what your website needs to do, some or all of these types of pages might apply:

Landing Pages - Type #1

Home pageA landing page is a page on your website that you send people to. The page has a specific purpose - like a special offer, for example. These pages typically do not have the standard website navigation or sidebar. When there are less links on the page, it will help your website visitors focus on what you want. The page design will look similar to your website or it can even be more generic looking.

Optional: With these types of landing pages, we like to split test them to find out which version works the best. We'll then create more versions with small changes and keep testing until the best converting version is being used.

Landing Pages - Type #2

This type of landing page is like the first kind except the normal site template is used - typically the inside page design. The header, footer and navigation might remain but the sidebar might be removed. When you use this type of landing page, you're still giving people the option to get to other pages of your website but you're emphasizing certain content. This type of page is in between a regular inside page and a landing page so that you get another option - sort of the best of both worlds.

Home pageShopping Cart Pages

If your website uses a shopping cart, then there might be another design template used to handle your cart. This isn't needed as much anymore since responsive website design works so well but there may be instances when it would be beneficial.

Employee Login / Portal / Extranet Pages

Your website might utilize an employee login area or a customer portal area. The design template for these pages might either be the same as the inside page (this is typical) or you might decide to have these pages look different so that it's clear to people that they have entered a different area of the website.

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