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A landing page is the webpage a person ends up on by clicking on a link. This term is often used to discuss commercial websites. Essentially web designers want to create pages that are most tailored to the needs of the person who has clicked on a link and arrived at the landing page. These pages can be the front page of a website, or they might have other functions depending upon web page design.
There are lots of different landing page types. Some prompt a person who arrives at the page to do something, like fill out a form or register for a service. Others give specific information that the person clicking on the link is in search of. For instance, clicking on a wiseGEEK link to a specific article sends the person straight to that article, and the article page itself can be called a landing page of sorts.
The goal of these pages, and really the goal of most web pages are to keep the customer or web user on the page and on the site. Therefore any page designed as a landing point ought to be significantly engaging. For instance if a landing page brings someone to the front page of a website, it ought to have enough information to keep the customer on the site, without too much information. What web designers try to do is create pages that will most match the link the customer clicked on.
It may help to understand landing pages better with an example. Say a customer is reading about birds, and clicks on an advertisement that says some thing to the effect of “all you need to know about bird care.” Instead of arriving at a landing page that really discusses bird care, the customer arrives at the front page of a website for a pet store. This isn’t a good match; in fact it’s a very poor one.
On the other hand, a landing page could be designed for the same link that takes a customer directly to a page about bird care and bird care items for sale. This is a much better match, and likelihood of the customer staying on the page is much higher. It’s not hard to guess what will happen if the customer simply arrives at a front page for a pet store. He or she will probably close the window and look elsewhere.
Thus, whether the landing page is a front page or another page on the site, goal of the programmer is to make the page as specific to the link as possible. In doing so, programmers create an opportunity for people to stay engaged with a site and actually do something owners of the site would want, like make a purchase, or click on yet more ads. This concept of landing pages continues to be an important one among skilled programmers.