I'm trying to figure out what these respective web pages are called in relation to the larger architecture. Here's a simplified architecture diagram:
enter image description here

I understand that Home at the top is properly called the "home page" or "index page." What about the others highlighted in yellow?

  1. /Contests is essentially an index of the various contests.
  2. /Contest-A is like the home page of a mini-site devoted to just that contest, but still within the larger context of the whole website.
  3. /Entries is an index of all the entries in the contest (could be a list or a gallery).

Many colleagues are in the habit of calling each of these "landing pages," but I find this to be far too vague: according to Seth Godin, Wikipedia, and Vertster, a landing page is any page that people land on after clicking a link from an ad, search results page, or the like. So, any page is a landing page. Therefore, "landing page" signifies nothing with respect to architecture.

I have been calling the internal mini-site directory page a "home" page, as in "the contests home," or "the Contest A home page." Then I have been calling the list of entries the "entries index." However, I am troubled when I read Wikipedia's definition of Home Page: A home page or index page has various related meanings to do with web sites: It is also usually the first page that the link/site takes the user to. This definition conflates the two terms, which may be perfectly valid. It also says "usually the first page."

So, I wonder, what would I correctly call the following pages so that everyone will 1) understand them, and 2) find the terms simple and universal enough to adopt themselves?

  1. /Contests
  2. /Contest-A
  3. /Entries

I'm looking for references to both common and accepted usage.

  • 2
    I call them Module/Category/Subcategory pages, respectively. Jun 21, 2012 at 17:57
  • Interesting line of thinking. Category doesn't quite make sense in this case, but "module" is potentially useful.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:58
  • I'm really digging the variety of answers to this question. Many are "acceptable" answers.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 22, 2012 at 16:31
  • 1
    I started in English, but got migrated to here. It matters to me as a UX professional in working with my colleagues.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 23, 2012 at 6:35
  • 1
    The difference between subjective and objective, when it comes to language, is history and preponderance of usage. If enough people subjectively agree, it becomes objectively correct.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 25, 2012 at 18:05

12 Answers 12


Index page is a relative term. It can refer to the homepage of your website, it can also refer to the main page of any section of your website. Index page simply means - page that lists out (indexes) the summary of (or links to) all the other important pages within that section. This section can be your "website" or any other sub-section of your website, in this example "Contests" and "Contest-A".

Home page normally refers to the main page of your website. And it's a good practice not to use this word when referring to other pages, because it will only confuse users.

enter image description here

From your diagram above, depending on the structure of the /Entries page, it could be an index page or just a normal content page. Normally, if it has a single page then it's considered a content page, but if the section has more than one page, and this page lists out summary of other pages then it's considered an index page.

As for landing Page, yes it's just a page that user lands when he first visits your website. It could be a direct visit by typing your website, then the landing page is your homepage. Or it could be via ads on Search Engines, which would bring you to a targeted and specially designed sales landing page.

  • Can you provide any references to your definitions? That would help make this an accept-able answer.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 27, 2012 at 19:17
  • 1
    As the questioner rightly pointed out, there is no industry standard on the naming conventions for this, therefore it's difficult to give you references. This is something that I use personally and what we have been using in our company for the past 3-4 years.
    – Ades
    Jun 28, 2012 at 16:35

OP's graphic is a tree diagram, within which every "box" is normally called a node.

If a node has one or more nodes below it, it's called a branch [node], otherwise it's a leaf [node].

When referring to a pair of nodes connected vertically, the upper one is often called a parent node, and the lower a child node. The topmost node (the only one without a "parent") is the root [node].

  • 2
    These terms are all new to me (when you add "node" to them). I suspect they would fail the test of understandability for marketing peo—*ahem*— lay people.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 21, 2012 at 17:38
  • 2
    @tajmo: Well, I don't know what prompted you to put a forward slash before every node in your diagram, but it seems very reminiscent of the "hierarchical folder structure" representations used by most computer filing systems (in Windows, Unix, etc.). But such a structure doesn't really work from the user's point of view in relation to websites, because he navigates between pages via links, not by "drilling down" from a single treeview. Any given page can be linked to and from any number of other pages - for him, your concept of some underlying "hierarchy" needn't even exist at all. Jun 21, 2012 at 20:17
  • The slashes are there to denote the architecture. And the architecture mimics the natural hierarchy of the site. I would have listed them by the name of each page, but that's just what this question is about … what do I call them? "Just click the link to go to the Contests branch" doesn't quite work.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 21, 2012 at 21:19
  • 2
    @tajmo: My point precisely. Your "architecture" may indeed be a hierarchical structure from your point of view, but that's not how websites in general are perceived by users, who simply navigate around using links that can and do normally obscure any such hierarchy. So if you're talking about the site with someone on the design team, by all means call them nodes, but so far as actual users are concerned, I think you should just call them pages. Jun 21, 2012 at 21:26
  • 1
    I reference there definitions of landing page in my question. Quite familiar with the term. My colleagues, however, are not. Hence, my desire to replace it with a better term they can wrap their heads around and not feel "jargony" or overly technical.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 21, 2012 at 23:44

If you can use the page name explicitly, it is immediately clear which page you are talking about.

For example, you could refer to the entries page as "Contest A/B/C Entries page." There doesn't need to be a hierarchical label applied. Similarly, "The Contests Page" and "Contest A/B/C Home."

Universally, "The Contests Page", "A Contest Home page", and "A Contest Entries page."

I know you were concerned about the definition of a home page:

[A home page] is also usually the first page that the link/site takes the user to.

Since "A Contest page" is, by your description, the index/home page of a mini site, you're covered in calling it a Home page.


We use:

  • Home page
  • Section page (Contests)
  • Subsection page (Contest-A)
  • Content page (entries)

The reason for this is that the terms section/subsection implies the level of hierarchy, and pages of the same type almost always follow a consistent design.

  • 1
    Not a bad naming convention, but this only really fits with a shallow structure. What about 'landing pages' between 'Subsection page' and 'content page'. You're kind of locking yourself into a "sub-sub-sub-section page" naming convention. (That may well be fine, and it does give you a good indication of the depth into the site those pages are, but it's a bit of a mouthful!)
    – JonW
    Jun 22, 2012 at 9:13
  • I agree it has limitations, but I also think we can overcomplicate things! Easier in practice to say "It's pages of this type" and provide an example :) Of course, if you have a content management system in place, you may refer to page templates, which makes communication easier across the different disciplines anyway!
    – Peter
    Jun 22, 2012 at 12:20
  • @jonw In this convention, I think it's fine to call something that is technically a sub-sub-sub section just a "sub-section" when in the context of its parent. Consider that in the world of a contest, that is one of many indexed on a contest page, which is one of many directories on the, saying "the entries sub-section of Contest A" makes sense, regardless of the parentage. It's a bit like Icelandic names: you reference your father; if you want to know the grandfather, look to the father's last name.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 22, 2012 at 16:22
  • 1
    The issue I have with this is that a page can be split up into sections (which is why we have a section tag in HTML5), so section to me is a very granular page level term which won’t translate without causing confusion to the hierarchical structure.
    – DigiKev
    Jun 26, 2012 at 7:54

Unfortunately I am not able to indicate any convention used outside the office that is also suitable for the lay.

You could standardize what you call it and educate people.
We use a tiered naming convention that scales nicely:

  • Top level page
  • List view (index page)
  • Details Page

This works on many levels (it scales)

  • Top level News/Article/Contest
  • Contests list view page
  • Contest detail page
  • Entries list view page
  • Entry detail page

What you are trying to communicate is a hierarchy and different slices of it.

  • Interestingly, that's the technical language we use with one of our CMSs, but not the other one.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 26, 2012 at 19:28
  • @tajmo, I have seen it easily being adopted by PMs and account directors alike. I think it is specific enough without sounding to technical. Jun 26, 2012 at 20:16
  • If I could have split the bounty, I would have. Your answer was helpful.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 28, 2012 at 22:08

Your contests page could be a section, category or division. As mentioned above, module could work as well. It would seem to me that a contest item could simply be a contest and a contest entry could also be labeled as such.

So your site could be divided up into sections, and those sections could contain items that were of that sections type (The contests section contains contest items) and then each of those items could contain different types of item data (such as entries)

So to simplify that explanation:

Site -> Section -> Item -> Item Data

(one -> many)


I have always used hub, which has some logic behind it. A hub — by definition — is a central, or focal point, acting as a pivot. Hub pages certainly sound like they are hierarchically deeper within the information architecture. They provide hubs of information.

It is also a term that has widely been accepted by search engine marketers1. Not that this should influence you to refer to them as hubs alone; there is definitely a reference point there, which holds some weight.

It is also worth noting that there is a website called HubPages2, and this, along with similar sites such as Squidoo3 are referred to as hub pages. These are sites where users can effectively create a page (usually around a single subject) which act as a hub of information with plenty of outbound links to other pages and/or sites.

Last, but not at all least, Google has referred to hub sites4 [which can be page(s)] as a method of creating quality, inbound links to improve search performance.

So, to answer you question fully, I would call your pages the following:

  • Contests hub
    • Contest A Page
      • Entries Page

The logic behind this is — without seeing your content structure — the Contests have a single hub page, which would have information about each of the contests (A, B and C) which will also have deep links to deeper pages under the hub, such as the entries pages.

  • It's a nice idea, but doesn't a hub signify a whole group of related items, rather than the single page that sits at the top of that group of pages? Maybe calling it the Hub Homepage, or Hub Mainpage would describe that particular page best? I'm not sure.
    – JonW
    Jun 25, 2012 at 23:05
  • No, I don’t believe it does. A hub is a central focal point, a place where all of the jumping off points for relevant pages within that particular section are held within a single interface.
    – DigiKev
    Jun 26, 2012 at 7:43
  • To vague - Calling all pages beneath the hub a "page" is to vague. It doesn't scale well Jun 26, 2012 at 17:56
  • I don’t understand why you think it is too vague; Are you seriously going to give a different label to each subsequent deep linked page? They will just be subpages. The hierarchy here is the hang off ‘hub.’ Not advised, but if there were further deep pages under the ‘Entries page,’ and perhaps deeper again off of those pages. Naming each of those levels does not scale well. Keep it simple.
    – DigiKev
    Jun 26, 2012 at 21:23

Although I know you found 'landing page' to be too vague, I think it has the implied meaning that it is a parent with child pages, not just any old page you can navigate to.

With that said, some other options might be "start page" or "section home", assuming you're looking for terms more user-friendly than the standard UX jargon of branch and node or parent and child.

  • 3
    I don't think landing page implies children at all. Many are standalone pages that only link to one or two places, such as an email signup form.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 19, 2012 at 19:57
  • The only reason a "landing page" usually has "child pages" is because the landing page is where you end up if you click on an advert on, say, a social networking site. But in fact most websites don't have a concept of "child pages" in the first place - the whole point of web pages is that they can have links to any other pages. For most websites it's meaningless to say that every page must be a "child" of one other "parent" page that has a link "down" to it. Jun 21, 2012 at 22:35

From what I see of your information architecture diagram, The information flow is quite obvious as it clearly highlights the relationship between the different categories and sub categories in the site. I would recommend just going for the naming convention as it is.

I am not a fan of using the term landing page for contest-A, contest-B and contest-C since it gives the impression that these are the only entry points to the system and also raises the question if the secondary pages of contest-A,contest-B and contest-C cannot be reached directly (via an internal search result) or via some search engine (assuming the entire site was indexed).

I am also wary about using the term Home page as it is generally used as the central point of focus of a site from which the site drills down or diverges into its constituents and multiple home pages would cause confusion if trying to communicate the information architecture.


On naming conventions...

You'd find regularly that when your site grows, as it seems with yours that those pages have an essence of their own. Some times, big sites like The Huffington Post or other news sites, will even color-code those sections (as the Huffington post does). @MattLavoie, mentions that:

Site -> Section -> Item -> Item Data

However, right after section you can get easily lost, as Item could be anything.

CMS's like Joomla used to have:

Site Home -> Section Home -> Category Home -> Item

Taking the concept furhter away...

But, maybe you don't want to categorize something, and your becomes a home for a group of people... some people go from

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/politics to http://politics.huffingtonpost.com

A subtle change that enables the site to have a new home for a subdomain. But from there you could add sections again, but after that it becomes confusing for the people like:

                           ^       ^        ^
                           |       |        |
                           |       |    category
                           |       |      home
                           |   subdomain
                           |    section
                           |     home

To conclude

You might want to keep a balance between depth and volume so that you don't end up with many confused users. If you follow this rule you won't need to name many section or category homes... and you'll have an Information Architecture that is user friendly and intuitive.

At the end if you have a sub-page that has the worthiness of becoming a sub-domain do it and call it subsite home :)

  • we're really not looking to change the architecture.
    – Taj Moore
    Jun 25, 2012 at 16:46

I think the biggest problem here is that there is no accepted term for a second tier root page, let alone one that makes sense to lay users.

Educating your colleagues away from their misuse of the phrase "landing page" is important - to use it in that context is particularly misleading and will only cause confusion if they have to work with outside professionals or other people in the industry.

However, it's going to be different to provide them with an alternative - without an established convention, you're going to have to either use a more technical term or come up with your own name. Using Home or Index is not a bad choice, especially in the context of a mini-site. Where those terms fall down is when the page can clearly be referred to the "real" home page. Personally I would prefer the term sub-index, though that's a catch-all phrase that could account for things below the second tier of the architecture.

Section index or category index also make sense, but again depend on your architecture. If they actually are index pages for sections or categories, then it's an accurate term. Otherwise, this might again cause confusion by conflating their purpose with their position in the IA.

Ultimately without a convention to refer to, the terminology you use will have to be dictated by your site's specific IA. Use whichever term you feel is appropriate (as long as it's not landing page!).


What about "main page"

So you would have:

  • The contests main page
  • The main page for the June contest
  • The main page for the June contest entries

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