There seems to be a lot of chatter about "landing pages" at the moment ... and yet here I am adding to the noise (again)! And while I do believe that we need to treat every web page like a landing page, it is also important to remember that NOT all landing pages are (or should) be created equal.
To start with, a landing page may be related specifically to an area of expertise. Or, it may have been developed to support a marketing or promotional program that you are working on. In both cases the focus of the (specific) landing page should relate to the upstream reason that visitors arrived there ... the important thing to remember is that you know WHERE your visitors came from, and the context within which they chose to visit you. When it comes to telling your story, this can make all the difference.
For example, if you are running a print ad that links through to your promotional landing page, then you already know what your visitors have been reading. You know partly what they expect. You know the call to action you used. And you probably know the demographic profile of this visitor. This makes your visitor more "knowable".
BUT a visitor coming through an AdWords link presents a whole new challenge. Thankfully, there is a great article here about creating good information/communication design for use with an AdWords program (thanks to Seth Godin for pointing this out). Now I am quite partial to a glass or two of a fine Pinot Noir, but it wasn't just the subject that made me read ... it was the context. It came from Seth Godin with a simple, but effective headline, and then the article itself contained an excellent title -- "Google AdWords for Wineries -- How NOT to Do It". There are a lot of tips and tricks available on the web, but sometimes you just want to know how to avoid the problems.
And the advice that The Winery Website Report blog provides can be easily applied to any website ... you don't even need AdWords to learn something about good landing pages. But just make sure that those landing pages continue the story that your ad started. Keep the funnel narrow and you will keep your interested visitors flowing through your site.