What Is a Microsite? (And When to Build One)

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While they may share similar purposes, microsites and landing pages are different structurally and in potential. Brands looking to create a unique user experience to support a product launch, a specific service or a dedicated audience often choose between building a microsite or creating a landing page. Which is the right way to go?

Depending on the amount of information, the expected lifespan of the new content and the goal of the new page, each has its perks.

What is a Microsite?

A microsite is a dedicated web page or domain designed to promote a specific product, service or category of information. Microsites are small websites that usually have a unique domain to differentiate them from the brand’s main site, though it usually maintains consistent branding.

Microsites blur the lines between several digital options marketers choose from to streamline content and structure to support a specific marketing effort.

Microsite vs. Website                                                       

A microsite differs from a website in size and scope. A full website contains all the information users need to convert, no matter what that goal is for your organization. A microsite is hyper-focused on a narrow topic, whether it be a single product, service or content category.

The difference between a microsite and a website is scope:

  • A running company website will have a catalog of all running shoes available for sale
  • A running company microsite will have information on a single new shoe that was recently launched

Microsite vs. Landing Page

If microsites are slimmed-down iterations of a website, then landing pages are bare-bones – but effective. While a microsite will condense information down to several pages, then a landing page is a single page that boils down information to the basics. Microsites have just enough information to help users in the research or shopping mode while landing pages are all about conversions.

The difference between a landing page and a microsite is intent:

  • A marketing company microsite might focus exclusively on its local franchise marketing services
  • A marketing company landing page might focus on driving registrations for an upcoming event

Microsite vs. Subdomain

A subdomain is an address while a microsite is the digital organization of content. Microsites and landing pages can both be built on a subdomain. Subdomains are a smart option for building microsites to maintain brand awareness and consistency while taking advantage of the SEO benefits of a microsite.

The difference between a subdomain and a microsite is location.

  • A subdomain can organize any type of content, including microsites
  • A microsite can present a focused range of content on its own domain or a subdomain

Learn more about subdomains and effective ways to mix them into your digital marketing toolbox.

Are Microsites Good for SEO?

Microsites can serve as a place to position niche keywords, but they are an investment. In addition to buying a domain and building the microsite out page-by-page, it can take a long time for microsites to achieve valuable page rank, domain authority or link juice to make it competitive.

Microsites are a completely different entity from your website; they do not help your overall SEO performance. Sometimes, your main domain may even compete with your microsite for specific keywords. While having pages from your main domain and your microsite push other pages down the SERP can be a good thing, it comes with a catch. Users may have higher conversion rates on your main domain, which could cost you conversions in the long run.

In most cases, microsites are best used to focus information on a specific topic and should not be built or maintained solely for their SEO value.

When Should I Build a Microsite?

Microsites are effective tools for promoting unique products or services – and providing a terrific user experience. The best microsite designs are engaging, highly visual and emotive; it takes an excellent web design and development team to make a microsite truly stand out.

We’ve collected a few great microsite examples to help you see how much design matters:

  • Brand microsite – Adobe’s MyCreativeType.com offers a personalized quiz for creatives.
  • Campaign microsite – Adobe loves microsites, especially to support specific campaigns
  • Event microsite – NAACP uses a microsite to support its annual banquet
  • Employee microsite – Create a condensed HR microsite to organize important information for employees, new hires, and recruiting

Make a Big Impact (with Sites Big and Small)

If you’re still not sure if a microsite is the right pick, we’re here to help. Oneupweb is home to dozens of creative thinkers, digital strategists and people itching to get started. Put more than 20 years of experience to work for your company; get in touch or call 231-922-9977 today.

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