Have You Thought About a Micro Website?
At the moment I’m designing and building a micro website as part of an overall marketing strategy with the aim of pushing my online presence (as a business owner you should always be pushing your online presence). This is actually just one cog in an overall marketing strategy, but an important cog none the less.
In putting this site together it occurred to me how useful a micro site could be for a whole host of reasons. For me the main objective of the site is to compliment my main Sixmile Design site by targeting a specific customer in a specific area. But from the point of view of marketing my website design skills for business. I want to highlight a particular service I offer (in this case website design for business) with a clear message thus eliminating the options, multiple links and distractions that come with a full website. A micro website would almost always have it's own domain name.
I've actually just finished a micro website for a client. This was a redesign of a three page website - home page, gallery and contact page. I also designed the logo while the website went live in less than five days. The website is responsive to the mobile platform and was built in WordPress allowing for easy updates which the client is performing on a continual basis (great for search engine optimisation). One of the main benefits of a micro website is the short timeline compared to a website with multiple sections, categories and pages. This is also reflected in the cost! More on the Magnetar project can be found here.
Ok...What Actually is a Micro Website?
A micro website, or microsite, is a one to three page mini website that has a particular goal or focus. The name can actually be a bit misleading because a small website like this can have a massive impact on the customer as they deliver short, sharp messages and can be quick to boost your marketing return on investment. A microsite is engineered to highlight a product or service, launch a promotion, or supplement a marketing campaign. Of course a website can do this but the message is in danger of getting lost amongst all the pages, services and information.
It has to be stressed there is no point in putting a micro site up just for the sake of it. There needs to be a reason rather than just link building. Avoid building a microsite with duplicate content and stuffing it full of links to your main website. Google takes a dim view of duplicate content. Bad.
A microsite is great for a short term seasonal campaign. In fact holiday seasons tend to usher in a spike in on line microsites. These sites focus on engaging with viewers at certain times of the year and are often timed to coincide with a yearly event when people put their hands in their pockets. Black Friday and Cyber Monday would be a good example. An even better example would be Christmas. A microsite called 'ElfYourself' has proved to be a massive viral hit. This site invites viewers to upload photos of themeselves which are then superimposed onto dancing elves. The focus of the campaign was on the person, or consumer, not the brand while the sales tie-in came at the end of the ElfYourself videos in the form of coupons and promos. Genius.
With a microsite you can be a bit more creative and look at other possibilities away from your main website, maybe portraying your brand in a different light. Or possibly approaching a service you provide from a different point of view. The microsite also affords the opportunity to go into greater detail about the product, service or subject while staying focused on the particular message.
Another Strand to Your Brand
A microsite could be useful for launching a new product or service to a target or niche market. Yes, ultimately it is still part of your overall brand, but in this instance you want to launch the entity from it’s own platform. In other words maybe launching a sub brand to a new target market.
Capture Information and Connect
People often use a microsite to capture information. Nowadays, the internet is all about interaction and a microsite affords the opportunity to capture people’s information from a single page. By this I mean a contact form, email capture or at least prominent contact details. The aim here is simple, a call to action with the clear intention of capturing a potential customers contact information. You can guess the rest.
From an SEO Point of View
A microsite is handy from an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) point of view. The page(s) could contain a light sprinkling of SEO keywords geared to search results and encourage click through and conversion rates. However it should be stressed a microsite is only of use for a particular purpose. Keyword stuffing with the hope people click through to the main site is not the way to go. For a microsite keep in mind a particular goal and by all means have links that take the viewer to the main site where there’s more information or a call to action.
Also bear in mind all microsite content must be unique, fresh and updated often for the possibility of a good ranking. In fact similar to the main website. Keep updating.
Deploy, Promote, Engage, Analyse
Since a microsite is no more than three pages or even just a page the timeline for building is obviously much shorter than design and build of a main website. You can go online relatively quickly and so ideal for something like a seasonal campaign or offer. I think it’s also important to analyse the sites performance and tailor content accordingly. A microsite could be a part of your overall marketing strategy alongside SEO. But like any aspect of your marketing campaign, progress should be monitored while experimenting with different possibilities. Again though, if something appears not to be working change it.
Keypoints for a microsite:
- Figure out your target audience for this specific product or campaign
- Limit the site to one, very specific topic
- Think about long tail keywords and include high quality, relevant information on that topic alone
- Take the time and freedom to create a design and deploy an excellent user experience
- This could be a cost effective solution aimed at a specif target audience
- Microsites can be launched in a matter of days.