What are Microsites?
Your guide to microsites that deliver
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Microsites are becoming more popular than ever as a way for brands to focus on a specific product, service, or campaign while connected to a larger website. By keeping the microsite separate from the main website, businesses can target a specific audience with more relevant information than what might be on their main website.
Microsites are also a great way to test out new ideas without risking the stability of the main website. If a new campaign or product is not successful, it can be taken down without affecting the rest of the website.
There are many different ways to create a microsite, but they all have one thing in common: they are focused on a specific goal. This could be anything from selling a product to promoting an event. No matter what the goal is, a microsite should be designed with that goal in mind.
What Should I Know Before Designing a Microsite
This blog will cover the ins and outs of microsites, but if this is all you take away from this page, then here are some tips for creating a successful microsite:
Keep it focused.
The most important thing to remember when creating a microsite is to keep it focused. This means having a clear purpose for the site and not trying to cram too much information onto it. The less clutter there is, the easier it will be for visitors to find what they’re looking for and take the desired action.
Make it visually appealing.
Since a microsite is usually only a few pages, it’s important to make sure those pages are visually appealing. This means using high-quality images, an attractive color scheme, and a clean, easy-to-navigate layout.
Use strong calls to action.
Since the purpose of a microsite is usually to promote a specific product or campaign, it’s important to use strong calls to action (CTAs) throughout the site. These should be clear and easy to spot, and they should lead visitors to the desired goal of the site.
Promote it effectively.
Just because a microsite is separate from the main website doesn’t mean it can’t be promoted on the main website. In fact, promoting a microsite on the main website can be a great way to drive traffic to it. Other effective promotion methods include social media, email marketing, and paid advertising.
Before launching a microsite, it’s important to test it thoroughly. This includes everything from the design and functionality to the CTAs and overall user experience. Testing can help identify any potential problems so they can be fixed before the site goes live. On top of testing to make sure the site works, you should be testing different elements of the page to see which changes drive conversions.
Creating a successful microsite takes planning and effort, but it can be a great way to achieve specific goals for your business. You need to start with a strong plan so you can stay focused throughout the process.
How to Develop a Microsite Strategy
The most important part of designing and building microsites comes before you even step foot in front of a computer screen. It starts with your microsite strategy. During this step, you must lay out a cohesive strategy that will result in a positive ROI. You should start this process by asking yourself a series of questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What types of offers or content will engage this audience?
- How is my target audience finding my microsites?
- What am I trying to get my target audience to do?
- How much am I willing to spend on microsites?
- How am I going to track my microsites success?
Each of these questions is vital to the success of your microsite strategy. First, you need to make sure that you are targeting the right audience. If you are marketing a social media app it is important to make sure that your site is well designed for young people on mobile devices. It wouldn't make as much sense to have a microsite that is designed desktop-first for that use case, so make sure all of your decisions fit with the target audience you will be marketing to.
The next three questions also relate to the target audience. What types of offers or content will they engage with? How are they finding your microsites? And finally, what do you want them to do once they're on the site? Your answers to these questions should help you determine what type of microsite you need and how to design it. If, for example, you want people to download a white paper from your site, you will need to have a clear CTA and an easy way for people to input their information.
The next two questions relate to budget and tracking. How much are you willing to spend on microsites? This includes both the initial design and development costs as well as any ongoing costs for hosting or promoting the site. It's important to have a clear idea of what you are willing to spend before you start the microsite design process.
Finally, you need to have a plan for tracking your microsite's success. This includes setting up Google Analytics or partnering with an analytics-rich builder and configuring goals so you can track conversions. You should also decide on other KPIs that you want to track, such as time on site, page views, and bounce rate. By tracking these metrics, you'll be able to tell if your microsite is successful and make changes accordingly.
Now that you know what goes into a microsite strategy, it's time to start planning your design.
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Designing Your Microsite
When it comes to microsites, design is key. A well-designed microsite will help you engage your target audience and achieve your desired results. Conversely, a poorly designed site will turn people away and hurt your chances of success.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when designing your microsite. First, your site should be visually appealing. This doesn't mean that it needs to be over-the-top or flashy, but it should be well-designed and professional looking. Second, your microsite should be easy to use. The user experience should be smooth from the moment someone lands on the site to the moment they leave. This means having clear navigation, and an easy-to-find, well-written CTA. Finally, your site should be responsive. In today's mobile-first world, it's important that your site looks good and functions well on all devices.
When it comes to microsites, less is more. You want to make sure that your site is clean and uncluttered so that people can focus on the content. This means including only the most essential information and keeping distractions to a minimum.
Once you have an idea of what you want your microsite to look like, it's time to start planning the content.
What Content Should I Put on My Microsite?
The content on your microsite should be well-written and engaging. It should be designed to appeal to your target audience and achieve your desired results.
Some things to keep in mind when creating content for your microsite include:
- Use short, attention-grabbing headlines
- Write in a clear, easy-to-understand style
- Use images, videos, and infographics to break up the text and add visual interest
- Include calls-to-action throughout the site
- Make sure the site is scannable by using short paragraphs, bullet points, and headlines
The content on your microsite should be original and relevant. This means no plagiarism, and no fluff or filler content. Every piece of content on the site should have a purpose and contribute to the overall goal of the site.
How To Build a Microsite?
Now that you've nailed down your strategy, design, and content, it's time to start building. There are many different ways to go about building a microsite.
If you have the budget, you can hire a web developer to build the site for you. This is the best option if you want a completely custom site or if you don't have the time or expertise to build the site yourself. This option gives you the most personalized approach but is often the most expensive and most time-consuming option.
Another option is to use a microsite builder. These are online platforms that allow you to create a microsite without any coding. This is a good option if you want an easy-to-use platform that doesn't require any technical expertise. However, it's important to note that you'll be limited in terms of design and functionality with this approach.
Finally, you can also build the site yourself using a digital experience platform (DXP). This approach gives you the most control over the design and development process without taking too much of your time or money. DXPs like Lumavate offer you the perfect blend of ease-of-use and customizability that allows you to build microsites in a matter of hours without compromising functionality.
No matter which option you choose, there are a few things you'll need to do to get started.
First, you'll need to register a domain name for your site. This is the address people will use to find your site. Once you've registered your domain, you'll need to set up hosting for your site. This is where your site's files will be stored and accessed by visitors. If you already have a domain for your primary site, you can usually add a subdomain for your microsite (e.g., microsite.example.com).
Next, you'll need to create the actual pages for your site. This involves designing the layout and adding content to each page. If you're using a microsite builder or DXP, this process will be very easy. With platforms like Lumavate you can drag and drop elements to create powerful pages in minutes. If you're going the development route, you'll need to have the HTML and CSS for each page, which will take more time.
Once your pages are created, you'll need to add navigation so that visitors can move around the site. This can be done using menus, buttons, or links. Again, if you're using a microsite builder or DXP, this process is very simple.
Finally, you'll need to test the site to make sure everything is working properly. This includes testing all of the links, forms, and other elements on the site. Once you're satisfied that everything is working correctly, you can launch your microsite!
How Should I Use Analytics When Building My Microsite?
It's important to track how people are interacting with your microsite so that you can make changes and improvements as needed. There are a few key things you should track:
- How many people are visiting the site? This will give you an idea of how effective your marketing efforts are.
- What pages on the site are getting the most traffic? This will help you understand what content is resonating with your audience.
- How long are people spending on the site? This will tell you how engaged visitors are with your content.
- Where are people coming from when they visit the site? This will help you understand which channels are driving the most traffic.
There are a number of different analytics platforms you can use to track these metrics, but Google Analytics is a good option because it's free and easy to use. If you are using a DXP like Lumavate you can start tracking analytics directly through the platform. Whichever platform you choose, make sure you set up tracking before launching your site so that you can collect data from day one.
By tracking these key metrics, you'll be able to understand what's working well on your site and what needs to be improved. This will help you continually optimize your microsite and ensure that it's as effective as possible.
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What Are the Costs Associated with Building Microsites?
Now that we've covered the process of building a microsite from scratch, what are the costs associated with the different steps in the process?
The cost of registering a domain name is usually around $10 per year. Again, this cost is usually null if you are adding a subdomain but it depends on your provider.
Hosting costs can vary widely depending on the type of hosting you choose and the features you need. For a simple microsite, shared hosting can cost as little as $5 per month. However, if you need more power and flexibility, you may need to invest in VPS hosting, which can cost around $50 per month. However, if you choose a microsite builder or a DXP either of these costs could be included in the platform's pricing.
If you're using a microsite builder or DXP, there will also be a monthly or annual fee associated with using the platform. These fees can range from $10 per month to $500 per month depending on the features and functionality you need.
If you're building the site yourself, you'll also need to factor in the cost of hiring a developer. The cost of hiring a developer will depend on their experience and the complexity of the site. For a simple microsite, you can expect to pay around $5000-$20,000.
To sum it up, the cost of building a microsite will vary depending on the approach you take and the features you need. If you want to get started building your own microsites for free, then you can create a free account with Lumavate and start building today!
What Are Some Common Microsite Use Cases?
There are many different situations where microsites can be effective, some of the most common in practice are:
- Marketing campaigns: Microsites are great tools for marketing campaigns. They can be used to drive awareness, generate leads, or promote a new product or service.
- Event registration: Microsites can also be used for event registration. This allows you to keep all of the information for your event in one place and makes it easy for people to register.
- Lead Generation: Microsites can be used to generate leads for your business. By offering something of value, like a white paper or an e-book, you can capture people's contact information and follow up with them later.
- Product Launches: Microsites are also great for launching new products. They allow you to create a central place for people to learn about the product
- Customer Support: Microsites can also be used for customer support. By creating a microsite, you can provide people with a one-stop shop for all of their support needs.
These are just a few of the many different ways that microsites can be used. If you have an idea for a microsite, don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you and your business.
Microsite vs. Website
We've talked a lot about microsites and their use cases but if you are still confused by the difference between microsites and websites, we can use this time to break down the differences more explicitly.
A website is a collection of web pages that are all connected and can be accessed via a common domain name. A microsite, on the other hand, is a stand-alone website that has its own unique domain name.
The biggest difference between microsites and websites is that microsites are designed for specific campaigns or objectives while websites are designed to be more permanent. Microsites are also usually much simpler than websites, they often have only a few pages and their design is usually very focused.
Another big difference is that microsites are usually not connected to the rest of a company's website while websites are almost always connected. This means that microsites can be used to promote something without affecting the rest of a company's website.
Finally, microsites are more frequently designed to be temporary while websites are designed to be more permanent. This means that microsites can be taken down once they have served their purpose while websites will usually stay up indefinitely.
Microsite vs. Landing Page
Another area of confusion is the difference between microsites and landing pages. A lot of people confuse microsites and landing pages but there are some key differences between the two.
The biggest difference is that a microsite is its own stand-alone website while a landing page is just a single web page. This means that microsites can have multiple pages while landing pages can only have one.
Another difference is that microsites are usually designed to be more permanent while landing pages are often designed to be temporary. This means that microsites can have more complex designs and features than landing pages.
It is true that microsites and landing pages can have similar objecitves. They can both be used for marketing campaigns, lead generation, and product launches. However, the key difference is that microsites are designed to be more comprehensive while landing pages are designed to be simpler and more focused. In fact, these tools are most effective when used in accordance with one another in a cohesive marketing strategy.
Hopefully, this has cleared up the confusion when it comes to how microsites stack up to landing pages and websites.
What Are Some Examples of Microsites?
Now that we've discussed microsites from head to toe, it's time to give some examples.
Here are three examples of microsites that demonstrate the different ways that they can be used:
A company hosting a conference:
This is a great example of a microsite being used for a specific event or campaign. This microsite has all the information that someone would need to know about the conference including the agenda, speakers, location, and how to register.
A product launch:
This microsite does a great job of highlighting the features of the product and providing a way for people to buy it.
A lead generation campaign:
This microsite has a very focused design and asks visitors for their contact information in exchange for something valuable like an e-book or white paper.
Do You Need a Microsite?
Now that we've discussed what microsites are, their key features, and some examples of how they can be used, it's time to answer the big question: do you need a microsite?
If you're still not sure, ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a specific campaign or event that I want to promote?
- Do I need a stand-alone website that is not connected to my main website?
- Do I want a simple website with only a few pages?
- Do I need a temporary website?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you might benefit from creating a microsite.
If you want to learn more about microsites, read more or book a demo with Lumavate today! Feel like you're ready to start building? Create a free account and see how easy it is to make powerful microsites with Lumavate's digital experience platform.
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