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Why create a microsite?

written by: •edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 9/23/2009

Microsites are more than just small websites. They are an effective way to test a company's marketing efforts, focus on events or differentiate brands.

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    More and more organizations are finding that microsites are an effective way of focusing their web based marketing efforts.

    What separates a microsite from a standard website?

    Size, for one thing. As the name implies, a microsite is a ‘mini’ website, usually consisting of less than ten pages. It is separate from an organization’s main (or parent) website. It often has its own domain name, and may have an entirely different look from the main website. It is, however, part of an organization’s overall web strategy, and can be used for a variety of different purposes.

    When a company is looking to differentiate brands, microsites can be a very effective way of doing so. A company that markets a number of different brands can set up microsites for each of them. The microsite for a youth oriented product, for example, would probably feature a radically different look than the site set up to promote a brand aimed at middle aged consumers. In this way, microsites offer an effective way of targeting different audiences without compromising the focus of the companies main website.

    Along similar lines, a microsite can be used to promote a special event. For example, a store might decide to set up a microsite to promote a special holiday sale, while a charity might create a microsite to focus on a specific fund raising event.

    Microsites are also a good way for a company to test drive a new web based campaign without fully committing to a new look or direction. If the microsite delivers results, the lessons learned can then be transferred over to the parent website. If the microsite crashes and burns, it can be put out of its misery without jeopardizing the main web campaign.

    On the down side, microsites can be time consuming and expensive to create. Because they are usually quite different from an organization’s primary website, they need to be designed from the ground up, with all the resulting work that goes with this. Just like any other website, they need to be well thought out and have a definite purpose, or they will not be effective.