If you own a website or are in the process of building one, you most likely have come across the term "microsites". But what exactly is a microsite and how is it different from landing pages or an entire website?
While these are all interconnected, there are still slight differences, which we will break down in this microsite vs standard company website guide.
In this microsite vs website comparison, it is necessary to dig deeper into what a microsite is.
A microsite is a type of branded content site that is rooted in a subdomain of your company's main site (i.e. micrositename.yourwebsite.com), or it has its own independent URL that is distinct from the main website.
Microsites are often described as being a website-within-a-website. A microsite has multiple pages and may or may not have unique content or design and a different navigation menu than the main site.
They have their own place in the marketing world and can be used in conjunction with a landing page, the company homepage, or the parent company website for a variety of purposes. These include search engine optimization, launching structured or segregated marketing campaigns, or reaching different types of target audience.
Microsite vs Website - the former serves as an auxiliary most of the time while the latter is often the main presence for companies online.
Having a microsite makes sense as well when you want to educate visitors about your products or services. After all, most companies would have their main websites display actual product details, costs, and data about their companies in general.
Having a separate microsite to delve into educating people on how to use or make the most of a product or service can play a role in boosting the primary site and any marketing campaign without having to do so many changes to the official website.
In addition, companies or enterprises create microsites for the purpose of improving brand awareness and generating engagement. Microsites raise awareness at the top of the funnel, position your brand as an authority and educate.
Microsites can deliver “fully immersive experiences” for a particular product or category. They can help you rank in search results along with your brand's main site, giving you more opportunities for clicks.
If you are not convinced yet as to why you should spend effort on a microsite vs just focusing on the main website or a single landing page, then let's take a closer look at the benefits.
With a microsite, you can focus all copy and design on one topic, and that topic can be anything from a new product to an email marketing campaign.
A clear, targeted presentation of a product or service or a more concise call to action is actually incredibly valuable to customers who have specific interests.
A microsite provides them with the content they’re looking for without a lot of other pages and offers that won’t interest them. In the same way, interactive elements need not be cluttered when you know exactly which ones to use on a microsite.
To keep your main website homepage from becoming overcrowded, congested, or confusing, you can use microsites to feature more specific content in an effort to save space.
For example, imagine having to launch a new product as well as seasonal products. If you keep cramping these things into the homepage of your current site, then the tendency is to have so much going on your main website that it will give visitors a headache.
But, if you switch to creating a microsite for a certain product launch, then wouldn't the customer engagement you get there be more targeted and meaningful?
In the same sense that microsites provide more focused intent, the same goes for your homepage also. Too many details and opportunities on one site can overwhelm a visitor and turn them off from your business.
You can make a home for your company’s details and another for specific new campaign strategies, providing a better sense of organization and cleanliness to your pages.
Therefore, when it comes to being organized and less cluttered, microsite vs website - having a microsite wins.
Developing new marketing strategies and campaigns often requires a trial period where you test to see if they’re actually going to be of value to your business. The same thing goes for testing various methods to reach marketing goals.
Microsites are a great way to experiment within your market. You can gauge the effectiveness of your messaging or a specific campaign on a much smaller budget than a full-scale development project.
Their nature makes it easy for them to stand on their own, separate from your homepage. You’ll be able to identify what’s the most attractive to your target audience in a controlled environment without confusing your customers.
For a more specific example, picture this. Say you want to draw attention to an upcoming event at your restaurant but you have several types of target customers - families, couples, and elderlies.
Naturally, it does not make sense to use the same consistent themes to attract these three audience groups to that specific event. But with a microsite designed for each type of audience, you can easily customize how to attract them and track just how well each campaign is doing. You will also be able to handle the reaction of your target audience in a timely manner and implement needed changes to your business.
In short, microsites serve a crucial role in reaching your audience in a way that is most profitable to your business.
Say you have a short campaign with a lifespan meant for just a season or an announcement with a short run. Developing a full website or landing page for a temporary gig is a serious drain on your time and budget.
Instead, you can use a microsite, which is considerably cheaper and easier to develop. It can be straightforward in its purpose, providing the details and call to action it’s meant to have, and then removed just as quickly as it was put up.
You'll be able to generate leads with a good microsite and then take it down when you don't need it anymore. If you just stick to one standard website for your business, you won't be able to enjoy this convenience at all.
Since a microsite is actually its own website and not just some spin-off landing pages, it will have its own domain or unique URL. This is important for a lot of reasons.
First off, a short, memorable brand URL will make it easier for visitors to find it and access a product or service faster. And, as a happy consequence, your SEO standing will improve also. Creating a keyword-rich domain that will get the attention of search engines will boost your rankings.
Also, since the microsite will have a singular, targeted focus, you’ll have a pretty low bounce rate. That earns you brownie points too.
Whether you want to bring awareness to your existing customers or want to reach a new audience, a unique microsite with a targeted focus makes more sense than having a big website with too many contents and design elements in it.
It’s not uncommon for a brand to launch a new product or other brands underneath its umbrella. Naturally, you’d want the new entity to stand on its own from the parent brand.
A new launch typically means a new, or at least more specific, target market that needs to be reached. Microsites assist by establishing this new brand, product, or service and separating it from unrelated products or details on the homesite.
Even if it’s only a few pages, letting a microsite market on its own can help bolster and empower its subject’s personal brand.
Take for example a huge car-dealership business website offering services such as vehicle sales, cleaning, towing, and rentals. One day, they want to launch a car-sharing service as well. Of course, it is necessary to add details about the car-sharing service onto the main website, but they can't just change the whole site to display this and overshadow other services.
But still, in order to generate buzz and reach many users for this new service, they can create a microsite that will tell people all about it in more detail. As a result, the main company website won't become too noisy and confusing, but the business is still able to appropriately make a splash about the new service.
The whole brand becomes empowered.
For exactly the same reasons, companies and enterprises are choosing to implement microsites alongside their main website. A small business has the same goals when creating its online presence:
Microsites deliver results. Create a microsite and see just how beneficial it can be to your business and visitors.
Don't just focus on your main company site or a few landing pages. Build a microsite that serves as an effective portal allowing users to be more involved with your brand and to get them through the sales funnel quicker.
Now that you know the difference between a microsite vs a regular company site, it's time to know how you can create a microsite for your visitors.
With the web design service industry a $20.1B market in the US alone, more than 16M new websites are added every month. More than 70% of websites are created in a professional process by developers using pro-developers platforms.
These B2B solutions offer tools that build microsites and advanced websites including landing page custom design and CMS (Content Management Systems). While developers, agencies, and freelancers make 70% of websites, only 3% of websites are built by businesses with self-serve DIY tools like Squarespace, Wix, and Weebly.
Despite aggressively building out features for over a decade, the DIY model has barely put a dent in the website or microsite building market.
The reasons for that are simple;
Using freelancers to create a microsite, landing page, or full website for you isn't necessarily bad; many of them are quite talented and produce quality work. However, it's also fair to say that you'll be taking a much more significant risk by going with a freelancer, especially one without a robust portfolio and references.
While it’s true that hiring freelance developers can guarantee you low prices, it can’t, however, assure you good quality output. Unfortunately, some freelancers or freelance agencies emphasize the cost advantage they offer and try to lure clients with their cheap rates just to book projects. Because of this, some clients think that they can build quality software despite the low rate offered, which is not the case.
There might also be some tricks going on. For example, some freelancers will offer a very low price upfront, only to find out later that the fee is only for a single page. In the end, you might be spending more than expected and may not get the results that you hoped for.
Remember: You will get what you pay for.
There’s always a limit as to how low you can go in order to produce decent software, website, landing page, or microsite.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t find reliable freelance developers because their rates are relatively low. The best way to avoid ‘getting tricked’ is to compare the average freelance rate with the rates of freelance developers and IT freelancing agencies.
In addition, do inquire and research about their rates as well as the fine points about their offers. Know why this certain developer or freelance agency has the lowest rate among those you’ve scouted. Find out whether they might be cutting down on some services you might actually need in your microsite or if they are not telling you right away what is covered by their rates.
To find top freelance developers for your microsite, landing page, or company website - don’t just look at the cost.
If you’re thinking about how much it would cost to hire mobile app or microsite developers, here’s a must-read to give you a quick overview.
Miscommunication can happen in any team, but when working with freelancers, especially those who work remotely, information and instructions are more likely to be misunderstood. Miscommunication issues happen between the client and the freelance developer due to a number of reasons. These include:
These and many other factors can contribute to poor communication as well as a poor overall experience and result for both sides.
Moreover, clients hiring freelance developers offshore to develop a microsite or full site can also have difficulty due to the language barrier. As such, it is a prerequisite for freelancers to speak and write in a common language (such as English) to ensure effective communication on both sides.
For clients, looking for freelancers with a strong level of professional working proficiency is best so both sides can work together seamlessly.
In addition, clients must also take the time and effort to know more about their freelance developer’s cultural background in order to learn about verbal and nonverbal cues that may get lost in translation between the two cultures.
Regardless of whether you’re working with your in-house team or freelancers, it’s always best to practice strong communication and collaboration within the team for a smoother workflow.
Outsourcing development to freelancers is also a risk because there's usually only a single person at the other end of the line. If your freelancer goes on vacation or gets sick, then you're left without options for the time being.
Freelancers work on a built and forget basis, they are usually not around when your site goes down, has a bug, or needs a critical security patch or update. Websites built on open-source platforms like WordPress or Joomla are extremely vulnerable, and the Freelance model can not cope with vulnerabilities and security attacks that are common to those platforms.
Using a full-service agency is a serious and valid option for any business, small or big. The challenge for a small business is the vast amount of choice.
A local, regional, or even national agency? What are the price points and how do I engage initially? What level of engagement do I need to have with the agency after signing a contract, and can I commit to that level of engagement. Do I go for a fixed contract or a per-hour contract? Difficult decisions for any business, let alone a small one.
Agencies may also be a small group of people or large companies. Both have their own challenges and working with them requires one to be more aware of the pros and cons.
WebriQ Studio (W-Studio) - a microsite builder. An excellent and flexible microsite builder.
W-Studio is a Software-as-a-Service product that enables digital marketers to create stellar digital experiences and place content wherever users need it.
Create microsites and pages that meet client needs and expectations. Have wonderful-looking modern sites, reach new leads, and achieve extensive marketing targets.
With Edge functions, WebriQ will be able to customize a Studio with an endless number of features and a variety of customization options are available for the user at their disposal in order to create a personalized experience and pages that are tailored specifically towards them!
W-Studio is a microsite publishing platform for audience-specific content and provides the following advantages:
WebriQ Studio is definitely an excellent microsite creation tool that we encourage you to try. Not only that, but if you are planning your main website or landing pages, or want to create a mini-site for whatever purpose - W-Studio can also be used.
Get in touch with us for your microsites, landing pages, and full website needs.
We are confident in our ability to help you create a website or microsite that will stand out and empower your brand for the following reasons:
Make your microsite or landing page exactly what you hope for by leveraging WebriQ's core competencies and technology expertise.