What is a Microsite in 2022? [+Important Pros & Cons]

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“Size matters,” they say. In food portions, in cars, in real estate, and even in the digitally-built world of websites. Those who agree have had plenty to say in favoring: the “the bigger, the better” mentality, right?

But where would they stand when a micro digital being called a ‘microsite’ can yield so much good in so little space, time, and scope? I’d guess they would borrow from the “less is more sometimes” camp. Intrigued yet as to what is a microsite in the 2022 digital world yet? Let’s see what’s what!

Microsite Definition In 2022

A microsite is a small website, usually one or only a few pages in size, created by a brand as an auxiliary sub-site to reach a usually time-limited purpose with focused content. Sounds vague? Let’s break down the definition of a microsite into bite-sized components, shall we?

What Is The Purpose Of A Microsite?

In three short phrases: specific message sending, interest creation, call to action; in elaborated terms: these are why a brand decides to create a separate small website, a microsite if you will, called microsite:

A. A New Launch Or A New Campaign

They either have a new product to launch, and they want to dedicate a microsite to the focused content and a call to action campaign for the product, or they want to launch a new campaign for an already existing product. Either way, a microsite works wonders for ad campaigns.

B. Target A Specific Persona 

Regardless of the nature of a product or service offered by a brand, they always have a special audience and community who respond to specific content more, a microsite would be a great way to reach them.

C. Experiment With A New Marketing Strategy

Whether a particular path of marketing strategy works or not is the make or break of a brand, and while a website has been going with a set strategy for a while, changing into a new one can be too risky. This is where a microsite can be created to take a new promising marketing strategy for a test run in a risk-free setting.

D. Branch-Outs

A brand is thinking about entering a new field, and it aims to create a big buzz without wanting to clutter its main website, which should be a buzz-free place where the clients of its existing products and services can go to get information in peace. So, a microsite is a perfect platform to announce a new field.

E. Event Promotion

A brand has promotional or sales events and needs an outlet to raise awareness about it and do sign-ups. A microsite has proved one of the best ways to go.

F. Create widespread Publicity For The Brand In A Fun, Indirect Way.

Many of the most successful and popular microsites are created by a brand to offer some sort of fun activity, usually meant to highlight one of the main products or services of that brand, like Listening Together by Spotify, or to inform their fans about one side of them that might be obscure, like Inside Chanel. You can check out a list of such fun/informative microsite examples here and see how they have accomplished this. 

What Does A Microsite Mean In Website Techy Terms?

A microsite has its own URL, the address link of a web page, separate from the main website of a brand, and it can have its own domain name or be a subdomain of the parent site. It’s also built with content that has its own separate topic-specific keywords.

Microsite vs. Website; What Is The Difference?

A Website and a microsite are similar only in two aspects, they are both sites, and they have content on them, that’s it! But they are different in several aspects which will be detailed below:

  • A website is a brand’s main site where you can see practically everything you need to know about them, but a microsite is only a separate temporary site to draw attention to content about one single aspect of that brand.
  • A website is the whole face of the brand: a microsite is the face of one small part of it.
  • A website includes information about all its products, services, and events; a microsite only addresses one product, service, or event.
  • A website is a brand’s permanent digital residence, but a microsite has only a temporary stay in the online world.
  • A website has multiple landing pages, whereas a microsite has one or only a few at most.
  • A website gets “chronic” traffic from its patrons, meaning it gets steady but moderate numbers linearly, but a microsite gets “acute” traffic, meaning a large number of users visit it in a short time in a high-peaking sinuous manner.
  • A brand’s website usually goes for the understated, more toned designs to inspire ease and comfort, while microsites go for flashier, more interaction-inspiring designs to provoke excitement and action.
  • A website is a time-neutral digital entity created to generate revenue over time, but microsites pursue time-sensitive agendas.

Microsite vs. Landing Page: Are They The Same?

Nope, they’re not. A microsite is an individual, independently-published website dedicated to time-sensitive, limited-scoped, call-to-action-charged projects, but a landing page is simply one of the pages of a regular website that could be about anything related to a brand. Here are where the two differ greatly:

1. Location

A microsite is an independent site on a different URL and domain name or a subdomain of the parent website, but a landing page is always on the same URL.

2. Page Number

A microsite can be one page or more, but a landing page is always one page.

3. Shelf Life

Microsites are often temporary, but a landing page stays on the site once it’s there.

4. Purpose

A microsite is built to achieve a particular purpose with the brand’s clients in a short time, a landing page is one of the Pages on a brand’s website that can contain information about anything related to the brand.

5. Scope

A microsite’s job is to achieve a lot in a short time, so the information provided in it is meant to be intense and rich in scope, but a single landing page has pretty limited scope in terms of the amount and significance of the information it contains.

What is the Impact of Microsites on SEO?

One of the aspects of any website, including microsites, that can directly determine its rise or fall is how well it is optimized in terms of SEO, you can find out how and why here. There are three ways a microsite impacts the SEO of its mother site, two of which are, unfortunately, always negative.

1. Black Hat SEO

A microsite is either on a subdomain of the parent site, or it is on a different domain but has a backlink to the main website. As it happens, this practice is one of the SEO tricks used to create fake links to a website, and boost its clicks and SEO score artificially. This is called black hat SEO and is seen by Google as deceptive, and leading the mother sites of microsites created to generate fake backlinks to be penalized for engaging in spammy fraud-y SEO behavior by having their SEO scores lowered.

2. Low Quality

According to Google, a good, high-SEO-score-worthy site is one that contains a lot of high-quality content provided steadily over a long enough period, so microsites that have only limited content that is only supplied for a short-ish while is deemed low quality by Google standards, and receives the corresponding low SEO score

3. SEO Plagiarism

One of the things Google algorithms are extremely reactive to with SEO penalties is SEO plagiarism, meaning publishing duplicated material from other sites on your own site. Usually, microsites are created for campaigns or testing new marketing strategies, and they usually have their own designated content and marketing team. That’s why sometimes they end up neglecting whether their content has too many similarities with content on the website, and that hurts SEO on both sites.

How Can a Microsite Affect Ad Campaigns?

An ad campaign being one of the main applications of a microsite, it can have a rather lucrative impact on one in some ways:

1. Raises Awareness Fast

A microsite is fitted with the type of content addressing the sort of high-excitement subject matters that raise awareness pretty fast.

2. Funnel Traffic In Large Volumes.

Aided by multiple social media alerts, a microsite can generate large-scale traffic to an ad campaign in a short time frame, helping plenty with how much direct attention and interaction it receives.

3. Greater UX Factor

A microsite’s focused content, de-cluttered format, and interactive design create an ultra-smooth crowd-pleasing user experience, which boosts favorable call-to-action responses, and that’s one of the most important ways a microsite can benefit an ad campaign.

4. Content-Inspired SEO Advantages

More free reign over content, as a result of being separate from the brand’s main marketing team, and deviations from their umbrella marketing mottos being allowed, lets the content be intensely focused. This keeps the interested crowd on the site, reduces bounce rates, boosts SEO rankings fast, and creates more exposure and publicity very effectively.

5. Digital Marketing Integration

A microsite being there to raise awareness with a lot of audiences gathered at one place at one time makes a great opportunistic platform to hint about other ad campaigns or marketing agendas while it has the attention of a great audience, which is called digital marketing integration. You can boost a couple of ad campaigns with one stone: a microsite.

Seven Microsite Best Practices

There are things you need to be careful not to go wrong with, so you can go right with your microsite. Make sure you have them in mind when going ahead with developing one.

1. Tailor Your Content To Your Specific Audience

First and foremost, you need to do extensive homework on your product, service, or event, and especially on your target audience. Know them well, so you can show them that you know them, in the tailor-made content you present them with.

2. Be Mindful Of Topic-Specific Keywords

Being extremely careful with your keywords is absolutely essential for a microsite in two significant ways:

  • SEO

The limited content you put on your microsite should be naturally packed with your topic-specific keyword to boost your SEO and get the inbound traffic a microsite is essentially built for.

  • Your Domain Name

Your domain name should contain your topic-specific keyword so to direct those who google your marketing agenda to find you fast and easy.

3. Adjust Size And Scope With Budget, Time, And Estimated Revenue.

You can go all out on a microsite and put a lot of time, money, and effort into making it a big, content-rich, digital talk-up of your product or service, but have the return be simply not big enough to make sense economically. So have a sit-down with a team and make time and budget decisions based on your estimated revenue for building a microsite.

4. Have Digital Marketing Integration (DMI) In Mind

Try to incorporate subtle allusions to other marketing agendas into your microsite so you can kill a couple of birds with one stone, that’s just smart marketing.

5. Don’t Lose Sight Of Promoting Your Microsite Elsewhere

Keep in mind that people need to know about your ultra-intriguing microsite to seek it and be addressed by its message, so you need to make sure you promote it on multiple other outlets and platforms, like email campaigns, social media ads, and …

6. Smooth UX And Clear CTA Is Key

Make sure your user experience is convenient and goes swimmingly by running multiple UX test runs before launching your microsite, and make sure your call to action measures and messages are clear and straightforward; after all, a microsite is there to get actions from users in the first place.

7. Pick Simple Themes

Remember that a microsite is usually one page or a few at most, so you can’t overload it with elaborate features; that’s why a simple yet sophisticated theme would be a good fit, especially knowing they all come with plenty of customization possibilities to give your microsite enough flash if need be.

Pros And Cons Of A Microsite

What is the upside of a microsite? it must have quite a couple to make it a keeper on the digital marketer’s go-to list. Here are some:

Pro 1: You’ll Save On Resources, Budget, And Time.

With super-focused and targeted content presented on a smaller scale, a microsite can be quite efficient with time, budget, and resources, especially considering how rewarding the outcome is.

Pro 2: Easy To Navigate

With its non-overloading, non-overwhelming, congestion/clutter-free design and content/presentation style, a microsite is easy to navigate and decide to take the intended action.

Pro 3: SEO-Friendly

A microsite is SEO-friendly due to some of its inherent qualities.

ü  It’s light due to its limited scope, so it loads fast and helps its SEO.

ü  It’s easier to find based on its topic-specific-worded URL.

ü  It has considerably low bounce rates due to the targeted audience making a conscious decision to seek it out and find out about what it presents.

Are There Any Downsides To A Microsite?

Yes, as there are cons to almost any entity, there are two flaws to a microsite:

Con 1: Limited Content

Your hands are tied with the amount of content you can put on a microsite, so you need to be extremely smart and thoughtful with your choices regarding the quality, since the quantity has to stay limited.

Con 2: It Hurts The SEO Of The Mother Site

Due to its black-hat-SEO-natured back-linking practices, limited content being a sign of limited quality in Google’s eyes, and inevitably containing some plagiarized material from the mother site (explained in more detail above), a microsite can hurt the SEO score of its parent site. So, it must be extremely worthwhile to make the price it has to pay less significant in the grand scheme.

What is a Microsite in a Nutshell

A microsite is what you’d want if you need a marketing outlet for putting words out there intensely, for a short amount of time, to get a specific business response from your clientele. It is not a full, permanent website, it is not one of the pages of a website: a landing page, and it works wonders for a campaign.

But considering it can affect the SEO of the main website negatively, You need to be mindful of your time, budget, and intended revenue when you make plans for it, and make sure it’s worth all the expenses, monetary and otherwise.

If you go about it right, a microsite can give you a ton of marketing and revenue advantages, leaving you happy you know what is a microsite in 2022 and its pros and cons.

Cyrus Nambakhsh

Cyrus is a serial entrepreneur, product-led-growth expert, a product visionary who launched 7 startups. He has built scalable platforms to help businesses and entrepreneurs. ==> For Guest Posts and Links Contact: [email protected]