Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Pros and Cons of Microsites

What is a Microsite?

As you may already be aware, our blog focus for May is creating useful content. We are answering questions this month such as “How to edit a PDF” among other topics. This week we are answering the question, “Do I need a microsite?”. We will begin by outlining the pros and cons of implementing, we have also outlined ‘what a microsite is’. We hope you find it useful!

Wikipedia definition of a microsite;

“A microsite, also known as a landing page, minisite or weblet, is an Internet web design term referring to an individual web page, or cluster of pages, which are meant to function as an auxiliary supplement to a primary website. The microsite's main landing page most likely has its own domain name or subdomain. This is also known as niche marketing”.

A micro site is typically between 3-10 pages. It will be focused on a solution, or client type, or promotion and provides a more personal experience.

Do I need a microsite?

A microsite is useful if you wish to target and engage with a particular niche, through Search campaigns, which may encompass Online PR, SEO, PPC, Social Media, mixture of all.
A good example of a microsite, targeting a specific audience, is from 'Signature Travel Network', who has launched a culinary travel microsite. The site is described as a one stop shop for culinary travel enthusiasts and includes strategic partners, Food Network and Bon Appetit.

View the Culinary Travel microsite here.

Retail clients regularly use Microsites for promotional purposes, the below image is Kit Kat link/partnership with Love Film (Marketing Magazine 22.3.11) to help promote their Kit Kat Pop Choc product.



Microsite content example

Within the Microsite you can offer a diversity of content in several formats, which may currently not sit well with your main site.

For example, for a hotel wishing to increase conference / meeting room bookings, they may opt for a microsite to deliver targeted content, for those looking to book a meeting room in their hotel locations.

They would need to consider what information would be useful to their niche.
What key content will enable visitors to make a booking (use images and text).
How they can speed up Call to Action on their Microsite.

Useful content:

Text: Useful information for Niche page (to include range of material, videos, downloads – see below)
Video: Running an Effective Presentation (from Affiliate).
Video: Team Building Events (from Affiliate).
PDFS: Conference Meeting Tick List (from Hotel Conference Team).
PDFS: Conference Meeting Room Brochure (from Hotel Conference Team).
PDFS : Confidence in running presentations (from Hotel conference team).
Image: Viral HTML badge for others to promote (bloggers / partners).
Social: Bookmark this page / Share this page.

Decision making content:

Text & Images: Home page: Why are you here today? Book meeting room, Browse meeting rooms; latest images from team building events (from Hotel conference team).
Images: Images of meeting rooms.
Image: Promotion banners – to also seed out to paid and free content networks.
Text : Case studies and testimonials from previous attendees.
Text: Location & Directions.

Calls to action
Function: How many seats do you require? Date? Show availability, rates, images, layout, presentation material.
Function: Book room / View room.
Function: Call us / View room.
Function: Join email list for latest offers – or follow on our social networks.
Function: Leave a testimonial.

The benefits of having a microsite

SEO benefits:
Cross pollination from Microsite to main site / associate microsite with the main site.
Increased relevancy.
Keyword rich domain name.
Link to the microsite from a Google Places account, create appropriate categories (which are limited in Google Places).

Social Media benefits:
Social share on the microsite will enable you to socially seed your microsite to a niche audience, found in social media. Social media accounts will need to be created.

Paid Search benefits:
Reduce CPC due to page relevancy “Quality score”.
Targeting to appropriate sites within your regions and industry.
The site can hold contextual advertising from Google Content network (revenue from affiliates).

Design benefits:
Tailor the microsite so it appeals to the markets target audience.
Offer promotions specific to target audience.

Commerce benefits:
Higher conversation rate, as the site may enable you to look more specialist and provide you with authority in your respective niche.
With more relevance to query, the conversion rate will increase.
Easier to remember site username.
Work with an affiliate / partner to increase reach of microsite.

THE CONS OF HAVING A MICROSITE

SEO cons
Link acquisition risks, link building for the microsite will not benefit your main site. Link building can be time consuming. We do not recommend multiple microsites to link to your main site as this could look like “link farming” – bad SEO and could get you banned from search engines.

Social media cons
It makes sense to create a specific social media account/s (Twitter/Facebook) for the microsite. This of course takes time and budget.
Commerce cons.
The site will need to be advertised to a target niche.


THINGS TO NOTE WITH MICROSITE DEVELOPMENT
  • Don’t duplicate your content from the main site to the new microsite. It is bad practice for SEO.
  • Design the site so that it doesn’t take up too much resource.

MEASUREMENT
  • Review take up of microsite (online mentions and site visits and page engagement).
  • Set up data capture and understand who is interested in your microsite.
  • Review icons visitors click on for further microsite enhancement.
  • Track the number of leads/sales by site visits.

STEPS TO TAKE

  • Determine objectives; Note: keep focused on promotion opportunities and conversions and where appropriate, fun.
  • Establish a time line.
  • Allocate sufficient budget.
  • Create the Microsite social media and content outreach plan.
  • Talk to Rocktime Sales

We hope the above is useful, if you need further guidance on whether a microsite would suit your business, feel free to give the Rocktime Sales team a call.


Author: Sarah Griffiths

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