Setting up a website is a must-do for businesses today; but because websites are multifaceted, for a newly founded business, there is often the question of what is the easiest way to setup? There are so many different platforms and options available. Each one comes with a different degree of difficulty and cost, and also differs quite a lot in terms of required maintenance. The question is, can microsites be a powerful and useful alternative for all these disadvantages?
I have been asked this question a few times, and felt that I want to bring a fresh perspective – one that isn’t often referenced, but I find valuable nevertheless.
Besides the fact that most business starters don’t have a fortune to invest into a solid online presence, the website should present itself in a professional way. The minimal technical requirements for creating a website are that a technology should be used that reflects the current state of available technology; which is that the website is ready for the use of mobile devices, and also that the website’s content is displayed in a professional and aesthetic way.
This article will shine some light on the whereabouts of microsites, and a fresh approach on how to use them… but what exactly are microsites?
What Are Microsites?
A microsite and a website are not the same thing.
As the word ‘micro’ indicates, a microsite is a smaller version of a website. It is destined to eliminate the clutter and distractions that can come with a full sized website.
A microsite is a website that is destined to deliver more focused, relevant content about a specific topic or to a targeted audience. It is separated and distinct from a company’s main website because it is dedicated to serve one purpose, which is
- to highlight a product,
- to launch a promotion, or
- to augment a marketing campaign.
The first time microsites came up was around 1999, when marketers were looking for ways to put up web pages quickly, to complement traditional advertising efforts.
Primarily seen as a marketing instrument, it was used as a stand-alone site that could not only provide more control, but also meet accelerated timetables. The possibility of conveying a fresh design – or at least somewhat distinctive from the main page, quickly made it a favorite. Also, the fact that it was far more flexible than the main website, with hundreds of pages, contributed to its quick success.
Today, the demands of a microsite are even higher: additional requirements are to be seen in mobile-friendliness and responsiveness, and also in their capabilities for sharing and conversion.
A New Type of Microsite for Small Business Owners
With all these properties named, would it be safe to assume that microsites have the potential to replace the classical homepage? Or is there a new type of website rising?
There seems to be a trend away from the classical homepage. With the appearance of clever and awesome looking tools, we have seen sub-forms of websites coming into the spotlight, that fulfill special tasks, like landing pages, one pagers or microsites.
Trends can be difficult to forecast, as they are pretty fluid. They can quickly change direction, or with the sudden appearance of a smart tool, can gain speed and develop into something completely new.
My observation is, however, that there is a clear demand for more flexibility, as well as ease of use when it comes to creating websites. This is particularly true for entrepreneurs who aren’t very familiar with the web lingo.
While I do not consider myself to be much of a marketer, there is something about microsites that I find very useful. Because I am always on the lookout to find easier solutions, or at least to make processes easier for the less tech-inclined folk, I was hooked when I came across this tweet:
Instead of having to set up a full website with the standard set of pages, a business founder can set up a minimal website that contains all the basic information on one single page. The front page that is retrieved when a URL is called would then introduce the business and its idea, and it also provides information about the business owner(s) and allows contact to be made.
As far as I can see, such an approach has a lot of advantages for a solopreneur:
- Saves time – the website can be composed quicker, which means less distraction for setting up the business
- Saves money – lower web development costs
- Lower website costs – the website uses less bandwidth
- Learning – the business owner gains experience with the handling of websites without having to face a steep learning curve
Is A Microsite Right For You?
I said before that there is a demand for flexibility and ease of use in webpages. The existence of a wide array of tools that either target a certain audience, or specialize for a particular purpose, meet these concerns already. In the next article I will introduce some very interesting tools that can be used for minimal and/or specialized versions of websites; but many of them offer even more, and I will explore some of their most interesting features.
Would I encourage you to think about a minimized version of a website, such as a microsite?
Generally speaking, yes, I definitely would!
However, I really think that it depends on what you want to accomplish with the website, as well as on your own flexibility.
If your website serves mainly a presentational purpose, and you are just starting out with your business, and don’t have a ton of money and time to spend; then I find it a very reasonable approach to start out with such a minimalist version.
If your website, however, will be the foundation of your professional work, and requires a decent set of features and interactive components; then you would be required to invest time and money into its development. Starting with a microsite wouldn’t be the right thing to do in this case, but that’s a decision on a by-case basis.
If you are unsure whether a microsite is right for you or if there’s a more appropriate platform for what you are about to achieve with your website, feel free to get in touch with me for a clarity session. Often times such a decision requires careful consideration and knowledge that technologically inexperienced entrepreneurs often do not yet possess. While it isn’t a life long decision, it is still a long-term decision, with implications to your budget and marketing strategy, so getting solid advice could prove beneficial for you in many ways. Click here to book a clarity session with me.