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The Pros and Cons of Microsites

MicrositesMicrosites are nothing new; in fact, our web design company has been building them for San Francisco-based businesses since day one. However, they have become a trend that has reached a fever pitch recently. Before we explore why, let’s define what they are. A microsite can be defined as a single landing page with its own subdomain, hidden discretely within a website – or, it can have a unique domain name, built separately from the affiliated company’s main website. Either way, a microsite is designed to promote a single aspect of a business, such as one product or service, rather than the entire brand.

Microsite Pros

From a design standpoint, the microsite is advantageous because it gives marketers more control over the visual design of a new campaign. High end web design firms can use microsites to help their clients highlight a single product or service, giving the promotion a unique visual design that is compatible with, but still separate from, the existing visuals of the main website. A microsite can give a campaign its own look and feel, without altering the appearance of the existing company website.

Speaking of the company’s main website, another reason marketers favor microsites is that they eliminate the distractions that come along with it. The primary site has navigation bars, menus, buttons and other design elements that are not relevant to whatever is being promoted in the campaign; building a microsite takes away those distractions, so that readers see nothing but the content that was created for the specific promotion. This improves the chances that the reader will stay on the page, read all the way down and respond to the call to action. In that sense, a microsite can be a good tool to increase conversion rates.

Microsite Cons

But every pro has a con, and microsites are no different. One argument against microsites is that if readers click through to the main website (assuming there is a link to it somewhere), they can become confused because they are suddenly faced with a different design, navigation and messaging. And if there is no way back to the microsite that got their attention in the first place, they may abandon ship altogether. Because of this conundrum, critics of microsites claim that they are an infraction against good user interface principles.

There is also a school of thought that building a microsite is not worth the investment. Of course, that argument could be made about any digital marketing effort at all – but only if that effort is poorly strategized and badly executed. If you work with a high end web design firm that knows how to create an affordable, effective microsite, then that challenge can be removed from the list.

Crest Media is a web design company that knows how to build quality, effectual microsites for its San Francisco area clients. To learn if building a microsite is a good marketing strategy for you, contact us for a free phone consultation.

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