When Should I Use a Microsite?
First of all, let’s go over the definition of a microsite. Microsites are miniature websites that can be used for marketing campaigns, specific promotions, to highlight a new product line or to target something very specifically. They can be great for marketers who really want to focus on that new product or promotion while simultaneously maintaining separation from their main website. However, the misconception lies in the fact that too many local companies think that by having numerous websites to promote their business, they are improving their SEO. In actuality, these businesses are sinking their Internet marketing ship through the improper use of microsites.
In the early 2000’s, this was a common practice as SEO was earned with the increasing quantity of links directed back to a site. The number of links proved to Google that you knew what you were doing and that others had recognized. In today’s world, content rules and quality overrules quantity. Microsites are a mistake organizations make all the time, especially those who don’t stay in touch with the ever-changing universe they call Google. The problem is, with all these links that point to their microsite, they’re in fact neglecting their actual website. We find it is actually more beneficial to have one main hub on the web with all of your quality links pointing to it, rather than having a few websites with weak link structures and content spread too thin across the board. Most of the time, we see companies that create a set of websites which all contain very similar site names. These site names include their original URL, plus the name of the cities they service in which they are trying to capture quality search engine rankings. This is a no-no and although some businesses MIGHT earn a customer or two through these location specific websites, there is no reason why location specific landing pages can’t be created to fulfill this necessity.
To use our website as an example, we cover areas all over the country. Being a web design company, we are not required to meet with our clients face to face and can service the entire United States. However, we mainly focus on Northwest Arkansas and surrounding areas. On our website, we have a specific page for each city in NWA, with detailed information about each city and the services we offer in that city. If you’re looking for web design in Bentonville or SEO in Rogers, you might wind up on one of the location specific landing page, if not making an impression. With these pages, we are found by our potential customers through a simple Internet search looking for the services we offer in the cities the live in. If someone in Fayetteville is looking for a web designer, they can locate our Fayetteville landing page and find out that we do in fact create websites in Fayetteville and so on. It’s not necessary to have a separate website for each location, only to confuse your visitors when they wind up on the dozens of microsites your business has created.
In addition, microsites can be time consuming, hard to manage and very costly. These sites need as much care as your main website. They cannot simply be thrown onto the web and be expected to produce results. They need updating, new content and the dedication needed to build backlinks to these sites. Microsites are also hard to manage. If one mistake is made and duplicate content is used, you might end up having to edit your site a dozen times. Finally, microsites can be costly. The creation of these sites are usually not much cheaper than a full-blown website, and that’s just paying attention to the design. These sites need content, pictures, hosting and the cost of development, definitely not something I want to be paying for over and over again to only repeat the same message over and over again.
In conclusion, microsites can be used to benefit a campaign or new product to create a targeted campaign with detailed call tracking and reports. However, the majority of microsites are used incorrectly and can actually have a negative affect on a business’ internet marketing strategy. For more information about microsites or if have any questions about your compan’s SEO tactics, feel free to give us a shout.
Remember, keep things simple, and if you have any questions as it comes to web design or marketing in general, feel free to shoot me a message at [email protected] or drop me a line at 479-286-1377. We’re happy to be a part of the Northwest Arkansas community. 1202 NE McClain, RD. Bentonville, AR 72712.