There’s a lot that you want to share with the world, especially if you carry multiple products or offer a wide swath of services. Sharing all that on a single page — or even on one website — can be a herculean task. But with microsites, you can dedicate viewers’ attention to a single topic with great results. This Guru Guide takes you through everything you need to know about microsites, including what they are, when they’re appropriate to use, and examples to get you started.
A microsite is a small website — or oftentimes, just a single page — that’s connected to your company but appears separate from the rest of your site. Microsites are often temporary, which is what makes them distinct from a regular, small website. Microsites are typically hosted separately from your main website and may be accessible through a separate domain name as well. Regardless of how it’s hosted and presented to a visitor, a microsite always links back to your company’s main website.
Microsites are specific to a particular product, event, or marketing campaign. They’re intended to keep visitors hyper-focused on the topic at hand. Without other pages to read or other actions to take, like exploring blog posts or filling out a contact form on a different page, visitors are more likely to go through the customer journey as you intend.
The goal of any microsite is for visitors to take action. What that action is depends on why you’re creating a microsite. For example, if your goal is to sell tickets to a wine tasting event at your restaurant, your microsite is designed and written to encourage visitors to buy tickets.
Microsites come with numerous benefits, including:
Your website offers plenty of informative, helpful, and engaging content. That’s incredibly important as you seek out new customers. But when you explicitly want visitors to make a purchase, buy a ticket, or contact a sales representative, all that content presents opportunities for your visitors to check out other pages on your site. Through a microsite, you tailor every word on the page to bring visitors steps closer to converting.
If your company offers several products and services under its umbrella, microsites can help keep everything organized. This way, a new product or service stands out among your typical offerings. Over time — and once significant awareness is raised around these new offerings — they can be added to the main list of services and products on your site, and the microsite can be retired.
If you have two ideas for messaging but you’re not sure which your audience will respond to better, microsites can be a great vehicle to test which is more successful. Known as A/B testing, you can try different designs, content, and layouts — each on its own microsite — to see which resonates better with your target audience. Some metrics you’ll want to measure include average time spent on the page, bounce rate, and conversion rate optimization — in other words, how many people took the action you want them to take on your microsite.
As your digital front door, your homepage is a great place to advertise what’s new and exciting with your business. However, too much information might leave visitors feeling a bit lost. Migrating event-specific or product-specific content to its own microsite creates a dedicated place for these details without overshadowing other important information about your company.
Chances are, your product or service interests different people for different reasons. Through microsites, you can target each of these audiences in highly specific ways.
Take a voice-activated LED lighting system, for example. Some customers may appreciate the accessibility offered through voice activation, while others like the convenience of connectivity, and others still want to customize their lights. These uses and benefits are all great, but not every potential customer has the same approach.
With microsites, you can create three distinct pages, each of which targets these audiences. One page can discuss all the ways voice-activated lights make it easier for those who struggle with mobility in their hands. A second can detail the high-tech shortcuts voice activation offers, and a third can focus on the colors, presets, and brightness settings the lights can provide. These microsites all focus on the same product, but in three distinctive ways.
Similar to the use cases detailed above, potential customers in different geolocations have differing needs as well. There may be language and cultural differences to consider, unique features available in certain regions or countries, or locally based sales teams or stores you want to promote. With microsites, you can create hyper-custom pages for different areas. Even though each one features the same product or service, applying region-based specifics can help convert more customers.
These microsite illustrations from popular brands help demonstrate the purpose and efficacy of a microsite.
The music streaming service is known for playlists, tunes, and podcasts — not necessarily for video. So when Spotify released Canvas, a looping video that could be added to tracks, a separate page with all the details was warranted.
Utilizing a microsite for Canvas offered two important advantages. First, it gave Spotify the freedom to not only explain how the feature works, but to pair the copy with stunning visuals that show precisely how this feature elevates individual songs. Second, it gave Canvas a proper “home” on a website where many of its users aren’t stopping to read every page.
The streaming platform Twitch held an in-person convention called TwitchCon, and as the microsite proudly claims, the reader is invited. This microsite’s end goal is to get visitors to buy tickets to the event. The page itself offers engaging copy and fun visuals to capture the energy attendees can expect. At the end of the page, there’s a registration button that takes visitors directly to signup options.
The snowboarding company is primarily known for gear, but they also run events for hobbyists. Burton created a microsite dedicated solely to one such event called the Mystery Series. In the off-season, the page is reimagined as a home for the final scores.
4. Lush Labs
The iconic skincare company Lush has a devoted customer base around the world. And as they roll out new scents and formulations, they seek out fans to try them out and provide their feedback. Known as Lush Labs, the program has a dedicated microsite for devoted customers who are interested in trying out potential new products. The digital platform is part of a larger marketing strategy Lush utilizes, which includes issuing its own content and steering clear of Twitter and Instagram.
The fast fashion brand has leaned heavily into recycling and reusing fabrics in recent years. RE-MAKE by H&M’s microsite for a process called Looop takes visitors through the journey of how used clothing becomes something new again. Using bold, full-page animations, visitors scroll through each stage of the reclamation process. The call to action at the end directs readers to bring their used garments to an H&M location in Sweden to see their items given new life.
Solid Black is the chip company’s initiative to bring attention and resources to Black individuals “who use innovation and boldness to drive culture and give back to their communities.” Featuring details about the most recent cohort alongside information on the program, visitors can learn more about each initiative through interviews and videos. A microsite serves as the right vessel for this content because it’s not related to the main product Doritos offers. A dedicated microsite also ensures the important messaging won’t get lost among the ranch and spicy flavors.
There’s nowhere to scroll on Ikea’s Life at Home microsite. A full-screen video delivers the mission of the page, a report on the state of mental health, and the role the “great indoors” can play in it. At the bottom of the screen is a button that takes visitors to the report, released in 2021. The report itself is animated and presents data in a visually appealing way, keeping visitors scrolling through.
8. Snap Camera
The social media platform Snapchat is known for pictures — but not necessarily for equipment. Enter Snap Camera, which has quite a specific use case. Snap Camera allows Snapchat users to apply Lenses, which are augmented reality (AR) tools, through their webcams. This new product launch needed a dedicated space to showcase a video on how it works and drive people to download.
The energy drink’s tagline, “Red Bull Gives You Wings,” is taken to a new — and silly — place with a paper plane world championship. The microsite is clearly Red Bull branded but stands separate from the main site’s content, offering up all sorts of content that connects back to the world championship event. Even when the contest isn’t actively accepting reservations, the microsite is filled with recap videos, stories from the contest, and basic information about the competition.
10. Chipotle Cultivate Foundation
The restaurant chain operates a charitable arm called the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, which offers grants and an accelerator program to support farmers. This microsite steers visitors away from placing orders and looking up locations. Instead, it offers important information about the foundation, past awardees, and the programs offered. When presented in a microsite, Chipotle ensures that vital details about the foundation don’t get lost among menu listings and job openings.
11. Developer Platform by Twitter
Most visitors to Twitter are signing into their account to scroll and share. For those who need other important information, there are microsites. Twitter’s Developer Platform is one good example. On this page, developers can learn more about integrations that help Twitter work on different platforms. While visitors can still access other portions of Twitter’s website, the page is dedicated to one topic, simplifying navigation.
Notably, this microsite utilizes a subdomain, which is a part of a site’s domain name used to organize content. In this case, it’s developer.twitter.com instead of twitter.com/developer or twitterdeveloper.com, its own distinct URL. Some consider microsites hosted on subdomains not to be true microsites, but this is still a great example of how a site can deliver the precise content a viewer needs to see.
As you can see from these benefits and examples, microsites have a diverse array of applications, from advertising an event to putting your creative ideas to the test. And with Namecheap Site Maker, you can have a microsite up and running in minutes. With an easy signup process, an intuitive drag-and-drop builder, and great pricing, Namecheap makes web design accessible for all entrepreneurs. Head to Site Maker to get started!