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Northwoods Blog

Seven Principles of Good Microsite Design

August 01, 2017

 

“I already have a website. Why do I need another one?”

Your brands should have their own microsites for several reasons:

  • To highlight specific products, sub-brands, contests, or markets
  • To target a specific audience or set of keywords
  • To enhance brands of certain products and services

Learn more reasons by joining us at our How Microsites Drive Conversions workshop. We’ll help you decide whether a microsite is right for you and show you how to get started. If you do opt for microsites, observe these seven principles.

 

1. Keep it focused

Microsites, by definition, represent a single purpose or idea. Don’t overcomplicate by including too many elements. Focus on one product, service, concept or application to stay on point and immediately actionable. For example:

At Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” microsite, Tom Dickson gleefully takes on all sorts of don’t-try-this-at-home blending projects. He demonstrates the power of the company’s appliance by blending an iPhone to powder and liquifying a handful of marking pens, to name two examples, in videos that have attracted millions of views. Engine specs, dimensions, pricing – the important, boring stuff – resides at the company’s main site. The microsite focuses monomaniacally on destroying stuff, and we’re all for it! Wait – did we say “destroying stuff”? We meant brand-building. Yeah, that’s it. Brand-building.

 

 

2. Create a Unique URL

The best microsites have unique, catchy URLs. The address is your brand’s first chance to show the message you want this site to share. The URL implies the purpose of the site both to users and to Google. Include a keyword or two if you can, but don’t sacrifice memorability for an SEO boost.

At Northwoods (main site URL: northwoodsoft.com), we use a microsite to share information about our workshops and webinars: LearnAtNorthwoods.com. It’s easy to remember and signals the purpose of the information on the site.   

 

3. Define your Target Audience

All digital marketing and web design, microsites included, require knowledge of the user. An understanding your audience allows you to base your design on their needs and will save time and resources in the long run.

First, develop personas related to your brands’ target audiences. (Check out our blog on personas to get started.)

Once you have your personas, decide which ones you want to target on your microsite. Develop relevant, unique content aimed right at them. Be sure to include the major social sharing buttons, as well as easy means to other sharing methods specific to your audience. Encourage sharing to help your microsite reach a wider audience.

 

4. Optimize for SEO

Microsites teem with opportunity to boost your brand’s SEO. The goal for many microsites is to increase SEO rankings for specific products or services.  Get more SEO bang for your buck by following these tips:

  • Don’t duplicate content from your main site. Duplicate content causes your microsite to compete against your website for search engine rankings, which defeats the whole purpose. Your microsite has a unique purpose, so the content should be unique.
  • Place a keyword in the URL, as noted above.
  • Create rich content and avoid marketing lingo.
  • Build content around keywords. The best microsites have them in page titles, headers, and within the copy on the page. Research your keywords; don’t guess at them.
  • Don’t forget about meta description, keywords, and alt tags. Drop keywords into those fields as well to help raise your rankings.

 

5. Tie your Brand to the Microsite

You have the freedom to stray from your main corporate branding when developing a microsite. But the look, feel and messaging should align with other campaign materials and traditional marketing efforts. One easy way to create consistency to adapt your main website’s navigation to the unique purpose of the microsite. This will make regular users of your main site feel comfortable at the microsite, but  still allows you flexibility in content on the site.

Link directly to your microsite from your main brand site. In our case, users access the LearnAtNorthwoods.com microsite through a dropdown on our main site, just they would to get to any  content on our site.

 

 

 

6. Promote the Microsite

Once the site is up, get it out. Share it through email lists, PPC, social media, or other traditional methods. It does you no good if no one visits. 

 

7. Mind the Mobile Possibilities

Every site, whether full or micro, should be mobile friendly. Build such mobile-friendly features as tap-to-call and geolocation into the responsive design. Make it easy for users to navigate, no matter their device. When that smart-screen blender goes on the market, you want to be ready.

 

 

Katelyn Staaben

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Katelyn Staaben is a social media strategist and digital marketer with a background in developing strategy for B2B organizations. She supports the Northwoods digital marketing and account teams by contributing ideas to web design projects, social media, SEO, digital strategy consulting, and content management implementation.

Connect with Katelyn on LinkedIn

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