Microsite Building Steps
A website generally has a whole lot of information to deliver – you’ve got to display company literature, product and services categories, resources, a blog, FAQs, etc. With a website, it’s a combination of all these touch points and your skill at cohesively putting them out there that intrigues and engages visitors. Microsites are a little different though and can make a real difference to your marketing strategy. Here’s why,
1. Plus, while your website may have to be a little bland in order to appeal to a broad user base, a microsite usually offers the opposite advantage spice it up to appeal to a specific target market. This also makes microsites ideal for when you are trying to drive traffic toward an actionable goal. Plus, with a microsite, you can cut loose from anything that you don’t want to display, enabling you to deliver a highly targeted message that is virtually clutter-free.
2. Since microsites usually deliver high-impact messages aimed at specific audiences, they often leave very little room for ambiguity. You’ll find that this translates into optimum keyword densities, niche content and superlative relevance, allowing a microsite scale page ranks faster than its larger cousins. Think of it as a nimble, super-focused extension of your website.
3. Microsites also offer you a more powerful roster of targeting opportunities. When used in conjunction with geo-targeting and a keyword-rich domain name, a microsite can quickly jump to the top of a given SERP for local searches. That’s why using a microsite to promote a single aspect, service or product of your company makes excellent sense.
Now that you know the pros of creating a microsite for any given product, here’s HOW to actually set one up,
STEP #1 – The first step involves coming up with a suitable domain name. Check if the domain is up for grabs before constructing a marketing strategy around it.
Domain names can be used creatively to help your microsite achieve much higher levels of visibility, depending on what you’re looking to achieve. For example, if your offering is confined to a specific area, you may want to incorporate the name of your city or town into your microsite’s domain name. Why should you do this? Well, Google loves highly relevant, local searches, so if your microsite is tightly focused, allowing the domain name add geographical search parameters is generally a good idea.
STEP #2 – Pick a decent hosting service.
Since you probably won’t have a massive amount on data on your microsite, it is okay to eschew bandwidth and space in favour of reliability, price, uptime and triple-9 availability.
Figure out the hosting service’s domain name servers and set up the DNS for your domain name. Most web hosts provide detailed instructions on how to do this, so it should be too much of a stretch. Once your DNS addresses have been established, let the domain registrar know by heading over to the registrars site and filling in the requisite forms.
Step #3 – Design stuff.
You know the drill. If you don’t, go ahead and hire a professional because believe me, you WILL need to know the drill when it comes to design. What makes many microsites so very attractive is the fantastic design work that goes into so many of them. Again, it’s a good idea to weave your visual cues into your copy, especially when you’re attempting to drive traffic toward conversion goals.
Also, take a risk and go a little nuts with the design for optimum responses. I’ve found that people respond to slightly quirky stuff a lot better than staid professionalism.
STEP #4 – Write copy.
This words you place on this page will have to be powerful, engaging material. Think of the microsite as a sales presentation it needs to quickly capture viewer attention and drive them to action. For this reason it’s usually necessary to place all the information a customer needs to know in plain sight, while saving the flashy sales rhetoric for your closing argument. But whatever you do, ensure that the copy speaks to the target audience in tones that they understand and appreciate.
If you intend to be quirky with the copy, be warned copy can be a lot easier to mess up than design and you don’t want to turn your target audience off. That said, true virality is built on the fun and the quirky so go ahead and try something new!
Step #5 – Settle on a layout and iron out all navigational issues.
If your microsite has a series of pages that shuffle customers down the pipeline, make sure you include a link to the transaction page on everything in between. This will allow you to capitalize on those early responders who’ve already been dazzled into conversion by your outstanding design and copy.
But that doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to make it as complicated as possible. Remember, people are busy, so a simple interface that quickly gets to the point will usually deliver far better results than a lengthy presentation that beats around the bush and keeps users waiting.
STEP #6 – Use the web hosting tools provided to upload your website.
Always remember to test your site repeatedly for any kinks or glitches in functionality BEFORE you allow Google to cache it. With so many sites popping up every day, getting yours re-indexed can be a pain.
And that, in short, is how to create an effective microsite that delivers when you need it to. But, don’t take my word for it. There are plenty of alternate ways to fashion a piece of online communication and you really should limit yourself to anything anyone says. But if you needed the basics, I hope this article helps. Cheers!