In the land of microsites either they work or they don’t work, and there are many secrets to effectively using microsites.
Of course, that is a blanket statement in itself at surface level.
There are many pros and cons to the microsite storied debate of whether businesses should or should not use microsites and how a business should go about implementation and execution.
Most individuals or businesses that have correctly implemented and executed microsites as a marketing strategy have found tremendous success in their ability to drive traffic, sales and customer growth.
So, what are microsites?
Today’s post aims to provide a brief overview and examples of microsite success as well as identify opportunities for failure. Let us start from the beginning…
The quick history of microsites
Microsites, also known as minisites, have been around since the mid 1990’s and have been regarded as highly-profitable, money-making machines focused on one product or product group.
Known for their simple hierarchy, microsites can be simple one-page or multi-page.
Typically, microsites possess well-written, high quality, unique content as well as superior design and layout focused on enticing buyers to purchase products or services.
Many businesses find microsites to be very resourceful as an extension of their primary website, implementing one, a few or hundreds at a time.
Various industries find success with microsites
For instance, authors are prime examples for being microsite poster children promoting each book written via a miniature site as an extension of their primary website.
In addition, microsites have found a warm spot within the hearts of direct marketers, and reputation management or reputation repair businesses.
For example, reputation management or reputation repair businesses create microsite farms by the tens and hundreds to suppress highly ranked negative search engine results of individuals and businesses.
Individuals and businesses are known to pay very profitable sums of money to rid themselves of negative search engine results as not doing so only hurts their image or business’ image when others search for individual or business reviews.
Microsites have gained the most popularity with affiliate marketers and lead generation specialists.
Both groups are able to build highly-targeted potential customer lists that many businesses are willing to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain, making each business very profitable.
In addition, both business models are easy to somewhat-easy in terms of cost, operation and management.
For instance, there are online businesses that create nothing but minisite web templates for various industries and verticals.
You could purchase a microsite template made for a certain product, service or group of products and services, purchase and setup both web and email hosting, and have a complete solution online ready to building a leads list all in a matter of a 24 hours at most.
You can also build targeted lead lists using the newsletter or mailing list products and services of the following:
Each provides easy-to-use sign up forms to be added to a microsite as well as business specific email templates to market products and services to customers.
In short, you can own and operate complete turn-key lead generation microsites for many different product and service niches.
Microsites are also very popular amongst the affiliate marketing crowd as each site can lend themselves to rank very well in major search engines due to their limited product focus.
And combined with an exact match domain targeting a product or product group serves to skyrocket a microsite’s search engine relevancy and rankings across all major search engines.
With the good of microsites, comes the bad and ugly
Just as there are ethical methods in implementing microsites, there are also unethical implementations.
One of the biggest and most detrimental uses of microsites is businesses using microsites as weapons to smear their competitors.
Yes, this does happen and there is nothing like having to fight microsite smear tactics, and knowing nothing about microsites or that your competitors have smeared your business using microsites.
There are also businesses that use thin microsites as their main marketing tactic.
Thin microsites are viewed as unethical due to the fact their overall purpose is to game search engines.
Some businesses create microsites targeted on certain popular products and services to only perform a bait-and-switch tactic when users arrives at the microsite, promoting a different product and service altogether than what was targeted.
Another way businesses use thin microsites are creating keyword or keyword phrase content with no other purpose than to dethrone the highly visible and searched websites of their competitors in search engine rankings.
These types of thin microsites are filled with low-quality content specifically designed with search engines in mind instead of high-quality human readable content.
There have also been microsites used in bad linking building schemes targeted at competitors where businesses will spend thousands of dollars to having their competitor websites linked to non-related and low-quality websites.
Are microsites the best search marketing vehicle?
Those are just a list of the microsite tactics, both good and bad, used by many businesses in an effort to dominate their competition and market space.
We suggest weighing the pros and cons of why a microsite or farm of microsites has been suggested for personal or professional use.
However, the real secret of microsite success lies in answering the question of whether the intent of using microsites is ethical and unethical without the deception of great riches as the objective.
What’s your take on microsites?