With the persistence of digital background noise, getting consumer attention can feel like a fruitless effort. Once attention is earned, keeping it is an entirely different effort. Research by the Nielsen Norman Group suggests that user attention dwindles quickly with time, and most users know if a webpage is useful for them in the first ten seconds of their visit.
Using the right method of delivery attracts users’ attention and keeps them engaged. A delivery method that is most aligned with your goals moves your audiences to take the right actions and quickly find the information most important to them. You have different options for making the most out of your web space, including using microsites and landing pages.
Many confuse the two. While microsites and landing pages are similar, they are by no means the same thing. In this article, we’ll define what each one is, the advantages and disadvantages of both, and how to decide which one is best for your business.
Microsites: a website for a specific audience
A microsite is a standalone webpage (or collection of webpages) with its own subdomain or specific URL, meaning it’s independent of the company’s website. If you’re looking to offer highly specialized content for a target audience, then this may be the right choice for you.
What is the purpose of a microsite?
Not all information neatly fits into an organization’s website. If your website is congested with all kinds of information, microsites provide specialized locations for content to clean things up.
Content that serves temporary purposes, leverages niche audiences, or experiments with a unique design generally belong on a microsite rather than a website.
Some examples of content that may be featured on a microsite include:
- An immersive webpage for a product launch
- A short-term marketing campaign
- A specialized sales pitch
- Internal training, learning, and communication portals
Microsites work well for curated experiences. These pages allow you to create content that is flexible in delivery and duration, which can save you the heartache of reworking content on a more stable homepage or landing page.
What are the advantages of a microsite?
Depending on your goals, using a microsite offers several advantages.
Without all the distractions of a website, microsites allow users to find what they are looking for faster. Easy access to pertinent information means that users are more likely to engage with your content longer.
Though a microsite can include elements of your branding, its detachment from other more consistent landing pages means you have more creative and analytic flexibility. This makes them excellent for experimentation that would otherwise be a risk to your brand.
Microsites are great for building engagement for a specific campaign. Determining the efficacy of niche experiences or tailored content is easy because the analytics reported on a microsite are specifically about the target audience and exclusively report on the included content.
Microsites are also easy to change, update, and remove, so there’s no need to worry about the hassle of returning main landing pages to their original state when marketing campaigns and special initiatives are over.
Ultimately, the possibilities of a microsite are only limited by your imagination.
What are the disadvantages of a microsite?
While microsites can help boost SEO by adding more websites under your brand, they can drive traffic away from your main website. This means that you’ll be tracking SEO in both your website and the microsite. If you’re trying to boost traffic to your main website, microsites can interfere with this.
Microsites can also be confusing and costly if you’re not using the right service. They require the ability to maintain a different domain, which can be cumbersome. However, if you select the right platform, developing a microsite is easy. Zoomforth, for example, leverages intuitive drag-and-drop design features and takes care of hosting.
Landing page: a page with a purpose
A landing page is a single web page on your main website to promote a specific product or service that your company offers. Your home page likely includes a menu of different landing pages. A landing page includes links to your product catalog or a subscription page and encourages users to complete a call-to-action (CTA).
What is the purpose of a landing page?
A landing page is meant to promote conversion. It’s housed on your main website and can be accessed through your homepage. It’s created with a specific purpose geared towards prospects.
It may seek to move people to a certain action, such as subscribing to your newsletter or understanding products and services.
These landing pages may serve the purpose of offering high-level introductions to different aspects of your business. They are consistent with the surrounding construction of your website in terms of branding and design.
Landing pages are typically fixtures on a website because they offer information that people frequently return to and which infrequently change.
What are the advantages of a landing page?
A landing page is a reliable way to share information about aspects of your business. They’re simple and affordable to create, only constituting a single page with no need for navigation. They don’t require a lot of maintenance, as they’re located on your company’s main website. Generally, the low time investment spent on making a landing page is more time you’ll spend on creating web content.
They also infrequently change because they are meant to be consistent. They outline key products and services that your business offers, which are not likely to change. If change is needed, though, they’re easy to remove and revise.
Also, they’re great at promoting conversion and offer many excellent tracking capabilities. They can be keyword-rich with a simple URL, meaning they’re great for your SEO.
What are the disadvantages of a landing page?
A landing page includes basic information and has a narrow focus. They do one thing, and they do that well, but they’re not a robust solution. It tells parts of a story, but it won’t be content-rich enough to tell a whole story on its own. If you’re looking to create substantial promotions for your businesses, landing pages will likely not cut it.
Because of its small scope, it can be hard to collect detailed user experience data. It’s interspersed with your general content, meaning there’s not a lot of distinction that can be made for specific audiences.
Landing pages are attached to your main domain, so they may also lend themselves to some design restrictions. This might make it difficult to integrate creative and interactive elements that are inconsistent with your branding.
Microsite vs. landing page: which do I need?
Consider your goals
Determining whether a microsite or a landing page is right for the content you are creating starts with considering your goals.
How you determine which delivery method you need should be aligned with more than just aesthetic goals, but also execution and maintenance.
If you’re trying to decide whether a landing page or a microsite is better suited for your campaign, try answering the following questions:
- Is the information you are sharing specific, in-depth, and for a limited audience?
- Will the page only be temporarily accessed?
- Are you looking to create an immersive experience for users that keeps them engaged with the content?
- Are you hoping to gather detailed user and experience data about specific elements?
If you answered ‘yes’ to most of these questions, it may make sense to use a microsite to help you create a curated and immersive experience for a targeted audience.
Otherwise, if you’re looking to outline a key product or service geared towards general prospects, a landing page is more suited for that.
Consider your budget
There is a lot of flexibility in creating web content. The starting cost for creating a website runs anywhere from $200 to $10,000. These quotes depend on whether a developer is commissioned, design software is used, and how complex the webpages are.
Paying to develop microsites can be more costly than adding landing pages to existing domains if contracted developers are used. However, different services offer easy-to-use platforms to create content on your own. This is an affordable way to create immersive content without involving out-of-house experts.
Why not both?
Your business and your market are robust. Meeting all of their needs means using dynamic solutions.
Using both landing pages and microsites effectively ensures that you are targeting the appropriate needs of all of your users and making the most of what web-based tools offer.
Users expect to easily find information that is delivered engagingly. Knowing which form of web publishing to use to achieve your goals can mean using both landing pages and microsites.
Publish your microsites easily with Zoomforth
If you’re looking to create a tailored web experience, expand your business’s intranet, or experiment with different online tools, a microsite is a perfect option.
Using intuitive development software means that you can do this in-house, without paying web developers or struggling with complex coding languages.