Microsites and Multiple Websites

Internet Marketing, Podcasts, Web Strategy

In this Internet marketing podcast Glenn and Tom talk about the use of microsites and strategies for multiple Websites. This podcast topic was a request from one of listeners in Australia.

“I have a podcast topic suggestion: servicing different countries and the options for (search) optimizing your presence in each. For a while I’ve been advocating that organizations should only consider ‘localized’ microsites for each major geographic market; but then I read a blog from Google the other day, and now I’m not so sure. What are your thoughts?” Tim Martin – – Australia

What is a microsite?

  • Part of a multiple Website strategy
  • Smaller Websites as apposed to one large Website
  • Used for different countries, very different markets
  • Sometimes used for SEO purpose, but be careful
  • Simplifies navigation for the user
  • The microsites have one unique domain
  • They may link to the main central Website
  • Usually have various domain names in this strategy for each microsite
  • There is a downside and they can also be a problem for users and Google

What are the keys to making this type of strategy work?

  • Develop a strategy first and then implement the microsites
  • Have a very clear goal for this strategy
  • What is the ROI and how does it effect the bottom line
  • To better meet visitor needs, the Website user is what matters in this strategy
  • These Websites MUST add value not confusion people
  • Microsites must be convenient for the user and their needs
  • Make each microsite easy to understand with a clear, direct purpose
  • Microsites must have depth of content

When does it make sense for a company to have multiple Websites?

  • When you are differentiating brands, services or products
  • When you are providing stand-alone resources or information
  • When the micorsites can stand alone and be consistent
  • The sites can benefit from SEO if done with the right strategy
  • Microsites must have depth of content
  • Can be used for a short promotion or incentive

What are a few problems that can happen in this strategy?

  • Confusing the target market and competing with your main Website
  • Upsetting SEO guidelines in Google
  • Upset the Google linking strategy
  • Higher hosting costs and site maintenance time
  • Difficult to keep content updated and sites can become stale or irrelevant
  • There is no trick or quick fix to Web marketing

What are a few examples of successful microsite strategies?

  • Automotive Sales – Car Dealerships
  • Stand alone international Websites
  • h3 brand variations – Pepsico
  • A stand-alone blog or news Website
  • Insurance or mortgage company providing news
  • Financial information Websites
  • New product announcements
  • Promotions, surveys or tests (A/B testing)
  • Get a great domain name for your product, service or other key content
  • The Intuitive Website’s Four Step Process Website

What are the key action items for the listener?

  • Revisit your strategic Web marketing plan to determine if microsites are appropriate for your business plan
  • Research the needs of the target market and site users
  • Play by the rules of Google and add depth to all your Websites
  • Be ready to monitor the microsites and keep them updated

This has been the Intuitive Websites Internet Marketing Podcast for more information and to see all the available podcasts and much more, visit IntuitiveWebsites.com. This podcast is on iTunes.

Thomas Young

1 Comment. Leave new

  • The best example I have seen of an e-commerce site utilizing a bunch of micro sites is Hayneedle, http://www.hayneedle.com. They have over 200 different domain names under one site. These sites range from home & garden products to sports to pets to seasonal products and gifts. Most of their domain names are high quality, short domains, such as birdbaths.com, hammocks.com, etc. If they were not able to secure a keyword specific domain, they purchased the next closest thing, such as doormatsource.com, simplymirrors.com, etc.

    I’m not sure if this strategy is penalized by Google, but since they actively use each one of these sites it seems to be ok. If someone was just buying old domains with relatively high PR just to link to their domain that would obviously be frowned upon.

    Hayneedle’s goal is to buy domains for specific categories that use keywords with high search traffic. When searching for a set of keyword(s) such as “hammocks”, Google will factor in that Hayneedle has a domain called hammocks.com.

    From a purely user perspective, having these micro sites helps keep users attention on focused topics. Plus they do a very good job of integrating those sites. No matter how a user drops into one of their sites, they allow the user to navigate to their 200 plus websites with one click of a button, but if they are only interested in one specific micro site they are not distracted.

    To boot, their management team is full of top notch individuals. Their executive team includes individuals who held high ranking positions at Wal-Mart, Google, Amazon.com, J Crew, etc.


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