Back to Microsites
Back to Microsites

The power of the modern microsite

Man looking at website on computer laptop

It’s a brand-new year, full of new possibilities. And there's no better time than now to bring new possibilities to life in your digital experience and content strategy. Incorporating microsites into your online strategy is one of those possibilities.

Did you know that modern CMS technologies now enable you to launch microsites in as little as one to two weeks? If you're looking to enable experimentation, create targeted and personalized campaigns or launch new capabilities outside of your main website, it's time to consider microsites.

Alistair Wearmouth
By Alistair Wearmouth
December 13, 2021
Microsites are generally intended to support specific digital campaign goals that diverge slightly from your main website or require a dedicated set of styles, content and calls to action in support of the campaign. Let's delve deeper into the ways a microsite differs to a website, and how your CMS needs to be configured to support microsite creation.
19 Min Read

We love them because we've seen how they help companies regain creative control, experiment with fresh capabilities and test out new campaigns. By giving you the power to separate specific initiatives from your core site, microsites enable you to drive engagement without interrupting the usual flow of your primary site. Here's everything you need to know.

Microsite definition

By definition a microsite is a smaller, specialized website or web page that operates autonomously from an organization's main website, while still being affiliated with the parent brand. They are usually used to highlight or promote a particular product, service, campaign, or event. The key characteristics of a microsite include having a separate domain or subdomain, being rich in content and focusing on a specific topic. Microsites are designed with a clear, targeted purpose and often cater to a specific audience segment. They can be temporary, for a specific campaign duration, or permanent, like a blog platform. The adaptability of microsites makes them a versatile tool in digital marketing strategies.

Site within site

A microsite can be regarded as a 'site within a site'. Essentially, it functions as an independent entity while still being part of the main website. This makes it unique from other website elements such as landing pages, which are designed as single pages within a website. A microsite, though it can be single-paged, offers more content and is generally more elaborate.

A key feature of a microsite is its focus. Unlike a typical website that provides comprehensive information about a brand, a microsite is centered on a specific product, service, or campaign. This allows for more targeted and personalized content, catering to a specific audience or purpose. For instance, Chanel has a microsite named 'Inside Chanel' that educates visitors about the company's history and heritage through multimedia content.

Also, a microsite can have its own domain name or subdomain, which further emphasizes its distinct identity within the main website.

Microsite FAQs

What is a microsite?

A microsite is a branded content site that lives outside of your company homepage and/or brand URL. Most people assume microsites must have completely different URLs, but they can also be subdomains of your main website. They are also referred to as “content hubs.”

Microsites are typically built for a specific campaign or a discrete objective. Because most of these objectives have a finite end—such as a launch or an upcoming event—they usually live online for a distinct period of time. But there are times when you can maintain a microsite long-term, for example when you use it to house a blog.

While microsites have very specific objectives, it’s important to note that they are also extremely adaptable based on your needs.

What can a microsite do for you?

Content marketing teams will be pleased to know that they are easy and manageable—and they offer the flexibility to pursue innovative tactics for reaching customers. Everyone from CMOs to brand managers will benefit from a microsite.

It’s important to note that they don’t exist simply to deliver marketing messages—they provide additional value to customers. By dedicating your site to a single topic, product or service, you're doubling down on dedication to your customers. And at the end of the day, that's what it's all about: getting your customers exactly what they need or want, in a fast, accessible and engaging manner.

Here are some examples of the ways in which a microsite can help your business:
  • To create awareness around a new product launch
  • To reach a new, targeted audience demographic
  • To encourage a specific user action (register, purchase, subscribe, etc.)
  • To publish content displayed on HTML pages
  • To market test a new concept
  • To experiment with innovative features and take risks
  • Event sites: Promote a specific event and encourage users to learn more and sign up.
  • Marketing campaigns: Intended to run seasonally and showcase new products or initiatives to generate excitement and drive leads.
  • Blogs: Provide the freedom to experiment, target a specific audience or vertical or express viewpoints that may differ from an established brand voice. These blogs are separate from the main site.
  • Branded games: Drive engagement and increase brand affinity without causing dissonance on a main website.
  • Infographics: Present information in a visually engaging way, warranting exposure that’s separate from other content.
  • Test Labs: Test a new idea or capability outside of a main site to a small, defined audience.
  • Fast launch and content delivery: Many will exist only for a specific duration, so speed is imperative.
  • Front-end freedom: They make navigation easy and intuitive.
  • Rapid design with little IT involvement: They allow editorial teams to upload and update content without a heavy reliance on IT.
  • Ability to launch and maintain multiple sites: Want 50 separate sites? Microsites make it easy to maintain every single one.
  • Brand independence: It’s time to get creative! No need to align with the main site’s brand voice, look or feel—unless you want to, of course.
  • Complete control over your content and ideas: Because they exist outside the corporate domain, what you publish tends to undergo less scrutiny.
  • Differentiated customer experiences: Create distinct sites for different customer personas, delivering the personalized experiences everyone is looking for.

What does a microsite do?

From hosting events to releasing new products, microsites can serve multiple purposes across marketing, product, brand and PR teams. Some of the most common types include:

Perhaps you want to expand your efforts to a foreign country and need to publish content in another language. Instead of picking and choosing which pages need that functionality, a microsite can exist specifically for the audience that speaks that language.

No matter what your use case may be, a microsite is a compelling way to showcase your expertise, explain your business effectively and, ultimately, drive organic growth.

What is a microsite vs website?

A microsite and a website serve different purposes and are built differently. A website is your brand's online headquarters, a comprehensive platform that houses all information related to your business. It's designed to attract a wide audience, with multiple pages dedicated to different aspects of your company such as services, products, about us and contact information.

On the other hand, a microsite is a smaller, specialized site with a specific purpose and targeted audience. It could be part of a particular marketing campaign, product launch or event, operating under a separate domain or subdomain. Unlike a website that provides a broad spectrum of information, a microsite focuses on a single topic, allowing for a more personalized and targeted user experience.

Are microsites still a thing?

The relevance of microsites in today's digital landscape is undeniable. Despite the evolution of digital marketing strategies and the rise of social media platforms, microsites continue to be an effective tool for many brands. Their focused nature allows for targeted marketing, which can lead to higher conversion rates.

In terms of SEO, microsites can be highly beneficial. With the right strategy, they can potentially rank well in search results, boosting your brand's visibility. They also provide an excellent platform for showcasing a specific product or service, making them ideal for promotional campaigns.

Another factor contributing to their sustained relevance is the flexibility they offer. Microsites can be easily updated or modified to cater to changing market trends or customer preferences.

However, it's worth noting that microsites, like any other digital marketing tool, need to be well-designed and strategically implemented to ensure success. They should offer value to the user, be easy to navigate, and align with the overall brand identity.

Despite the rise of new platforms and technologies, microsites remain a valuable part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.

What is a microsite link?

A microsite link refers to the URL or web address that directs users to a microsite. This link is typically unique and separate from the main website's domain, emphasizing the microsite's distinct identity. It could be a standalone domain or a subdomain under the main website's domain.

The structure of this link often reflects the microsite's specific purpose or target audience. For example, a microsite created for a particular marketing campaign might have a link that includes the campaign name.

Microsite links are commonly used in promotional materials, social media posts or email marketing campaigns to direct traffic to the microsite. By clicking on the link, users are taken directly to the microsite where they can learn more about the specific topic, product, or campaign the microsite is dedicated to.

How does Brightspot CMS support microsites?

Brightspot CMS is designed to facilitate the creation and management of microsites efficiently. It possesses a multisite capability, allowing administrators to effortlessly establish new microsites tailored to a wide array of needs. This native multisite feature enables organizations to configure these sites to best suit their objectives.

With Brightspot CMS, you can leverage existing development work, media assets and content processes to expedite the setup of your microsite. This means you can get your microsite up and running in a shorter span, promoting agility in your digital campaigns.

It also offers vital functionalities required to deploy, manage, and support microsites effectively, simplifying development across web and mobile platforms. This enables quick roll-out of unique sites within the core CMS, contributing to efficient management and support over time.


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