You probably hear many justifications for creating microsites:
- “I want to have a website that I can fully control.”
- “If I send my audience to the master company website, they may go somewhere else on the website, and they get away from the product lines I’m in charge of.”
- “The experience, design, and page templates of the master website don’t meet my needs.”
- “It’s easier and faster to create a new website than to get content published on the master company website.”
- “Leads from my area of the master website will be lost in the total volume of leads.”
While some of these reasons may be valid, the proliferation of microsites is not good for your company.
Too many microsites can:
- Create a fragmented online experience for your users who are moved from one microsite to another without a consistent and unified experience.
- Negatively impact your search engine optimization strategy as content is often duplicated across several websites.
- Cost your company in terms of resources and money. Each microsite necessitates re-creating the user experience, design, templates, etc.
- Create a multitude of web properties you may struggle to control.
- Often lead to outdated content when the team in charge of creating the microsite moves on to other roles and no one is responsible for keeping the microsite fresh.
- Create potential security risks when microsites are developed outside of your core website creation process and are not aligned with established technical and security guidelines.
Is the solution to stop microsites? Maybe not. A better option is to define specific cases when it’s appropriate to set up microsites, together with clear guidelines for creating them. Microsites should live for a limited time only. Important content should sit on the master company website.
6 steps for maintaining control of microsites:
- List 3-5 specific cases when a microsite is allowed, e.g. a product launch or event.
- Define guidelines on new microsite design, templates, and technical infrastructure.
- Right at the start, establish the end date when the microsite should be discontinued.
- Before buying a new domain name, think about what could happen if you don’t renew it and it falls into the wrong hands.
- Maintain a list of all microsites with the names of the responsible teams.
- Once a year, review the list of existing microsites.
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