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Mini Sites Can Work for You

by | Oct 14, 2014 | Articles, Web Design, Web Development | 0 comments

For years, websites for businesses and organizations resembled elaborate family trees, with dozens, perhaps even hundreds of branches constituting a link to each new section of the site. The landscape of the internet has changed, as users become less likely to follow each new link to find the information they want, especially on their smartphones, and as search engines continue to redefine how a site can climb to the top of their rankings. Many companies, both large and small, are using mini sites (sometimes called micro sites) to increase attention to their brand.

What Are Mini Sites?

What are mini sites?

Mini sites can contain anything, from information about a particular service, product, event, or location. These are often separate from the business’s main website, and serve a specific purpose or target a specific audience. Often, they also incorporate interactive elements or multiple forms of media to attract attention.

Many movie companies use this model as a means of reaching the audience for the movie, itself, without forcing them to first search through the studio’s page. Lay’s potato chips has used the mini site as a way of generating new flavors and attention to its brand through, which allows visitors to create flavors, share them with friends, and try to get enough votes to become a potato chip flavor. Once the creation period ends, the site stays live as a voting location for the top picks. The site is clearly connected to the original brand, but is also obviously promoting something different.

Another excellent example of the mini site is, which uses a mixture of information text, photographs, videos and flash animations to present its digital house design software. If you visit the room decorating software site, you can begin to understand what an interactive mini site should look like. This site begins immediately with a focus on its digital house design software and does not first require a visit to a corporate landing page. It also has a smooth design that allows for easier cross-platform (computer, tablet, smartphone) viewing. There is no series of links on this page. All users needs to do is simply scroll down to have every piece of information and every visual at their fingertips.

Big Work, Small Scale

At first glance of the Digital Design site, it is obvious these sites may be labeled as “mini” or “micro,” but the work that goes into their planning, design and launching is not necessarily a short process. Like a successful advertising campaign, a good mini site is not something that is thrown together overnight. Companies must determine what the target audience for the site will be and then decide what tools will best allow them to target that audience. Would audio and photos be enough? Should they incorporate video, animation or webcams as well? Depending upon the audience, the goal, and the budget, the answer could be yes to all or just some of these possibilities.

Not Necessarily Long-Lived

Some mini sites have the staying power to last as long as a company’s main landing page, but most often, mini sites have shorter lifespans. These sites are typically live for a few months, maybe years, to reach their target audience and promote their specific product, event, service or marketing tactic. Once the product has been replaced by a newer model, the event has passed or a new advertising campaign has been adopted, the old mini site is typically closed.

Considering the amount of time that goes into the development of one of these sites, it can seem discouraging that the ultimate product will be so short-lived. That is why it is best not to compare the sites to traditional websites, which last as long as the company creating them, but to mainstream advertising. Television and radio commercials have a few mainstays that last for years, but often, an advertisement lasts only as long as it is still fresh and serving its purpose. Once it is no longer new enough to capture an audience’s attention, it is no longer promoting its company and is retired. Mini sites operate in much the same way.

Interacting to Generate Leads

One major difference between a mini site and a commercial is the potential for interactive media on the site. This helps to attract a targeted audience and keeps them on the site longer than they might pay attention to a 30-second commercial or print ad. This kind of interactive presentation can be seen on the Digital Decorator’s site, as it begins with animation and scrolls down to reveal photos and finally a video demonstrating its room decorating software. Other sites may incorporate a game that ends with a funny picture that visitors then share with their social networks, getting more exposure for the mini site.

The leads that an interactive mini site can generate for any business cannot be understated. These sites offer a new angle for a business to reach out to its customer base or to find a new one. They also provide a new way for a company to connect in other ways with their would-be clients. These sites often have links back to the home page for the company or the business’s blog. They also incorporate buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to give visitors the opportunity to spread the website, and consequently the business, beyond its normal reach.

Having a mini site also increases the odds that a company may dominate a search engine ranking. Well designed mini sites and company home pages could easily earn the top rankings in certain searches, pushing competitors further down in the results. Just remember that the new search engine algorithms have ways of weeding out sites that are poorly designed or use too many keywords for the sake of search engine optimization.

Make Mini Sites Work for You

The Internet has changed drastically for those who remember the days of modems and dial-up, but the revolution online didn’t stop with high speed internet. With smartphones traveling everywhere, social media allowing for connections businesses could only dream of, and the changes to users’ online habits, it is important for a business to learn how to keep up on the web. Mini sites offer one more tool for businesses seeking to find their niche market, to reach new customers, and to promote something new in a way that gets visitors excited about it.

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