Does a new campaign need a new microsite?

A debate that seems unkillable, in my work at least, is whether a new microsite should be created for each new campaign. Often it comes with a request for a completely new domain name too.

This ‘Just say no to microsites’ article from Tanzen Consulting talks through the many pitfalls involved with creating microsites, and outlines the times when they do make sense. Lots of interesting insights in the article; the key takeaway for me is the recommendation that each organisation develop a content and domain policy that’s in place before these requests for microsites spring up.

About new domains

It’s generally not a great idea to buy a completely new domain for new campaigns. The key reasons:

  • Google Grant Adwords accounts are restricted to a single domain. Starting a new domain means you can’t promote your campaign for free through one of the most effective digital channels available. You can use subdomains (such as shop.charityname.org) so consider those instead.
  • A brand new domain name has no search engine presence; you’re starting from scratch rather than capitalising on the search engine optimisation that you’ve already built up over the years.

Landing pages vs microsites

Think about using a conversion-focused landing page instead of a microsite. This is something that you may be already able to set up on your site, or you could ask your web designer to create a reusable template for you.

This type of landing page features one conversion and removes all other distractions, so would generally feature a minimal navigation, and is focused on getting the visitor to complete one single thing like a donation, petition signature or registration – no competing calls to action.

charity:water are (of course) excellent at landing pages – see a lovely example here for their birthday pledge campaign, and notice how they provide plenty of information that convinces without ever requiring a click away to another page.

I heart landing pages – they’re easier to produce than a microsite, they force us to communicate in a more streamlined and less cluttered way, and I’ve found them to be so effective for actually getting people to do things. Try proposing them as an alternative to microsites and see how you get on….

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About the Author: Jean

Jean O'Brien is a digital communications expert and designer, who has over a decade of experience working as an online specialist with Irish charities.

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