Jump-Starting Your New Small Business with a Microsite

Need a new website but don’t have a big budget? A microsite may be a good way to go.
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For smaller businesses, maintaining a one-page site is more time-friendly and cost-effective. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

You’re just about to open a new small business and you know having a website is essential. If you don’t have a ton of time or money, a microsite may be something to consider.

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“We use microsites as the starting point for a client who wants a professional website but simply doesn’t yet have the budget for a full-scale design and build.” -Matt Smith (Photo: Matt Smith)

According to Matt Smith, CEO of digital marketing and design firm Modmacro, a number of small businesses are starting out with super-simplified “microsites” to get their brand’s website up and running while keeping startup costs low. Modmacro recently won three industry awards for one of its microsite designs, so NCR Silver asked Smith to share how new businesses can leverage this approach to jump-start their online presence.

Related: Boost Your Business through Local Search Optimization

What is a microsite?

A microsite is simply a small (or “micro”) website. For a small business just getting started, a microsite will usually consist of a homepage with a good description of the business and contact information — just the basic, essential information a potential customer may need to know.

“We use microsites as the starting point for a client who wants a professional website but simply doesn’t yet have the budget for a full-scale design and build,” said Smith. A microsite, he noted, requires “the same level of attention to detail when it comes to the website design, the copy that we’re crafting, the on-page SEO of the site, etc. It’s just that we’re doing less of everything because it’s a smaller site.”

Some larger businesses and corporations use microsites for special marketing campaigns, to tout a particular product or service and/or to target a specific audience. By creating a standalone website with a separate domain name, these brands can accomplish their goals and reach new audiences without diluting the focus, and the SEO strategy, of their primary website.

How does the cost compare for building a microsite versus a full-size website?

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The money saved by starting with a microsite could be used for building your dream website later. (Photo: Africa Studio/Shutterstock)

“Microsites are often about half the cost of a typical small business site, sometimes even less,” Smith said. “But that varies dramatically based on several factors,” such as the number of pages needed, the level of design skill required, desired functionality, SEO and more.

Smith advised steering clear of firms offering a “one-size-fits-all” approach to web design. Each small business has its own needs, goals and target market, he said, so look for a firm that will work with your business to develop a smart, personalized approach.

Why might a microsite be a good option for a new small business?

The most immediate benefit of a microsite for a new small businesses is the cost savings, said Smith. “Every business owner wants a massive, award-winning website. But some just aren’t in a position to do it, either because of budget limits or because their business is young and they don’t know what all their website even needs to include yet.”

If you’re having a firm design your website, fewer pages to build and a more condensed structure means an easier project and a lower price tag. Aside from the initial investment, a site with only a page or a few pages will require less time and effort to maintain. If you’re paying someone to manage your website, keeping it small at first will help you keep that cost down as well.

But money isn’t the only factor to consider. For a small business owner, time can be just as valuable. If you’re hiring a firm to create your microsite, they can build it quickly. If you’re building your own site using a tool like Wix, building one page will take much less of your time than building a full-fledged site (and your site will require less time to maintain).

Microsites can also provide insight into the direction a young small business can pursue, said Smith. When you’re first getting started, it can be difficult to know everything you should include on your website. “For example, if you’re bringing three services to market, it might be smart to invest in a smaller website while we learn which of the three services will be most accepted and desired by the public. Then, once we know where the business is going, we’ll build out a larger site that focuses on the services that are performing.”

Choosing a platform

A microsite leaves businesses with plenty of room to grow — so be sure the site can scale up when you do.

“Perhaps the most important detail is the platform,” said Smith. When building a microsite, it’s best to leverage a full-size website platform.

“I don’t ever want to tell a client, ‘Well, I’m so glad that your business is growing and you’re ready to build out your website now, but unfortunately, we have to throw away everything you have no and start over.’ The microsites we build are ready to grow with the business.”

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