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Free microsites and minisites to support your landing pages
My minisites and microsites about fairy tales
We can use free mini sites or micro sites for many things. Some people can set them as their main pages with all important data (about, contact, references...), other use them only to support for their other web projects. Microsites are very popular because they are easy to use (they are mostly based on modular site building tools) and they are also free.
Well, actually all have so called pro options with advanced features, but their basic options are available for everybody absolutely free of charge!
I have been using free microsites to support my e-store with children books for couple of years now and I learned a trick or two. I invite you to read this lens on pros and cons of using micro sites, to learn from my mistakes so you can easier and in more creative way do your own:)
(All images: Openclipart.org, Public Domain and Royalty Free license)
Do you use micro sites in your on-line presence strategy?
Well, do you?
What is a microsite?
Or: what is minisite?
Microsite definition is easy: it is limited in one or more features.
Typical micro site can offer for free only limited amount of space (for example length of your texts), limited number of objects you can place on the microsite (for example pictures) and there are some things you can't add to your minisite unless you upgrade it to pro (like pdf documents to download).
Another important limitation of microsites is use of your own domain name. For serious entrepreneur the name mybusinessDOTcom certainly sounds way better than mybusinessDOTfreemicrositeDOTcom.
I will start my micro site journey with the most popular free minisite service in the world: Weebly!
Pros of free micro sites
1. They are free.
2. They are easy to use.
3. They have a lot of options to add your personal touch.
Use the power of Weebly's popularity
There are many advantages of professional site with unique content management system and paid hosting.
But most for us really don't need all the blows and whistles from the very beginning. Maybe we would like just set a simple page to check what it looks like to be on web.
Weebly and similar services are perfect solution for this situation. This book offers simple step by step guidance, useful for total beginners.
Great tips for your first steps in the big world of web opportunities!
Review of Weebly
I have set my first site on Weebly about two years ago, when I have had no idea what in the non stop war for search engines rankings works and what not. It was of course dedicated to my favorite subject: fairy tales and all my sites presented in this lens are devoted to fairy tales related subjects too.
My first micro site on Weebly wasn't interesting to search engines spiders because it wasn't properly optimized, it wasn't properly promoted and I soon forgot this adventure.
Now I know more. So I recently set up another mini site with main page and four sub pages. All pages have unique content and they are interlinked to each other. They also have links to other sites and they have pictures with proper names (keywords). Because I have done my homework (keyword research) I know there is a lot of web users who actually search for content provided on my Weebly mini site.
I reasonably expect some people will find this minisite and they will get the information they are looking for. I also provided links to my other sites with additional info. So this mini site is not made to manipulate search engines rankings in any way. It is real site with real content for real people. And as most of services of this sort it can be written in ANY language (not English only).
Of course I have opted for Slovene, because my audience comes from Slovenia. If you understand my native language you are more than welcome to check the sites listed under under this review. And if you don't, you can check them anyway. You can translate it with Google translate or simply check the graphic material from some of most popular Grimm's fairy tales.
Please note: this micro site is not cute as it could be for two reasons:
1. It is still work in progress. It will hopefully stay like that for long long time.
2. I deliberately use different designs for different pages on the mini site, because I would like to show you some attractive options Weebly offers even in this free package.
When we are talking about free sites on the internet, Weebly is without doubt the number one. This site is old, established, has millions of regular users, it is reliable and it has a lot of traffic because search engines are familiar with it.
1. They are limited in space, traffic and design.
2. If you choose the pro plan price is in most cases higher than setting your own site with your own hosting.
3. You never know if the service available now will be still available tomorrow.
How about Yola?
Yola vs. Weebly
I have found yola.com by coincidence. It is very similar to weebly but not as popular. In my opinion the main reason for this is tradition of weebly. I personally think yola has slightly cuter design and is even easier to use.
Weebly has more traffic and I believe it is easier to get your mini site on weebly indexed than mini site on yola. But both can serve its purpose if you don't make the basic mistakes of web users.
I decided to use Yola as supporting site for another great man from the fairy tales field: Hans Christian Andersen. I already have couple of articles about him and his fairy tale collection on my main site and I have couple of posts on my supporting blogs.
I have chosen four popular fairy tales written by H. C. Andersen, wrote short summary, added some not so easy to find interesting facts from Andersen's personal life and the mini site was build in couple of hours.
It could be done even faster, but I think in this case we can't talk about work in progress anymore. This mini site is ready to show off!
Top five mistakes
1. Not enough original content
2. No graphics
3. No promotion
4. Too much promotion
5. Not enough patience
- Pravljice bratov Grimm (Fairy Tales of Brothers Grimm)
Oldest of all.
- Grimmove pravljice (Grimm's Fairy Tales)
Authority can't be passed out!
- Pravljice Hansa Christiana Andersena (Fairy Tales of H. C. Andersen)
My first attempts in this field.
- Slovenske pravljice (Slovene Fairy Tales)
About Fairy Tales in Slovenia
They have their limitations but they are easy to use and with some proper support they can serve as great way for additional source of traffic to your main site.
If you have small business offering personal service one nice micro site can really be enough for you. It is free and you can always upgrade your plan if your business thrives better than expected.
Micro and mini sites are certainly worth considering to use in your strategy in better presence in the Wild World of Web:)