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Single Purpose, Serving, Use, and Microsites as Marketing Tools

Updated on November 18, 2012

What Are They?

Single purpose/serving/use sites are sites that are small in scope and usability. In particular, on the web, single purpose, single serving, and single use sites mean nearly the same thing. Microsites, meanwhile, have a more commercialized and structured feel. They are often mean to compliment main website activity. For the purpose of this hub, all of these will be grouped together as one, unless they need to be examined individually.

How Are They Useful?

Single purpose/serving/use sites and microsites are useful in that they provide a great deal of focus. Where a normal website might have many different functions and reasons for existing, such a site typically has only one--making it easier to show off whatever message it is that a company wants to convey. Because of their small scale, they are also able to be changed very easily. If something isn't working for a particular audience, updates can be made in a fraction of the time that it would take otherwise. Because these sites are so small, they can focus on providing very targeted content--increasing conversions, which is especially great for sites where the main goal is to increase leads generated or sales.

Criticism About These Sites

Their prevalence on the web has not gone unnoticed. Particularly with online marketers and technologists, there is increasing resistance towards brands creating and using microsites. Specifically, they see it as a way for web development agencies to make a quick buck off of businesses, creating things that are high in profit for the agencies, low in development time, flashy, but not really significant in terms of user acquisition and retention. Such examples of microsites which have not really done much include subservient chicken and shave everywhere.

So Where Does That Leave Us?

Particularly with single serving sites that are coded almost entirely in HTML or some variant (not flash), owners receive the benefits of having the content disseminated and readable on most browsers. Even for sites that are predominately flash, if development time is relatively low, the benefits of putting out a single purpose/serving/use may outweigh the problems.

Perhaps the biggest thing to consider is the larger cost of maintaining the site. If there are people still trafficking a site utilized as a marketing tool, months if not years later; how do domain and hosting costs factor in? If the return on investment is great enough to warrant leaving the site up, it might be a good thing to do, especially if it means increasing and directing traffic to various properties you might have.

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