Friday, 13 April 2018

Microsites, minisites and weblets, part II

Image: microsites from for and movie Hostiles In Part I we attempted to define microsites, minisites and weblets and got bogged down in the myriad possibilities of what these things may or may not contain. Let's look at some examples instead.

It's tricky to find examples in play that everyone will have seen and recognise. The classic microsite is for a short-term product launch or promo campaign; those from Coca Cola, Jaguar, Porsche, Kawasaki that I was going to cite have all run their course and the web addresses redirected back to the corporate site.

Indie or co-production movies often have their own websites; Hostiles, at is an example of a movie microsite; its own domain URL, a small number of pages, some sparse but relevant content - trailer, gallery, synopsis -  and a call to action: get tickets. This is a classic, if not the greatest, micro-site in the traditional sense of a marketing promotional site. It's separate from parent company Entertainment Studios.

A big established studio like Paramount doesn't tend to promote its content this way - for example on its main site find the movie Annihilation. The web address given for 'visit official movie site' actually takes you to a Facebook page. We'll consider why Paramount chooses to promote this way later.

Another type of microsite at the opposite end of the spectrum is the one operated by the Ford motor company.

Ford has a section on it's corporate site, usefully identified as /microsites containing items such as its Sustainability Report 2016-17. This, by my standards, is anything but micro; I lost count between forty and fifty pages of content with at least three levels of navigation and a stack of downloadable material.

In fact, most of the soft drinks, cars, motorbike, perfume, pizza et al. microsites are usually considered to be squeeze pages, to use the marking term; landing pages designed to capture sales leads, increase subscriptions to newsletters and promotions, or  log registrations for an event (conference, concert, movie, exhibition, festival, webinars, seminars).

Not a microsite

Since our list of attributes includes a lot of "may or may not's", let's try to agree what's NOT a microsite.

You could draw the line at, say, DeviantArt which is an online artwork, videography and photography community,  with the emphasis on community. Likewise MySpace (remember that? Still going...), or SoundCloud. Anywhere that you're uploading personal porfolio's I'd suggest is in the territory of media sharing platforms, not micro-sites.

So while those three give you a profile page and a sub-domain URL, it's more like Google Photos or Flickr as a content platform, with a chunk of social media (comments, bulltetin-boards, forums) and ecommerce (core memberships, shop), wrapped up in an industrial-strength delivery platform by a third party.

One-page Wonders

Let's come back to the idea of 'micro'. The extreme end of which is the one-page website, typified by the likes of the online business card provider (oh, look, there's me).

We'll look closer next time in A word about weblets. RC

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