I love tiny things: my favorite of course being a tiny pig in rain boots, but my second favorite tiny thing is a microsite. We get a ton of questions about microsites from nonprofits so we are here to settle the score. First, for those of you who don’t know and are currently asking, “What the heck is a microsite?,” we got you. We will walk you through exactly what a microsite is and address the inevitable question, "Does my nonprofit need one?".
What is a microsite?
A microsite is a smaller website that exists outside of your organization’s homepage. It has its own URL as well as template, branding, calls-to-action (CTA’s) and all of the other cool stuff that goes into a website. Generally microsites contain fewer pages and are centered around a more specific event, campaign, program or serves another very specific purpose. The term micro can be sort of confusing because if you aren’t web savvy, than these sites look quite similar. Instead, you can think of it as a separate “webspace” that lives outside of your organization’s homebase (homepage). You might confuse this with a “landing page” but the key difference is that a landing page is housed within your organization’s website and does not have its own separate URL or navigation menu.
What goes into the creation of a microsite?
Building a microsite, like a website, requires investment both monetary and time and ought to be done with care. Using the same templates for your nonprofit’s homesite and microsite is a big no no and will lead to user (and admin) confusion. Instead, you should invest the time and money into designing and building out a separate template for your microsite. When building a microsite within WordPress, we use a tool called Multisite. This tools allows for access to both of the sites in the same backend. This means that you can edit content for both sites with the same login! Cool right?
Does my nonprofit need a microsite?
The best way to answer this is ask yourself if your nonprofit has additional information that cannot be stored in the navigation menu of your main site. If the answer is yes, then you are probably going to need to look into a microsite. If you aren’t sure, we have some common indicators that a microsite would be a good fit for your nonprofit.
Are you a larger nonprofit with multiple chapters in different locations? This might mean that an additional microsite is right for you although this will depend on the larger organization. Perhaps you are a large organization with two main hubs. These two hubs might require separate microsites so that they can effectively communicate with their respective communities. This would be a choice that the larger organization would make and each nonprofit does it differently!
Many times nonprofits sponsor or organize large events that become so big they take on lives of their own! Events like these can be created in a microsite. Think run/walks that require registration, volunteer signup, day of information and other details. That is a lot of content to try and fit on your main page. Instead, a microsite with its own URL and navigation menu might be a good option to house all of those event-specific content pages.
Maybe you’re a nonprofit focused on helping former inmates reintegrate post prison and you develop a curriculum that you use in your home city. This curriculum might end up proving extremely effective and soon you want to use it in other cities throughout the country. This large program with its curriculum might require a seperate site to house all of the related content. However, you still want the program connected to your nonprofit and want the SEO benefits. In the case of a large program like this, a microsite would be a great option for your nonprofit!
Research and Reports
Some nonprofits conduct extensive annual or biannual research that is related to the overall mission of their nonprofit. This research might include reports, affiliates, interactive maps and more. In a case like this, this research and report information might warrant its own microsite. Not only does this help to keep things organized, it also keeps the main site a little bit lighter so not to slow down site speed.
Microsites are a wonderful way for nonprofits to manage large entities related to what they do in an organized manner. This does mean an additional monetary investment from the nonprofit but if your organization is one of the above, then it really does need to invest. Doing so will ensure that you are able to effectively create more change in the world! If you have any questions about microsites or just want to chat, we would love to! Please reach out to us at Elevation!