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School Microsites: Sharpen Your Focus for More Engagement
Connor Gleason

Your school's website can sometimes have hundreds of pages full of important information. But when you have a targeted, specific, and important message to share, where do you send your community to learn more?

When your school or district needs focused marketing and communications, a microsite can help get the right message to the right people. A microsite is a smaller, separate part of your main school website built for a specific purpose and targeted audience.

A microsite is designed to focus on just one thing and make a big splash. Whether it's a special program, a major event, or an important fundraising campaign, a microsite makes sure that one message, campaign, program, or milestone gets the attention it needs and deserves.

Microsites vs Websites: What's the Difference?

Microsites are a powerful tool in your school marketing toolkit because they help you tell specific stories to the right people in a clear and focused way. For example, if your school is starting a new summer program, a microsite can share all about it – what it is, who it's for, and why it's special.

This hyper-focused approach is great for reaching specific groups like potential new students, parents, or donors, making sure they get just the information they need without getting lost or distracted by a more complex school website.

Here's why microsites are a smart choice for schools:

Clear and Direct Messages

With a large website, your message might get lost. But on a microsite, your message is front and center and that helps you tell your story more clearly.

Target Specific Audiences

Different people are interested in different things. A microsite lets you talk directly to the people who are most interested in what you're sharing.

Easy to Share and Promote

Microsites are easy to share and simple for people to find and learn about what's happening.

Great for Short-Term Goals

Some projects don't last forever, and a microsite can be perfect for these short-term goals. While a new school website may take months to get up and running, a microsite can be ready to launch much sooner.

Easy to Measure Success

With a microsite, you can see how many people visit, what they look at, and how long they stay. This helps you understand what's working and what's not because you know why users visit.

School Microsites Examples

Capital Campaign Microsites

When raising support for a project, a microsite can help you explain the project and its potential impact. Show how much money you've raised, and thank your donors.

emma willard aerial campus shot

Emma Willard School launched what’s considered the largest campaign for an independent girls’ secondary school in the history of America. The school’s microsite for the Infinite Horizon campaign beautifully outlines its priorities and leadership, as well as the multiple ways to contribute and recent updates to the campaign efforts.

"A key goal of the microsite was to have a place where we could hold all those assets," said Emma Willard School's chief communications and marketing officer Luke Meyers. "A microsite gives you more flexibility with a brand that’s an extension of your website, and more options for how we structured the information versus just having to conform to what our main website had."

Together as brothers screenshot

La Salle College High School takes a similar approach by presenting the vision of its capital campaign, Together as Brothers. Its microsite details the impact of a contribution toward its mission with separate pages outlining the importance of the mentorships, its faith and values, and all the ways an investment will benefit future generations of students.

Summer Camp Microsites

A microsite for your school's summer camps can give information about different camps, how to sign up, and what to expect.

students smiling outside

Fun is “serious business” at Landon’s summer program, and its microsite captures the endless smiles and friendships made through its dozens of summer programs and clinics. The microsite is well designed with FAQS, financial policies, and registration information that is neatly organized, and programs that are easily searchable using Finalsite Posts.

delbarton microsite screenshot students at work

Delbarton provides a virtual home for its full suite of summer activities and summer camps. The microsite is a great strategy — academic programs and sports camps are the perfect avenue to introduce new families to the school.

Athletic Microsites

For your sports teams, create a microsite with game schedules, team photos, slideshows, and recent scores.

womens soccer game

The Linsly School supports its three-season athletic program with a microsite for game schedules, season results, team pages, and all the details. Sports-specific news, livestreams, facility information, and calendars round out this site, which is packed with information for families and alumni.

goalie making save

Pingry’s Big Blue microsite covers it all, from the latest updates and events to college recruiting information, media resources, alumni spotlights, and an impressive hall of fame.

Microsites for Celebrations and Milestones

If your school is having an anniversary, use a microsite to tell its history, share stories from alumni, and give details about celebration events.

vintage school classroom

Ursuline Academy of Dallas celebrates its 150th anniversary with a microsite capturing the history and heritage of the school, complete with stories of impact, special events, photos from throughout its history, and even an online store to purchase commemorative swag and merchandise.

Microsite for Special Programs

If your school has a great arts program, make a microsite that shows off student artwork, upcoming shows, and how to join.

community art class in studio

St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School’s Shakrag Workshops welcome everyone, from beginners to professional studio artists, to work together in studio arts. FAQs, galleries, registration, past exhibitions, and more; there’s plenty of information for users to learn and enjoy the program offered through the school’s facilities.

student in classroom

Atlanta Speech School’s microsite for its Clinic offers more details of its program aimed at lessening the impact of speech, hearing, and language or learning disorders and differences. It’s mobile-friendly, and with large images, a wealth of resources, and links to client portals and directories — it serves both prospective and current clients well.

Considerations for Your School's Microsite Design

Creating your school's microsite is a lot like making a small, special corner of your main website. Even when using a microsite template, it should feel connected to your school's main site and offer a great user experience with targeted content. Here's how to make that happen:

  • Complement Your School's Style: Your microsite should look like it belongs to your school. Use the same colors and fonts as your main website, or use a secondary color palette to help connect it back to your school's brand.
  • Make Navigation Easy: People should find what they need on your microsite without any trouble. Use clear menus and simple paths to get around the site. For example, if your microsite is about a summer camp, make sure parents can easily find the schedule, sign-up forms, and contact info.
  • Focus on Mobile Users: Make sure your microsite looks good and works well on smaller screens. Buttons should be easy to tap, and text should be easy to read without zooming in.
  • Make it Interactive: Add elements that let visitors engage and interact with your microsite. Video panels, animated design elements, and slideshows can all help bring the content to life. 
  • Call to Action: Always have a clear call to action and tell visitors what you want them to do next. It could be to register for a program, donate to a campaign, or just learn more about a topic and get involved.

Content Strategies for Microsites

Your microsite should have focused content that grabs attention and keeps people interested. Keep your messages clear and easy to understand, and use highly targeted content videos, photos, and graphics to make your site more engaging.

Know Your Audience

Think about who will visit your microsite. Is it for parents? Students? Donors? Knowing who they are will help you decide what information they need and want. If your microsite is for summer camp parents, they'll want to know about the calendars, programs, registration fees, and policy information.

St ignatius micosite screenshot

St. Ignatius College Preparatory offers microsites for many of its constituents, including its alumni family, with alumni news, upcoming events, and class notes. With such a strong alumni network, it’s a great way to keep in touch and offer resources to keep the connections going long after graduation.

Keep Your Message Simple and Clear

Your message should be easy to understand, so use short sentences and paragraphs and avoid school jargon that not everyone might know.

mobile mockup of microsite

The King's Online Academy incorporates so much of what’s mentioned above to promote its online academic programs. Best of all, it’s mobile-friendly with large, engaging images doubling as CTA’s to make the mobile experience that much more enjoyable.

Use Engaging Media

People love photos, videos, and other visuals. They can make your microsite more interesting and shareable.

dana hall microsite

The Campaign for Dana Hall is a great example of focusing on the potential impact of a major campaign, with clearly outlined priorities, the progress of the campaign, and multiple ways to get invoices and make a donation. A section for news also keeps the community in touch with the latest campaign updates, giving stories, and milestones.

Update Regularly

A microsite that never changes can get boring, so add new content to keep people returning. If your microsite is about a campaign, regularly update your progress and share stories about what the funds will help achieve.

beaverton bond program news screenshot

Beaverton School District keeps its community updated on the latest news and development of its bond program with regular news stories and announcements from the various projects.

Remember, your microsite is a chance to focus on something special. Make sure that everything on the site – the words, the pictures, the videos – tells the story you want to share.

Key Takeaway

Microsites are great options for specific initiatives because they deliver a clear message to audiences. With a user-friendly design, these branded spaces offer tailored content to communicate a targeted message and engage your communities more effectively.

website redesign playbook

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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