We're not often told to think small. Sometimes, however, thinking small (micro, even) offers important benefits. That's certainly the case with microsites, one of many special treatments available to clients on the Finalsite Platform.
What's a microsite? Simply put, it's a supplementary or "add-on" website with independent links that an online visitor accesses mostly from a school's main site. Many schools tend to use them for athletics and capital campaigns, but can be used for pretty much any content that needs more than just a single lower-level page.
It's a kind of side dish—not strictly necessary, but oh-so-satisfying when it's right.
St. Mary's Episcopal School in Memphis knows just how good fries can go with that burger — its juicy responsive website features a couple amazing accoutrements.
One shows off the school's after-school and summer program, Pursuits. The other tempts visitors into learning more about The Buckman, the school's performing arts center.
These microsites could not simply have been lower-level pages on their site for a few reasons:
- They appeal to a broader audience than just the prospective and current families of St. Mary's — This is key for SEO because they have unique page names and content.
- They required their own individual branding.
- They had much more visual and text content than what would typically fit on a lower-level or interior page.
- They needed their own navigation, and had their own set of interior pages and content.
"We wanted to highlight some of our unique offerings by using different designs, but that still coordinate with the over-all look of the site," said Owen McGuire, St. Mary's Assistant Director of Communications. "We're very pleased with the results."
Here's how a microsite works for St. Mary's after-school programs: When a parent makes his or her way down the main St. Mary's page, they'll see a heading called Pursuits. A little curiosity, a little click, then bam — they're off to the world of Pursuits, for details about after-school programs, summer camps and college prep, among other goodies.
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St. Mary's makes it easy for visitors to get back to its homepage with three highly visible links. All the while, the appetizing look of the microsite reminds everyone that it still remains an intrinsic part of St. Mary's. This connection is crucial, said Owen, "Because some people only encounter our school through Pursuits."
Microsites are also powerful ways to display distinctive aspects of a school's campus. For example, the grounds of St. Mary's Episcopal School are also home to The Buckman, a fine and performing arts center. In addition to its theater, the center offers an art gallery and performance classes as well.
Flamenco, anyone? Just another substantial side-dish to the feast that is St. Mary's.
Like Pursuits, The Buckman is an intrinsic part of the school's culture — but since more than just the girls of St. Mary's use the space, it needed its own site with its own navigation, calls to action, and branding.
Whether your school wants to entice parents and others with auxiliary programs, distinctive elements of your grounds, or that irresistible capital campaign, think small. Think microsite.