Microsite vs landing page: Which one should you use?

by Onder Hassan

Last Updated: January 12, 2024

While the terms microsite vs landing pages are sometimes used interchangeably, there are important differences you need to be aware of.

Let's start with a quick explainer on the difference between a microsite vs landing page:

A microsite is a "micro" website - a small collection pages which are focused around one specific marketing goal or campaign. Most often these are used for product announcements, events and building brand awareness through interactive content.

In contrast, a landing page is a one specific page with one goal - normally to generate a lead or sale. 

To help you better understand the differences between microsite vs landing page, this article will guide you through a range of examples and show you how best to use these marketing page formats.

What is A Microsite?

As the name hints, a microsite is a mini and small website, with simple and concise content that boosts the marketing efforts of organizations and teams by promoting their products or services.

And in most cases, a microsite is always hosted on a different subdomain that is linked to the main domain.

Besides that, a microsite features multiple pages, each with its own unique objective. Think of it as a mini website that complements the main website.

What Is A Landing Page?

A landing page is a web page that is always used for advertisement and marketing purposes.

With that said, it is worthwhile to note that the main aim of a landing page is to market certain offers to website visitors, and then convert them into leads.

Prospects and potential leads often access this individual page, when they take a certain initiative.

As a result, they’ll be given insight into different offers and how they can benefit from the offers. And since a landing page features a CTA (call-to-action), site visitors are always urged to take action to get closer to their goals.

For example, CTAs may urge prospects to subscribe to a newsletter, purchase a product, or sign up for a service.

Unlike microsites, landing pages are centered around a single offer. This saves prospects from the ‘paradox of choice’ - a condition that triggers indecisiveness, after interacting with multiple offers.

From a marketer’s perspective, a landing page is an effective tool for converting prospects to leads or customers.

Microsite vs landing page:
The pros and cons

Pros of A Microsite

Narrows down the focus to a certain niche

Thanks to a microsite, you can easily narrow your focus to one niche, instead of publishing everything on a single website.

While certain information can be quite valuable to your site visitors, too much information may undermine your marketing efforts and conversion rates. For starters, it can be time-consuming to go through a lot of information within a short period of time.

Also, some key details might be buried by chunks of unrelated content.

And this is where the microsite comes in.

A microsite narrows down your niche, making it easier for you to offer information that aligns with your target audience. Besides that, your main website will also be functional. Think of it as hitting two birds with one stone.

Builds brand awareness

Featuring information that relates to a certain target audience, a microsite boosts a site’s traffic by attracting the right target audience.

When potential leads go through such information, they’ll get more familiar with the brand that’s being promoted on a microsite.

Microsites can also be quite effective in separating a mini-brand from a main brand, creating a distinction between the two.

Due to such distinctions, you can easily come up with unique marketing strategies that will focus on each brand.

Boosts conversion rates by marketing various offers

Clear and concise copies will save visitors from the hassle of filtering through chunks of content. As a result, they’ll spend less time analyzing copies and blog posts, and this will boost your conversion rates.

Cons of A Microsite

Causes a drop in traffic

As an extension of a main website, a microsite leverages some of the traffic that is meant for the main website.

As a result, the traffic can drop significantly - some visitors might prefer the microsite to the main site.

Takes a lot of effort to build one

Building a microsite is similar to building a normal website. But, this happens at a smaller scale.

However, a lot of effort goes into designing individual pages and structuring content. You also need to consider the factors that are related to the sub-domain.

Pros of a landing page

Converts easily

A landing page displays concise information and explains how a user can extract value from different products and offers.

Since a landing page comes with a testimonial section and review section, it’s quite effective in establishing some social proof.

Social proof and concise information are a few examples of high-quality attributes that will help you win the trust of your site visitors. Due to such features, a landing page can persuade anyone to take action.

Captures Information

Most landing pages are integrated with forms that capture information and details from potential prospects. Additionally, such forms will give your visitors access to various resources, only if they are willing to share their personal details.

You can easily build a solid email list for marketing campaigns.

Provides insightful data that’s related to your target audience

Equipped with different tools for tracking performance, a landing page can give you insight into different metrics.

Examples of such metrics include the bounce rate, average time on a page, and the number of forms that have been abandoned.

Cons of a landing page

Expensive to build

The costs of building landing pages can be very high, especially if you are planning to try out various designs.

Here's the thing:

Organizations might publish different landing pages before they choose a final design. Well, this is one of the reasons why landing pages can be quite expensive.

Use a landing page builder for faster implementation

Using a landing page builder like OptimizePress can help you speed up the time it takes to design and launch a landing page. With funnel builder tools like split testing you can also easily test different landing page designs.

Lack of segmentation

Since most landing pages are designed to push a single offer, it can be quite challenging to promote multiple products on a landing page.

Some prospects are less likely to take any action if the main offer doesn't align with any of their interests.

Speaking of which, a landing page doesn't have functionalities for grouping prospects into various categories.

Differences between a microsite and a landing page

Hosted on different domains

While a landing page is always accessed from the same domain as the company's website, a microsite is often managed from another subdomain.

To put it in simpler terms, a landing page can be featured on the main website.

A microsite, on the other hand, is an extension of the main website.

Microsites are centered around different objectives while landing pages are always used for conversion

Microsites are very versatile in implementing a wide array of different things, making it easier for you to achieve different objectives.

For instance, if you want to introduce a new product in the market, you can use microsites to build awareness.

On top of that, a microsite also passes along new information to a certain target audience.

A landing page focuses on one thing only — boosting the conversion rates.

Different structures

In terms of structure, a microsite features different pages. However, a landing page doesn't have a complex structure like a microsite — it's more of a standalone page than a structured site.

Examples of microsites

Website Grader by Hubspot

Hubspot has a microsite that is centered around objectives, which are different from its core functionalities and purpose. Website Grader, a microsite by Hubspot, makes it easier for you to analyze your website.

Hubspot Website Grader Microsite

For starters, it gives you some insight into how your website is performing when it comes to optimization, speed, and responsiveness.

Afterward, it offers you a solution that helps you work on your website.

ProPublica: How much is a Limb Worth?

An interesting but rather morbid example of a microsite, investigative journalism website ProPublica created an interactive microsite showing average compensation values for limb loss in different states of the USA.

The microsite serves as an interesting tool which is likely to have attracted a fair amount of backlinks and social interest, and links through to their more detailed article around differences in compensation around the USA.

Examples of landing pages

Copyblogger

Copyblogger’s landing is an example of an effective landing page. Well, it has some bold headlines that can capture the attention of website visitors within a short period of time. Apart from that, it has a personalized CTA for encouraging multiple prospects to take action.

Copyblogger Landing Page Example

Additionally, the team behind this landing page publishes high-quality marketing content for enlightening website visitors.

Which one should you choose

Use a microsite if:

You are dealing with something that is not a part of the main brand, which needs to be marketed to the right target audience. 

Take, for instance, an organization that aims to launch a new initiative that is not necessarily linked to its main objectives.

A microsite will also be suitable for anyone who's planning to:

  • Expound some of the topics that are featured on your main website
  • Introduce a new service or product to the market
  • Segment your traffic based on their preferences and interests

Use a landing page if:

You are running a marketing campaign, centered around one objective, such as growing an email list.

Once you hook prospects with ads, you can lead them to your landing page.

With that said, if you want your prospects to take a specific action, then a landing page is your best bet.

Examples of such actions include:

  • Purchasing a certain product
  • Subscribing for the advertised services
  • Joining an email list

Over To You

And there you have it, everything you need to know about the difference between landing pages and microsites. Well, landing pages will make it easier for you to convert, boosting your overall conversion rates.

Microsites, on the other hand, are effective in building and promoting a certain brand by narrowing down the focus to a certain niche.

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