In a previous article I talked about landing pages and how your church can use them. Some projects and campaigns require more breathing room, so perhaps a microsite is the solution. Here you can create a unique user experience, strengthen your church’s branding, and even drive traffic to your primary website… and of course fill seats in your church.
Landing pages are often for short campaigns and are a great place for search engines or paid ads to direct users for a very specific purpose. Microsites on the other hand convey a slightly broader message and have a longer shelf life. Here I will explore what problems a microsite can help solve for your church website.
Often microsites are created because of a requirement for a different user experience. This could be a segmented chunk of information, so that users are only exposed to a small bit of information, such as one of your larger ministries. Of course you would provide a prominent link to your primary church website. But the added focus on certain navigational elements might focus your audience to exactly what they need.
Another reason for a microsite is that the design needs to be different, often determined by the intended audience. The design of a site geared toward pre-teen girls would obviously be different than that of one for adult men. If a section of your website really needs a break from your existing church branding; a microsite might be the fix.
Finally, you may want to differentiate it with its own unique domain name / URL (i.e. www.microsite-name.org). This is probably most effective when your microsite needs to be more separated from your church. For instance, ministries that involve multiple churches may require a separate site. Although your church may host the site, the unique address will gain buy-in from the other churches. This brings up the topic of implementation. Microsites can exist as in one of three ways:
- Folder: www.church-name.org/microsite
- Sub-Domain: microsite.church-name.org
- Separate: www.microsite-name.org
How you decide to implement this may be dictated by politics, technical limitations, or search engine optimization considerations. However, I am sure your church will select a method that works best for your situation
If you have a ministry or area of your church that requires a break from the norm, consider creating a microsite. It can help focus your users on that specific topic, and may even encourage exploration of the rest of your site. Regardless, the end result should be another connected and active member of your church. And we all say “amen!”
Photo courtesy of the film Austin Powers from New Line Cinema
3 thoughts on “Effectively Using Church Microsites”
Good topic, Stephen. My church (CypressMeadows.org) has used micro-sites on a few occasions. Each instance that I can recall was to promote a sermon series we were doing a big marketing push for. One was My Lame Love Life, another was When God Rocks Your World. In both cases, we did advertising in the community that featured just the domain name and a background image.
Branding was an important consideration. We were trying to connect with people who weren’t a part of a church and we didn’t want to use the church’s domain or site design and possibly have people immediately close their minds to it because of preconceived notions about churches.
Awesome, Stephen. So often microsites are under-used or poorly-used. These are great guidelines for churches to remember. Just because a previous campaign or microsite attempt doesn’t mean you should give up on them…”amen” 🙂
Thank you for the encouragement! As I mentioned on LInkedIn, I hope churches see the benefits and (when applicable) use microsites to solve some of the problems they face.
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