A microsite, also called a minisite or weblet, is a small website that serves as an auxiliary part of a larger, parent site. Though a microsite can be seen as an offshoot of a parent site, it is actually considered an entirely different entity and has a separate URL. For example, a restaurant may have a main site that lists menus, hours, prices and other things of interest for those planning to dine in the establishment. Then, that same restaurant may create a microsite to showcase its catering and party-planning offerings. Typically, the main site will provide a link to the minisite from its homepage.
Sometimes, a company might use a microsite to provide another version of its main website. For example, a company with a website written in English may want to provide information to potential customers or clients who do not speak English. At the same time, the company may not want to spend money and time on duplicating all of its content in another language. In such a case, the solution may be to make a microsite that contains a condensed version of the company's most critical features and offerings in the other language. For example, the new site could contain an explanation of core products and services, a price list, company hours and important contact information.
A microsite can also be used to sell offshoot products or services. For example, if a company's primary services focus on copywriting, but the company also offers editing and proofreading, a microsite may be helpful. The businesses main site can sell copywriting and services related to writing while the microsite focuses solely on editing and proofreading. This type of arrangement can be helpful for keeping the information well organized and easy to access. It can also help a company prevent its customers from getting sidetracked with a lot of extraneous information.
While it may seem that this type of website is mostly meant to meet the organizational needs of the company or business that created it, this is not necessarily true. Consumers can benefit as well by being able to hone in on the information they need, without wading through unrelated copy. This is especially true when it comes to sites that offer troubleshooting and problem-solving instructions for more than one product or service. A minisite lets the consumer get help with the product in question quickly.
Not all microsites are used for commercial purposes. Instead, some of them have editorial leanings. For example, instead of offering information about a particular product, this type of website may provide details about a particular holiday, event, or activity. A candy store might use a weblet to provide a history of candy making or even to offer make-at-home recipes. Likewise, a volunteer organization might use a weblet to provide in-depth information and statistics about the plight of the homeless.