What is a MiniSite? Do you really know?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that MiniSites have been a big topic of discussion in the Domaining world for the last few weeks. While some have claimed that the MiniSite is dead others have claimed it is still alive and strong with plenty of profit in the business of MiniSite creation. However there is one important piece of information missing from this whole discussion – what really is a MiniSite?

The word “MiniSite” has been used when describing the following:

– A one-page website with content and AdSense ads

– A 3-5 page website with content and AdSense ads

– A multi-page site with Adsense ads as well as products available for sale

– An informational website with content about a particular topic

– A blog with Adsense Code

– A blog with Commission Junction Ads

– A blog with affiliate products

– A website build from a template with search engine optimized content

– A small website meant to rank well in search engines and monetize traffic

– A website used instead of a parking page

Let’s face it folks – a MiniSite just can’t be all of these things! However when referring to a MiniSite I’ve heard these definitions and more used. So in all this hullabaloo about MiniSites I think we oftentimes have people arguing about different definitions of the word since we really don’t have a consistent definition.

I’ve designed a number of one-page websites just for monetization purposes. I also have over twenty blogs with content and multiple forms of monetization, and I also have multi-page sites with between 3-30 pages of content. Many of the sites have excellent search engine rankings and receive compliments from their visitors who find valuable information on the site.

So while I don’t think that the MiniSite is dead – I think it’s time we stop using this term as a catch-all. This doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as a MiniSite – but that the term has been used too broadly and for too long! If you want to use a general term it’s probably safest to call many of the entities we’ve been calling “MiniSites” simply “Websites” – below is the Dictionary definition of a website:

A set of interconnected webpages, usually including a homepage, generally located on the same server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information by a person, group, or organization.

Everything in my list above would constitute as a website by definition except for maybe a one-page site. So what then is the difference between a website and a MiniSite? Is it the number of pages? The use? The content?

Well if you look-up “MiniSite” in the dictionary it actually refers you to “MicroSite” which is defined as:

a separately promoted and often temporary auxiliary Web site that is part of a larger site but has a separate URL; also called minisite

Hmmm…this doesn’t sound like the definition we’ve been using at all. In fact the Dictionary even gives an example of a “MiniSite”:

Example: A museum’s Web site may have a link to a microsite with information about a special exhibition the museum is running.

Does this example sound anything like what we’ve been using the term “MiniSite” to mean? I don’t think so!! So it’s time that we stop calling everything a “MiniSite” and start differentiating between different types of websites. The industry is still very young and we can pioneer some new terms here.

Share your thoughts – how can we better define the different types of websites we make as a way to build our domain investments?

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton