The term mini-site can be used to refer to a range of different concepts. Some choose to call websites that focus on niche articles mini-sites, but that isn’t the usual definition of the word. In the world of Internet marketing, mini-sites are generally small websites that are created to promote a product. The product in question is often a digital download (audio, video) or an eBook.
The majority of mini-sites are 1-5 pages in size. Some only consist of a single sales page and customers are sometimes directed to a thank you page once they have placed an order. Other sites offer a contact page, a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page, a terms of services page, a disclaimer page and other similar pages.
This blog posting will focus on the design of a single page mini-site.
Most mini-sites are made up of a number of key parts which include:
The Header Banner
How To Order
So where do you start?
Firstly, agree your overall layout i.e. are you going to include a header, a footer and some graphics.
If you are going to use graphics (and I recommend you do), this is where I would start.
Very often, an eCover is included within the mini-site. This is a computer-generated image that mirrors how the product would appear if it were in the physical world.
An example of this would be an eCover for an eBook. The eCover would make the eBook appear like a paperback or hardback book so that it looks more appealing to the buyer. If the product you are selling is some kind of membership, your eCover might be in the form of a membership card. Some software products will use an eCover in the form of a 3D software box.
These type of graphics are usually created using Photoshop or other type of software. Photoshop is not cheap and can take a while to master so you may wish to outsource your graphic needs to an expert designer.
This is an expert web designer I use and can recommend.
A real low cost alternative to Photoshop and a tool that I also use is GFXWriter. (This page is also a example of a good mini-site)
Next is the Header Banner
Once your cover design is complete, you will need to think about creating a header.
Most mini-sites have both a header banner and a footer, however there is no hard and fast rule to say you have to have both or one or the other.
Some marketers choose not to use a header, but the majority do. A good header will attract people to read your headline and will also give a professional edge to your site.
The header needs to contain important details such as a tag line and the name of your product – this should be a concise sentence that explains what your site is all about. You should also include some images that relate to your niche and also a theme linked to your demographic and a small image of your eCover.
For example, if you were creating a mini-site to promote your eBook on dog training you could include a photo of a man pointing at a dog and the dog rolling over. The header text might say: Dog Training Guide: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need For Training Your Dog!
You don’t need a very large header. If you make it too large visitors might not be able to see your headline without scrolling down. You need to attract attention to it and not have it hidden. Headers are usually 700-800 pixels in width and 100-200 pixels high.
This is an inexpensive tool that I use to create headers and graphics or again you can outsource this service to a designer like the one recommend here.
Then the Footer
The width of the footer is usually the same, but usually it is half the header height. You can choose to include just the product name or logo in your footer, but you could also have a copyright notice or an image.
Again you can use the same inexpensive tool or outsource.
The Sales Letter
Mini-sites also include some kind of sales letter which is used to promote the product.
The Order Button
And lastly, there is an order button so that customers can easily buy the product.
You need to include an order button that stands out. You might have your eCover as the button with a message saying Click Here for Immediate Access!
Of course, you could outsource the creation of a professionally designed mini-site. This will cost around $200 – $300 and will include eCovers, a header and footer, and occasionally additional banners that can be used for off-site promotions.
If you are building a mini-site to promote a product, make sure the end result is professional looking and test all functionality to ensure it is working as expected.