Microsites make perfect

Steph Gray drew my attention to a piece highlighting the downside of microsites, and offered a nicely balanced view of the pros and cons. But whilst I admit to a commercial interest here, he missed one strong reason in favour of allowing at least the occasional microsite.
I know it flies in the face of web rationalisation; but the only way to get better at building websites is to build websites.
I’m unquestionably better at this job than I was when I started a couple of years ago. I learn something with every new project, and every fresh set of client requirements. I always consciously try to add something new and innovative – for me, or for government, or for WordPress – into every build. If it works, I’ll do it again next time; if not, I’ll certainly be wiser for trying.
If you adhere to the ‘only one website per government department’ rule, that would mean your team is only building one website every 3-5 years, or maybe even more. No opportunity to practice or experiment in between monster projects; and the experience of ‘last time’ will, in all likelihood, be irrelevant. Any mistakes you make, you’ll be stuck with for the v-e-r-y long term.

2 thoughts on “Microsites make perfect”

  1. Well, the challenge is to define ‘website’ – you yourself have built microsites in the sense of standalone, unconnected sites, but also sites which are mechanically separate and innovative but add functionality to an existing channel by slotting neatly in with them.
    I’m all for building, and maybe until fairly recently, I’ve been quite gung-ho about microsites. But the reality is that separate sites often struggle for attention, commitment and maintenance from their owners, compared to sites within the fold of a bigger channel.

  2. But you have raised an excellent point that has been overlooked – how you ensure skils development if people aren’t actually doing any development work. Sadly it might result in all development work being done outside government at stupid cost. That’s a nice problem to solve for those who have made it. But then we know that encouraging innovation inside a large bureaucracy is hard at the best of times.

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