A minisite, sometimes called a microsite, is a small website dedicated to a specific topic. Most minisites contain around five pages, though a minisite may be as small as a single webpage or as large as 20 pages.
Minisites are often related to larger websites. For example, a sporting goods website may have several associated minisites. Each of these small websites would be dedicated to a specific related topic, such as running shoes, soccer clothing, or hockey equipment. The purpose of these minisites would be to drive traffic to the larger sporting goods website.
While minisites are created for a number of reasons, the most common is e-commerce. For example, affiliates often build minisites that drive traffic to large retailers in order to generate commissions. Some online retailers may even create their own minisites to broaden their reach. If a publisher is able to get several sites ranked highly in search engines, it may result in more traffic and therefore more sales.
While creating minisites may seem like a good strategy for increasing Web traffic, small websites with limited content typically do not rank well in search engines. Therefore, many companies have found that it is more productive to add content to the main site rather than spread it out across multiple sites.
NOTE: "Microsite" and "minisite" are often used synonymously. However, a microsite may refer specifically to a minisite that only contains one page.
Updated: January 23, 2013