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Sometimes You Do Need A Landing Page

In a follow-up to my post of a couple of days ago about microsites and landing pages from our home page, I should probably offer our just-launched Five Ways to Thrive page as a counterpoint. It’s is a self-contained landing page — linked to from the home page — focusing on five specific ways to thrive in today’s economy:

  1. Save now to invest for the future.
  2. Empower employees to collaborate and innovate.
  3. Get closer to your customers to better serve them.
  4. Outpace your competition with collaboration.
  5. Work better globally with a borderless enterprise.
The “Get Started Now” button on the home page…imageLinks to this simple landing page that explains the five ways to thrive:imageThis is a good example of how different landing experiences can co-exist in our home page design: This one is a standalone landing page that works gracefully alongside the other integrated Flash “microsites within the home page” that I mentioned in my last post.P.S. There is a really nice 0% interest offer also on the home page right now, if you haven’t noticed.

Human Network Moments

Notes from Janet* add picturesA quiet day makes catching up with the inbox so nice – Pinasse Telemedicine

Call to Action on the Web’s Updated News Area

The nimble team that runs the News area of has made some nice updates to their area of the site. Edit bullets:News @ Cisco has always been a showcase for new ideas, and it’s great to see the team continue this tradition!Enjoy!

Pretty Smart: Our Home Page

There’s a strange tendency companies have to create more web sites than they really should. The idea of creating little “microsites” certainly sounds logical: If I had a really special product, or message, or promotional campaign, I’d probably want my own web site for it. Sometimes this is perfect, because I’d just be looking for a very small, self-contained experience. But after I got done drawing up the main landing page, often I’d realize that I needed 15 or 20 (or 100) other pages or scrolling text in flash modules (ugh) to provide information on my product… and these would need to link to other places (like support content or commerce or online services)… and pretty soon my small self-contained web site would balloon into a giant duplication of part of my main company’s web sites. In these common cases, the microsite wouldn’t be a win; instead it would be an expensive albatross that’s confusing for customers to use and expensive to maintain. This is why at almost every company I know, microsites are the bane of the web teams’ existence.At Cisco, we certainly do some small, targeted microsites and landing pages for specific purposes. But we’ve also adopted a strategy of looking at the whole experience a visitor will have on the site during the session. If the experience involves the user exploring any of the rest of, or ties into related content that exists on the main site, we won’t create a microsite. Instead, we produce something within the context of our regular site so that customers gets an integrated experience as they’re reading, watching, and navigating. In my experience, this is the right recipe 98% of the time.An interesting adaption of this strategy is our new home page, where we wanted to create immersive experiences but also make sure that visitors could link to supporting information without getting lost or disoriented. We also wanted to make sure we could support traffic from ads we might be running, whose visitors we wanted to integrate into the same experience.What we came up with was a notion of a “microsite within a site” that can serve as a landing area, but is also part of the home page structure. Here is an example of how it works. Say you’re browsing the web, and you see this ad that talks about meeting “face to face without traveling place to place.” image This ad actually leads to a page with a delightful video about an Italian businessman who using Cisco Telepresence in one morning to meet with people around the globe. And here’s what’s special: The page is a actually a “microsite” within the home page — as the visitor, you’re brought into an immersive experience featuring produced videos. While the visual focus is the video for the ad campaign, visitors can navigate throughout because this “microsite” landing area is really part of the home page and features all Cisco’s navigation and product showcases. image If you click the “Reduce Window” button, the page morphs itself into to the normal home page layout:imageBy the way, as you’ve noticed if you’ve visited our home page directly (not from an ad), you’ll see an animated splash that showcases the stories, and can often “expand to learn more” to get the full experience that you would see when coming from the ad. (Expanding the button makes the picture and animation expand down to reveal the same experience that an ad would point to.)An Outside Analysts’ ViewWeb analysts SiteIQ, who produce hard-nosed and comprehensive reviews of web sites as their core business, recently put together a video explaining their view of’s new home page, which they’ve graciously allowed us to include in this blog. Marty Gruhn of SiteIQ calls the home page “an interesting new best practice worth a very close second look” which “ups the ante on the static banners and inline videos that are staples across the web,” and goes on to make some of the same points that I do above about microsites. (Note that she’s an expert at analyzing marketing and sales sites, so some of the descriptive language may sound strange to your ears if you’re a technology person… but it’s a great video demo of the home page capabilities):Source: Marty Gruhn (narrator), SiteIQBy the way, I should point out that SiteIQ’s Inside Track blog is an pretty interesting read that covers enterprise IT web sites.Enjoy!