The search referral logs show a lot of interest in “poker minisites” and “poker microsites”, so I thought I’d make my opinion known on the subject. I probably have a different definition of a poker minisite than most people. I don’t think that a website becomes a minisite because it’s small and/or doesn’t have many pages. A poker minisite is a minisite because the scope of the site’s topic is narrow, and the importance of the site is secondary to that of your main website or websites. The most successful webmasters I know have a single major site which is sometimes supported by a handful of narrow, focused minsites.

An example of a large poker site might be a site about “poker strategy”. A poker minisite might be on the same subject, but focused on a much narrower subset of information. A website about “Texas holdem starting hands strategy” would be a minisite. But that minisite could easily have 169 pages, one for each possible starting hand and how to play it. Such a site could easily have several more pages of information too, because an analysis of Sklansky’s hand groupings and Bill Chen’s point count formula could both warrant at least one article each. Phil Hellmuth also published a starting hands guide in his book Play Poker Like The Pros. That’s another potentially useful page.

Another example of a large poker site might be a site about “poker players”. It would include biographies and stats about multiple poker players, and would probably focus on celebrities. (Although it could focus on tracking some of the more popular and mini-poker-celebs online, like durrr or molswi47. In fact, this would be a great niche to go after, since competition is minimal now.) A minisite with this same theme might focus on a single player. Some individual player sites might have 10 pages, but they could have many more pages, depending on which poker personality the site focuses on. A site about David Sklansky could review all of the books he’s written, provide commentary on some of his discussion threads at Two Plus Two, and could even discuss some “poker gossip” related directly to him.

Most poker webmasters think of launching a network of poker minisites as a linkbuilding strategy. Rather than getting links from other sites, they figure they’ll launch their own network of small sites and use them to feed link popularity to each other and to their main site. This isn’t a terrible strategy, but it misses the real value that a minisite provides. That value is in the expanded search engine visibility that the additional content provides. For links from a poker minisite to have any real value, they need to be resources that are good enough to get some links pointing at them, otherwise they don’t have any link popularity to pass anyway. And the way to create linkworthy resources is to launch interesting, compelling content. But that content does a LOT more than getting link power. It provides the search engines with multiple reasons to send visitors to your sites.

One popular poker minisite strategy is to create a site about a single poker room and focus on the signup bonus that the cardroom provides. You might think I’d turn my nose up at such an approach, but not so. I do think most people miss the real opportunity of such an approach though. A truly effective poker minisite focused on a single cardroom could easily have 100 pages of content. Every month (and sometimes more) affiliate managers send out information about promotions for the online cardroom they represent. Every one of those emails is a potential page or more of content for a poker minisite focused on a specific cardroom.

People don’t just search for the phrase “pokerstars marketing code”. They also search for stuff like:

  • “pokerstars download”
  • “pokerstars tournaments”
  • “pokerstars promotions”
  • “pokerstars software”
  • “team pokerstars”
  • “how many employees does pokerstars have?”

Relevant content on those subjects and many more is easy to write. And the competition for such phrases is often minimal. “PokerStars promotions” is a particularly good phrase to target, because fewer than 200 pages online even use those words in their title tags. That’s pretty noncompetitive for a poker phrase. Start adding in things like translations, and you’ve got even more possibilities for increased visibility for your poker minisite.

I’ll probably offer more poker minisite tips in a future post.