What do you do with your old mini sites and campaign landing pages when they are done? Do you put it offline, do you redirect the URL to another website or write a friendly note that the promotion has finished?
In the case of Cathay Pacific, it almost seemed to have abandoned the idea. Ironically, the campaign I was talking about was, of all things, We Love Hong Kong (www.welovehongkong.hk). For those who can’t remember what this is about, We Love Hong Kong campaign was promotion of Cathay Pacific in 2007 where participants are invited to write reasons why they love Hong Kong. By simply answering the question, participant gets the chance to win one round trip ticket to Hong Kong. That was one great campaign because personally I thought I helped someone win.
But two years after the campaign, I revisited the site and was surprised to see the following image:
Broken image and spooky black background. The title says “Cathay Pacific Airways : Nobody does rugby like Hong Kong”. It’s not likely that loving Hong Kong and rugby often goes together. Yes, the campaign site gets redirected to the Cathay Pacific homepage using Meta refresh redirection method. After I pointed out Cathay Pacific’s 302 page redirection issue (how Cathay Pacific used to automatically transfer one page to the other), Meta refresh still isn’t the way to go.
More importantly, to those who manage multiple short-term campaigns:
Check the mini sites
Do they exhibit the same properties as Cathay Pacific’s We Love Hong Kong campaign site? If so make necessary changes.
Check for images
Sometimes when a campaign is done, images are discarded but website managers forget to take down the site itself. As a result, the site is like a skeleton, has bones but no skin.
Check for redirection
If you need to redirect an old campaign URL to your generic website, you don’t need to show the old site to the public like what Cathay Pacific did to the We Love Hong Kong page. Doing a 301 redirection forwards visitors to the new site immediately. In contrast, we can see We Love Hong Kong’s ugly aftermath for ten seconds before we are forwarded to Cathay Pacific’s official website.
Put friendly notes
It is not necessary to redirect the mini site to another site. This is if you have other plans for it. For example, when 2009 East Asian Games in Hong Kong is over, the site will have little use especially because the domain name selected is chosen specifically for the 2009 edition of the Games. A note that says: “Thank you for visiting 2009 East Asian Games website. The event is over but we’d like you to keep a memory through a photo gallery”. But if We Love Hong Kong is a yearly event, just like Hong Kong Film Festival, a note that says “Thank you for visiting We Love Hong Kong. Our next event will be held on …” is informative enough.
Maintaining multiple sites can be challenging. I hope these suggestions help.