Which 'home' should the microsite's logo link to - the main site or the microsite?

Consider that...

  • The content and layout of the microsite is the only differentiator
  • Half the users reach the microsite from the main site.
  • The microsite doesn't have it's own URL (it's www.mainurl/microsite)
  • The microsite has the same logo and header style (so you almost can't tell you've left the main site)
  • 3
    Reddit's logo links to the main site. Which drives me crazy because the logo is styled for the mini site. mini site branding should equal mini site link! /rant
    – Ben Brocka
    May 23, 2012 at 20:54

3 Answers 3


The microsite.

When you employ micro-identity iconography, you tell the user that they're in a new, self-contained area. Users will not expect the 'home' icon in this space to take them to a different area of the site, even if it is one they visited earlier. And they will certainly not expect a link to suggest one location and provide another.

The microsite doesn't have it's own URL (it's www.mainurl/microsite)

Don't worry about this. Few users look at URLs much. Even fewer care about them. If it really bothers you, give the microsite its own subdomain (this is what they were originally for, after all).

The microsite has the same logo and header style (so you almost can't tell you've left the main site)

You may want to better differentiating the microsite identity, else you risk leaving users unsure 'where' they are in your content. Common practice is to maintain the shape and forms of iconography, but swap out the colours. This will do a better job of communicating that the user has moved to a different space, and, as a bonus, it mitigates your fear that the microsite logo might get confused for the main site logo.

  • Yes, the microsite should better differentiate its identity, but in this case it can't be done because that opens pandora's box for this client. So, SAME logo, SAME style header... would you still link to the microsite home? May 23, 2012 at 21:17
  • 2
    If you can't differentiate the microsite from the main site, I would not recommend having a sub-site to begin with. If you need to group together a set of related pages, there are other ways to do that - like individual tabbed pages referring to a specific service. Still, if you do insist on having a microsite with similar logos, then yes, I would still link to the microsite home. Having a link promise one thing and deliver another is not good practice. May 23, 2012 at 21:38

A possible way to go here is to do both:

  • subpages within the microsite link to the microsite homepage
  • microsite homepage links to the main site

This creates a tiny inconsistency (same logo, different links) but the context in which this happens is quite clear: the microsite is a self-contained subset of the main site with its own "root element". A small variation or addition on the microsite logo could improve this approach further.

There are two possibilities of confusing behavior:

  1. user clicks logo on microsite subpage, expecting to go to main site
  2. user clicks logo on microsite home page, expecting to go stay there

The first issue is easy to correct by clicking the logo again, the second is somewhat unlikely.

  • 2
    incosistency causes confusion... May 23, 2012 at 21:21

Add a "Home" link to the microsite nav which goes to the microsite home, and link the logo to the main site.

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