Multiple Websites or A Single Hub - What's Best?

Post by Dani D Picture of Dani D
Ixis Service
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Business growth brings a whole new world of opportunities for your marketing team. 

When you’re adding to your product or service lines, there are a few considerations before you can enter the next level of your marketing, you need to decide what your next step is: 

Would having all of your brands or products in one place work better for your team to manage? 

or 

Are you worried you’ll lose some brand identity by consolidating them all onto one website?

The question you’re looking to answer is whether to create a new website for your growth or not. 

The answer? Whichever works better for you, and having the right support team on board to help. 

The strategic plan for your organisations website is the responsibility of both the marketing and IT teams. 

As the Marketing Manager, you’re in charge of ensuring your audience has the most positive experience possible whilst on your site.

When your organisation has grown to a size where you're considering an additional site or adding to your current web page setup, there can be a lot of conflicting ideas on what’s best. 

You’ll have your own ideas on what’s easiest to market and what’s best for your audience. 

The IT team on the other hand will be looking at what’s the easiest to keep secure and manage long-term to ensure your brand image is protected.

Your business case for consolidating or expanding will ultimately come down to your business’ goals and what makes most sense.

In this blog, we’re going to discuss what value each option can bring, and let you decide what is right for your organisation.

Using a single site

You already have a well-established website that has gotten you to where you are now. Simply expanding this site may keep your development costs and lead times to a minimum.

Depending on which CMS your current site is built on, and how it’s set up, the likelihood is that the more sites you have, the more your costs will go up. For example:

  • A closed-source CMS would mean multiple license fees.
  • Having multiple websites which are hosted separately increases your hosting costs beyond just scaling your existing set-up.
  • Multiple sites will have additional support costs or take more of your internal IT team’s time. 
Man on computer in an office

In today's world, consumers live and breathe convenience. 

Making your customers' lives easier is your main goal, no matter what your product or service. They need to be able to find what they’re looking for within a few clicks. 

Providing a variety of related solutions, through cross and up-selling, makes your customer’s decision process easier and their order value higher. 

However, you should bear in mind these factors if you’re targeting different markets to avoid missing the mark - different nationalities or sectors for example. Expanding to a multi-site would give you the opportunity to target these audiences using their language and/or cultural nuances, something that’s often noted as key to seeing the best success.

When IKEA branched out to the USA, their customers were mistakenly buying vases as drinking glasses as IKEA’s drinking glasses were much smaller than American’s were used to. They had to adapt their offering to suit the market. 

glass vases

Sticking with a single site means your SEO budget isn’t spent on building the foundations of a new site. 

They’re already in place and you can invest in ranking well for your new lines using your existing domain authority. 

It’s like redecorating the lounge.

It’s more than a lick of paint but it’s not a complete rebuild either.

It still requires an investment, but you’ll see bigger results quicker if done right. 

By sticking with a single site, you're able to rank better in competitive spaces by concentrating your link authority to the one domain.

Multisite ... What's the benefit?

Expanding your website portfolio also has a multitude of benefits for your organisation!

Multiple sites enable you to change your pricing structure when selling in a different country based on their cultural nuances. For example, in Asia where the number 4 is unlucky, that's why you’ll never see a Nokia phone model starting with the number 4! In Singapore a luxury carmaker had to change the name of the Alfa Romeo model 144 because citizens were scared to buy it.

It really is that big of a deal, and you need to know your market before you walk in and set the tone all wrong for your brand. A tricky job without a multi-site setup as, generally, a single site would only allow you to change language and currency.

Moving away from the ecommerce side of things, some businesses have different sites for different areas of the country they service. For example, a restaurant chain may have a website for each branch, making their booking system easier with less chance of mistakenly booking the wrong branch.

lucky cat with pink background

Moving away from the ecommerce side of things, some businesses have different sites for different areas of the country they serve. For example, a restaurant chain may have a website for each branch, making their booking system easier with less chance of mistakenly booking the wrong branch.

If you’re marketing more than one brand or providing a variety of services to multiple audiences, keeping each brand on a separate site might be favourable. This isn’t just a conversation about a separate website, keeping a brand’s identity separate includes individual social channels and marketing strategies so needs to form part of a wider conversation.

Going down this route opens up endless marketing opportunities to create a really strong brand so if you have the resources to market an additional brand, this may be the way forward for you.

Distinguishing a brand's identity from the parent group can bring its own rewards.- like Smart Water, or Sprite, they’re owned by Coca-Cola, they’re not drowned in famous red paint. They’re standalone brands in their own right and hold a strong enough name to carry the weight of a separate brand identity.

vending machine

Depending on your hosting setup, separating your brands hosted as  individual sites means that when technical problems arise, you still have your other sites generating leads or sales. 

If your single website goes down, you have no ability to continue with any other brand. All of your marketing grinds to a halt, as does your revenue, and customers have no way to engage with you leaving them no option but to turn to your competitors.

SEO could have it’s own blog as there’s so much to consider!  We’d recommend checking out an oldie but goldie blog from Search Engine Journal on whether multiple sites hurt or help SEO. The duplicate content section is outdated so take that with a pinch of salt, however, the rest should help you make an informed decision from an SEO perspective.

What feels right for you?

The decision of which route to take ultimately lies with you (and your IT team).  

What’s right for your organisation won’t be right for the next business.

You have to weigh up the benefits and drawbacks to each option and see which one gives the most potential benefit both now and in the future. 

Whichever option you choose, there’s going to be a significant investment so it has to accommodate your future growth plans for the brand or product line.

Ready to take the plunge or maybe need somebody to talk through your future website needs? Contact our team today and we can help you develop a single or multi-website that works for your users and achieves your business goals.

man on a rock thinking gold statue

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