Building an online business often raises some interesting geeky questions. “Should we package our intellectual property into Software-as-a-Service?” “Should we build one website that presents all our offers, or should we build multiple websites?”
While trying to figure out SaaS issues is a question only asked by exceptional companies who want to monetize their cutting-edge ideas, trying to figure out whether one should have one or many sites is fairly common for any business with a wide range of products.
If you’ve decided to build multiple websites because you’d rather have niche websites rather than an all-purpose, one-stop website, then you might struggle with making changes to all your websites when the platform itself changes. Organizations that use Drupal technology often have this problem. Drupal 6 is already winding down and developers project that Drupal 7 won’t last beyond 2020. Consequently, forward-thinking users should go ahead and migrate straight to Drupal 8. While one migration is difficult enough, imagine having to deal with several at the same time. Fortunately, there are SaaS products that can ease even something as worrisome as a Drupal 8 migration.
Despite the fact that you can get migration help even if you run multiple websites, is it wise to manage more than one website for your company?
3 Ways to Manage Multiple Websites
If you do decide to run multiple websites, then you will need to develop an infrastructure with 3 pillars. The first pillar is to always build your online websites on a single code base, the second pillar is to make sure that your websites are interrelated, and the third pillar is to have a central control.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these rules of engagement.
- Single code base. The less differentiation there is between one website and another the easier it is to maintain it. You would understand the system well enough to be able to troubleshoot problems. It’s rather like having a franchise where all the stores have a similar layout. It makes it easier to fix any building maintenance issues. Another analogy would be if you owned a fleet of trucks. If they are the same make and model, figuring out repair issues will be easier.
- Interrelated websites. It will be easier to manage multiple websites if each has the ability to pull information from a primary central site. This will help with changes that need to be made in policy or marketing process across all your websites.
- Centralization. With the main website, you can control everything from analyzing results to managing permissions. The alternative is to go through each website to make changes—which will be a tedious, time-consuming process. Incidentally, each website can have it’s own design. Consistency of design isn’t necessary so long as you have a main site that can control satellite sites.
3 Constraints to Building Multiple Websites
Although it makes perfect sense to build multiple websites from a marketing perspective–because the more you niche down your offers, the easier it will be to advertise and set up your sales funnels—it may not be a good idea if your business is constrained by time, resources, and developers.
Do you have enough time?
Does your business have enough time to market more than a single website? In other words, will you be able to give each website enough visibility to do well in Google’s search engine results page? Remember, you have to keep an active social media presence for each website, keep your blog churning out content related to each website, and develop SEO practices for each website. It’s not a good idea to develop multiple websites if there isn’t enough time in the day to give each website the attention it needs to attract traffic.
Do you have enough resources?
Do you have enough people and software automation to market more than a single website? Unless you have a large staff, who can use enough software tools to take care of your websites, you might be spreading your resources too thin if you only have a few people to take care of everything.
Do you have enough developers?
Even if you use a robust CMS, you will still need to blaze your own branding path with some customization. For this, you will need in-house developers or outsource the work to a reliable team.
In summary, there is no single, definitive right answer as to whether you should have one or many websites. If you do decide that multiple websites will prove more profitable, then you have to make sure you use the three pillars of control for multiple website management. Additionally, you must ensure that you have the time, resources, and developers to make them easy to run.