Having a website is one of the best ways to increase your company’s visibility and connect with new leads. With that in mind, some business owners create multiple sites to increase their chances of breaking through to audiences.
While that might sound logical in theory, the truth is that creating multiple websites comes with both pros and cons. Keep reading to learn the answers to these common questions:
- How does having multiple websites affect your business?
- What’s the best way to set up a business website?
What Are the Effects of Having Multiple Websites?
- You’ll invest more time and money.
- Multiple sites create brand confusion.
- It’s hard to track leads to multiple websites.
Every business and audience are different, so it’s impossible to predict how having multiple websites could impact your performance. Here are a few common factors to consider when making this decision.
You’ll Invest More Time and Money
The main reason to think carefully before starting multiple websites for the same business is that you end up spending a significant amount of time and money on each one. In most cases, those resources would be more effective if they were fully invested in a single site.
Having multiple websites might sound like it streamlines your workflow since you could write copy and content once and then reuse it on each domain. However, Google and other major search engines penalize websites for duplicate content, so reusing the same text and images ends up hurting each of your sites.
You have to invest in unique content for each site completely to optimize your visibility in search engines. That could include overpaying for extra writers, PPC ads, site crawls, and many other services.
On top of that, you’ll likely end up paying for multiple domain names, hosting arrangements, and even ecommerce themes. In short, it almost always makes more sense to devote your time, money, and energy to a single website instead of trying to manage more than one.
Multiple Websites Creates Brand Confusion
If you’re using multiple websites to reach out to internet users, it’s difficult to avoid the possibility that at least some people end up visiting more than one of your sites. This experience could lead to confusion or even make them doubt your credibility.
Since all of your websites lead to the same business, each one should be unique and yet identical to the others in certain ways. In most cases, there’s no reason to confuse your audience by putting the same address or contact information on multiple sites.
It’s also difficult to develop coherent branding while connecting your brand to more than one website. For example, you have to either create separate social media profiles for each website or have a single social media profile promoting all of them at the same time.
It’s Hard to Track Leads to Multiple Websites
Tracking leads through the sales cycle is critical for any business, but that becomes much more complex when you’re working through multiple websites. Instead of a single unified digital presence, you’ll need to monitor visitors across several domains.
Working with a single site streamlines tracking and attribution, making it easier to stay on top of your sales funnel. Again, the advantages of creating multiple sites are usually countered by the drawbacks.
Reasons to Consider Multiple Websites
- Local to the country you operate in
- You can create separate marketing and sales funnels
- If you have multiple physical storefronts
Typically, creators find that it’s more effective to focus on a single website instead of spreading resources across multiple sites. With that being said, there are a few reasons why small business owners often consider creating multiple sites in order to serve their audiences more effectively.
Local to the Country You Operate In
One of the most common situations in which multiple websites can work well is when a business operates in multiple countries. Instead of running a single website, these brands often use a separate domain to cater to consumers in each region.
eBay, for example, is available through www.ebay.com to American users. Meanwhile, visitors to the auction site in other countries might use www.ebay.fr, www.ebay.de, www.ebay.es, or another international equivalent. This allows them to build each of those sites specifically for the corresponding market.
You Can Create Separate Marketing and Sales Funnels
As mentioned earlier, complications with lead generation and tracking are a common reason to avoid creating multiple business websites. In some cases, however, it may be more logical to split different aspects of the same underlying business into multiple sites.
easyJet, for example, connects visitors with different types of accommodations through the easyJet, easyHotel, and easyCar websites. Even though the domains are different, the branding and color scheme make it easy for users to tell that they are working with the same business.
Each of easyJet’s niches come with different audiences and target keywords, so there’s a good reason to separate them. Trying to offer flights, hotels, and rental cars from within the same interface would be needlessly confusing while making it more difficult for easyJet to tailor its digital outreach strategies to different types of searches.
While it sometimes makes sense to simply create one website for an entire brand, situations like these often call for multiple sites. Nordstrom Rack is another good example — even though both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack sell clothes, the products and target audiences are different enough for them to set up a separate website for each one.
In general, you should think about setting up multiple sites for your business if you sell products in very different categories, or if you offer different types of products or services for different customers, such as a small business solution and an enterprise solution. Look to condense your brand into a single site unless there are substantial benefits to splitting your website up.
If You Have Multiple Physical Storefronts
Another situation in which you might consider creating multiple websites is when your brand is operating multiple physical storefronts. In that case, it could sound like a good idea to set up a separate website for each one so that visitors can find the information that corresponds to their local store.
The fact is that most businesses opt for a centralized website that offers information about all locations. This is better for domain authority, and it also gives visitors the chance to learn about alternative locations they may not have known about. We only recommend this strategy for a few edge cases — for example, if you have storefronts in different countries, or if each location sells very different products.
What To Do Next
Creating multiple websites can be tempting, and it isn’t always a bad idea. Maintaining multiple websites is the norm for brands like eBay and Amazon that sell to global audiences. Similarly, easyJet and Nordstrom are two prominent examples of brands that have made a multisite setup work within a single market.
However, most businesses have neither the international reach nor the separate sales funnels necessary to sustain more than one website. Unless you have a specific reason to split up your brand, we strongly recommend building your digital presence around a single website. Check out these articles to jump-start your small business website: