Multiple sites? Maybe you know what we’re talking about, maybe you don’t. Here in this post, we’ll share with you about Multiple Sites and help you see if your company should stick to a single domain or create separate ones.

Note: If you’re looking to read about why you should get a website, check this out instead!

Single Site Model

Single-Site Model (aka All-In-One)

Multiple sites in web development

Multi-Site (Different sites for different purposes and uses.)

In the beginning, having a website for a company was merely a consideration. However, as the world gets increasingly digitised, online presence has become a huge factor for consumers to gain access to a brand; making a site essential. 

Since then, a new problem has arisen. Should a business have just 1 site? This problem would not apply to a small/niche business. However, for a growing enterprise or an enterprise with multiple branches and such, it can turn out to be a tricky decision. Both single-site and multi-site have its benefits and drawbacks.

World wide map

Reasons for Single-Site

There are many reasons why businesses stick with just 1 domain. The most common reason for having only 1 site is often because the businesses are just starting out. Most businesses and brands begin with a single site to build up their online presence. 

  • Small Business / Online Business

    Small businesses usually do not expand abroad or require a secondary/different website and would stick to a single-site model. Examples of such businesses include local-only businesses or small family businesses.

    Online businesses tend to focus solely on 1 domain as it is easier and more profitable to solely focus on one eCommerce site. Instead of using many domains, they would use subdomains instead.

    And another reason would be that a business could be an online one. Online businesses tend to focus solely on 1 domain as it is easier and more worth to solely focus on one. Often instead of using many domains, they would turn to the use of sub-domains instead.

  • Specialized Niche / Cross-Selling

    Some companies remain in a single industry to be a leading expert and trusted brand instead of branching out to multiple industries. They do not require a separate site as they only have 1 area of specialty to offer. They’ll often remain within a single-site model to cross sell their goods. 

    An example would be Nike which specializes in sportswear. For most parts, their products and services are available on their single-site as well as their Nike+ app. They would often cross sell by recommending other sportswear to be paired/matched with whichever sportswear you’ve bought. (i.e: You bought a pair of shoes, they suggest adding a pair of socks to go with it.)

Credits: Nike

Reasons for Multi-Sites

  • Different Branches (aka Geo-Specific Sites)

    A lot of big brands that have branches all over the world would likely launch a site tailored to the locals. This is often done because their products/services are altered to suit local regulations, conditions or other factors. The information provided is often about the products/services available only to the locally specific target audiences rather than for the entire world. Sometimes, a separate site is used instead of a subdomain due to each branch being individually managed. The differences in the content will be too jarring. A prime example in the F&B industry – McDonald’s – each country has their own site which showcases their respective unique menus, promotions, newsletter and services.

Credits: McDonald’s

  • Distinctive Marketing (Same Industry)

    A parent company that owns multiple brands will also utilise different domains. The most well-known case for this would be The Coca Cola Company. Although they specialise in the beverage industry, each of their drinks has its own distinctive branding and target audiences. Therefore, each of their drinks has its own domain and style.

    *Not all of the brands they owned are showcased below. To view all, visit their site to browse.

Credits: The Coca Cola Company

  • Distinctive Marketing (Different Industries)

    A company that offers a wide variety of products/services will also have multiple domains. The most common example of this would be from Samsung. Most people know them from their day-to-day electronics such as phones, televisions, tablets and more. However, the main company branches out into many other different industries such as: 

    1. Display: Producing displays for mobile devices, televisions and other products.
    2. Heavy Industries: Manufacturing vessels (ships) for use in oil and gas industries or wind turbines.
    3. Medison: Dealing in medical fields for Ultrasound devices and a large variety of medical equipment.
    4. C&T: Skyscrapers, civil engineering projects, apartment complexes and even apparels.
    5. Bioepis: Research on medical and healthcare matters.

Credits: Samsung

  • Disclaimer: In Samsung’s case, another reason for the different domains is that some of the businesses owned are divisions or subsidiaries. While The Coca Cola Company owns most of their brands, some/most of Samsung’s businesses are brought over. It is easier for them to continue using and updating the existing domain. 

  • No Total Shutdowns

    A lesser-known reason for having multiple sites is to avoid a situation where a website might be down for maintenance or is facing technical issues. Having separate sites will ensure that even if one site is down, the other sites will still be up and running. This would guarantee that the traffic and source of income of the other sites will not stop completely.

    Each separate site used for different products/services would be self-contained. Hence, there would be almost no need to mass update contents or change links whenever one has to add or remove contents.

Benefits

The main benefit of using multiple sites is to cater to the business’ targeted audiences without confusing them. As the target audience is more specific, it allows the SEO ranking of the site to increase. With the right marketing strategy, companies that use multiple sites can make use of the focused domain names and keywords to effectively promote their business.

Sub-Domains

Subdomains are like the folders on your desktops. While the subdomain exists within the main domain, it is still a site of its own. In most cases, subdomains are a substitute method for Single-Site models who want Geo-Specific features without making a separate site. It is commonly used for languages and/or countries. However, there are also cases where companies use them for other purposes.

In most cases, subdomains used for Geo-specific features are exactly the same as the main domain. The only exception or difference would be the reason why a subdomain was used. 

For language purposes, the content will remain uniform throughout all the subdomains with the only difference being the language. (Example: Nike)

For location purposes, the content across the subdomains might differ to cater to location-specific audiences.(Example: Apple Inc)

A simple example of such a brand would be Nike. As seen from the mention of Nike earlier, their main domain is the US version with their sub-domains being other languages. Another example would be Apple Inc which uses sub-domain instead of Geo-Specific site model: