Multiple sites? Maybe you know what we’re talking about, maybe you don’t. Here in this blog, 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 out this blog instead!

Single Site Model

Single Site Model (aka All-in-one)

Multiple sites in web development

Different sites, different purposes and uses.

In the beginning, it was only a consideration for brands to decide whether they should start a website for their company. However, in this day and age where online presence is slowly become a huge factor that customers use to assess a brand, a site is essential. Instead, a new consideration arises: should I have just 1 site? This consideration may not apply to a small business or a niche businesses. However, for a growing enterprise or an enterprise with multiple branches and such, it can turn out to be a hard decision.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the reason for separate sites, the benefits and the drawbacks.

World wide map

Reasons for Single-site

Firstly, let’s briefly go through why certain businesses sticks with just 1 domain. The most common reason for having only 1 site is often because the businesses are just starting out. At the beginning, businesses and brands begins with a single site to build up their online presence. But other than just starting out, here are some reasons why certain big brands remains a single site model rather than separating their sites.

  • Small Business / Online Business

    Usually if a business is small, like a small/local shop, they might understand the benefits of having a website. But as they do not expand abroad or in any way that might require a secondary or different website, they would stick to a single site model. Example of such businesses includes local-only business or small family businesses.

    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 remains in a single field to be an expert and trusted brand in one field instead of branching out. Therefore, they do not require a separate site as they only have 1 area of specialty to offer. And often, not always, when it’s a Niche business, they’ll remain within a single site model to cross sell their goods. Therefore it is easier for them to just pour everything they have in 1 site.

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

Credits to Nike’s site.

Reasons for Multi-site

Secondly, we’ll like to share reasons for why some companies may have decided to use more than 1 site. The most common reasons includes:

  • Different Branches (aka Geo-specific Sites)

    A lot of big brands that has branches all over the globe would launch a site tailored to the locals. This is done often because their products or services are altered to suit local regulations, conditions or other factors. Therefore the information provided is often about the products or services available only to the locals specific target audiences rather than for the entire world. Sometimes a separate site is used instead of a sub domain due to each branch being individually managed or that the differences in content is too great.

    A prime example of such cases would come from the F&B industry like McDonald. Each country have their own which showcase their respective unique menus, promotions, newsletter, services and whatnot.

Credits to each region’s McDonald websites.

  • Distinctive Marketing (Same Industry)

    Another reason for different domains would be that a company may own different brands. The most well known case for this would be the products from The Coca Cola Company. Although only specializing in the beverage industry, each of their drinks have their own distinctive branding and target audiences. Therefore, each of their drinks have their own domain and style.

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

  • Distinctive Marketing (Different Industries)

    Another reason for different domains would be that a company may offer a wide variety of products/services. The most well known case for this would be the from Samsung. Most people may know their most well know day-to-day electronics: Phones, televisions, tablets and more. However, the main company branches out into many other different industries such as Samsung:

    1. “Display” which is for the displays for mobile devices, televisions and other products.
    2. “Heavy Industries” which specializes in making vessels (ships) for use in oil and gas industries or wind turbines.
    3. “Medison” which deals in the medical fields for Ultrasound devices and a variety of medical equipment.
    4. “C&T” which offers Skyscrapers, civil engineering projects, apartment complexes and even clothing.
    5. “Bioepis” which research on medicines and healthcare matters.

Credits to Samsung’s Sites.

  • Disclaimers: In Samsung’s case, another reason for different domains is that some of the business they own are Divisions/subsidiaries. While Coca Cola owns most of their brands from scratch, some/most of Samsung’s are businesses brought over. Therefore they just continue using and updating existing domain rather than connecting or launching a new one.

  • No Total Shutdowns

    A lesser known reason for having different sites is to avoid total chaos and failure or damage. Sometimes a website might be down be it for maintenance, technical issues or other reasons. Having separate sites means that even if one is down, other sites are still up and running. This means that the traffic and source of income will not stop entirely as compared to having a single site unavailable.

    And if separate sites are used for different products and services, each sites would be self-contained. This would mean that the need to mass update contents or change links would be little to none, depending, whenever you’re adding or removing contents.

Benefits

Overall the benefit of using multiple sites is to be able to cater to targeted audience without confusing them. And because the target audience is more specific than general, it allows the SEO ranking of the site to increase. And with the right marketing strategy, companies that uses multiple sites can make use of focused domain names and keywords to effectively promote individually.

In conclusion,

We recommend having multiple sites only when there is a need and you have the substantial funds for it. Otherwise, a single domain or a sub domain will be sufficient. Whether if its a single or a multiple website you’re planning, why not work with us?

Have we piped your curiosity at the mentions of “Sub Domains”? Check out this bonus we’ve written about it as bonus!

BONUS: Sub-domains

Subdomains are like folders inside folders on your desktops, while the subdomains exists within the main domain, it’s still a site of its own. In most cases, sub-domains are a substitute method for Single Site models who wants Geo-Specific features without making a separate site. Therefore it is commonly used to for language and/or countries. However, there are cases that a company uses it for other purposes.

In most cases, sub-domains used for Geo-specific features are exactly the same as the main domain. The only exception or difference would be the reason why sub-domain was used. i.e: If a company uses sub-domain for languages purposes, nothing will be different except the languages. However, if it was used for location purposes, each sub-domain would remain more or less the same with the difference of contents.

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:

Large box = Main Domain, Small box = Sub-domain.