When Should A Business Have More Than One Website?

Today’s topic has to do with branding. Specifically, when should a company create more than one separate websites?

I have this client. We had a meeting to discuss a website redesign. On their website currently you see two logos in the header and then the main content, on the homepage, is the following choices. They have two logos above that, because they sell bricks (one logo or brand) and they also sell outdoor furniture (which is another logo/brand) During our discussion, the following question was raised: Should we continue having the bricks and the outdoor furniture on the same website.

Here are some questions I asked, to help them think through the decision:

  • Who are your brick customers?
  • What kind of customer is your average outdoor furniture customer?
  • Are these the same customers?
  • What do you want your brick customers to do when they come to the site?
  • What do you want your outdoor furniture customers to do?

On discovering the answer to that last question, in my mind the issue became even more important, because currently they aren’t selling furniture online. The website is more just there to invite people to come to the store. But now I knew they wanted to build an ecommerce site. Obviously this is more critical. On thinking through these question, the client agreed to go with two websites. One for informing the dealers and one focused on the outdoor furniture ecommerce.

So, how can you apply this to your business if you sell somewhat related, but not quite related products?

For example, Yamaha sells boats, motorcycles, and pianos, among other things. Currently they have a separate website for music stuff and another website for the boats and motorcycles. One way to consider this is to ask the same questions:

  1. Who is the customer?
  2. What do you want them to do on this site?

If their goal was for the customer to know that Yamaha is a giant company that makes all kinds of stuff and have the customer buy it direct on their website then they could have probably kept it all as one site, like amazon.

However, their goal is probably to inform since they sell through dealers. Also each product line is for a specific customer. Although some piano buyers are also motorcycle buyers, the musician customer is in a certain mindset when searching for a piano and possibly in a whole other mindset when looking for a motorcycle.

However, a motorcycle buyer wouldn’t be confused or distracted if they also saw a boat on the site.

So, in conclusion, if you are deciding whether to make a website with more than one type of product, there are lots of things to consider, but one important thing to consider is who your customer is and what you want them to do when they get to your site.

Until next time!