Am I better off to have one big website or a constellation of linked sites?
My core business site (www.on-purpose.com) is old, functions, but doesn't have an administrative panel to self-manage. My outsourced web master took a full time job so the site is basically unchanged. Over the years, as we've added workshops, books, and other resources, our workaround has been to create individual product or program sites using Wordpress / Genesis theme & child. Examples: www.onpurposeleadership.com, www.onpurposepeace.com, www.fit4leading.com.... and so forth.
Something needs to change. Aside from the lack of branding consistency (I'm aware), what is the best strategy going forward? Do I keep the "constellation of related websites" approach or consolidate them all onto one large site? Whatever I do mobile responsiveness is a must.
One exception is my video blog will remain separate from the company site. It is a TypePad account that works well for us.
As a solo owner, I would prefer to have fewer places to go for site management. From an SEO perspective, however, which is the better way? What other considerations might I need to address?
Wow, loaded question(s).
In most every case, I would normally recommend "one big site" versus many sites, especially for a solopreneur. But since you already have several existing, then you need a strategy for managing it all in the present, as well as how to leverage your assets for the future, including possible consolidating some of the sites. Without digging into details of each asset, there is no simple cookie cutter answer.
One central site is best. If you MUST have additional sites, they should be super simple micro sites with very specific conversion-focused goals of driving traffic, sales/leads (a few pages each).
I have to go against your instinct -- your video blog should be part of your main site for SO MANY reasons. You need to own your content and where it resides. Having it on Typepad only dilutes your brand further and takes away valuable SEO from your main site, even if you are attempting to send link juice there. The old days of linking schemes are nearing an end, Google is onto the black and gray hats, and creating satellite sites for any reason, especially gaming links is not going to pay off. Most importantly, give your customers and your ideal audience an EASY way to find you in one place. Video is incredibly valuable, and if you are regularly producing video, that is an enormous value, it should be on your main site.
Which ever direction you go, I advise when facing these decisions, ask yourself, "what will make it better for my audience? What will make it easier for them to find me, connect with me, and consume my wares?" and that will take some of the guess work out of many decisions.
PS: I am happy to see you using WP/Genesis, that's wise, I also specialize in that, along with content marketing functions and membership/courses.
From an SEO perspective you are hundred times better off incorporating all of your micro-sites into one core site. This will help strengthen the DA (domain authority) of the core site and avoid getting a possible penalty from Google for link schemes. Not to mention the cost and time to maintain, market and track/report analytics on multiple domains/url's is not worth it.
Sorry, but I disagree with most of the comments above.
If you sell multiple products (even if they are related), it is better to have one site for EACH product. You will want to make a landing page, or sales page for each product utilizing appropriate key words & phrases.
If you have an extensive sales funnel, you want a landing page, with a free or low priced product. Of course, you will want to brand the sites similarly for consistency.
We have one company banner over several of our sites, but use a different site for the following:
1. 3 different eGuide product sites
2. Blog with links to eGuide sites
3. Product site with ALL products and links to the main sales sites and buy now link as well.
4. Main funnel site (underconstruction)
5. Lead page (opt-in) page for our funnel
Yes, it is more work, but we have a sign up box on each site, and have grown our list rather quickly this way. And my name and resources show up SEVERAL times when folks search my main key words.
In addition, there is nothing wrong with some duplication of information on sites. For example, I list all my products (with descriptions, buy links and links to main sales page) on my blog site.
Another strategy I use, it to set up "mini websites" on Squidoo talking about a specific topic in my niche and linking to my products on the subject.
So what has that done for me? I often receive requests for information (which regularly turns into sales) that start off saying .... "I searched all over the website for information on XYZ (my niche) and your name was everywhere, so I figured you must be the expert in the field!"
Good luck with your project!
'Gift Rep Sandy'
What is the most efficient solution that will engage and convert your target prospects? I would think in terms of one "mother site", then a series of landing pages for each special focus. Microsites require more management time, as you've noted, and also may not be required to reach your objectives.
You've asked for best SEO recommendations and a consolidation will help that. Why then, especially with the recent WordPress updates and features for managing videos would you decide to keep a second site for videos. This is not the best solution for efficiency, SEO, and visitor ease of use.
Quick answer. One website.
I would go with a one big website, lots of SEO and good content for Google to pick up on.
Now, I don't know if it is just one thing you do/sell or if it is various (sorry I haven't done my homework and checked out your websites. I'm on my iPhone in an airport). Anyway, IF you have branched out products, go for sub domains. That means that they can be independent, with a different look and feel if needed, you can give access to only those people who need, and not to all the website entirely, etc..
Think of it as moving all your different offices around the world to one huge building. Each service/product gets its own floor (complete with a separate keys so you can choose who accesses each floor). Now when people visit your new office, instead of them finding 5 different small offices, they arrive at a 5 story shiny building... nice impression, right?
Same mentality now with the website. One address, one big website, but with different floors (sub-domains) for all those different services/products you have to show.
The same things occur in real life as they do virtually I find mostly.
Go for broke. Go for one big website, show the world how big you are, and if you DO need to, then sub domains for the smaller services/products.
Quick and clear enough answer? I've been doing this for over 15 years, I love the webs. By far, this is the way to go.
Hope I didn't mumble in my answer or repeat myself. I'm been in this transfer lounge for 2 hours, with another 3 hour wait ahead of me. I'm jet lagged, fighting with a bad WiFi signal and just wanted to help.
The consensus seems to be to consolidate, and I would agree with that. I would also suggest keeping all of your existing url's and simply pointing them to your one major website - so that no matter where people are looking for you, they'll end up where you want them to be. Making sure you have all the related social media aspects up and running and ensuring that those aspects are connected to and from your website will give you plenty of opportunities to keep the traffic flowing.
One website is better than multiple sites. You want to build a brand, but you also want to be easy to find and follow. Each website would then need it's own social media, etc. and it becomes too much!
And, website technology has advanced so much, that you can really lead your users to their correct needs. Make your home page an introduction to all that you can do, and have clickable links for them to learn more about the subject area they are interested in.
Good luck, and stop creating extra work for yourself! :)
Simplicity and ease of navigation win every time. One site.
I have to agree with Joseph Gedgaud in terms of using possibly using the other pages as landing pages. However they should all have some type of cohesiveness that allows them to be recognized as one brand.
Just doing redirects (depending on how many domains you have you can just redirect a few instead) I think would be wasting "real estate" - it also gives you an opportunity to see what appeals most to your customer base so that you can improve on it and thus increasing your ROI.
Also, if you have these all on Wordpress for example there are tools that allow you to manage all sites from one dashboard.
Look at it from purely a SEO optimization stand point. It's better to have a constellation of linked sites. In fact, it's more important that those sites are linked to notable sites.
Outside of SEO optimization though, customers prefer one "big" or rather "Organized" site which will take them through a seamless process. So you need to find a balance.
Hope this helps!
One consolidated Wordpress site would work best. You can use the other website domains as landing pages of funnel that bring people to your main website. Google generally prefers having one website over many. The larger the better in terms of SEO and lead generation. I would suggest finding a small team to help work out how to create everything into one and have a system in place to add as you want.
It would be much better to have one site, it would me much easier to organise and keep up to date, I would suggest to add a blog and keep it current. I d use many website to bring in work all under one banner and concentrate my SEO on city by city and regional, seems t work.
If you need more information regarding SEO just le me know.
Interesting Kevin. I've seen companies use different sites for different marketing purposes very effectively, but in your case, it doesn't seem to make much sense. Having one, very well organized site, would be a benefit to your audiences, for sure. Just a quick, off the top of my head (subjective) analysis, I'd say your brand and search presence would be strengthened greatly by having all your content in one place.
Simply put, your brand is fragmented, and your revenue may be suffering. My advice, really sit back and think through your goals, before you go off on a tactical tangent....and let your goals be your guide.
BTW, I love Genesis products. They have some really great new stuff out now, and they really support it well.
Having too many websites is confusing, and from experience I think it is best to have a website that is your "official webpage" for your company, then have offshoots from that to all other social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog, etc). Your webpage should be like a luxury resort with enough going on internally to keep visitors happy and interested. Then, coupled with shuttles and buses to get people to other destinations that compliment your business and everything functions together.
Well I would suggest to have all thing in one place, in terms of branding and marketing and do a permanent redirect this way it wont harm for SEO.