Multi-site management is a way of catering your brand for different markets. It is a great way to expand and ensure that your message gets through in different markets.
While there are risks and management of many sites requires many skills there are real benefits. There are three multi-site strategies that are proven to work.
What is a multi-site strategy?
A multi-site strategy consists of managing multiple websites from a single dashboard. It allows you to create individual sites that each has a defined set of unique features, databases, and modules.
Implementation of a successful multi-site strategy has helped businesses to differentiate their multiple brands, enter new markets, increase market share and develop a competitive advantage. It also enables businesses to introduce new products, as well as scale at an international level. Having a multi-site strategy helps brands to launch in specific regions and markets with the sole goal of attracting locals.
Why do most multi-site strategies fail?
When organisations try to run too many sites it becomes overwhelming. Each site has its own resources, so developers and marketers have a lot to manage. If the system isn’t properly managed the multi-site platform can end up having a multitude of unwanted duplications and inconsistencies, leading to bad UX not only for your customers, but also your employees.
For example, your business might have two separate eCommerce sites selling the same products from the same inventory. However, you need two separate inventories despite having one actual. To prevent duplication, you need to manually ensure that the inventory on both sites remains the same otherwise inaccurate stock levels are recorded.
Three multi-site strategies that work
1. Multi-user management
When operating a multi-site strategy you have to manage multiple users, content creators, editors, system administrators and webmasters. It is crucial that each of these users have their own set criteria and permissions to prevent users from accidentally accessing parts of the multi-site infrastructure they are not supposed to be in.
It is common to assign users to a particular site in a multi-site environment. However, the drawback is that each site also has its own user database. For an organisation operating a large number of sites, they would need to go into each individual site to manage their users, which is time-consuming and inconvenient.
To efficiently manage users in a multi-site environment a third-party solution allows a business to amalgamate all of the users on each site into a single user database.
2. Google Analytics multi-site & cross-domain tracking
Google Analytics gives access to information from all sites on one platform. Google Analytics has a feature that enables users to track multiple websites under a single Analytics user account. There are two ways to add multiple sites to your Google Analytics account:
- Add all your sites as properties under a single Analytics account ID
- Assign each site to a unique Analytics account ID.
It may be beneficial to do both to track traffic at a granular and a holistic level.
Google Analytics also features cross-domain tracking. While the standard Analytic tracking code enables users to retrieve performance data for any given URL, cross-domain tracking makes it possible to retrieve data from two related sites, such as an eCommerce site and a third-party shopping cart that is hosted on another domain.
Using the example of the eCommerce site and the third-party shopping cart, without cross-domain tracking, a customer who visits your eCommerce store and then proceeds to your third-party shopping cart will be counted as two separate visitors, with two separate user sessions, but cross-domain tracking lets you see this as a single session by a single visitor.
3. Utilise a multi-tenant CMS platform
Multi-tenancy refers to a governance model and technical architecture in which the tenants, such as a brand, have the freedom and autonomy to define and manage their own sites, data sources and channels, while they also have the ability to share the features and resources with the other tenants.
Unlike a multi-site infrastructure where each site has its own database, modules, and features, a multi-tenant architecture shares the resources and data from a central location. This solution works for organisations operating multiple sites that share content and features.
By collectively defining and sharing all the features and resources available, a multi-tenant architecture helps to reduce the cost of development and maintenance. A multi-tenant environment is also suitable for organisations wanting to run multiple eCommerce brands from a single master inventory.
Establish different brands with different target audiences into unique markets using a multi-site strategy. Managing that strategy using a platform that aggregates data and streamlines processes for the effective and timely management of your eCommerce business.