Multiple Websites Dilemma – Two Different Brands or Just One?

Multiple websites

I get asked regularly how it’s best to brand yourself online when you have multiple passions and business ideas: multiple websites or just one?

For that matter, when you start asking about starting multiple websites do you also start multiple branded social media accounts, too?

This question arises when you have multiple interests, you’re a multi-passionate entrepreneur with many skills and you want people to know you for a specific skill or service without confusing the marketplace.

Let’s take a look at this multiple site dilemma a little closer, and come up with an answer for your particular situation, shall we?

Multiple Websites for Multiple Brands: Yay Or Nay?

Do You Have An Existing Brand Online?

If you already have an existing website and brand around one of your skills or services, I recommend simply adding your other passions to your current website.

This way people will know you for your main skill or brand, but they’ll also know that you have additional interests that they can come to you for.

Most of the time, one of our skills and passions take the driver’s seat and earn us a majority of our income. I look at my multiple web sites and businesses, and the 80/20 rule definitely applies, with NLMedia bringing in 80% of my income and RawFoodsWitch bringing in approximately 20%.

As multi-passionate entrepreneurs it’s natural for us to want to turn all of our passions into businesses. But it’s also okay to have passions that are hobbies for us, and these hobbies don’t need their own websites.

Instead of creating multiple sites for each of your hobbies or passions, you can dedicate a corner of your website to it. It can be a weekly blog post about your hobby, or an “other” page that has your hobby photography portfolio.

The bottom line: people want you.

You are the magic sauce that people show up for, so if you mix in multiple passions it only gives people more access to your amazingness.

Do You Plan To Sell This Business?

If you see the business you’re about to start as a company that you’d like to sell down the line, or have someone else take it over and run it, then I would recommend setting up a separate web presence.

I would not recommend your name as the brand if you plan to sell or transfer the operation of your business over to another person. I would choose a separate domain name along with separate social media accounts, and email list accounts, too.

One of the drawbacks of having a separate brand is that it takes much longer to update all of your accounts, and keep blogs fresh and regular on different sites. The benefit is that you can split from the site without too much fuss.

Using Your Name and Branding As Yourself Online

In the modern hyper-connected world, your name is your brand. Whether you run your own business or work for someone else, you should be aware of what comes up when someone searches your name online.

For that reason alone I think it’s important to secure your domain name, or at least make sure that you’ve got a profile on LinkedIn that shows you in your best light.

If you plan to be the “face” of your company, then it also makes sense to brand as your name online and on social media. People want to do business with other people, and being “you” online is definitely one of the easiest places to start.

It’s also got the added perk that when you’re your business, even if your services and focus change, you won’t be changing. I’ve personally changed websites far too many times since I started making websites at age 12, but you can bet that this domain isn’t going anywhere.

If your name is already taken, try using a word to describe your business further. Take HeatherPierceInc.com for example, or YourNamePhotographer.com.

Multiple Websites Might Work For Your Business Model

I’m a huge proponent of making business decisions based on the business model that you want to build.

If you enjoy curating and editing content, you might build an online business as more of a magazine model. This means that you’d start or collect multiple publishing platforms, each with their own brand.

You might start each of these sub-companies and use a combination of advertising, affiliate marketing, product or membership sales, and just keep adding these to your portfolio of sites.

If you’re a serial entrepreneur this might be a great way to build yourself a number of profitable businesses. I’d just make sure that you’re also great at building a virtual team (or even a local team) to help you manage and edit the content for each of the sites.

How Did You Solve This Dilemma?

Leave a comment below and let me know… how many different websites do you have? Would you have solved the multiple websites dilemma differently?

 

31 Responses to Multiple Websites Dilemma – Two Different Brands or Just One?

  1. Wow, Nathalie Lussier. I've struggled with this very problem, since I'm a therapist and also a creativity workshop leader and also an artist and also…. (you get the picture). Sound advice, as usual.

  2. Good thoughts Nathalie, I’m sure online business builders/owners struggle with this like you’re demonstrating here, I know I have. There’s no end all be all answer except for “it depends”.

    Chris Brogan in his lateset book Impact Equation covered this really well, he talks about you being a tv station, with different programs. If every friday you want to where a sombrero and talk about your service or product, great, but if you’re changing channels completely, use a new entity, branding, name, etc!

    I know for myself, I first branded and named my different projects/endeavors under my name [Granholm Design and Development], but as I experienced and grew more, the name was misleading or confusing to customers, so I went with the approach to have a broad enough “umbrella” entity [IT Arsenal] that hints at IT “stuff” and my various sub business entities, stand alone products, and collective offerings can all fit under in harmony, this way a tagline in a footer [operated by IT Arsenal] or something, won’t be totally odd.

  3. Nathalie, Intriguing video on branding!
    You do ask for info and I have purchased from you so I will ask your opinion. This is an important Q for me. I hope it of sufficient interests to others that you’ll reply!

    I have a blog up. Haven’t posted recently b/c I was writing two workbooks to accompany my core book (Who are You and What Are You Doing Here? The way to know yourself and get what you want. I’ll begin posting again as soon. This will give me a lot of original content.

    My two businesses are related, under the principle goal of developing self-knowledge for personal, academic and professional success. It’s really the same biz with two markets (and even more sub-markets as I progress). I say that unless you know yourself you will suffer three bad results: you won’t be with the right person, you won’t be in the right job and (so) you won’t be happy.

    In effect, you won’t know yourself well enough to make the best decisions for your life. So Self Knowledge is essential.
    Just starting the biz, which is Self-Knowledge College (http://www.selfknowledgecollege.com) (SKC) (site under construction—should be up in a week or so) a self-development site.

    The blog is The Daley Post (http://www.thedaleypost.com) which is up and which will act as the communication arm for both SKC and a spin-off site called Dropout to Dean’s list (DDL) (site also under construction—coming in several weeks.) It’s for at risk college students and their frantic parents.
    The self-knowledge content is for both sites but I’ll often have a special angle for the DDL site.

    I plan to send emails etc to each group individually and post on many topics eventually (all related ) on the blog. I’ll narrow the focus re topics at first of course.
    Topics such as time management, procrastination, goal-setting, career choice, choosing a mate etc. are human topics rather than simply student (or even general reader) ones, but some can be broken into more specific approaches for different readers although all with the through line of Self-Knowledge.
    Ultimately, I will probably want to sell both sites. My name is not in the titles but I will be a featured part of the operation for the foreseeable future. My name is on the blog but I figure that’s fine.

    I intend to set up separate FB pages, etc.

    The marketing will be essentially the same topics but with a different slant for the students.

    I’m telling subscribers up front that when they sign up on any site that the info comes from SKC. Am I on the right track with the branding, do you think?

    Sorry this is long, Nathalie, but it’s a little tricky to explain otherwise.
    I hope this (and your response) can act as an illustrative case for others in similar boats.
    Thank you,
    Frank

    • I too have multiple sites, multiple FB pages, and multiple businesses and would really like some concrete examples of whether sub-domains are better, domains that redirect, or multiple folders on a site.

      Thanks
      Sharon

      • I have a consulting business and I’m also a mystery and life style author. Consequently, the topics and audiences don’t necessarily mesh. As a result, two different websites and blogs would seem to be necessary.

  4. hahaha just what we talked about on Friday! I'm so excited to be branding under my own name for coaching services but I am keeping my corporate site as a static "online brochure" with sporadic updates about my corporate work just for credibility. great stuff her :)

  5. Great advice Nathalie, I was just wondering about this and now it’s clear to me that I need to keep everything under one umbrella/domain. Thanks!

  6. Great info here that I really needed to hear about – thanks! I'm curious though, how exactly can I sell an online business? More specifically, what if a company hasn't profited – can it still be sold?

    • You can definitely sell the assets of the business, like the domain and content. If it hasn't profited it might be harder to sell, but sometimes people buy domains with plans to make them profitable. ;)

  7. Hi Natalie,

    Great advice. I am currently in the process of setting up a second company to promote the website design aspect of my business. I have read plenty of articles online and some people say set up a second site, some say don’t. I’m taking the plunge and going to start from afresh. I am going to do this I have lost track of what I have set up with regards to SEO and starting with a clearly set out strategy it will be interesting to see how It performs.

  8. @Frank – good question! I think you may be setting yourself up for a little content creation burnout. I was a little overwhelmed just by reading your question, and the number of sites you’re putting together. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I suggest you get someone on board to help manage these different sites / content for each one, so that you can focus on growing them and turning a profit.

  9. Hi Nathalie,

    Great Article, I’ve read so many conflicting articles about this subject. What do you suggest in this situation:
    I have an IT business, also have a second domain that is more specific to my neighborhood.
    Should I just redirect it to my main site?
    Should I create a landing page and link it to the main site?
    or just set it up as a separate business? What do I do as far as branding?

    Thanks

  10. Great article and it answered few of my questions, but some still remain. I have about 3 clear areas on my website and seriously think about splitting them up. I'm worried that I'm trying to address too many different potential customers and also want to be taken 'seriously' for my chocolates and would like to grow the on-line shop. So, my question, is if the businesses are different or aim at different customers, should you not have separate websites? Also, if you have everything on one website – are you plausible? Would people trust you that you can do all this stuff and do it well? Love to know what you think – thank you. http://www.cocoaandheart.co.uk

    • I have the same dilemma… I have a website for webdesign and I’m redesigning it to include photography… But I’m stuck because it’s two different audiences. I like the idea of branding yourself first but that sounds a little tricky. I think it involves a lot of content creation around YOU and putting your services under that. For me, selling myself as a person sounds difficult…

  11. Hi Nathalie,
    I have plan to do my personal rebranding. Nothing problem with my old brand, some people have knew me as my old brand. I also didn’t have any reason to do my personal rebranding, just want to make memorable with my shortname Rizqi than the old one Nizamilputra. But one problem in my mind is some people knew as nizamilputra, so what I have to do for my personal rebranding. Is it worth to do it?

    Thanks, will be waiting your explantion.

  12. I’ve been thinking about combining my various services (marketing, art, editing and voiceover work) all on one website, via my branded name. However, I’ve searched high and low for sample websites to see how this can be done successfully, and I’m coming up empty handed. Are you aware of any websites that you are aware of, that you can share with us, that will give us an idea of how it would look to offer multiple businesses on one site?

  13. Currently, I’ve working on a client website for a Plant Nursery. The client has two different nursery and wants both in the same website. The design he wants is something like a option page so that the user can choose any of the option when visiting the homepage. But I’m really worried about the SEO. Will this be of any issue in this type of site ?

  14. Glad I came across this because my business partner and I are not in agreement on this subject.

    We have two websites. The first one is also the name of our LLC. It serves as the place where companies in a niche market will post jobs. It will also contain employment news and a blog relevant to the target audience.

    The second website is targeted toward those who are looking for jobs in the niche market, and it will contain employee news and a blog relative to the target audience.

    We’re not trying to hide the fact that the two sites are owned by the same company. The name of our LLC is in the footer of both sites, there is a link to the other from their top level navigation, and the logos use the same font and color palette.

    Curious to hear what people think.

  15. Hello,

    I enjoyed your article and am wondering how to apply your advice to my situation. I have a website/blog that is more for information and reviews about tango. However I am also starting a business giving tango tours. I am wondering if it would be better to connect the sites since they have a common theme OR to keep them separate since they are directed at different people ( tango dancers vs tango tourists)

    any opinion would be appreciated.

    I am looking forward to reading more of your posts

  16. With each new site that is created you are targeting a different market segment and so ideally require corresponding branding across social media. That is a huge task in itself. Add to that managing SEO and content creation and it’s just too much for one person. Remember Google likes websites that update frequently; the more channels that open the more dependency you are creating. My view, use a Zen approach and keep it simple until you can employ someone to take on responsibilities to expand the brands.