Should you have multiple websites for your businesses? Can you combine them? Do you need to separate them? This is one of the most common questions I see & get, especially amongst multi passionate entrepreneurs and multifaceted creatives and business owners in general, they just don’t know how to and if they should combine their services or if they need to separate their services into two business or two websites. This can be a difficult decision to decide on, and frankly, I had to make this at one point as well. I also help my clients through this all the time and thought it’d help to share my thoughts & advice on the subject here.
First off you’re going to have to identify whether or not these businesses are actually related in some type of way. If they are not, then you are going to have to separate them. Consider your target market and how different the businesses are.
A good example for this: would be if you are an artist and you sell art and you also want to start or have a karate studio. These are very very different types of businesses with very different types of audiences. The truth is if I’m looking for a karate class I don’t really care about whether or not you’re an artist or sell your art, that is simply not what I’m looking for. If you’re selling art, I’m not looking for a karate studio to go to.
They are both very different audiences and you have to recognize what your audience wants and how to support that with your websites. So for this example these would be two different websites because they are targeting two different types of audiences in very unique ways.
Keep them together:
When you can combine a business or multiple passions within one business is if they’re still a common thread between what you’re doing and you’re mostly providing different offerings, but that live under the same umbrella.
For example, let’s say you are an artist and you sell art but you also teach art classes. This would be okay under one website because you can have a similar audience and they could potentially be interested in both items or both offerings. In this case, you’re able to direct them to two different pages that speak to those specific offerings and audiences.
In this case, I would recommend the doorway method. Essentially you’re giving people two (or 3) options on the homepage that lead & direct visitors to the correct page. Like a door leading to two different rooms. For this example, let’s just say it’s two photos on your homepage – one says it’s for art classes under the photo and then an option for purchasing art under the second image. You’re giving people clarity on where to go based on what you want them to do or what they are looking for. Again, this is a similar audience so the doorway method makes sense. This can also work if you are a blogger or if you have different extensions of your business that all make sense under what you’re doing. (see image below for a clear design example).
Unless your target market is looking for something specific and you know that they don’t mind that it’s combined and that is still going to make sense for them from a buyer’s perspective then you’ll be fine combining. If not then separate the two businesses. One thing I see is that oftentimes people get confused over offerings and extensions of businesses that are under the same umbrella and think that they need multiple websites or a lot of different like names for marketing whatever it is. Sometimes you don’t need that and it can be as simple as separating by a different page on a website or positioning it as a different offer.
The next strategy you can focus on if you are separating, is to cross-promote your businesses. Cross-promoting is a way to promote different offerings between different businesses. A good example of this would be you do have a karate studio and you are an artist rather than having them live under one website, that would be confusing for your target market, you could have your karate studio and show off some of your art in the studio. Then on your website you can have in your about page a little blurb that says “when I’m not teaching karate and showing you how to kick ass, I’m creating art. You can check out my artwork here if you’re interested.” And then vice versa on your artist website you can say “when I’m not creating art I am teaching karate at the studio check it out here.” You are then able to promote both businesses in smaller digestible ways that make it interesting enough for your clients and for each target market without taking away from the main message and the main goal of each website. I do this all the time when I promote my shop page. Cross promoting is great for all types of businesses!
Again when you are thinking about whether or not you need more than one website or if you should combine a business etc, first and foremost think about your ideal target market and what they are looking for. Put yourself in their shoes and see how you would feel about going onto a website. Would you be confused? Would that be weird? Would you feel confident in making a purchase? Really consider how your ideal target market would react. The last thing you want to do is confuse your audience because that’s going to drive away sales which is the opposite of what you want. Really hope this helps clarify whether or not you should have multiple websites for your businesses.