Whether you are in the early stages of your website or you have published a few already, you may find that your services, interests, and other information tends to occupy different categories. What should you do? You really have two main choices that can really determine the type of success you will have – create one big website or multiple small websites.
Should you create one big website or multiple small websites? To serve your current or future audience, you should prioritize your efforts to build one big website so you can focus on authority of you and your website. You can opt for multiple small websites if you run separate businesses or want to create microsites for marketing efforts.
This is a topic I racked my brain on for several years. I started a big website, moved to multiple small websites, created more websites, then moved a good chunk of content to a bigger website. I would not recommend doing this by any means. Not only does this take a lot of time but I'm also confident I hamstrung the growth of several websites I was playing around with. You don't have to make a perfect decision, but you do need to make one and stick to it until you know for sure that you need to change. Now let's look at a few things to consider if you're also stuck on this conundrum.
Creating One Big Website
- You have a better chance of showcasing authority if your topics are related. Modern SEO is build around Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (EAT). Spreading yourself too thin may sabotage this.
- You now have link building that scales. Most social media or other platforms that allow you to point to your website only provide space for one link. Now your one link is THE link.
- More content on one website means bigger page views for ad networks if you wish to go this route.
- Bigger websites seem to perform better because of how traffic responds to the amount of content. Now you can become large enough to compete with the big dogs!
- Having one website allows for easier management and fewer hosting slots, licenses, and potentially staff.
- By having everything on one domain, you lose specific keywords in your domain. How much this matters is to be determined. The thought process is that someone who searches VR for example, could be given a result for Best VR Gear or Bills Electronics and would presumably pick the result with VR in the domain. Building a personal brand or just a brand in general could combat this but that would take extra time to establish.
- It's possible to create a divide amongst your readership that enjoy one category over another. This is probably more of a bigger deal to social media than websites, but it's still something to think about how diverse you would want to go.
- In order to become large enough to scale and compete with other websites, you would want to aim for 200 articles. The more competitive the scene is, the higher the word count needs to be per article.
Creating Multiple Small Websites
- You have more of a chance to grow faster with focused websites that can be explored in one glance. Clear branding helps people learn about you quicker.
- Your web properties are more separated, meaning they're easier to identify, review stats, and even sell off as necessary.
- If a topic doesn't necessarily fit in with other web properties, having a separate website can make the organization easier, thus making authority in a specific space easier to establish or build.
- You could be spreading yourself too thin. You may have a lot of content but if it's spread around multiple websites, especially if they are new, you may never get the momentum your content needs to benefit you or your readers.
- Besides all of your numbers being lower in each website, you also need to maintain each website. This is made easier by using maintenance care packages, but you would still be doing repetitive actions that don't scale well.
- You also need to have different accounts or web properties within accounts. Sure, things like Google Analytics allow you to manage multiple web properties under one account, but not every account you need will work this way. Besides, you will also need to setup and optimize every web property and keep track of your codes.
What Happens When You Need to Migrate Content?
It's not the end of the world if you need to move things around. However, if you can help it, it is much easier to plan and see that plan realized than to flip flop and do the work accordingly.
- To migrate content effectively requires the time to do the actual migration, redirects, Google Search Console notification, and potentially internal landing pages. This does not include any setup time that may be required for new websites. If you're wondering this stuff is necessary – the answer is yes. Do it right.
- While you are doing the migration and even after, traffic can be cut by half for up to 14 weeks. If you're lucky, your normal traffic will return in 2 to 3 weeks. This is a safety mechanism as well as a usability mechanism. This is unavoidable.
- Also, when you do a migration, you have the potential to retain traffic overall after recovery but it's not guaranteed.
Here's the bare minimum process for migrating to a new domain:
- Purchase new domain.
- Add new domain to Google Search Console and Validate it.
- Make sure you have hosting and connect it to the new domain.
- Migrate data from old domain over to new domain.
- If you use shared hosting, create a 301 redirect in the htaccess file to point to new domain. You can also put the redirect at the DNS level with your registrar.
- Go to your old domain property in Google Search Console.
- Go to the Settings and click on “Change of Address.”
- Select the new domain you wish to migrate to.
- Click Validate and Update. Google will be updated with the move within a few days.
Create One Big Website or Multiple Small Websites Conclusion
I know how big of a decision this can be. Not only did I think about this concept for a while, I actually moved stuff around more many of my web properties. It's a lot less stress to make a plan and go for it. Consolidating some of your material is usually the better idea.
Notice how I referred to consolidation. I still operate more than one web property, but each one has their own objective. It's also about a quarter as many websites as it used to be so management is a LOT easier. The main focus now is writing content. I recently finished going through 60 Days to a Successful Site on Project 24. I've been a part of this program for a little while now and finally finished this main course. There's a lot of nuggets of wisdom in that course on how to write good content and what to focus on. I had always prioritized things that didn't scale my business as opposed to the critical pieces that do. Don't make my mistake.
The decision you should go with really depends on what you're trying to do, whether you're looking to build a niche website or a business website, and whether you have people to help you (internal or external).
Let me know in the comments below what struggles you've had with this and whether you would like to see more written about this topic.