Websites are great. Everyone has a website in today's digital age and for most mid to large-size organizations, one website is not enough. Larger organizations often run 10’s if not 100’s of web properties to support their products, services, departments, or initiatives. If you have ever tried to manage 100’s of websites individually, you know how frustrating it is to maintain something unscalable, and you end up with most of your sites becoming old and outdated. If your websites are running on a content management system (CMS), you have additional issues around keeping up-to-date with the latest security patches which open your site up to be compromised.
What is a Multisite Platform and how is it different from a website?
Let start with some definitions:
A website is a set of content under a common domain name which is meant to provide information to users over the internet. Websites today come in all shapes and sizes and are integral in conducting business in the 21st century.
A multisite platform is a collection of websites that share a common set of features and functionality that can be centrally managed. This helps to reduce the overhead of redundant activities and development efforts.
Great, now that that is out of the way, let’s dig into the top 3 reasons you should consider (or not consider) investing in a multisite platform.
1. Multisite Platforms Help You Follow the Don’t Repeat Yourself (DRY) Principle
Every good developer lives and dies by the DRY principle. The last thing you want to be doing is repeating yourself 100 times throughout your codebase. Not only is it inefficient, but it also requires additional maintenance costs when you need to change a piece of code on every page. This is the reason that content management systems (CMS’s) were created and the rule holds true for platforms as well. If you are spending time building/updating/patching what feels like the same websites over and over again for different parts of your organization you are doing it wrong.
2. Multisite Platforms Help With Maintaining Brand Consistency
If you are like most mid to large-size companies, you are running several sites under a single brand. Whether these are for different parts of the organization, targeting various audiences, or for different business purposes, brand consistency is key for building customer recognition and trust. We won’t get into branding theory here, but if this sounds like a problem that you have, you should consider looking into a multisite platform.
By incorporating the first rule of don’t repeat yourself (the DRY Principle), you will be able to implement your brand style guide once and share it across the various sites on your platform. Furthermore, when you have to update your branding you won’t end up with half your websites never getting updated to reflect the new brand (and no, this doesn’t mean every site needs to look identical).
3. Multisite Platforms Help You Consolidate and Streamline Technologies
Running several websites on different applications is costly and inefficient. Not only does your staff need to maintain multiple websites, but they also have to learn the intricacies of each one and adapt their processes to the various technologies. This impacts everyone in your organization from your content teams learning how to create content to your maintenance teams checking for and applying the latest updates.
Oftentimes this requires you to have relationships with multiple vendors, hosting providers, agencies, etc… who are all doing essentially the same thing in different ways, at different costs, and with different processes…
Are you starting to see how utilizing multiple technologies to run your websites violates rule #1 of don’t repeat yourself?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Sometimes there are perfectly valid reasons for running multiple websites across multiple technology stacks, and that is an investment the organization needs to make. If you are managing or supporting multiple websites and can relate to any of these areas, we strongly recommend that you investigate a multisite platform in more detail.