MD at North Laine Solutions Ltd
22 November 2009 18:47pm
I was hoping someone could suggest some opinion or case study for good practice for structuring a website / websites for a sucessful national franchise?
Despite long hours of analysis/agonising we cant reach a conclusion over whether to go the 'lots of regional minisites' or 'one umbrella site' route
ie www.franchisestuffbrighton.co.uk or www.franchisestuff.co.uk/brighton
Anyone got any thoughts about what would be most effective?
It's a B2C busines in the social sector...
CEO at Econsultancy
23 November 2009 09:53am
I guess it depends on how much overlap there will be in the different franchises and how customers will perceive the franchises - do you want them to know/feel there is a bigger holding group somewhere or will they be highly localised and customised?
There are certainly advantages of keeping 1 domain with sub-directories for the different franchises. Not just in managing the content/systems/apps/pages all in one place but SEO advantages - all your inbound links will point at the same domain so all will benefit. If you launch a new franchise with a sub-directory it should get indexed and rank much quicker than if a new domain.
On the other hand, if you want highly individual brands, with local markets, and in different languages etc, then I'd err towards having local sites, with their own domains etc. It would then take longer to build links/SEO for each but, in the longer term, you'll likely do better for that niche in that market.
23 November 2009 11:49am
thanks for the common sense outlook... it always falls into place on monday morning!
SEO is a major consideration of course, and the use of multiple domains would inevitably incur the need for duplicated content with its implied SEO negative effect.
thanks for taking the time to offer your opinion
Head of Ecommerce at Lovehoney
23 November 2009 16:30pm
Hi Ben, we're a franchise, that has an ecommerce site - www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com. Personally, I would argue that you should have neither. I would suggest a single, national site, that whenever a postcode or whatever territorial idenitifier you use is selected, tailors itself to that franchise.
Can you answer a few questions?
1) How much control will you give to the individual franchisees? Remember that participation will vary wildly, and if they have content control, so will quality.
2) How significantly do you expect content to vary between franchisees?
3) How much is the brand based on "a local service"? Is it necessary for the user to see the franchise territory in the URL?
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