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In our experience, the majority of small business owners consider utilising more than one website when they want to start another division or offer a new service. Staying with a single website and rather utilising subdomains or subdirectories is usually the recommended solution because it’s much more sustainable in the long-term.

How Would A Subdomain Work Instead of Another Website?

Let’s say you own a project-based solar energy business called “Solar Future & Co”, and your website is located at “”.

You’ve decided to start a new division selling energy monitoring devices called “energy monitor xyz” and you also offer an online platform where your clients can view their energy consumption.

Logically, you would want to create a separate website for it located at “”, but the best approach would be to place it on a subdomain accessible via “”.

Why Is A Subdomain The Better Solution?

Firstly, using a subdomain for the energy monitoring devices division will help maintain brand equity. Your customers are already familiar with your business’s current website “” so the subdomain “” will already appear trustworthy and familiar.

Secondly, a separate website increases your technical debt, administrative overhead and operational costs.

Potential Emailing And Company Stationary Issues

Most complications with multiple websites start to appear in a couple of months, and it’s more business related than with the websites themselves. For example, let’s say your business operates in sub-saharan Africa or the SADC economic region.

Internally, it can create frustration because staff member A needs to remember that staff member B’s email address ends with the (Zambia) domain extension, and not with the (Mozambique) domain extension.

This is also true for company stationery such as business cards. For example, Jane’s business card was accidentally printed wrong because she’s located in Mozambique and not Zambia. Her correct email address is: “” (Mozambique) and not “” (Zambia).

Example Scenarios To Help You Make A Decision

There’s really only one reason to have more than one website, and that is if you are starting a completely different business. Going back to the project-based solar energy business “”, if you start a plumbing repair business, it doesn’t make sense to provide the services on the current website or even in a subdomain.

Look at the different scenarios below to help you decide if your use case is similar:

Scenario 1: Your Small Business Operates Across Africa

Running a business across multiple African countries has three challenges when it comes to websites:

  • Currency
  • Language
  • Service Offerings

We recommend using a single .com website and then place each country’s “mini-website” or dedicated page with their service offerings into a subdirectory, for example:

  • – for South Africa
  • – for Zambia
  • – for Mozambique

There are multiple WordPress plugins that provide currency switching and automatic language translation for those pages if needed.

For public-facing group emails to those countries, you could do:


You’ll notice that we didn’t recommend a subdomain. Why?

The reason is Google Search treats subdomains as separate websites. This means that your primary website “” already has trust or authority in the eyes of Google. If you want to continue benefiting from or pass that trust, or authority to your new “mini-website” or dedicated pages, you’ll need to place it into subdirectories and not subdomains.

Scenario 2: You Have A Product Range Under A Different Brand

You should consider creating a separate website and not a subdomain or subdirectory for differently branded products. Think of the Forage and Feast or Simple Truth brands that belong to Checkers.

By branding certain products under different names, you’ll have more options in terms of pricing and marketing, and if something goes wrong with those brands, they won’t hurt your parent or main brand.

Scenario 3: Technical Requirements Or Limitations

Let’s say, for example, you are looking at implementing an e-commerce solution for your current WordPress website. You want to use Shopify instead of WooCommerce.

You could configure Shopify on a subdomain, for example, (Shopify will be located at order.) Shopify doesn’t support installing it on a subdirectory within a WordPress website such as “”.

Scenario 4: Limited Time Promotion Or Once-Off Campaign

If your small business has an initiative like a once-off event, or some sort of creative landing page idea for lead generation, we suggest creating a separate website for it.

For example, if you host an annual fun run with a quirky name and it needs its own branding and specific layout, you should consider a separate website.

Final Thoughts: Multiple Websites And SEO

There’s a misconception that in order to increase your online presence or footprint and to gain more customers via search engine optimisation, you need to have multiple websites.

This isn’t 100% true.

For example, if you Google “electrician + your area” you’ll see Google’s search results are flooded with brandless websites containing variations of your search query, and the majority of the time those websites are owned by a single business.

I know what you might be thinking: “Those websites are on the 1st page of Google so it must be working”. True, but are those websites converting their visitors into paying customers? Maybe a small amount do, but the majority of customers don’t purchase a product or use a service if there’s no transparency or brand behind a website.

You’ll get better results focusing on a single website and making it as brandable as possible.