One Shoe | 28 dec 2015
This is the third article in the series about 'Multi-site/Multi-domain' solutions.
With a multi-site or multi-domain solution it is possible to create, manage and deploy multiple websites from one Drupal CMS installation without needing Drupal developers or IT support. In the second chapter we told you about what a multi-site/multi-domain solution exactly is and what the differences are. But what are the advantages of a Multi-site/Multi-domain solution and who's to benefit from it?
Who would benefit the most of a multi-site of multi-domain solution?
It seems a lot of organizations can benefit from multi-site or multi-domain installations. Many organizations host a large number of websites, not rarely using different techniques for each new website project. Supporting such a diversity in IT solutions can place a heavy load on the IT department, who in the end usually have to maintain and support those websites and every different technique that comes with it.
What are the advantages of a multi-site/multi-domain solution?
Maintenance and security
As you can imagine, as the variety of technologies and setup increases, so does the complexity of maintenance and security. With that, the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of having an online marketing presence and the online marketing and communications tools goes up. In such cases, having a single CMS to secure and maintain might be beneficial to save valuable time and cost and minimize IT security risks.
The time saving benefit of multisite and multi-domain setups (in theory*) also applies to content management. In a multisite or multi-domain setup, a single content editing interface can update multiple websites and content items with one moderation. Content management can be streamlined and simplified by publishing content to many domains or across sites with one content entry or mutation. Single Sign On services across websites are also relatively easy to implement
* Of course the same can be achieved using a centralized content repository system, that feeds content to decentralized stand-alone websites and apps, but for the sake of this article we won’t go into that.
Easily create and configure new websites
Within Drupal multisite and multidomain solutions developed by One Shoe, we’ve also implemented features with which admins, without needing our help, can creating and configure new websites.
We’ve also enabled them to style those new websites, for example with custom themes, colorpickers (or both) and drag & drop page elements. Investments in such tools make the return on investment for multisite or multidomain more attractive, since those tools make creating a large diversity of website types easier, while decreasing the need for technical IT development services.
A multisite or multi-domain setup can therefore reduce both the cost (maintenance, development) and the time-to-market and content management efforts of websites and their content.
Multisite systems can also benefit marketing departments and management, struggling to force everyone in the organization to adhere to the brand guidelines. We’ve encountered many cases in our own portfolio, where each local (sub)department was free to develop and design their own version of a website. Results may vary from excellent websites that in some cases are even better than the corporate website, to rainbow colored Comic Sans eyesores, that adhere to brand guidelines like grease to Teflon. With as a result an ever more frustrated marketing manager or brand manager.
A multisite environment forces everyone to work within the structured tools and templates, thus making sure all content management takes place within the limits that are set, and the corporate branding guidelines that are defined in the theme templates. If done right – those decentralized departments may even gain more and better features than they would have developed on their own.
You will benefit the most from a multisite or multi-domain CMS setup if you want to deploy many sites (say; more than 10) from a single installation, ánd if you can ensure those websites will work within the framework’s setup.