Product Website or Company Website

Posted by Kirby Turner on May 18, 2007

When I started White Peak Software 3 and a half years ago I lacked vision for what type of company White Peak Software would become. Over time visions developed and evolved into a single vision, to be a software vendor. During this evolution process I created multiple websites for White Peak Software. There is for the csv editor released last month. There is for the first product released by White Peak Software, and there is, the official company web site.

Each site shares a similar look and feel which provides some synergy between the websites. But I also felt it led to some confusion in branding.

There are a number of reasons I took the approach of having product websites in addition to a company website. These reasons were based on advice read, heard, and given to me such as:<ol>
<li>Having different product websites is better if products are unrelated. Unrelated products can lead to confusion by the customer.</li>
<li>Customers can be confused if your website offers both products and services.</li>
<li>Customers might think you will drop support for a product if your product offerings are unrelated.</li>
<li>Having a separate product site makes it easier to sell intellectual property rights to another company.</li>
<li>A url such as might be easier to remember and type then the url for your company web site.
But after releasing Killink CSV I started second guessing the advice. To me it seems odd to have the multiple brands. It seems odd to push a product with its own brand while keeping your company name in the shadows. It seems odd one would want to start from scratch with a new website. After all improving a website’s page ranking and relevance within search engines takes a long time. It seems to me a new product would benefit from being marketed from the vendors existing company website.

So I looked at the websites of various software companies which have been successful over the years. I discovered many of them have a single company website with multiple, unrelated products for sale. Here are some of the sites I looked at:<ul>
<li>Fog Creek Software</li>
These software companies sell multiple products including ones that are unrelated to one another. Some have registered the product name as a domain name, such as, that will redirect to the product’s home page within the company’s website. So if these companies are successful with only a company website then the recommendation that small software companies should have a product website and company website does not always apply, right?

This research got me thinking a company website is better than having multiple product websites. But as I continued researching I found there is no one good approach. One approach is not better than the other. To use separate product and company websites or to have only a company website depends on the company. For instance it is probably better to have a product website separate from the company website when the company’s product is a web-base application. However for a company like White Peak Software having product websites and a company website doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The product website means more work. Branding gets confusing. Trying to promote the company brand with the product becomes more challenging, and leveraging the capabilities of the company website can lead to customer confusion. This is why I decided to consolidate White Peak Software’s product websites into the company website. This will help me promote the company name at the same time I promote the products.

Google AdWords ads are a perfect example. Instead of seeing in the ad you will see The ad text still talks about Killink CSV but the company name now also gets additional exposure. More exposure is better than less exposure when building a business, right?

So after spending a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons of product websites versus company websites, I decided to consolidate the related White Peak Software websites. In other words, I have eliminated the product websites and now have only the company website. The product website domain names are still registered and will remain registered. Surfers who enter or will now be redirected to the product home page within the White Peak Software company website.

This is partly a marketing experiment albeit one that will take time to determine the results. My hope is that consolidating the sites will help increase the company brand and encourage more sells. Time will tell if this indeed turns out true. Meanwhile I have the immediate benefit of having only one website to focus on improving instead of three.

Posted in business. Tagged in killink, web.

Related Articles