I’ve been doing a bit of tinkering here at thecave. I realized I was using categories as if they were tags and for one simple reason. I didn’t have a way to support tags. That is, until now.
I’m preparing to roll out a new Jekyll website, but unlike with my other Jekyll sites, I want each web page served up on
http. This means telling the server to redirect
http request to
I’ve been on a website redesign kick lately updating sites such as kirbyturner.com and rowanturner.net. The recent update to my vanity website gives it a more modern look, and Rowan’s website now has a clean, fresh look that focuses on the content.
I bought a new Burton snowboard the other day. I ordered it online from a mom and pop shop in the Oregon. I wanted to buy locally here in Stowe but the price I paid was 10% cheaper than the price listed on the websites of local shops. Combined with the fact that I didn’t have to pay sales tax and shipping was free, I felt I was getting a great deal. Still, I would have preferred to support a local shop here in Vermont, but at least I supported a local shop in Oregon.
I have owned the vanity domain name kirbyturner.com for a long time, but I didn’t anything with it after buying it. That changed back when I was writing Learning iPad Programming. My publisher asked that I setup a website that talks about me, so I finally put kirbyturner.com to use. Unfortunately I never liked the look of the site. I used a bland template to create the website quickly. The site was ugly, but it served its purpose. Then Justin Williams created a new “professional web site” for himself.
If you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to checkout the new Rowan T website. I moved it to Jekyll, updated it with a new site template, and I’ve starting sharing more about what’s going on with Rowan…after a two and a half year hiatus. So pop over to www.rowanturner.net and see what the kid has been up to lately.
Before doing some work today I decided to make some improvements to my blog site. I thought I would be playing with the site for only an hour or so, but instead it took most of the day. Typical when dealing with programming issues in an unfamiliar environment.
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 www.Killink.com for the csv editor released last month. There is www.SmtpDiagnostics.com for the first product released by White Peak Software, and there is www.WhitePeakSoftware.com, 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 www.myproduct.com 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 snagit.com, 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 www.Killink.com in the ad you will see www.WhitePeakSoftware.com. 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 killink.com or smtpdiagnostics.com 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.