Should our association establish a second association web site?

Association web sites have limitless potential.  They can contain as many pages as the staff can create, and they can cover every topic that is important to every association audience.  So why would an association ever need to have a second web site?

There are several possible reasons:

– The association may have a very odd target audience among its many target audiences.  As a result, the information on the main web site may be completely inappropriate.

– The association may not have an odd target audience, but it may not feel as though it can do justice to every key target audience with the main site.  For example, the association staff may be pressured to meet every audience’s need on the home page, but doing so dilutes the page to the point at which it is not effective for any of the audiences.

– The association may have a special event, promotion or product that does not fit with the style, structure or content of the main web site.

– The association may wish to build a public resource that is independent of its main web site.

– The association may need to jointly build web pages with another organization.

– The association may want to build a resource that does not fit within the brand character of the association.

– The association may wish to build web site pages that are not directly identified as being an association product.

Beyond all of these reasons, there may be some intangible benefits to creating a separate web site:

– If the separate site’s content is relevant to the association’s web site, there may be some synergy when it comes to search engine rankings if the two sites link to each other.  That is because some search engines will score your web site more highly when it is pointed to by other sites, particularly if they are topically relevant.

– If the separate site requires different functionality or technology versus the main association site, it may be able to implement the different technology at a lower cost by working outside the technical parameters of the main site.

– If the separate site is expected to have high levels of traffic, its establishment may keep the main association web site from being overwhelmed or made to run more slowly.

It is still relatively rare for associations to have more than one web site, but as you can see from the above list of reasons, that trend may not continue for long.

Does your association have more than one web site?  What was the driving factor behind the creation of the second site?

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