All of us are habituated to using websites and apps tailored to our specific needs.
When you open Amazon in India, you will find product prices listed in Indian rupees. Even the product preferences are centered around the preferences of Indian consumers.
If you open Amazon in the United States, the experience will be tailored for general American consumers.
There is a reason websites and apps change over different countries and regions. There is significant overlap in preferences and needs of users that belong to the same country.
It thus makes sense to create a different website and app version for every country. You must have noticed how Amazon’s domain extension changes in every country. Google Search also changes based on the location of their users.
This brings us to the concept of multisite.
What is multisite?
Multisite refers to a network of websites managed from one unified dashboard. Generally, online businesses create multisite networks to cater to users in different countries.
With WordPress, creating a multisite network is very easy. The following steps explain the process of setting up a multisite network briefly:
- Deactivate all your website plugins before starting this process.
- Multisite can be enabled on any existing WordPress website. You first need to visit your FTP client where you can directly access your website resources. Alternatively, you can use your cPanel file manager.
- Open the wp-config. php file and add the following code:
define( ‘WP_ALLOW_MULTISITE’, true );
You need to add this code before this line:
/* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */
- Save the php file. You have now enabled multisite on your website.
- Go to your WordPress backend. Select Tools and navigate to Network Setup.
- You can choose between subdomains or subdirectories to represent different versions of your multisite network. Choose a title for your Multisite and enter the email ID of the site admin managing all the websites. Select Install and proceed.
- WordPress will now show you two snippets of code. You have to add these snippets to your wp-config.php and .htaccess files.
- In case of the wp-config.php snippet, you have to add the code above the /* That’s all, stop editing! Happy blogging. */ line
- For the .htaccess snippet, you have to replace the existing WordPress rules with the code you’ve been provided. Save both the files when you are done.
- Come back to your WordPress backend. In the top menu, you will find My Sites. You can use this section to add new sites to your network, manage plugins, add themes, configure settings and much more.
Before setting out to create your multisite, make sure your web host can support a whole network of websites. It is a good idea to talk to your hosting partner before creating a multisite.
Advantages of creating a WordPress multisite network
It is not easy to manage a WordPress multisite network. You must thus have strong reasons before embarking on this journey.
There are a number of reasons you should enable multisite on your WordPress website. The following sections cover some of them in great detail:
#1: Customizing website experience for every country
The first main advantage of starting a multisite is that you can offer your visitors a personalized experience based on their country.
Just as Google and Amazon load differently in different countries, you can do the same for your brand.
WordPress multisite enables you to add new websites to your multisite in a matter of a few clicks. You also have the option of choosing between subdomains and subdirectories for different website versions.
Based on the country for which you add a website, you can update design, theme, plugins and much more.
Provide app experiences that correctly match the preferences of your audience in a specific region.
Off late, you must have heard of terms like localization in the startup community. Multisite is the ultimate tactic you can use to deliver a truly localized website experience.
Here is a visual guide on the benefits of starting a multisite network for your WordPress website
#2: Unify website management under one dashboard
One natural opposition to starting a multisite is the complexity. Initially, businesses are more comfortable creating different websites for each country and operating each of them seperately.
This path is more desirable at first because businesses don’t have to do anythng new. They can simply build a bunch of WordPress websites for every country they want to reach out to.
Let’s take an example to delve deep into this example. Assume you found a great new plugin to enhance your website performance. You naturally want to have this plugin on every website you run.
In this scenario, you will have to open each website individually and install the plugin. Now let’s again assume that something goes wrong with this new plugin. In the world of WordPress, websites are always experimenting with new plugins.
In your case, you will again have to visit all your websites and remove the plugin.
This makes for poor website management. You are essentially sacrificing efficiency for the fear of trying something new like multisite.
Using multisite, you can build and manage all the websites in your network from one dashboard. There is no need to create each website separately or manage themes & plugins one-by-one.
It is thus a no-brainer to choose multisite and unify website management under one dashboard.
#3: Simpler content management
Managing content is a major part of running a network of websites.
With multisite, you can simply write a blog post and publish it across your entire network. Furthermore, you can manage the content you write from one dashboard as well.
Managing content without a multisite can be a major hassle. You should not be in a position where you’re publishing or editing content one website at a time. This is again a suboptimal solution to an important part of running a whole network of websites.
Multisite simplifies content management. You can easily put out content across a whole network of websites and edit it easily from one dashboard.
#4: Achieve brand standardization and consistency
If you run multiple websites for different countries, you will naturally want to personalize each based on audience preferences.
Let’s assume you are running a sports news app. You will most likely want to show cricket news to your Indian users, soccer news to European users, and baseball news to American users.
In each case, you are recommending content based on known user preferences in different countries.
Using the same tactic, you can personalize every website in your multisite network. However, you must strike a balance between personalization and brand consistency.
Amazon may recommend different products to customers in India and the United States. Besides differences in product recommendations and layout, the general website design is the same.
There is a sense of consistency in every Amazon website, irrespective of differences arising due to personalization.
A multisite can help you bring consistency across all websites in your network. With the help of a unified dashboard, you can make sweeping changes to all your websites and maintain a healthy level of design and experience consistency.
#5: Setting up different site admins for every website
In a multisite, you can assign different side admins for each website in your network. This can help on many different levels.
It is very tedious for one super admin to manage all websites in a network. This is especially true when you are trying to run your entire business through your website online.
The site admins have certain privileges to make changes to their respective websites.
Dividing admin responsibilities amongst different users is a great way to manage a network of websites. The added benefit with using multisite is that the super admin can always oversee administration of every website in the network.
This is not otherwise achievable when there is no real connection amongst your websites. You should thus use multisite to effectively manage the site admins who take care of all websites in your network. Team collaboration is the key to incentivizing innovation and creating a brand that thrives.
#6: Chance to create a single mobile app for multisite network
AppMySite recently added Multisite support to its rich library of add-ons. This now hands users the ability to create a single mobile app for their multisite network using the free Android & iOS app maker.
The following steps explain the process of using this add-on in detail:
- Create a unique app for every website in your network. Make sure you create these apps with the same AppMySite account.
- Go to App add-ons and purchase the Multisite support add-on.
- Go to the Multisite section in your AppMySite account after completing the purchase.
- Click on Add app to start connecting every app you created for the websites in your network.
- Assign a country to each app you connect. You can add or remove these apps and change their assigned countries as well.
- Generate the Android and iOS builds from the app you used to purchase the Multisite add-on.
- Download your app builds.
- You can now show a unique app version based on the country your user chooses.
You can make changes with this add-on as the owner of the app. Get on a paid plan to purchase Multisite support and get started.
Support for this add-on is available for apps with code version 1.6.0 and above.
Starting a multisite network is not an easy task. However, it is a must for any business trying to cater to a global market.
This piece presents some reasons why starting a multisite makes a lot of sense. The best part is that you can now build an app for WordPress multisite as well. Given the increased usage of mobile apps, this is a big reason you should consider establishing a multisite network and then using AppMySite to make your own app.
The internet makes it easy for online businesses to expand their audience beyond a given country or region. You should consider options like multisite to expand your footprint.