Multi-Site CMS: Key Features and How To Choose The Right One
Today’s businesses are dizzyingly complex. Users now interact with brands through myriad touchpoints before converting into customers. Even after a customer is won over, brands must consistently engage with them via personalized, relevant content. As a result, the modern enterprise consists of a massive global content engine that delivers consistent, salient experiences to customers and prospects—wherever they are, whenever they want it.
The upshot? Managing content has become equally complicated.
The problem is that content is often spread out across multiple websites. A typical business manages a variety of customer-facing brands and delivers localized content. Usually, these sites are split across teams, brands, or regions; for example, each region might have its own localized e-commerce site.
While this is a great way to reach users, it’s not a great way to ensure brand consistency or save time. Teams often find themselves wasting time on repetitive content management tasks like updating information about a product or service they’re offering, translating the language on a site, or localizing content for a specific set of users. And siloed content management increases the likelihood of introducing errors onto the site, compromising the brand and eroding users’ trust.
Fortunately, there’s a way to manage a multi-site ecosystem without sacrificing time, money, or your brand: by implementing a multi-site CMS.
A multi-site CMS is a system that allows various websites within a content ecosystem to share a single content source. This enables teams to manage multiple sites through one single interface, which helps them reuse content accurately and efficiently.
Think about a modern-day enterprise in which various teams might want to manage a variety of customer-facing brands. A multi-site CMS provides one administrative interface to manage all of them, handling several domains from a single source of truth. That way, teams can either offer content independently of each other or they can make one update that they then push to other sites.
While not every multi-site CMS is necessarily headless, a headless CMS makes it a lot easier to manage a multi-site ecosystem. Because a headless architecture decouples content from presentation, you can create content once and then publish it everywhere, rather than having to manually configure each site individually.
Trying to maintain a monolithic CMS in a multi-site setup can be tremendously frustrating. In a monolith, just one misconfiguration of a website can bring down all the websites on a network.
Legacy approaches to content management can lead to technical issues with the nuts and bolts of the site, like managing domain names, changing and redirecting URLs, activating plugins, and handling roles and permissions. In a composable architecture, that is less likely to happen.
- Localized content creation: Allows businesses to cater to specific regional or local needs by populating content relevant to that area, such as product availability, price, promotions, and stock.
- Independent content management: Teams in different regions can create and modify content without affecting or disrupting other teams.
- Unified content updates: Enables teams to seamlessly push content updates across multiple sites and regions.
- Regulatory compliance: Some industries need to consistently update content based on changing regulations in different countries or regions. A multi-site CMS enables companies in pharma and medicine to quickly make high-stakes edits on the relevant site.
- Prevents cross-pollination: While using the same CMS, teams can ensure that there's no unwanted mixing or overlap of content between different regions or departments.
- Flexibility in collaboration: Whether teams want close collaboration or complete separation, a multi-site CMS can accommodate both.
- Rapid site deployment: Teams can quickly launch new sites without the risk of affecting other sites or causing downtime.
- Localized brand experience: Ensures that the brand's messaging and experience remain consistent across different regions while allowing for necessary regional adjustments.
- Scalability: As the business grows, the CMS can easily handle the addition of more sites.
- Cost-effective: Reduces the need for multiple CMS systems or manual content management across sites, saving time and money.
When choosing a multi-site CMS, there are a variety of factors to keep in mind. Here are some questions to ask as you evaluate potential solutions.
Evaluate whether your CMS can only personalize content based on language or if it is powerful enough for advanced use cases, such as personalized fine-grained snippets of text based on available products on the market.
You don’t want to be stuck with a CMS that won’t grow with your business. With the help of structured content, a CMS can grow as your business does. Check to make sure you won’t need to tear down the solution and start over every time you make headway in building your brand.
Security and compliance are paramount for all companies, but they’re particularly important for large enterprise organizations. A multi-site CMS typically makes it easier to control roles and permissions.
Evaluate how seamlessly you can restrict and allow access to sites and functionalities on the platform and how easy it is to examine the document history to see which users made changes.
PUMA is one of the largest and most ambitious sports brands in the world. To level up their e-commerce site, they were looking for a technology solution that would enable them to stay nimble and innovate. For a company that operates in 120 countries and employs 20,000 people worldwide, that’s no simple task.
The team chose Sanity. Every year, PUMA launches numerous campaigns for its products, seasons, and events. Teams must be able to group different types of content by marketing campaigns. With Sanity, the team can ingest data grouped by campaign and shape it via the editing environment, Sanity Studio.
Before working in Sanity, a lot of PUMA’s content was distributed across local servers that were difficult to merge and get in sync. The team brought all of the content for PUMA’s digital properties—web, mobile web, and native iOS and Android apps—into Sanity as a unified ecosystem available in the cloud. As a result, content can be pushed once and distributed everywhere.
As part of this ecosystem, Sanity established a global home for all PUMA content that can be used in every market. Instead of managing digital properties with independent CMSes, multiple regions or subsidiaries can now share one multi-tenant SaaS CMS instance with shared support and a unified roadmap.
Create an Exceptional Multi-Site Experience with Sanity
Sanity is uniquely positioned to help brands create an exceptional multi-site experience. Using Sanity as a holistic content information management system unlocks numerous opportunities for companies to build creatively while saving time and money.
Crucially, Sanity is a headless CMS. That means teams can manage their multi-site ecosystem seamlessly without manually configuring each site, risking downtime, or introducing costly errors.
Sanity’s single source of truth for content helps enterprises with complex content workflows move faster, create innovative digital campaigns, and achieve a consistent and inspiring brand experience across markets and products.