Global Multisite Management, Easier Than You Thought

by Jan Schulte, Head of Group Consulting at Magnolia
live copy graphic
Jul 26, 2019 | 6 MIN

There's no question that most industries are shifting towards a more global marketplace. For many businesses, therefore, publishing global content is crucial to reaching an international audience. What this looks like for many companies is multiple websites with internationalized and localized content, or content specialized to specific products and market segments. Without the proper tooling in place, however, it becomes complicated to manage content across multiple sites without duplicating efforts.

Let’s look at what multisite is, the challenges companies face when managing multiple sites, and the CMS features necessary to make multisite more straightforward for digital marketing teams.

What Is Multisite?

A multisite approach means managing many websites within a single CMS and sharing content between them. Businesses require multiple websites for many reasons, from localizing content to specific countries or regions, to creating specialized sites for unique brands or product lines. Many companies have a multitude of audiences they cater to, and multiple websites gives them the opportunity to provide customer-oriented information for each specific market segment.

The approach also lets businesses enter new markets and better differentiate their brands from the competition. Optimizing the content that your audiences see by creating various websites is crucial for providing better digital experiences. Localized content, therefore, makes your brand more personal, and has a greater chance of engaging worldwide audiences.

The Challenges of Multisite Management

While multiple sites may be necessary for most multinational companies, there are many reasons why it's difficult for marketing teams to manage. Without the right tooling, multisite management becomes inefficient and expensive. Here are some of the common challenges companies face when delivering content to multiple websites:

Keeping Content in Sync

For companies that choose to use a multisite approach, it's challenging to ensure unified messaging across separate websites. If there's a change to any similar content, it has to be replicated on each site or you could be left with inaccurate or inconsistent information. Poor messaging can negatively impact the digital experience, and in turn, a brand’s reputation. Many CMSs, however, lack the capability to keep content in sync automatically in a multisite environment. Multiple sites without syncing content is a surefire way to end up with inconsistencies and disjointed branding.

Content That Doesn't Have to Be Localized

Just because a company has separate websites for different geographical regions, doesn't mean every piece of content will be unique to each site. Some content won't be relevant to specific regions, or it's already been localized and publishing again will result in redundant information. In other cases, the same content can be used in multiple regions like the U.S., U.K. and Australia without any modifications. It can be challenging and time-consuming to manage which content should - and should not - be published across various websites.

Adding New Sites Quickly

With the pace of digital innovation, companies need to remain agile. This means entering new markets and releasing new product lines quickly. When companies do this, they often want to build a specialized website for this new market, product, or service that’s highly tailored to specific audiences. Without tools to make reusing content easy, and launching new websites fast, many companies face challenges in creating a new website that's consistent with its overall corporate branding.

Introducing Magnolia Live Copy

With Magnolia's Live Copy feature, you can reuse content across multiple websites easily. For complicated multisite setups, you can create sites that reference a master website and have the same structure. You only have to manage the master site, and all reference sites will update automatically - reducing the effort required for keeping content for multiple websites in sync.

These are some of the key capabilities of the Live Copy feature:

Create New Sites

Magnolia makes it straightforward to launch new sites from a master copy. With the click of a button, you can create a live copy that will automatically sync with the main website whenever changes are made. This lets companies remain agile and quickly respond to an evolving marketplace. Using the Live Copy feature, you’ll easily provide specialized content to new audiences by launching new websites fast and stay ahead of the competition.

Linked live copy pages in Magnolia Live Copy

Sync Content Automatically

Each piece of content has a reference link to the master copy, and even if you move content, the links remain intact. These links ensure that reference sites sync with the master site automatically. If there needs to be changes to the reference site, specific content can be unlinked and modified freely. The unlinked content will not be overridden by changes to the master site unless you decide to reattach it. This lets marketers localize content while retaining the structure of the main global website, which is especially useful when building multilingual sites.

Syncing content in Magnolia Live Copy

Maintain Flexibility

Sometimes you don't want to completely detach content from the master copy, but only edit small sections of the content. In this case, you can override certain properties of the reference copy down to the granular level. The content will still automatically sync to the master copy, while the relevant sections that you override will remain protected. Overriding creates efficiency in managing partially localized content. This feature makes it easier to localize content for more similar regions that differ only by dialects - like modifying content produced in the U.S. for an Australian audience.

Override content in Magnolia Live Copy

Multisite Made Easy

In the end, many organizations need features to manage localized websites while maintaining a consistent global message. Magnolia's Live Copy feature is ideal for syncing content across separate websites while reducing the workload of marketing teams. This leads to an efficient and cost-effective global content strategy that offers greater digital experiences for international audiences and differentiation compared to competitors.

With the right tooling in place, companies can confidently tap into new market segments without the challenges facing most multisite environments. Now digital marketing teams are free from multisite content management to focus on producing more timely and personalized content for their global audiences.

Managing multiple sites easily is just one capability to look out for when choosing a CMS.

Jan Schulte

About the Author

Working at the intersection of business and technology, Jan helps Magnolia clients succeed with their content management and digital experience initiatives, framing solutions to their custom challenges and opportunities.