If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?

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WordPress is not just for blogs any more. It is a powerful CMS (Content Management System) that be used to build websites. My question to you today is: Should the home page of your website be a blog?

I’m asked that question all the time and my first question back is “are you willing to commit to blogging? Will you keep your content fresh so your site doesn’t look abandoned?” If the answer is yes, we move on to discuss overall strategy. It’s a personal decision and one that needs to be part of your overall business plan.

The Dilemma

I’m working with a new client who is an amazing woman who brings new meaning to the word multitasking. She wears so many hats that it’s hard to explain exactly what it is that she does. When she first came to me, she wanted me to build a separate website for each of the “hats” that she wears. She has published three books, writes travel blogs, markets her editing services and recently launched a business to help authors self-publish.

After taking all of this in and delving deeper into her long term business strategy, it became apparent that in the future she will be writing more books, promoting her editing services, helping authors self-publish and who knows what else. When I started talking to her about what her brand was, she was unclear. What should she brand? Should she brand her editing services or her new publishing company? What about her books and travel blogs?

Step #1 – Define Your Brand

When we talked on the phone, it became apparent that in this case, it makes sense for her to “be the brand”. Rather than developing separate logos and branding separate sites for each of her niches, she is the brand. She’s reserving her name as her domain name and we’ll be using her picture in the header graphic. Rather than separate sites, she’ll be driving all of her traffic to one domain.

Her blog is going to be her home page and she will have new pages for each major endeavor. For example, each time she writes an article about a pilgrimage (or one of her books, her services or her business), it will appear as a new post on her blog. By assigning the corresponding category code, it will also appear on a page devoted to that specific trip. She’ll also have separate categories and pages for each of her manuscripts, her publishing company and her editing services. If someone is following a specific trip (or interested in a specific book or business), she can send them directly to that page. By strategically placing photos and using headers, each page will act as a mini-blog in itself.

Explaining the Strategy

Since my client is new to blogging, doesn’t understand categories and was just grasping the idea of branding her site, I used the analogy of the wheel. She now envisions her home page being the hub of the wheel and each page being a spoke from that blog. She also understands that as she posts articles, (regardless if it’s for one of her travel blogs, a book, her editing services or her new business), her new content will be on her home page. She can also direct her potential clients and customers directly to the topic that they’re interested in.

Multiple Domain Names

To take our strategy a little deeper, my client had already reserved a new domain name for her new business. What would happen if someone was only interested in learning more about that business and wasn’t interested in her blog?

Simple! By using a 301 redirect for her 2nd domain name (for her publishing business), she can send people directly to that page (spoke of the wheel). This page will be designed in a way that visitors will immediately recognize that they’re in the “right place.” (So that the 3-second rule won’t rear its ugly head.)

In the future, she has the option of using this same strategy and having domain names for each of her books too. For now, we’re not running in multiple directions but we have a strategy in place. Our task now is to build that hub and as her content grows, work on the spokes.

What do you think? Do you or a client have a similar strategy in place? Do you agree with my advice or would you have suggested something different? Is your blog the hub of your website or a spoke?

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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57 Comments

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  1. I 100% agree with you Sherryl that having a one side always benefits us and blogs are the main important thing for any bloggers and i think its a hub of wheel because without hub your spokes can work and your earning wheel will not run.

  2. This is complete set of what we should do if you have a lot of things to offer. It is imperative that we have know the brand and I believe that she needs to have another site for her books and travel blogs. Like a sister site. That woman is totally amazing.

  3. That’s a fairly nice idea, Sherryl. Going for a website blog is an excellent idea, and having 301redirects to your business page(s) can help both pages rank well.

    1. Thanks Melissa. This strategy should definitely work for some businesses. One thing people need to keep in mind is that every page of your site can be a landing page. Not everyone should go directly to the home page of your site. Another page could be exactly what they were searching for, so, send them there in the first place.

  4. This is David. Hello to all. As I am new to the internet and blogging in particular,I have a lot to sort out and to learn. Thankfully, bloggers are some of the classiest and most informative people anywhere. I need all of the information I can get and this post helps a whole lot. Thank You for posting this. I am determined to hang in there because I believe in the process.

    1. Hi David and welcome.
      I think you’ll be happy that you found this blog. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and opinions. This has grown into a community of sorts with lots of the commenters asking questions and helping each other. (I especially appreciate questions and comments because they often become fodder for a new blog post.)

  5. What about make sites for the hats that she wears and have redirect link to her main site which she herself is the brand wherein we can see the other hats she wears, which is in her main site.

    But in handling her brand in just one site. I believe it’s just a matter of doing a keyword research, a tough keyword research for all her hats to fit in one brand!

    1. Hi John,
      The keywords may differ on some of the pages which is fine for this strategy. Someone who lands on one page may very well be led to a link on another page. We’re hoping for people to explore the site. She’ll have her travel blog and her books as well as her new publishing business. The common thread throughout is that she is a writer with a strong interest in traveling. She goes to areas that most of us will never see and shares them.

      1. Sherryl,
        I understand now. I think the adjustments should be done on each of her page, hmmm.. very difficult indeed.
        And I can say what she does is very interesting. That’s one good factor for people to be more curious about her.

        1. The strategy for this site will be a little challenging to implement but fortunately my client is a talented author and she grasps the concept. What is going to happen is that each page will become a landing page of sorts. I’m excited about this project. I’ve been meaning to add a testimonial page and links to client sites and when I do, hers will be an excellent example.

          1. That’s a good thing. I hope you can share this to us in the future so we can see what will be it’s outcome. I want to say Good luck on that Sherryl!

  6. There’s also the added benefit of cross promotion. If someone enters her brand as a customer for a certain product or service and later develops a need for something else she offers, that client is much more likely to stick with someone trusted and proven after having gotten to know the ENTIRE brand.

    Bethenny Frankel is the perfect example of this. She was exposed to a client base through being on a “Real Housewives” show, has her own spin-off show, and recently came out with her own brand of margaritas.

    And speaking of personal branding, my name is Jana (like banana but shorter). 😉

    1. Sorry I called you Jane Jana. I promise it won’t happen again. 🙂 Bethenny Frankel seems to be everywhere these days. She is a perfect example of branding. That’s a good point about cross promotion too.

      1. Haha, no worries. I’ve been responding to “Jan” and “Jayna” and “Janet” my entire life.

        I usually roll my eyes when a celebrity comes out with handbags or clothing or perfume, but now I have more of a “more power to you” mindset. After all, no one rolled their eyes at Michael Jordan when Nike named a shoe after him, right? Handbags, clothing, and perfume are things that fan admirers do look to celebs for guidance, so why not take advantage of that?

  7. When you were initially explaining the situation with this client wanting to divide all of her endeavors among different websites, I was hoping you would get into personal branding. Lo and behold, you did! We see again and again both in society and business how people are so much more attached to a PERSON than a service or product. I think your client is going to THRIVE.

    The personal touch (while still providing that business or service) gives a client a PERSON as a resource instead of a faceless company with a revolving door of staff. When there’s an open line of communication (like a blog) front and center, it makes that relationship much easier to establish.

    Excellent post! 🙂

    1. Thanks Jana! It’s great to hear from someone else who recognizes the value of personal branding. In this case, it just makes sense. Even if she does break off her new company and brands that separately in the future, she will still make it clear that she’s the driving force behind it.

      When I saw your comment come into my inbox, I just knew that you were going to use your real name and have a profile picture too. You didn’t disappoint me! 🙂

  8. Looking at the SEO side of having a wheel, the purpose of having multiple websites is to fool Google. The main objective of this is making the links look more natural. Its a bit complicated but its worth trying.

  9. Sherryl,

    I love this. I have been doing something similar for a while but haven’t seen it so elegantly explained. I have my blog(s) and I have Opt-in pages and static HTML pages that branch out from there. I find it useful to have pages (such as opt in’s and offers) where there is only the one decision do it or go. Rather than the hundreds of choices on a blog page.

    One thing worth mentioning though (in my opinion) a single point hub is only a good idea if the content is generally (or at least loosely) related.

    I have a second blog that I have been running with a similar setup in a wildly divergent niche. It wouldn’t make sense to combine the two (in fact I take pains not to) because it just leads to unclarity of message.

    Anyhow great post. Very interesting (and apt) way of looking at it

    1. Steve, I completely agree with you that the content needs to be related. I honestly went back and forth on this recommendation to my client because the niche target customers can be the same but most likely will be different. The common thread is that my client is the backbone between all of her products and services. (She is already recognized in many communities as a re-known author.) So, we’re building off of that. By using her blog as her home page, readers may find an interest in something else that she offers. It should serve as good exposure and help build awareness of her many “hats”. In the future, she can brand individual products and services such as her new company. At that point, we can keep this “spoke” page link tie it into her new domain name/websote. Since the branding for her new domain name will be prominent on this page, it should be a smooth transition.

      Thanks for the compliment that I explained this “elegantly”. It’s the teacher in me coming out. 🙂

  10. Hello Sherryl,
    I like case study of your client.
    You are very right in your advise to your client but I am still holding different blogs for each of my HAT. I want to reorganize all of my stuff but could not find the way.

    1. I think for this client, this strategy will work and long term, we can spin off any one of her endeavors to be a site of it’s own with backlinks. Separate blogs can definitely be the way to go, especially if you have the time and energy to devote to each.

  11. Sherryl – As someone that has a variety of business models, I’d like to suggest an amendment at your question “are you willing to commit to blogging? Will you keep your content fresh so your site doesn’t look abandoned?” by adding “and will you continue to do so if some of your other projects are successful?”. Personally, my blog tends to get abandoned when I’m in the middle of a major project. Obviously not a good thing for the blog, but if another project is throwing off revenue, it tends to get most of my attention.

    1. Randy, You make a good point. Don’t you think the same thing applies to your marketing efforts? It’s easy to get so involved in a project that you slack a little on marketing and next thing you know, you hit a dry spell. A small business adviser told me years ago that if you don’t have any clients today, look at what you were doing six months ago.

  12. This blog post is perfect timing as I’m just starting to work with a website designer to set up my site. I have been debating about where to put my blog, make it my home page or a seperate page elsewhere within the site. You’ve given me some great insite and things to think about.

    Thank you!

    1. Billye, contact me offline if you want to do a little brainstorming. Now is the time that you really want to have a master plan in place. You can always change thing later but it is so much easier to form a strategy now when you’re in the early stages.

  13. Hey Sherryl – are you talking to me here? I wear so many hats my head hurts! But you already know that right? It is most definitely great advice to have one “home” that houses all of “you”. I will get there – am just doing it backwards! Happy Mother’s Day!

    1. I honestly wasn’t thinking of you Julie because you seem to be building targeted niche websites which possibly could be consolidated but you may have sites I don’t even know about.

  14. I haven’t built her site yet but my plan is to build one page of her new site specifically for her new business. If she decides to print business cards with her new domain name and someone was to go to that URL, they will land on the domain name with her name but on a page that has the header of the site on the top of the page but the graphic that she’s using for her new business. I’m also planning to have her new business name predominantly displayed so they’ll know they’re in the right place.

  15. I learned something today – thanks, Sherryl! 😀

    The blog I manage and contribute to is a spoke in the sense that it’s an extension of our home page and main website, but it could also be considered a hub for the actual posts we publish. Does that make sense? Can we have multiple spokes and hubs?

    I think you absolutely did the right thing for your client. It’s more convenient for her as well as for her readers/customers!

    1. Jill,
      You can certainly think of your site as having multiple spokes and hubs. You’ve been doing this for a while. So, you already understand the concept. Up until this point, my client had a simple blog on Blogger.com. So, I was trying to paint the big picture as simply as possible. Luckily, she got it immediately.

  16. I’ve found the best place for ideas on blogging come from the Newspapers and from my linkedin discussions. There have been many occasions where a discussion morphed into a blog posting.

    Also, I’ve written them up on word and uploaded them to slideshare. Whenever I post a comment in the comment box at the end of a newspaper or magazine article, I include the links to my blog postings. The irony, I can get 30 to 50 hits on slideshare for each hit on the blog. Why people click one link instead of the other I don’t know.

    Any thoughts on this, anyone?

    (Please and thank you.)

    Regards

    Slim

    1. Great reminder to use SlideShare. I still haven’t done that. I’d like to hear what others have to say too. Like you, a lot of my posts come from discussions. Lots of times, I’ve been asked a to explain something and it occurs to me that a lot of people probably have the same question. Other times, I’ve been researching something and though it was worth sharing.

  17. Hi Sherryl

    Wow and wow again to this amazing post. Your client is very blessed to have you working with her. You have nailed it for her needs and requirements. She sounds like one talented lady too.

    For me, I would love to change things on my blog. Just waiting to get the right person to figure it for me. My next site will not be a blog but I may add a blog later. It will be a static site and I’m really looking forward to getting it up and running.

    Have learnt heaps from blogging but it does take up heaps of time and how much is profitable is still debatable. I’ll be doing a comparison with both my sites once my new site is up and running for a few months.

    Thanks for all this great information in one post. Much appreciated Sherryl.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  18. Hi Sherryl,
    I learn something beneficial every time I visit! Your new client is obviously talented. Many of us wear multiple hats and oftentimes assume all aspects of life will accommodate that fast pace. I am guilty of that.

    The wheel was a brilliant analogy and quite helpful for me personally. Your client has chosen the right person for the job in my opinion.

  19. Hi, Sherry. Great stuff you have here.

    Your strategy is very clever and doable. Anyone can follow this and pave their own way to success. Your client is very lucky to have you working for her. 🙂

    I have been debating for a long time to have a separate site for my blog, but now that I have read this, I will continue as I am now. Thanks for this. I never fail to learn from what you put out here. 🙂

    1. Wes, Thanks so much for letting me know that you find my blog valuable. I had this conversation the day before I wrote this. It was like a light bulb had gone off when I was thinking of how to best explain this. So, to me, it was a natural to write about it here. I was hoping that it would help someone else.

  20. Sherryl, aloha. Terrific article. Your client must have been soooo relieved when you explained to her how she could accomplish her objectives with a single blog.

    No doubt about it, she is the brand and the business. Without her, there is nothing.

    Great analogy with the wheel, Sherryl; I am confident it made it so much easier for her to understand. What a multi-talented lady she is. Good luck reining her in and keeping her going in a forward motion rather than ever spinning.

    Best wishes for a Magnificent May. Aloha. Janet

    1. Aloha and thanks Janet.
      I had never really thought of my website as a wheel before but as I started doodling (while I was thinking of a strategy for her), the idea popped out at me. My new client is a total joy to work with. It’s an exciting project to be a part of.

  21. Enjoyed the post Sherryl. I totally agree about having one site and I am not sure why people have a separate website and blog as this to me dilutes the impact. One question I have is about the possible limitations of your client being the brand, for example if she wants to sell later on. Or is she using her name as Johnson & Johnson did with their baby range of products?

    1. I wondered about that too Susan. The majority of what she does is branded with her name. (She is an author and editor and has built a reputation for herself.) I really wondered about her newest business because that does have a distinct name and we had been talking about a logo. I’m thinking that on that page, I’ll build in her logo and incorporate her business name into the title of the page. I also plan on using her business name as keywords where I can. Down the road, if she decides she wants a separate site, I can turn off the 301-redirect of her domain and pull the identity from this page over. I can also link the two sites together.

      When I spoke with her on the phone, it was becoming evident to me that she was attempting too much all at once. (She’s about to head off on a 2 1/2 month pilgrimage in Europe where she’ll have limited access to the Internet and she’ll be doing most of her writing on paper.) I think it’s in her best interest to approach this slowly and when she can concentrate her efforts on her new business, we can spin it off if we decide to. She still is the main product of her new business because she is the expertise behind it. What do you think?

      1. Your idea of using the title with its own logo etc is a good one and your approach makes sense as you have left the option open for the business to have its own site later on if it warrants it. It does seem that she is attempting too much at once especially if she is travelling and you are right about taking it slowly. I also think that it is important to get the core business bedded down really well before launching new ones.

        She is lucky to be working with you Sherryl as you have obviously thought the issues through really well and your approach makes a lot of sense.

  22. Hey Sherry!
    Was about time dropped by 😉
    First to answer your question: Should the homepage of your website be your blog?
    It depends on what your website is. I have a website, other than my personal blog and the homepage details what I am offering. I do have a prominent link to my blog, where I use that space to let the visitor know more about what I am doing. This way it somehow puts a face/image behind what they are about to purchase and this makes it more human.
    Finally I think it will vary depending on what your goal is.

    Martinsays: Thanks for stopping by.

  23. Hi Sherryl
    This is a most interesting post and I’m in a similar situation, where I have an ecommerce site, that I am about to put a blog on. I’ve registered a .com site, because I receive international business, and my ecommerce is for New Zealand. I have taken my business name and added NZ at the end of it. I want to take my blog wider than just talking about my core subject, so I felt that this was more appropriate. I also want a means of capturing email addresses, and I’m putting together a free report, that I will have available on my blog. My new blog will be a category on my website, but I hope to be able to link to it within my ecommerce site. Would this harm my existing ecommerce site by lowering it’s ranking?

    1. Diane,
      I’m not completely sure that I understand your situation well enough to offer any advice without more information. How much traffic are you getting to your site now? Is the dot com name that you bought just a different version of your dot NZ name or is totally different? Are you planning on blogging on topics that your current customers would not be interested in at all?

  24. I think many of us wear many hats, One challenge though is the more sites you have, the more the need to keep them current and relevant

    1. That’s so true Roberta. The beauty of this strategy is that she has one site to maintain. Since she’s headed off to Europe in a few weeks for a 3-month pilgrimage (where she anticipates limited access to Internet cafes), she shouldn’t have to worry about updating blogs.

  25. Excellent article Sherryl!

    Can’t help thinking of myself. Like your client I wear a lot of hats. If I decide to have my own companies what you are developing for her would be perfect for me.

    1. Catarina, You absolutely could implement this strategy. You’re already building yourself as a brand. You’ve established a presence online and I’m confident that most of your followers immediately recognize you from your profile picture.