As a company, you do want to have an overview of your digital presence and a common ground for the websites created in your name or for your brands. However, we do understand that you do not want to spend big budgets on small websites.
Whatever the reason, we regularly get requests from companies that want the ability to create one or more small websites fast and without too much hassle.
We recently got such a request, in which we were asked to create multiple -smaller- websites. This customer already had a corporate site running on Sitecore. They wanted this to become the single platform to host all websites for the company.
Leveraging the multisite capabilities of Sitecore Experience Accelerator
For the multisite experience, we used Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA), as this product has many multisite capabilities out of the box. To achieve our goal and get everyone aligned to this strategy, we had to make sure that creating a website was easy, fast, and cost-effective. Especially because we were also talking about sites that in some cases have a short lifetime (like an event website) and definitely a small budget.
>> The Reference is a Sitecore Platinum Partner. Discover how we can leverage the possibilities of this versatile technology for you >>
But even a site with a small number of pages should be multilingual, customizable and ... well, anything you expect from a website running on a Sitecore platform.
Our goal was to give our client a solution that would allow them to create new websites without our intervention, without code deploys and ready for content input in less than one hour. For the look and feel of the websites, we used the themes feature of SXA feature. A “theme” defines the look and feel of the website and can be reused on all the created websites. A SXA site can easily switch between the available themes to rapidly change its styling.
The Sitecore platform in this case is hosted on Azure PaaS – maintained in smooth cooperation between us and the customer’s IT team. This helps in the setup and brings us smoothly to the next step: creating the actual site in Sitecore.
Setting up a rapid site building infrastructure
As mentioned, we do have SXA installed on top of the Sitecore platform. One of the (many) benefits of using SXA is that it has many multi-site capabilities already in place. We followed the best practices and created a shared site for all common elements. We built a master site as a base to create all the new websites from, ready to go with even some pages and content already present. Some customizations were added by our developers, as we knew all the sites could share even more features than usual out of the box. We extended those sharing capabilities and the flexibility to use them to make the experience for editors and marketers even better.
We managed to build a multi-site setup where sites can be created very fast, as you can see in the demo video below. This demo shows the site creation up until the point where the editor can start creating pages and editing content using all the templates and components that were provided for the site(s).
Each website can choose which languages it supports, pick a theme to define the look and feel, use global and local content as needed and even set security for editors and for visitors.
We had already used the SXA multisite capabilities in other projects, but by the end of this implementation, we were positively amazed at how far we can go with it. It is fast and flexible. And the best news is: we can do this for you as well! Feel free to reach out to see how we can enable this technology for your organization.