Got a Rogue One? – Why Rogue Websites Are Bad
We have seen a lot of things over the years, but one recurring theme with multi-location or franchise businesses is rogue websites.
When a branch or franchisee decides they need a “better” website and goes rogue to make their own, no one wins! (Especially not the rogue franchisee.)
If you’re a franchisee who wants to go rogue, ask yourself these questions first:
- Are you willing to take on the legal liability for the website? Think GDPR and compliance with other privacy laws, data security, ADA compliance and a whole slew of items that may be in your contract about how you need to represent your brand.
- Are you able to do better across the board? Not just with design or copy, but with site speed, user experience and SEO? If you can only check a couple of these boxes, you could be doing yourself a disservice by going rogue.
- How much is this going to cost your business versus working with your brand to fix the issues you want addressed? Websites are costly to do well, and costly to maintain. Is it going to get you ROI?
Brand and regional managers, do you have a rogue website out there on your hands? Before you nuke it from orbit, think about this:
- Your franchisee went rogue for a reason. What weren’t they able to do with their current web presence that made them make the leap?
- Can you use anything they created to help more locations?
- If you’re going to erase the rogue website from the face of the internet, make sure that anyone who was using the site gets redirected to the new, appropriate location.
Rogue Websites Can Hurt Your Brand
Rogue websites can do damage to the brand, unintentionally mislead customers and become quickly outdated or under maintained. These characteristics of rogue websites open up more issues as time goes on.
If a rogue website is done well and maintained properly, this can become a problem because you as a larger organization end up competing with the site for organic search traffic. This means fewer people coming to the preferred site and more going to the rogue site. This can cause Google to devalue your entire domain, as they see your traffic go down and, potentially, rank-damaging duplicate content with the rogue site.
Dealing With a Rogue Website
National brands and franchisees – or local managers – need to talk to each other about their digital strategy. This is a team effort, and the national website needs to perform well locally and nationally. The national strategy should support the local strategy, and trends on the local sites or pages should help inform the national strategy.
Here are a couple ways to make your national and local website content support each other.
- Make sure each location has a unique page with unique content. These can target “city” or “near me” search results to give you better visibility in local search results.
- Set event tracking to be able to monitor trends on the city, regional, and national levels. Local users will typically end up on the local pages, and what they do and the products or services they’re interested in should inform your national strategy.
- If something is working well on the national site, try a localized version. Sometimes a national blog post, service page or product page starts doing well in search results and you can capture “near me” searches by applying similar content to another location or franchisee page.
PointA Can Help!
Oneupweb and PointA can work together to get your brand a website that works for everyone. Oneupweb has the research, design and development teams to build a site that gives the national brand and local franchisees everything they need. Not only that, but PointA and Oneupweb will share data and analytics from the national and local level to continuously improve your site.
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