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So, my client has a website for his brand that is targeted against B2B-consumers, investors and journalists. He now wants to create a second website for a sub brand that is targeted against end-consumers.

He wants to put the subbrand site in a url-structure that should look something like this: www.brandX.com/subbrandY in order to make it clear for the visitor that subbrandY belongs to brandX. The sites will look completely different and he do not want the consumers of SubbrandY to reach the Brandx content (so no global header or footer menu) since the information there is irrelevant to them.

Instinctively I feel that this is a bad approach and I can think of a couple of use cases. For example if the consumer removes everything after the brandx.com/ in the adress bar in order to reach the home page. Or a B2B-customer or a end-consumer google BrandX and SubbrandY and only reach the web site about the BrandX or SubbrandY site.

What are your recommendations about putting different brands, sub sites or microsites on the same domain?

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I think 'targeted against' means something very different from 'targeted at'. –  user Oct 7 '13 at 20:10

3 Answers 3

If your client is adamant that they want it to be a part of the same domain, you have another option, present in your browser address bar as you view this. You can use a subdomain to both separate and connect the sub brand, with a URL that looks like:

SubBrandY.BrandX.com

There is a more clear distinction with this approach for both humans and site crawlers, but you must still look to define the relationship within your design.

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I would suggest to have a common home page for both so brandX.com would cater for B2B users and for end-customers. And there you could split it via log in or top nav take a look at paypal or take a look at Mercedes and their "sub brands" (cars, trucks, busses...). This only makes sense if there is some similarity in products, paypal = payments, mercedes = vehicles. If the products are completely different there is no point showing that sub-brand belongs to brand-X via URL. You can have it in the footer, main page or even in the tagline of the logos, something like "from the creators of brand-X"

Also SEO for sub-brand would suffer, because it belongs to brand-X.com. I bet this will cause rise in bounce rates, especially if the websites will look different.

Take a look at Virgin, probably the most diverse group of companies in the world, from Virgin Limited Edition (luxury destination) to Vfestival.

What are the 2 products?

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I'm not allowed to tell but the b2b site purpose is to find resellers for a product and the b2c brand is the about that product. –  Tony Bolero Aug 20 '13 at 19:52

From what you described, it seems that two separate URLs are better. Look at it from the user stand point, if they care about sub-brand y and x is just informational, they are likely to go to sub-brand-y.com , instead of remember brandx.com also.

So may be have sub-brand-y.com and the header says "a brandx company" or "by brandx" as sub-text.

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