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My client has 2 audiences with different information and agendas for each. One is the consumer side, which will be mostly information about the company and educational material. The other side is the business side which is for selling their service to businesses.

They want to segment the site by having a gating page where the user selects 1 of 2 options “I'm a business” vs. “I'm a consumer” (still working on copy). Then, depending on the option, you'll be taken to a different section of the site with different navigation. I wasn't a fan of the idea but don't have final say-so on the matter.

So I'm wondering, what are your thoughts on segmenting the site like this?

Also, they want the 2 separate sections to look differently, even though it's the same website; i.e. use more blue and imagery for consumer and more orange and widgets for business. This also seems like a bad choice, but other than the obvious “users should know they're on the same site” argument I can't find a good way to articulate why this isn't a great choice.

  • This seems like a really bad idea, for lots of reasons. I suspect that a single site that satisfies both audiences is the way to go. Apart from anything else, businesses (i.e. buyers) are going to want to look at the "information about the company and educational material" as part of their buying decision. – Steve Jones Apr 12 '18 at 15:07
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Those gating pages are just about useless, aren't they? They're almost like a splash page where you have to make a decision and click through to get to the site. They're just a hurdle you have to clear before getting to your starting point.

I prefer avoiding the gating page completely and just sending users by default to the homepage for your primary audience. (Step 1: Pick a primary audience.) Then provide on that page a link to the other segment's homepage. You might consider putting links to the other segment's home in the header so it's available no matter what page you're on.

  • Upvoted your comment (won't show until my rep is 15) :) I agree and I think that's a great solution—I recommended similar but couldn't convince the CEO. There isn't a lot of public data on things like this, so getting other professional's opinions is helpful to back up my reasoning! – bezierer Oct 19 '15 at 13:58
  • The argument I usually make is that every extra step we ask users to take gives them the opportunity to leave the site. And a gating page is a big extra step for every user. Good luck. – Ken Mohnkern Oct 19 '15 at 14:02
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I would build one website and when people land on the home page have a little pop asking them: are you a business? if they click yes you can either: capture more info from them as a small popup signup or omit portion of the site that isnt relevant to them and take them to the appropriate page. This way you are not wasting a page on a gate splash and also, and believe it or not, it is true: some will be dumbfounded by the choices, not everyone know what section they belong in.

  • That's a good point about it not being a guarantee that users will know which to click. Plus it adds more cognitive load on them! – bezierer Oct 19 '15 at 14:13
  • @bravesox yea, that gated fragmentation was used highly back in early 00's when flash was booming and people knew nothing or didnt care enough about user behavior. Now its all about capturing the user, and I always say if its not needed dont do it. And as far as if it is business it is always wise to have an UPSELL in mind, in any way you can. – Stanley VM Oct 19 '15 at 14:16
  • When you say "a little pop asking them..." I assume you mean a little element on the page, not a modal popup. Having that question come up as a modal is functionally the same as making it a splash screen. Where a little page element can be a nice unobtrusive way to direct business users over to their homepage. – Ken Mohnkern Oct 19 '15 at 15:03
  • yes as an element not a modal. correct. – Stanley VM Oct 19 '15 at 15:04
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I think you can convince your CEO that a gating or splash page gives bad SEO. Maybe you can exclude this page from being indexed but I think it will interrupt the natural index of your sitemap.

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