I have several different ideas for web sites that are similar (in that they involve mathematics and statistics) but also very different in terms of topic area (for, example, sports, investing, health). Does it make sense to put all of these into a single web domain, with subdomains for each topic area? Or would it be better to have a separate domain name for each topic area? Which approach would seem more likely to be better business-wise, leading to more permanent visitors/customers for my content, more clicks on my Google-ads, and more income for me?
This is the kind of question I can appreciate, straightforward, direct and to the point. My general thought on this topic is more about the back-end than the front-end: do you want to have a complex support and management task, or do you seek simplicity and the ability to reap the benefits on all your sites of a new posting on any of them?
If you’re talking about similar core topics with different angles, then I will strongly suggest that a single site, single domain name, built around a blog (wait, hear me out!) that has multiple categories, one for each of the specific areas you’re interested in exploring, is your best bet. It’s easy to manage, easy to cross-pollinate articles, and by using some thoughtful category names is just as search engine friendly as a separate Web site, if not more so.
Consider Ask Dave Taylor, for example. I field Sony PSP questions and have a very high ranking for “Sony PSP Help”, field Mac and Windows questions, and even write about history (like yesterday’s piece about Elvis Presley). Somewhat thematically related topics, but all tossed into the virtual digital blender of my weblog and therefore each category gains the benefit of frequent content updates even when I don’t write about that specific topic.
In terms of the visitor perspective, I suggest that’s more of a design and implementation issue. You can easily have a half dozen websites that are completely baffling, and you can have a dozen-category weblog that’s completely coherent and easy to use.
I talk a lot about the intersection between design and search engine friendliness in my book Growing Your Business with Google, if you want more information on this topic too.
Finally, good luck. Math, statistics and health sound like a fascinating combination!
Keep the stuff that belongs together together. If all of these topics are still tightly focused on “you”, treat yourself as the “brand”.
But, if some of this is rather distinct *and* you have some expectation that you could likely hive it off to be a standalone business and possibly even sell or transfer it to a separate entity, then a distinct domain name makes sense so that a later split doesn’t get complicated and confused over the business identity and your identity.
I ended up with five distinct domains for my five web sites so that I can keep each focused on its purpose without confusing the different categories of readers about the other “stuff”.
Ultimately, its a question of how integrated or how distinct you want to keep the topics.
— Jack Krupansky