What to Consider When Building a Franchise Website

When starting a franchise, business owners can run a business that already has an established template for success. They have the power of a strong, established brand, a pre-delivered set of tools to start their business and the peace of mind that comes with having a corporate team who is there to help.

The franchise formula has been proven to work. However, many franchises struggle with creating and maintaining the online presence of their locations.

Some franchises have one website that has little input from the individual franchisees. Others do not have guidelines for creating websites, which leaves franchisees on their own to build a website that may not work as well as it should.

By utilizing a franchise website builder, both franchise owners and franchisees can utilize a website that strikes a balance between brand consistency and individuality.

How does a franchise website builder work?

Franchise website builders are designed to allow franchise owners to create a large number of websites that can be managed in one place.

You can choose a ready-made website template (or, you can create a custom-designed template) where you can drag and drop logos, photos and information without making changes to the website’s code.

You can choose to have your franchisee websites portray a consistent, strong brand identity, or you can allow your franchisees to take more control over their business page.

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Multi-site management

By using a franchise website builder, you can manage the websites for each of your franchisee locations in one place.

When you log in to your website builder, you can choose which location you would like to view or make changes to, giving you an easy way to jump between websites and make quick changes.

Controlled access

When you set up your franchise location websites, you can limit the access to each site by assigning specific access levels and roles to website managers.

This way, franchisees can log in to their own website to make changes, but not any of the other sites or properties. You can also assign users, such as a marketing manager or agency, access to all of the websites in your organization.

In addition, you can define which content blocks or website attributes can be edited by franchisees. For example, you can lock down content or photos so that the franchisees cannot change or remove them, while still allowing them to make edits to different areas of the site.


Benefits of a centrally-managed franchise website

When choosing a franchise website builder, you should ensure that there is a happy medium between brand conformity and consistency, and the ability for franchisees to manage their own pages. Below are some benefits for creating a group of centrally managed franchise websites.

Consistent branding and voice

Consistency is key for maintaining a recognizable brand. You want to make sure that your franchisees are displaying the proper logo, colors, and verbiage on their website and promotional material. With a centrally-managed franchise website network, you can create a standard website template in which franchisees can drop in key information, such as their location, photos and staff bios.

High domain authority

In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), domain authority is an important factor for ranking well in search results.

Domain authority is a “score” that search engines apply to your website’s domain. The score is calculated by many factors, such as the age of the domain (the older, the better), the size and quality of the website’s content and the number and quality of links that point to the website (the more, the better).

Websites with a high domain authority have a better chance of performing well in the search results.

If your franchisees have different websites with different domains, they may not perform as well in the search results. When all of the locations are hosted under one domain, the domain authority will likely be higher.

This gives an additional benefit to your franchisees. Even though their location page may be small, they will benefit because it is tied to a large, robust domain.

Easily add or change locations

When your franchisee location websites are hosted in a centrally-managed system, you can easily create a new website as the number of locations grow.

If you need to add a new location, you can easily copy your preferred template and simply drop in the needed information.

Let franchisees focus on the business

Designing and managing a website takes time and effort. As does managing a successful business.

With a ready-made franchisee website, your franchisees can focus on the day-to-day tasks of running their business.

Easier-to-track success

By managing all of your franchisee websites under one account, you can easily see how each location is performing.

Ideally, you should always link your website with a Google Analytics account. With a franchise, you can create one Google Analytics account for the entire company, and then create an individual “view” for each location.

You can grant access to the business owner and their associates for each individual view (so they can only see their individual location’s performance).

This way, your franchisees can see how their website is performing, and you can also see how your brand stacks up as a whole.


Benefits of individually managed franchisee websites

As we outlined above, having centrally-managed franchisee websites is a great way to maintain a brand story and consistency.

However, it is also important to give a degree of individuality and personalization to franchisees. In addition to giving your franchisees a way to manage their business’ online presence, individual franchisee websites can allow important online marketing benefits.

Local-based marketing benefits

If you want your franchisees to be successful, it is important that they master the art of local search.

Your franchisee websites — whether it’s one page on the main website or a fully built-out website — should be fully optimized for local search results.

When building out the web pages for each location, make sure that they have NAP consistency; NAP stands for “name, address, and phone number”.

Manage their own marketing campaign

By choosing a franchise website builder that allows you to offer individual websites for your franchisees, individual locations can run their own marketing campaigns and promote their website autonomously.

Ability to make updates

When a franchisee has access to their own website, they can easily make changes themselves. For example, if they change their phone number or operating hours, they can simply log in and change the information or content.

This allows your franchisees to update their websites without having to contact a webmaster.


Find the right franchise website builder

When shopping around for the right website builder for your franchise, there are several features to take into consideration:

  • The websites should be secure and backed by SSL encryption
  • The website needs to work seamlessly across all devices, whether it be a laptop, smartphone or tablet

  • The platform should be user-friendly so that your franchisees can easily add, edit or upload new content, images or documents

  • The platform should be compatible with third-party applications and widgets, such as contact forms, appointment scheduling services or reservations

  • The website interface should have the ability to make changes to the site’s SEO settings and metadata, especially when it comes to optimizing your franchisee’s pages for their location

  • There should be an accessible level of customer support. For example, if you want to make advanced changes to the website or if one of your franchisees forgets their password, they should have a resource to turn to

  • The platform should give you the ability to manage the control and access level to different users

With Websites 360®, you have all the tools you need to create a beautiful, secure, mobile-friendly website for your franchise. We offer many responsive and easily customizable franchise website templates.

You can manage your location-specific franchise websites within one platform, where you can enforce your consistent brand identity while also making sure that your franchisees can perform well in local searches.

Websites 360® websites can seamlessly integrate with Marketing 360®, giving you access to form builders, CRM systems, email automation and more. In addition, your website comes with the peace of mind of a support team who can help you and your franchisees in times of need.

Take a tour of Websites 360®’s website solution for franchises and see how you can improve your brand identity and your franchisees’ online presence today.

Originally published 11/15/19