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The 2 Approaches to Structuring Your SaaS Website

Should your marketing and product site be combined or separated?

When building a SaaS, you have two key components - the Marketing website and the actual Product or app. Structuring these effectively is crucial to create a great user experience and allow for easy ongoing development. These two components are closely related but serve different purposes in your SaaS journey.

1. Marketing: Attracting and Selling

Marketing is the driving force that attracts and sells your SaaS product to potential users. Your marketing site serves as the gateway to your application and typically includes elements such as a captivating landing page with compelling Call to Action (CTA), pricing information, feature highlights, and user guides on how to make the most of your app. It's where you make your first impression and entice visitors to explore your product.

2. Product: The Core Offering

The core of your SaaS business is your product, which is what your users are paying for. This area is protected and demands user authentication before granting access. Here, your application comes to life, offering a rich, interactive experience driven by data from a database. It's behind a paywall, ensuring that only authorized users can harness its functionality.

Now, let's delve into the two primary approaches for structuring your SaaS site:

A. Single Site for Both Marketing and Product

This involves having your marketing pages and app all within one website and codebase. At first, this seems simpler - just one site to work on!

However, it comes with potential downsides.

  • Your marketing content and product app will likely have different audiences and goals. Mixing them together can create a confusing experience.

  • When you choose this approach, you're more likely to make changes to your marketing and product independently, resulting in distinct user experiences.

  • Marketing pages need to be optimized for SEO with lots of content. Your app is more functional and personalized. These require different technology solutions.

  • You'll make frequent changes to the app as new features are added. The marketing site is more static. A single codebase makes isolating changes tricky.

Overall, a single site often ends up being limiting.

B. Two Separate Sites: One for Marketing, One for Product

This approach uses one site for your marketing content and a totally separate site for your product app. Even though it may seem like a more complex approach, it offers numerous benefits.

  • You can build the marketing site with SEO and content as the focus, using a static site generator optimized for that.

  • The product site can then be purely functional, with the right components for an interactive personalized user experience.

  • Changes to either site won't impact or break the other. You get isolation and flexibility.

  • Two code repos allows for independent teams and release cycles.

  • Marketing lives on your root domain for SEO. App uses a subdomain like app.yoursite.com.

Overall, separating your marketing site and app into two standalone sites gives you the most flexibility and is the best choice for most SaaS products. Maintaining two codebases takes more work but pays off in the long run.

Exceptions to Consider

In life, exceptions are bound to exist, and the SaaS industry is no different. If your product is designed to be embedded on users' websites, such as testimonials, chatbots, or shared links for collaborative tools like forms and file sharing, it can make sense to have both marketing and product components on the same site, particularly on the same domain. This strategy can enhance your domain ranking due to the embedding and sharing aspects of your product, putting it in front of more users.

In summary, choosing the right approach to structure your SaaS site depends on your specific product and its use cases. By understanding the differences and benefits of each approach, you can make an informed decision that best suits your business goals and user experiences.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all solution, and your choice should align with your unique SaaS offering and the needs of your target audience.