For a wiki-like startup: Large all encompassing site VS multiple focused subsites


EDIT: SHORT VERSION - From a user's point of view what's better: One big site (Wikipedia) or multiple smaller sites (Spanishpedia and Techpedia)


I'm starting a site where people work together to collaborate on creating articles. The way people work together is sort of like a wiki, but not exactly.

The site will have many different unrelated categories, eg: sports, technology, Spanish, etc. Each category will have many different subcategories.

What do you think is better:

  1. Having one large site, that has all of the content separated into categories, which would be further separated into subcategories.


  2. Having subsites like and and each subsite is dedicated solely to that category. Each subsite would really be it's own site dedicated to the category, and pitch itself as a site where people can go to collaborate on articles about the specific category.

I'm thinking option 2 has the benefit that users interested in a topic will feel like they have a site dedicated to their interest, and it will create communities around people with common interests.

However option 1 has the benefit that users are more likely to see another category they are interested in and then possibly participate in articles on that topic too.

What do you guys think is better?


asked Sep 26 '10 at 09:19
111 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll

2 Answers


Funny you should ask. Joel, yes that Joel, has an article about just this topic at that covers when to break stackexchange into different sites and when not.

answered Sep 26 '10 at 10:01
1,833 points
  • So you would say that multiple sites are the way to go for such unrelated categories as Spanish and Tech? It's kind of like having Wikipedia vs having separate more focused things like techpedia and spanishpedia. – Kyle 13 years ago
  • It all depends on the level of community and collaboration you want to foster. As Joel mentions, too big, and it's hard to make it feel like a community. Too small and you don't have enough people that know the topic to write about it. Joel is much more experienced than I am with this topic, so pay attention to him, not me. :-). – Dror 13 years ago


Sub-domains (i.e and will introduce the issue of multiple logins (or the use of SSO: Single-Sign-On coding) for your user-base; Note: Sub-domains are usually considered different domains both by the search engines and when setting cookies.

So... and might be easier to work with if you decide on separate sites.

What do you guys think is better?

  • "One big site" is easier to manage at the start.
  • Multiple sites (possibly) gives you a better chance of having one become popular, and you won't have "all your eggs in one basket." Also, if you decide on multiple sites, you might want different domain names.

What do you guys think...

IMO, there is no easy answer, but it is a good question. :o)

answered Sep 26 '10 at 09:57
This Is Fun
41 points

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