Have you ever considered using subdomains? If not, this series of posts will present a whole range of advantages and valuable ways to use subdomains for personal. learning and business reasons.
I started creating subdomains for personal use but have since taken advantage of them for many reasons and uses.
What is a subdomain?
A subdomain is simply a domain tagged on to an existing domain. Using Google as an example, google.com will take you to their main search page. Gmail and gPlus use the subdomains mail.google.com and plus.google.com. In these examples, mail and plus are the subdomain names and google is the main or root domain.
In contrast a sub-directory is just a folder within a domain. If mail was a subdirectory of google.com it would take the form google.com/mail.
A subdomain is a completely different site to your main domain. This means that you can install anything you wish on there without any impact on your main site.
Search engines consider subdomains as different sites and index them in their own right.
Your hosting plan may already support your use of subdomains. If you are on the most basic plan you may need to upgrade to the next level. Usually if you are allowed to host more than one domain then subdomains are allowed too. My hosting plan with Hostgator allows an unlimited amount of domains and subdomains and I make full use of this.
Think ahead if you are looking to purchase hosting. You may need extra domain or subdomain functionality in the future and it is much easier to upgrade with a current host than to transfer your site to a new one.
Advantages of Subdomains
- Subdomains are free. If your hosting plan allows, once you have bought a domain you can add subdomains for no cost.
- Subdomains are very simple to add and you use them like you would any site.
- Search engines may not dig deep enough to index and rank your main site pages but, because a subdomain is viewed as a different site, it will get indexed in its own right.
- If you use WordPress or any software that creates dynamic links you avoid url conflicts by using subdomains rather than subdirectories.
- Blog posts get lost over time and, even if they initially do well in search engines, they lose impetus and ranking. A subdomain with posts dedicated to a particular topic will retain freshness and search engine value.
- Unless you have a large amount of subdomains on one domain Google will not penalize a site.
- From my experience, a subdomain tagged on to an already well ranked site gets indexed quickly and benefits from its parent’s success.
- It is easy to install or upload anything to a subdomain without impact on your main site. You can avoid software and plugin conflicts.
- To use a different theme for particular purposes or landing page themes when plugins don’t meet your needs.
- Your main site will not be slowed down by adding resource heavy applications or plugins. Install them on a subdomain instead.
- The ability to use a keyword for the subdomain name for clarity, search engine and promotional purposes. For example mail.google com describes exactly what its purpose is.
- To establish brand awareness and align that brand with you.
- To target a particular reader group, market segment or country.
- Where you want to keep your main site informational but also want to sell products or services.
- To highlight a major topic from your main site.
- To use for a different topic or niche.
- Use for aspects such as lists of links which do not rank well but still provide value to readers.
- For adding value and resources for your readers, teams and clients and attract new ones.
- If a search engine may not like a particular topic put it on a subdomain and don’t damage the reputation or potential of your main site.
- For using WordPress multi-sites for yourself or others.
- You can add functionality for your own use when you are unable to add it to your main site.
- Use for learning purposes.
- For coaching, mentoring and support.
- To increase your online presence.
- Usefulness for many personal purposes.
I have used subdomains for all the above reasons, either on my sites or those of clients, charities, friends, family, online contacts and team members.
How to Add a Subdomain
Your host will provide instructions on how to add a subdomain. Here is a video tutorial on adding a subdomain using cPanel, the account admin interface used by many hosting companies.
Do your homework before considering starting a subdomain. If you already rank well for a topic you may lose traffic or ranking on your main domain by transferring it to a subdomain. Highlighting that category through menus or using a sub-folder may be your best option.
My next posts on subdomains cover:
• Examples of uses for a subdomain for business and personal reasons.
• The kinds of software you can use on a subdomain.
• For those of you interested in online marketing I will cover that topic in more detail where else but on the subdomain I dedicate to that topic.
Do you use subdomains? If so, please let us know for what purposes. What have been your experiences?