In my earlier post 25 Advantages of Subdomains, I talked about the advantages of using subdomains. Today I will expand on this by giving more details of usage and the type of software you can install.
Software you can add to a subdomain
Subdomains are ideal for adding additional or distinct features to your main site.
Any software that you add to a main domain can be added to a subdomain without any conflicts. Good hosts will offer auto installs of a range of free software.
My preferred host, Siteground, offers a huge range of good quality, reliable free software for one quick auto-installing.
Ideas for Using Subdomains
- WP Multisites
- Landing Pages
- Membership site
- WP Buddy Press
- Other Community software.
- CMS software such as Joomla.
- Customer support,help center, ticket system
- Project Management
- Classified Ads
- Event planning
- Photo Galleries
- Task management
- Shopping Cart
- Polls and Surveys
- Mailing Lists
- Traffic Exchange
- Your Banner Ads
SEO and Advertising
If you think something you publish may damage the search engine reputation of your site add it to a subdomain instead. Examples
- Purely promotional material such as landing/splash pages ads or paid to post articles.
- Lists of links, classified ads.
If your site is not ranking for a particular topic, using a subdomain with the topic keyword in the name will draw more attention to it.You may want to sell a product or service but not let it dominate your main site.
You may want to blog about a distinct topic or sub-niche but retain the branding advantages you have developed for yourself or your niche. If your blog includes your own name a subdomain with a keyword added targets a market but is still associated with you. If your domain name is generic use a targeted keyword to bring in traffic.
You may wish to target a particular segment of your market, such as, to separate information for beginners from the more advanced, to appeal to different age ranges and preferences or countries.
For these purposes you can
- Install WordPress on the subdomain and either run a full blog or use a landing page plugin or one a page theme for advertising and lead capture.
- Upload a capture/squeeze/landing page with code provided by a third-party.
When it is too hard
- When it is too difficult or not practical to add features to your current site.
- When you use WordPress but cannot add the functionality you wish for:
- When landing page plugins are not satisfactory but a theme with landing page is a better fit.
- You wish to use features from a different theme but do not want to change the look of your main site.
- Forum or community WordPress plugins can slow down your main site far too much and may damage your rankings.
- You have a “built for you” static site but do not have the coding skill to edit or update it yourself. Adding blog software to a subdomain will allow you make additions and changes for free. All that is needed is menu links from your main site.
- Your main site is powered by software which does not offer all that you need. For example you may run shopping site software which restricts you to the inbuilt features.
- You earn from third-party advertising such as Google ads and wish to run ads from another ad provider.
- You promote a particular MLM company who frowns upon advertising other products or services.
For Business Support
Use a subdomain to create a private area for registered members.
- To communicate with and provide information to colleagues,staff or online team members.
- To train, support and provide resources for online marketing teams.
- To schedule one-on-one training sessions or private consultations.
It is possible but not easy to create a partial private members area in a WordPress site even with membership plugins. If you want part of your site public and part private a subdomain install for the private site is simpler. You can install a new instance of WordPress and restrict your subdomain to viewing by registered users only. If you want more membership functionality membership plugins are easier to configure if the subdomain is all private and the plugins will not slow down your main site.
Instead of WordPress you can use dedicated forum, community or membership software or a different CMS system.. Apart from membership software there are good free versions for the other options such as SMF forums, Joomla and Drupal.
The most flexible and reasonably priced membership software I have used is the WPMUDev Membership Plugin. There is an affiliate plugin you can add too. Membership of WPMUdev gives you free access to all of their extensive range of premium plugins and themes which suit ordinary WP sites and Buddy press community sites as well as multiblogs. I joined when building a community site but have since used their plugins on all of my ordinary WordPress sites.
Resources to offer to teams
- Install WP Multiblog and offer resources to your team members and offer them:
- Their own blog
- Opt in forms
- Advertising material
- Landing and capture pages
- An Affiliate plugin to give your team a sales funnel.
- A community site or forum for mutual support among members
- Training, Tips, Advice
- Lists of resources for promotion and advertising.
- Exclusive offers.
- Free e-books and videos.
A subdomain can be an offshoot of your main site but dedicated to making money.
- Start off your own subscription based community/forum site.
- Sell services, photos, graphics, ebooks and other products.
- Offer coaching services using a subdomain for support, downloads and private articles.
- Run courses
- Charge for advertising
- Run a classified ad site
- Build your email list by offering free resources, earn from your emails.
For learning and experimentation purposes
- Add subdomains to try different themes, plugins or software without affecting your main site.
Before recommending a premium theme to clients and contacts, I always try it out on a subdomain I set aside for this purpose. Some expensive themes become popular by company and affiliate advertising, and not on their merits. I learned the Joomla CMS system and various other software platforms by playing with them on a test subdomain site.
- Use a subdomain for learning html and CSS.
- Practice using ftp and your hosts file manager until you are confident about uploading to your main site.
- Step outside your comfort zone and try new things. If you have always used WordPress try installing a static web page theme or a CMS system instead.
- Use a subdomain if have you have an idea for a site but are not ready to commit to buying a new domain name. I recently created a test WordPress site on a subdomain and came to the conclusion that, although the idea had merit, the time taken to run and promote the site outweighed its usefulness.
For Personal use
You have a domain so why not use it to its full advantage.Create a subdomain site to:
- Blog to friends and family.
- Use it for hobbies.
- Record recipes
- Upload photos
- Create family photo galleries
- Use for a journal when traveling.
- To record special occasions
- To back up files, especially those you want to access from anywhere
- To organize special events
- Install multisite in folders and give friends and family their own blogs.
- For task management
- Make a web page with links to websites you visit regularly or to record affiliate links.
- Create a page or site for your children with links to direct them to the kind of sites you want them to visit.
If you do not want to use your main domain for personal use, buy another domain and add subdomains to this.
I have multiple subdomains and folders within my own personal site. My children each have their own areas. I use a subdomain for Genealogy software and share this with family. I add folders to upload information for family and friends.
I create individualized greetings cards, upload them and email the url to the recipient.
I share family photos for others to download.
As a birthday gift to my sister I made her a photo gallery of favorite photos of family through the ages, memorable events. I added music to make it more special.
I made an online holiday itinerary for my daughter’s world tour. On her return I created a a travel journal site, rich with her photos, to create a lasting memory.
When starting a new WordPress site on a top level domain think about future needs. Installing WordPress multi-site to use sub-domains rather than a standard install is an option even if you do not use any subdomains to begin with. Your main site will still be on the main domain. If you do a standard install and want multi-sites in the future you will only be able to use sub-directories and not sub-domains.
As you can see there are so many possibilities for subdomains and I am sure I have not covered all of them. Do you use subdomains or can you see where you might able to use them to enhance your current online activities?