Why Use Sub-Domains Instead of Sub-Directories?
You can recognize sub-domains and sub-directories easily. A URL for a sub-domain contains the name of the new section before the primary domain name, separated by a dot and replacing the www, as in http://finance.yahoo.com. In this case, ‘finance’ is a sub-domain of Yahoo.com.
You’ll find that using sub-domains rather than sub-directories lets you enjoy many of the benefits of primary domains, without having to find, register and pay for separate domains.
How Sub-Domains Can Boost Your Site’s Online Performance
· Search engine preference
The URL of a sub-domain may gain favorable treatment over that of a sub-directory, since sub-domains are treated as top level, unique sites, while sub-directories simply another level to a site.
Because sub-directories create another level, the pages within them are removed further from the main index or home page. Search engines generally don’t index pages that are more than two levels or two clicks away from the home page. Even if they do, the pages are not likely to reach significant ranking value.
Sub-domains offer the advantage of eliminating one layer. So the pages that are contained in your sub-domain are kept at a higher level than they would be in a sub-directory – and are therefore more likely to be indexed in search engines.
Since search engines usually view sub domains as unique from the main site, you can submit each sub-domain URL separately to search engines – as long as each sub-domain contains content that is appropriately unique for a separate site.
Using the keyword in the URL may provide slightly more relevance in the eyes of the search engine spiders. Sub-domains allow you to use important keywords directly in your domain name while keeping the URL short and memorable. While some companies may prefer to develop a separate primary domain, it can be difficult to find a suitable primary domain, so implementing keywords into your sub-domain names provides a means to access the same benefits.
· Submission in directories
Although many major directories like Yahoo and the Open Directory Project refuse submission of more than one domain from a company, they may accept multiple listings of URLs containing sub-domains, when the content of the sub-domain is unique from the main company site. In other words, major directories may treat sub-domains as unique URLs but sub-directories as simply more pages in the main site.
· The human click factor
When you’ve obtained the rankings and it comes down to getting searchers to click through, a URL that appears relevant to searchers can be more persuasive in winning the click from a URL that doesn’t contain the keyword. (Remember that people’s eyes move from left to right when reading, so including the keyword earlier in the URL is a benefit.)
· When Sub-Domains Should be Your Choice
The choice between sub-domains and sub-directories enters the picture when you have a significant amount of content to dedicate parts of your website to different products or company divisions. Rather than building a site that contains deep levels of sub-directories, you can create a more targeted top-level URL with sub-domains.
Following are some examples of situations in which sub-domains may be used instead of sub-directories.
· Presenting Product Lines Separately
Sub-domains can provide leverage over using sub-directories to distinguish among your products or company divisions. Sub-domains allow an organization to present product or service information separate from main corporate information but still retain the brand association.
This is especially useful when there is extensive information for each product line. Consider the case of Xerox.
A sub-domain separates their range of office products from their ancillary services. Athttp://www.office.xerox.com/ you will find tons of resources for their faxes, printers, and copiers. However, information on supplies and consulting are contained in sub-directories. Both the sub-directories and sub-domain are linked from the home page, but by placing the products in a sub-domain, Xerox’s key products enjoy a strategic advantage by maintaining top-level treatment of the targeted URL.
The sub-domain sections of the site can be developed as if they are an independent site, with plenty of pages that are distinct from the primary site. AAA maintains a sub-domain for its travel services, which are separate from its most well-known services for roadside assistance: http://travel.aaa.com/ . National Geographic also places its e-commerce capabilities on the top-level with a sub-domain: http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/
· Separating Company Divisions
A sub domain can give the appearance of being an independent web site, although it remains under your top-level domain. So when you need to reach different audiences, a sub-domain lets you segregate your web-site at the top level.
Consider the example of Ikea, which sells through retail franchise outlets. Potential franchisors can learn more about the business opportunity at the sub-domain http://franchisor.ikea.com/, since a company needs to communicate with consumers and franchisors separately.
Here you’ll find the official home page of the Walt Disney Company: http://disney.go.com. But in this sub-domain you’ll find all the information you need about the Disney resorts and parks:http://disneyworld.disney.go.com
You may notice that some large companies use completely separate domains for presenting information. Take General Electric for example: www.geindustrial.com/, www.gehealthcare.com , www.gepower.com,www.geappliances.com, etc. But you may find it more efficient to use sub-domains, which don’t incur the costs of maintaining separate web sites yet let you present divisions of your company separately.
· Appealing to Different Geographical / Language Audiences
By using sub-domains for the geographical areas where you do business, you can feature the keyword in the URL and develop culture-specific content. This is especially useful if you offer services across many regions. Siemens uses this approach http://usa.siemens.com and so does Kimberly Clarke for some web sites in foreign countries: http://www.kr.depend.com.
Many large companies choose to develop country- or region-specific primary domains, such ashttp://www.mitsubishicars.ca. However, there can be regulations pertaining to the foreign country code extensions that may be prohibitive. For example, some countries require the business to be based in that country in order to qualify to use the country code extension. Using a sub-domain for the country can be an ideal solution.
Sub-domains also allow you to offer content according to language. This can be especially appropriate if the foreign-language audience you want to appeal to is in your home country, such as Canadian companies offering content in the country’s two official languages of French and English.
· Creating Tracking URLs
Sub-domains can also be used to track traffic coming from online advertising media such as pay-per-click ads, banner or print advertising, or even affiliates. Using a separate sub-domain for each landing page lets you isolate web stats for each source. However, remember to keep sub-domain content targeted to the audience and different from the main site, as providing identical content in different sites is frowned upon by major search engines and can result in penalties.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using Sub Domains
Some web hosting programs do not support sub-domains, so make sure yours does before trying to set them up. There may be extra charges for setting up and maintaining sub-domains. Your web site stats will not include your sub-domain stats, but you can view them separately. Be aware that your hosting service may call sub-domains by a different name, with some of the more common ones being “vanity names”, “machine names”, or “domain alias”.
Harnessing The Powerful Benefits of Sub-domains
If you are looking for an effective way to utilize your resources, and save yourself some cash in the process, Harnessing The Powerful Benefits of Subdomains is just what you are looking for.
Nearly every one of us know what a domain is, but many budding webmasters are so unfamiliar with the power and benefits of subdomains.
Exactly What is a Subdomain?
To assist you in understanding just what a subdomain is, let’s look first at a regular domain. The majority of domains look like the following: www.yourdomain.com. Each domain name refers to a specific site on the web and the search engines acknowledge each domain name as a separate entity.Many domains have several web pages but the latest craze is to purchase a new domain name for each new niche or category you want to publish. But hold the phone – there’s a way to do this and keep the green stuff in your pocket where it belongs!
A subdomain is actually a sub extension of your already working domain. Another point to remember – a subdomain is considered to be a separate domain and entity from the domain that it extends from. This means that all search engines (including Google) see the subdomain as a unique domain (see NOTE below).
To be more specific and a good point to remember, search engines recognize each web page as a separate entity. Subdomains are created usually using your web hosting administration panel (our preference is cPanel). The entire process takes only a few minutes. For instance, instead of adding web pages that are on completely different topics to your website such as www.yourdomain.com/baseball, you just create a subdomain, which is written as follows: www.baseball.yourdomain.com. Notice all we did is add the word “baseball” and a dot before the domain name.
The Benefits of Subdomains
Subdomains as of today are not as popular as regular domains, because most budding webmasters are not aware of how easy they are to create and all the benefits that they can provide. The benefits of using subdomains are plentiful but here’s what we consider to be our top three benefits/features.
- Even though domains are affordable (costing about $10 for a .com), if you are a web developer that is looking to create dozens of web sites, $10 a domain name adds up quickly. Many webmasters purchase 50, 100 or more domains to create web sites that each bring in a small amount of income. Having 100 domains can easily cost $1,000 per year and once you add in the domain hosting costs and annual renewal fees, you can easily see how quickly it can become expensive. But on the other hand, subdomains cost $0. Subdomains are free to create, whether you have 1 or 10,000 subject to the limits of your web hosting package.
- All search engines view subdomains as being unique from the regular domain. To Google, www.yoursite.com/baseball and www.baseball.yoursite.com are two unique web pages. In essence, you get all the benefits of having a keyword rich web site/page, without the costs and hassles of registering new domains sites and hosting them separately – don’t forget the previously mentioned cash outlay, either! The, subdomains are easily hosted on the same account as your normal domain (they just show up as a separate folder).
- Subdomains are extremely easy to create. In fact, so easy most people over-complicate the entire subdomain creation process. You do not need a lot of technical expertise or special software and the process is relatively simple and straightforward. Even though a subdomain is considered to be an extension of a regular domain, the major search engines including Google see it as a unique domain.
Subdomains can be created for many different categories/niches and for most people; you can create unlimited amounts of subdomains that are hosted on your normal domain hosting plan. For example, if you had a fishing site called fish.com and would like to create categories/niches for each type of fish, you can do it easily. Subdomains would be written as the following: bass.fish.com, trout.fish.com and bluegill.fish.com.
NOTE: We are continuing to test the power of subdomains to see just how many themes can be on same domain without getting you penalized by major search engines. Results will be promptly published on Our Blog
The cost of creating each subdomain is $0, so you can easily save hundred to thousands of dollars per year on your domain costs and get the same benefits as buying separate domains – thus Harnessing The Powerful Benefits of Subdomains!
Read on if you want to know:
How To Correctly Implement A Subdomain Via cPanel