If the domain name you already have is working well, you may not need to register a new one. Instead of making a new domain name, you can always make a subdomain out of the one you already have.
Know what a “subdomain” is? Let’s take a look at this in-depth guide.
What Are Subdomains?
A domain name is given a prefix called a “subdomain” to identify a certain part of the site. Site owners usually use subdomains to manage large areas that need their own content structure, like online shops, blogs, or support systems.
Even though choosing a domain name is one of the first steps in building a website, you can set up a subdomain at any time. When you register a domain name, you can use it to get to any subdomain, from “abc” to “xyz.”
How a subdomain is put together
The top-level domain (TLD) is the extension, like.com or.net. The second-level domain (SLD) is the part of the domain name that makes it unique, which is often a company or brand name. In the case of dropship-empire.com, “com” is the TLD and “dropship-empire” is the SLD.
The part that comes before the SLD is the subdomain. Most people use www, which stands for World Wide Web. Under this subdomain are the website’s home page and its most important pages. Most domain registrars give you the www subdomain for free when you buy a domain name, since it is used so often.
Subdomains are often used to separate a site’s subdomain from the main site. For example, help.dropship-empire.com goes to the website for dropship-empire support.
Common Subdomain Parameters
Here are some important things to know about a subdomain:
- There can be up to 500 subdomains for a domain.
- You can set up more than one subdomain, like abc.xyz.yoursite.com and others.
- For subdomains with more than one level, each level can be up to 63 characters long, but each subdomain can have up to 255 characters.
Why Should I Use a Subdomain?
To install a new website theme, including its look, menus, and functions, you must build a new website with a subdomain. Since a domain and a subdomain are like two different websites, they are recorded separately. This lets a company give users different experiences and keep better track of user data and analytics, which can then be used to improve and optimize both the main URL and the subdomain site.
SEO Pros and Cons of Using a Subdomain
You should think about the pros and cons of the subdomain for your SEO before you decide to use it.
- Improve The In-Store Experience: Remember that it’s your job to make the online experience the same as the in-store one. Would you go back to a store where you spent two hours looking for something but couldn’t find it? You can do it with the help of a subdomain.
- Boost The aAuthority Of Your Domain: Domain authority is a rating that shows how well people trust you to give them what they want. A great way to use subdomains to boost domain authority is to link the two domains together.
- Organize Your Content: After all of your site’s content has been collected, it is easier for Google to find and crawl your site.
- Let You Put Keywords That Are Relevant To Your Site In Your URL: Your SEO might improve if you use keywords as a subdomain to help organize content. Again, this makes it easier for Google to crawl your site and tells Google right away what that part of your site is about.
Here are a few ways that using subdomains could hurt your website:
- Dilute Your SEO: If you have a subdomain that you don’t need, your SEO efforts will be spread across two sites instead of just one. This means that if you only focused on one domain, you might need twice as many links and pieces of content to get the same results as if you focused on both.
- Won’t Help With Linking Between Pages: Links outside of a subdomain are called “external.” Any SEO expert will tell you that internal links are one of the most important factors in how well your site ranks.
- Google has a harder time crawling subdomains because they are separate sites that must be checked and tracked individually in Search Console and Analytics. Putting all of these things together might make it harder for Google to crawl the website at first, but it should lead to better results in the long run.
When a Subdomain Name Is Needed
You might wonder why you would ever need a subdomain. Here are a few times when a subdomain could come in handy.
Make a Help/Support Page
Use a subdomain as a “subpage” on your website when it needs a section for help or documentation. Your website has a page called “FAQs,” which stands for “Frequently Asked Questions.” Visitors won’t have a hard time finding what they want. It will also be easier to create a page with a lot of information and link it to your main website’s “support” page.
Set up a page on your site for selling things.
Adding an eCommerce shop to your website could be hard because it could change how your main website is set up. Instead of reorganizing or redoing your website, you could use a subdomain to set up an online store. This will let you start a brand-new website where you can sell your products and services and help your customers without affecting your main website.
Make a page for testing on your website.
You might want to change the look of your website, add a new feature, or come up with a new layout, but you don’t want to mess with it. You’ll find that it’s smart to use a subdomain when making a test page. You can change your test page and see how it looks on your live site without taking it down. When you’re ready to publish your test page, you can move your newly made site to your main site.
How to Make a Subdomain
Before you can set up subdomains, you must have the main domain. Make sure you buy a domain name.
If you buy a domain, you also own the rights to any subdomains that go with it. Here are the general steps you need to take to make a subdomain:
- Use the name of the subdomain to make a record in your DNS settings.
- Send people to the server that hosts your subdomain.
- When you add a record to your DNS settings, you will be able to see that www.yoursite.com points to yoursite.com. This makes www work like a subdomain as well. Most hosts will give you easy-to-use tools to do this.
Now that we know what a subdomain is, let’s look at a few situations where one might be appropriate:
Due to the complexity of online commerce, businesses often use a different site design to handle transactions. Because of this difference, companies may offer services that are different from what the top website needs or offers. On a platform like the store.steampowered.com subdomain, users can buy games for their consoles.
Support & Help
When a site’s Frequently Asked Questions pages don’t answer all of a user’s questions, the site owner can use a subdomain to build a more specialized help platform. This business can make the platform easier to use and better for search engines.
You might want to put your blog on a subdomain because blogs often cover topics and keywords that have nothing to do with the rest of the website. The Library of Congress’s huge website is for a different kind of person than its blogs. Because of this, people can look through hundreds of posts on blogs.loc.gov to find the information they need.
Most online platforms that need to be redesigned to work well on mobile devices have separate subdomains for their mobile websites. Under the subdomain m.facebook.com, for example, Facebook made a special experience for people who use their phones. The business changed the layout to fit the shape of a mobile device, which is long and thin.
Specialized subdomains are often used by sites that make important, well-branded content for specific topics. Newspapers, sports teams, movies, and other media with different kinds of content can use subdomains to set themselves apart from their parent companies.
As you might expect, the information in The New York Times is very different from that in NYT Cooking (cooking.nytimes.com). By keeping the content separate, each brand can let search engines know how reliable it is.
Language and place
By making subdomains for each language, organizations can keep their web addresses clear and consistent. On Wikipedia, for example, each language has its own subdomain. It’s interesting to note that the language and content of the es.wikipedia.org site are different from the en.wikipedia.org homepage.
Companies can also use subdomains to provide information that is specific to a certain area or region. Yahoo, for example, puts together news about the UK at uk.yahoo.com and about the US at us.yahoo.com.
Due to how hard it is to make an online community, forum designers often use subdomains with specific functions. Think about the base domain, which is forum.unity.com. But on forum.unity.com, users can ask questions and talk with other people.
Which Is Better for SEO: Subdomains or Subdirectories?
Search engines look at subdomains and subdirectories in different ways. Let’s look at why this is and how using a subdomain instead of a subdirectory affects SEO.
Google and a lot of other search engines treat subdomains as if they were different websites. This means that search engines have to crawl and index each subdomain on its own.
You should only use subdomains when you have to. Subdomains can be used to rank for different keywords, target a specific market, reach a different area, or provide content in a language other than the one used on your main website.
Subdirectories are places where files that are part of your main domain are stored. Google and other search engines don’t see subdirectories as separate websites, so they share “link juice” and SEO with your main site.
If you’re a blogger, starting a new business, or running a small business with limited time and resources, using subdirectories will help you rank your site faster than using a subdomain.
Now that you know what a subdomain is, what do you plan to do? Do you think that using subdomains on your website is the best thing to do? There are times and places for them, but it’s best to use them sparingly and only when necessary.
This is kind of at the bottom of the list of SEO ranking factors. Instead of trying to improve your off-site SEO, organize the information you already have on your website, keep your content schedule full, and work on improving your on-site SEO.