The pros and cons of using subdomains
I recently read an article in Website Magazine about the advantages or disadvantages of using subdomains through your host service. I’ve often wanted to set up multiple domains so I could have sites that cover a broad range of topics I’m interested in, ones that don’t necessarily jive with my personal portfolio site, but have always been wary of the cost involved. I’ve often wondered if subdomains could offer a solution but have, until now, been too preoccupied or perhaps downright lazy to do the research to find out.
First, lets define what a subdomain is. The simplest definition, according to the article, “is a domain that is part of a larger domain.” Wow, that is simple. Too simple, but wait there’s more. Sub domains are basically separate sections in the hierarchical tree that makes up your site. Organizations use them to give separate URLs to different sections of your site, sections you want to stand on their own yet still be a part of the overall brand. For example, VW.com may set up a subdomain for the Jetta called jetta.vw.com (they haven’t, I checked). This gives Volkswagen the opportunity to promote the Jetta as it’s own separate brand by giving it its own URL, somewhat, but not completely, independent of the parent company. So what are the pros and cons of setting up and using subdomains?
- Cost – depending on your host, subdomains are cheaper, often free, than new domains. Also, there’s only one domain name to manage, one account to pay and one login to remember
- SEO – subdomains add content to your domain, increasing the chance that search engines will find the keyword phrases that are a part of good content writing.
- Organization – subdomains separate you site out by category, like a good filing system.
- SEO Overkill – Subdomains can actually devalue the entry level of SEO in every niche search when used improperly. Google frowns upon badly labeled doorways that lead to places not consistent with visitor’s expectations.
So, would subdomains be a good way for me to start a site on barbequing, for instance, which has nothing to do with what my portfolio site is all about? Possibly, but I better watch my p’s and q’s during search engine optimization.