Understanding Subdomains

Understanding Subdomains

If you are embarking on a new business venture or adding new divisions to your business, you are most likely looking for or have obtained a domain name. In the process, you may have stumbled across the word “subdomain”. If you did not pursue what a one was any further than just seeing the term, you should know what it is, especially if you plan on being an e-commerce-based company seeking to sell a number of products. So, let’s take a closer look at subdomains and what it means.

What Exactly is a Subdomain?

Let’s use this website as an example. The domain name for this site is Mosierdata.com, and it is the primary domain for this site, and if maps were to be sold through the website, you might see a subdomain such as maps.mosierdata.com where a number of different maps would be listed. Another example of a subdomain if you were to sell dinosaurs from extracted DNA might be something such as Dinos.example.com, are you starting to get the idea?

Why Use a Subdomain?

In using a subdomain instead of just a domain name, you have the means by which to create a completely separate part of your site free from the nuisance of needing to create a brand-new site or contend with complex domain redirections.

As an example, let’s imagine you are creating an extensive resource directory that will be filled with useful tutorials, user guides, and downloads of various documents. It’s likely the construction of the directory, and its entire layout will be distinctive from the core of your site. With that in mind, instead of attempting to make it work inside the existing scope of your site you will have to count on a subdomain to allow you the freedom of a completely separate website, while still keeping the original primary domain name. Usually, subdomains are used for a particular purpose enabling you to address the needs of your customers.

When to Use

Having subdomains can be quite useful when you are selling multiple products or services that are sold globally. Perhaps your product sells well in Spain and Japan, having a subdomain in Spanish and Japanese could prove key to the success of your company.  You can also use them to market different products and themes around the product itself. For example, if you are selling chainsaws, your domain could be something like chainsaws.example.com, and you can use a wooded theme for that subdomain. You can see from the example subdomains are also beneficial in building your brand, and you can use an endless number to strengthen your brand.

It is also useful to use a subdomain for your company’s blog if you are an e-commerce-based site. Why? A blog does not keep track of customer information like addresses and credit card numbers. You do not have to use the same level of security for your blog as you do the rest of your site; this can save you time and expense. You can also use a subdomain to test a new page on your before you include it with the entire site.  Sending traffic to it will tell you how well it will work. If there is a problem with the page, you can delete it without affecting your main site.

Subdomains May Interfere with SEO

There is a school of thought on subdomains interfering with search engine optimization (SEO) that can affect your search engine result rankings.  While Google states they won’t penalize you for subdomains, it may be harder to boost your rankings.

In the right circumstances, subdomains can prove a handy tool to your website.

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.