How to Use a Subdomain for your Website

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Do you have dreams of growing and scaling your business? As you plan for the future, opening new locations, expanding your reach, or producing more content may be on your mind. If you’re a current or potential franchise owner, you may wonder how to organize your online presence best. Preventing clutter, confusion, and complication is essential for making those decisions. Fortunately, if you fit those categories, there’s a clear answer: subdomains! Subdomains enable you to organize your content efficiently and leave room for future growth. 

Keep reading to learn more about a subdomain, why you should use it, and tips for adding it to your website.

What is a Subdomain?

Before determining if a subdomain is right for you and when to use one, you first must understand what a subdomain is! You can think of a subdomain as a part of your website that you want to have its own content. It is unique from your website but saves you the trouble of creating an entirely new site.

For example, The Rabbit Hole Theater, a children’s theater based in San Francisco, uses a subdomain for their different locations. While their original site is therabbitholetheater.com, their subdomain for their San Francisco location is sanfrancisco.therabbitholetheater.com. Utilizing a subdomain enables Rabbit Hole to be prepared for opening new locations in the future. Instead of creating a new site for each theater location, everything is connected to their original website. The subdomains create better organizational opportunities for companies and businesses all around.

When to Use a Subdomain

Are Subdomains Right for You?

Subdomains are not suitable for every type of business. Some organizations will benefit more from subdomains than others. The ability to easily separate locations while maintaining branding makes subdomains valuable for franchises or businesses with multiple locations. For companies that rely heavily on blog content, subdomains are a consideration but may not be the best option—wondering if a subdomain is right for you? We believe there are a few main reasons a business or organization would decide to break its content into subdomains.

Scaling Your Business

One of the most compelling reasons to use subdomains is to scale your business. Let’s jump back to the example of The Rabbit Hole. Based in San Francisco, Rabbit Hole has dreams of expanding to new locations in the future. Utilizing a subdomain allows The Rabbit Hole to keep their site organized once they grow. In addition to their main site, they can use subdomains for each new location. Because you can create unlimited subdomains, this means the sky is the limit for expanding to new locations! This is especially helpful for franchises. When each franchise location has its own subdomain, this provides power to make its specific location page unique while not compromising the original site.

Organization Through One Site

Subdomains are also helpful for businesses with a plethora of content. For example, we can look at one of the most well-known sites – Google! Google’s main site, google.com, also has subdomains such as maps.google.com and earth.google.com. While the sites are still attached to the main Google domain, it allows Google to offer separate spaces for this information. Subdomains are a great option if you frequently need to dive deeper into information and don’t want this to clutter your main site. This organizational system helps your audience find the information they need and provides a great experience. Utilizing subdomains for content organization allows your site to rank higher with keywords. Subdomains provide a simple and clear navigation for users, which is a win-win for both of you.

Tips for Adding a Subdomain to your Website

While subdomains are a fairly simple concept, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when adding them to your website. To get the most out of the subdomains and to provide the best experience to your users, it’s important to consider the following. 

Understand Subdomains vs. Subdirectories

When deciding if a subdomain is right for your business, it’s also important to consider using subdirectories. Depending on what your goals are for your particular business, one or the other may be a better overall fit. According to Hubspot, a subdirectory is a “website hierarchy under a root domain that uses folders to organize content on a website.” Subdirectories are also referred to as subfolders. These folders can hold other folders within them to meet the need of the site. While subfolders help organize information, you want to be careful with the number you use. Too many subfolders can create issues for your search engine optimization (SEO), but properly using them can help boost SEO. If your site has a location heat map and you utilize subdirectories, the URL would read something like yourwebsite.com/locations. Unlike subdirectories, subdomains are essentially their own website and aren’t “nested” the way subdirectories are. The benefit of a subdirectory is that any backlinks and domain authority are automatically passed down, which is not a feature of a subdomain. Evaluating which structure is best for your business is a worthy first step in the process of site organization.

Create a Clean and Clear Navigation

Part of the reasoning for using a subdomain in the first place is to provide a better experience for your users. Clunky, cluttered sites are a turn-off for most people. Subdomains allow you to separate and organize content and should be intentionally employed. For this reason, make sure you name your subdomains appropriately. This includes sticking to one word and using common names that describe the section of your website, such as “blog,” “store,” etc.

Utilize a Strong Call to Action (CTA)

To track the performance of your subdomain, it’s important to include a strong call to action. While CTAs are important for overall website analysis and effectiveness, they’re especially important for your subdomains. Your subdomains will most likely be dedicated to specific information. Using a unique call to action can help you assess traffic and general interest in the subdomain. For franchises in particular, a strong CTA opens doors for those who are interested in a future with the franchise. Whether it’s in the form of a button or other link, a Call to Action can be used for encouraging the audience to get more information, attend an interest meeting, and more. Strategic CTAs are a critical part of any franchise website for encouraging users to take the next step. 

Owning, running, and growing a business is a constant adventure! From initial branding and launching a new website to SEO maintenance and growth, there is much to learn and enjoy. Subdomains are worth considering for your website if you find yourself with a lot of content that needs organizing or if you have plans for franchising or scaling your business. If you do decide that subdomains are right for your business, remember to keep in mind the elements of UX design. This includes clear navigation, a strong CTA, and a solid connection with the main site. Remembering these tips will help you get off to a great start on your subdomain adventure. 

 

AT THE MOLO GROUP, WE LOVE SEEING OUR CLIENTS SUCCEED AND ARE ALWAYS READY TO CHEER ON GROWING BUSINESSES!

Our site includes free resources for you to use as you explore the purpose behind your business and work to connect to your audience. 

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