What is a Subdomain?

According to Google, its search index contains hundreds of billions of web pages. Did you say Billions? *Lifts Evil pinky finger to mouth* While this number is undoubtedly overwhelming, your website only needs to compete with a small fraction of these web pages for a spot in Google’s top 10 search results for a keyword.

Ranking well in search engines is critical to customers finding you online. So you want to ensure you understand the impact any change in your site’s structure will have on SEO. The creation of a subdomain is no exception.

So what is a subdomain, and what impact does it have on your site’s SEO? Before creating a subdomain for your WordPress site, here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Subdomain?

If you are interested in web design or development, then you may have heard of a subdomain. But what is a subdomain exactly? - a man, hopefully not jared is holding a large sandwich, looks like a blt with pickles.

No, its not a popular spot to buy a foot long. A subdomain is an additional section, or a subsection, of your website that has a prefix in the URL before the primary domain name. For example, the domain name of this site is “ishouldbeyourwpguy.com.” A subdomain of this domain might be “support.ishouldbeyourwpguy.com.”

Perhaps the most important thing to know about the domain name system and subdomains is that search engines treat a subdomain as a separate site from the primary domain. Any SEO optimization you do for your primary website domain will not impact your subdomain’s SEO and vice versa. Good to know!

For WordPress sites, a subdomain requires its own installation of WordPress unless you have WordPress Multisite.

What Is the Difference Between a Subdomain and Subdirectory?

A subdirectory comes after the primary domain name in a URL. Referring to the above example, “support” in “support.ishouldbeyourwpguy.com” designates a subdomain. However, in the URL “ishouldbeyourwpguy.com/support/,” “support” is a subdirectory.

Subdirectories can help you organize your site content. The OCD in me is loving this!

If you are interested in web design or development, then you may have heard of a subdomain. But what is a subdomain exactly? - two women are hiding behind some sticky notes, they seem pleased by their hiding spot

Suppose your site has a “help” subdirectory. You would upload your site’s help content under this subdirectory. Subdirectories allow visitors and search engines to better understand your site’s organization. Thanks subdirectories!

Search engines don’t treat subdirectories as separate sites, so any SEO optimization to pages within a subdirectory can help your overall site SEO.

When Should You Use a Subdomain?

If a subdomain is treated separately from your primary domain and does not share SEO benefits, why in the world would you ever use a subdomain in your website development?

Many sites will never need a subdomain, but here are a few examples of when a site might:

  • To serve an audience that speaks a different language than visitors to the main site
  • To allow physical locations of a chain of restaurants or stores to each have a dedicated webpage
  • To create an internal blog for employees that is separate from the blog for customers

Could Your WordPress Site Benefit from a Subdomain? 

Now that you’ve gotten answers to ‘what is a subdomain’ and ‘when should you use a subdomain,’ perhaps you see your site benefiting from having a subdomain. You also might think it sounds kind of technical. That’s because it is. It involves changes to your site’s DNS records and perhaps another WordPress installation.

Why not let someone familiar with DNS and WordPress set up your subdomain with a properly configured WordPress installation and theme set-up for the web design of the new subdomain? It can save you time and frustration.

Schedule an appointment with us if you need help setting up a subdomain. We’ll work with you to ensure your new subdomain and WordPress installation are configured correctly.

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