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Should Your Blog Be Set Up as a Subfolder or Subdomain?
So, you’re thinking about starting a blog for your business—fantastic! When our clients ask us, “Does my website need a blog?” we always answer with a resounding “YES!” Blogs help business owners maximize their organic online presence and increase their chances of getting qualified traffic to (and leads from) their websites. Not only that, blogs can also help business owners boost their online authority, which can increase their sites’ standing with search engines.
After our clients hear that answer, their next question tends to be, “Should my blog live at website.com/blog or blog.website.com?” Or if we’ve got a particularly tech-savvy client, they may phrase that same question as, “Should my blog be set up on a subfolder or subdomain?”
The short answer is that you should set up your blog on a subfolder (which is the website.com/blog option of the two listed above). For the purposes of building authority for your website, putting proper tracking and analytics in place, and general website maintenance, setting up your blog using a subfolder is going to be the right choice every time.
Still not convinced? You can skip reading through all of this SEO jargon and contact us directly with your questions, or you can continue reading below to learn why having your blog live in a subfolder is the way to go.
Reasons to Set Your Blog Up as a Subfolder (Website.com/Blog) Instead of a Subdomain (Blog.Website.com)
1. Building Authority to Your Website
Think about how you navigate to your website. What do you type in to get to it? If you type bestHVACcompany.com, that is your website’s root domain. When you add new pages to your website, they will live on this domain in subfolders—for example, bestHVACcompany.com/installation. Any subfolders built on this domain will share the root domain’s authority.
Moz defines domain authority as a prediction of how well a website will rank on search engines, calculated by combining other link metrics (such as linking root domains, number of total links, and more) into a single score on a logarithmic 100-point scale. For reference, Google’s domain authority is 100/100, ESPN’s is around 95/100, Target’s is roughly 90/100—whereas smaller, local companies typically fall in more of the 15/100 – 30/100 range.
One thing that many companies do to boost their online authority is to start a blog for their business. However, if you build your blog out on a subdomain (like blog.bestHVACcompany.com), the blog posts you write aren’t actually earning authority for your root domain at bestHVACcompany.com, boosting the authority of the blog subdomain itself alone. In order to get some of that authority, you’ll have to backlink or redirect to the blog posts from the main website and vice versa—and depending on the domain authority of each the blog and the website, this could do very little for your authority boosting efforts.
If ESPN wants to build a subdomain, they can do it, because any links from their main site going out to the subdirectory will carry a lot of authority, and the subdomain will garner links quickly as people share and link to the blog posts. For clients who own smaller busineses than ESPN (aka, almost everyone out there), it’s a lot tougher. If your blog already has an established backlink profile on the subdirectory, redirects will technically diminish that. Studies have shown a reduction in authority as a backlink passes through redirects—and that goes up exponentially by the number of redirects you’ve got chained together! That’s why when you do redirects, you always make sure target URLs are FINAL URLs, not leading to another redirect.
Long story short: blogs that live on subdomains (blog.bestHVACcompany.com) are unlikely to boost your website’s authority. Blogs that live on subfolders (bestHVACcompany.com/blog) are more likely to help you get your domain authority up over time.
2. Proper Tracking & Analytics
We’ll be straightforward here, you guys: tracking and analytics are SO MUCH EASIER on one domain than on subdomains.
Here are some insights from Blue Corona’s Tracking & Analytics Team Lead, Zack Perini himself:
Technically, Google Analytics can handle subdomain tracking if you’re using the Universal Analytics library (analytics.js) and the same property ID on both the root domain and the subdomain, but it’s commonly handled incorrectly. Many call tracking platforms cannot handle the transition, and lots of other assorted pixels get lost from a cookie standpoint as a user traverses subdomain to main domain and back. Another common mistake is forgetting to update tracking on the subdomain or main domain while updating the other, especially if they’re on different designs and content management systems. You need to be game-on with your tracking (or completely not care) to proactively choose subdomain over subdirectory.
So, if you’re planning to track and analyze the success of your blog posts as they relate to the goals of your company’s main website, we definitely recommend building it in a subfolder (bestHVACcompany.com/blog) and not a subdomain (blog.bestHVACcompany.com). Trust us, you’ll only be making your own life easier.
3. General Website Maintenance & Updates
The most straightforward way for us to explain the beautiful simplicity of having your blog live in a subfolder instead of a subdomain is this: keeping everything in one place makes things easier. Keeping your blog and your website on the same domain just solves a lot of problems naturally. It makes for an easier internal linking structure, a more direct path to the SEO value built up by the site overall, fewer issues with sitemapping and crawl frequency, easier tracking in Google Search Console, and more.
Not to mention, if you choose to make your site secure by moving to HTTPS, migrate your site to a new hosting platform, or perform any other type of major update, it’s going to be much easier to do that for one domain than to add a subdomain into the mix.
If My Current Blog Is Set Up on a Subdomain, Should I Move It to a Subfolder?
In our opinion, yes! In our experience with hundreds of clients who own small- and medium-sized businesses, the benefits of moving a blog from a subdomain (blog.bestHVACcompany.com) to a subfolder (bestHVACcompany.com/blog) outweigh the negatives.
When we redesign a client’s website, and the client has an offsite blog living on a subdomain, we almost always bring that blog onsite in a subfolder. Once we bring the blog from the subdomain into a subfolder, we set up the proper one-to-one redirects so that rankings are not lost. This method is honestly just the best move for tracking purposes, not to mention the authority boosting and general site benefits listed above.
Move From Blog.website.com to Website.com/blog Today!
Ready to start reaping the authority-boosting, analytics-improving, general website-enhancing benefits of moving your blog to a subfolder? Or are you looking to add a blog to your website for the first time and aren’t sure where to start? Either way, Blue Corona has your back. Our web team is here to help you build the blog (and website!) of your dreams, so you can start getting the qualified traffic and leads your business wants from the web.
Contact us online to get started or to learn more about our digital marketing services!
About The Author: As the Director of Web and Media, Chase oversees the overall health, growth, and and strategy of Blue Corona's Web Development, Design and Video services. He thrives on having candid conversations about a client's business goals that ultimately translate into a functioning, lead-driving website.
View more blogs by Chase Wolf