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Creative Ways to Use Subdomains for Your Website

Creative Ways to Use Subdomains for Your Website

Subdomains can be a powerful tool for structuring and organizing your website content in creative ways. A subdomain is essentially a website nested within your main domain, that shares the root domain name. For example, “blog.yourdomain.com” is a subdomain of “yourdomain.com”.

Subdomains allow you to divide up your site into logical sections and categories, while still retaining the branding and authority of your root domain name. And they provide opportunities to target content and optimize internal site linking.

In this 10,000 word guide, we’ll explore creative subdomain strategies, tips and examples to inspire you to make the most out of subdomains on your own website.

Benefits of Using Subdomains

Let’s first look at some of the key benefits of working with subdomains:

  • Structure content and simplify site navigation
  • Target content to specific audiences
  • Establish authority for niche topics
  • Optimize internal linking structures
  • Improve SEO targeting
  • Prevent duplicate content issues
  • Split testing/Conversion rate optimization
  • Branding/Marketing for specific services
  • Future proofing and flexibility

With subdomains, you can essentially create separate websites under your brand to target different topics, audiences and keywords. This provides more specificity than covering a wide range of subjects under a single domain.

You can also use subdomains to silo or group certain types of content, like support documentation or ecommerce categories. This makes your site architecture cleaner and more user-friendly.

Overall, subdomains allow for endless possibilities to compartmentalize your online presence in strategic ways.

Types of Subdomains to Use

Now let’s look at some of the most popular types of subdomains that you can leverage and how each might benefit your website:

Blog Subdomain

One of the most common subdomains is a blog, like blog.yourdomain.com. This provides a dedicated space for your blog content to exist under its own subdomain.

Benefits of a blog subdomain:

  • Separates blog content from your main site pages
  • Allows blog content to target separate keywords/topics than your main site pages
  • Improves internal linking structure between blog posts
  • Provides branding for your blog content

Support/Knowledge Base Subdomain

Another useful subdomain is one dedicated to support content, help documentation or knowledge base articles. For example, support.yourdomain.com or help.yourdomain.com.

Benefits include:

  • Provides easy access for customers to find your support content
  • Lets you target support-related keywords
  • Separates from other site content
  • Builds authority for your knowledge base

Community Subdomain

You can also leverage subdomains for forum or community content. For example, community.yourdomain.com or forum.yourdomain.com.

This provides a segmented space for community content while retaining the power of your root domain authority. Benefits include:

  • Separates forums/community from other site content
  • Allows community content to target separate keywords
  • Improves internal linking within community
  • Provides dedicated space for community involvement

Regional/Location Based Subdomains

If your business serves specific regions, states or cities, you can use location-based subdomains like:

  • texas.yourdomain.com
  • chicago.yourdomain.com
  • southeast.yourdomain.com

This allows you to geotarget content and optimize locally.

Ecommerce Category Subdomains

For ecommerce sites, subdomains can be used to organize product or category sections, such as:

  • clothing.yourdomain.com
  • gear.yourdomain.com
  • clearance.yourdomain.com

This structure allows you to build authority and optimize for category-specific keywords.

Localization Subdomains

If you have an international site with multiple languages, subdomains can help target specific countries/languages. For example:

  • us.yourdomain.com
  • fr.yourdomain.com
  • es.yourdomain.com

This improves SEO locally per language.

As you can see, subdomains provide endless possibilities for creatively structuring your site content! Think about your goals, audience and topics to determine the best options for your specific needs.

Best Practices for Setting Up Subdomains

Now that we’ve covered subdomain types and strategies, let’s look at some best practices for technically setting up and configuring your subdomains.

Use Your Primary Domain as the Root Domain

Your primary brand domain should be the root domain, with subdomains stemming from it. This allows the subdomains to retain the SEO and authority benefits of your primary domain.

For example:

  • yourdomain.com (root domain)
  • blog.yourdomain.com (subdomain)


  • yourdomain.com
  • blog.yourbrandname.com

Using your primary domain as the root gives the subdomain more power.

Make Sure Subdomains Point to the Same Server

Configure your subdomains to technically point to the same server or IP address as your root domain. This tells Google that the subdomains are associated with the root domain and consolidates their link authority potential.

Use relative paths to link pages across subdomains instead of absolute paths. This reinforces the connection.

Set Up Proper Redirection

Put 301 redirects in place so that any old subdomain URLs get redirected properly to updated or consolidated subdomain structures. This maintains SEO authority that may have already been accrued.

For example, if you changed:

  • blog.yourdomain.com to articles.yourdomain.com

Set up a 301 redirect from all blog.yourdomain.com URLs to the new subdomain location.

Designate www or non-www Version

Decide whether your subdomains will use the www or non-www version, and stick with one version consistently.

For example:

  • www.forum.yourdomain.com
  • blog.yourdomain.com

Choose either www. or non-www versions for consistency and proper redirect setup.

Maintain Subdomain Authority

Once you’ve established a subdomain, continue linking to and sharing content from that subdomain so it retains its authority and rankings potential in Google.

Don’t let subdomains go stale. Maintain the content, linking and activity.

Relevant Link Building

In your general link building efforts, try to gain links that point to the most relevant and helpful subdomains related to the website or page topic.

For example, if you have a developers subdomain, get developer-related sites to link there instead of your root domain.

301 Redirects Between Subdomains

When making changes to subdomains or consolidating content, use 301 redirects carefully to maintain authority and pass link juice between sections.

Some examples:

  • If you change blog.yourdomain.com to news.yourdomain.com, set up 301s to pass authority
  • If you move pages from one subdomain to another, redirect the old URLs
  • If you consolidate subdomains, do a temporary redirect from the old subdomain to the new one

Take time to properly redirect subdomain URLs during any migrations or consolidations. This protects SEO equity.

Individual Page Redirects

Ideally, set up 301 redirects on individual URLs/pages that have changed subdomains.

For example:

  • blog.yourdomain.com/post1 to news.yourdomain.com/post1

This passes authority most cleanly from old to new URL.

Subdomain-Level Redirect

If you’ve completely changed a subdomain name, you can do a blanket subdomain redirect at once.

For example:

  • blog.yourdomain.com to news.yourdomain.com

This passes authority from the old subdomain name to the new one more broadly.

Temporary Redirects

Sometimes it makes sense to do a temporary 302 redirect from an old subdomain to a new one to signal the change to Google, before eventually doing a permanent 301 redirect. This can help avoid initial drops in rankings.

Take Time Setting Up Redirects

Don’t rush the redirect setup process and risk losing authority. Take the time to carefully redirect individual URLs using proper 301 status codes.

Pitfalls to Avoid with Subdomains

While subdomains provide tons of creative potential, there are some pitfalls to be aware of:

Diluting Authority

Creating too many subdomains can spread your authority too thin. Stick to a reasonable number of core subdomains so each one retains enough ranking power.

Hurting Rankings

Poor subdomain setup can potentially hurt your rankings if not done properly. Be extremely careful about proper redirect implementation.

Orphaned Subdomains

Don’t leave old subdomains abandoned with no redirects after making a change. This can create orphaned subdomains with pages still indexed in Google but no longer accessible. Implement comprehensive redirects.

Duplicate Content Risk

Be cautious about duplicate content issues. For example, make sure you don’t have identical blog posts published on both blog.yourdomain.com and articles.yourdomain.com. This can get your site penalized.

Confusing Users

Too many subdomains can create a complex site architecture that’s confusing to visitors. Carefully consider UI and navigation when creating subdomains.

To summarize, weigh the benefits of added subdomains against potential drawbacks like diluted authority, duplicate content risks and user confusion.

Premium Domains for Subdomains

One creative subdomain strategy is using premium domain names for specific subsections of your site.

For example, if your site is YourPetDomain.com, you could build up a premium subdomain like Training.PetOwnersAcademy.com or Social.PetForumZone.com.

Benefits include:

  • Authoritative domain for subsection
  • Keyword-rich domain to optimize
  • Improved click-through rates
  • Branding for section

The downside is the cost of purchasing multiple premium domains solely for subdomains. But for established sites willing to spend, it can provide SEO and branding benefits.

Microsites vs. Subdomains

Should you build subdomains, or separate “microsites” on entirely different domains? This depends on your specific goals:

When Subdomains Work Better

  • When you want sections to retain SEO authority of your main domain
  • For visually structuring your overall site content
  • When microsites are overkill for the purpose

When Separate Microsites Are Better

  • When you want completely siloed, independent sites isolated from your main domain
  • For major new brand initiatives separate from your core brand
  • To create drastic segmentation between customer groups or geotargeting

Assess your priorities, resources and risk tolerance. In most cases, leveraging subdomains provides the right balance of segmentation while retaining primary domain power. But separate microsites may make sense in some specific situations when total isolation is required.

Subdomains vs. Folders – Which Is Better?

Another decision point is choosing whether to organize sections of your site into subdomains or subfolders. Here are some considerations:

When Subdomains Work Better

  • When you want clean segmentation between sections
  • For clearly highlighted branding distinctions
  • When search visibility is a priority
  • To optimize targeting keywords for each section

When Folders Work Just as Well

  • When you have minimal pages for a section
  • For temporary or informal organization
  • When targeting separate keywords is not a priority
  • To simplify site architecture

Evaluate the importance of segmentation, branding, visibility and targeting optimization when choosing between subdomains vs. folders.

Should You Use Subdomains for International Sites?

For global businesses, subdomains can be very useful for managing international sites and language targeting.

Some examples:

  • en.yourdomain.com (English version)
  • es.yourdomain.com (Spanish version)
  • fr.yourdomain.com (French version)


  • Clean separation for regional versions of site
  • Language/region targeting
  • Consolidated authority when linking across versions


  • Can be tricky to setup and manage
  • Potential duplicate content risks
  • Could seem odd to reference other subdomain versions in content

Subdomains are one option for international expansion. But separate ccTLD domains like YourDomain.es or microsites may be better alternatives depending on your needs.

Should You Use Subdomains for Mobile Sites?

With mobile usage rising, what about using subdomains to manage separate mobile sites?

For example:

  • m.yourdomain.com


  • Allows custom mobile experience
  • Dedicated mobile tracking
  • Targeting mobile keywords


  • Google prefers responsive sites to separate mobile sites
  • Can cannibalize ranking power from root domain
  • More site versions to manage and update

Overall, subdomains are not the best approach for mobile. Responsive design on your root domain is recommended for the best mobile SEO and UX. Use subdomains for segmentation that goes beyond device type.

Proper Internal Linking with Subdomains

Optimizing your internal linking structure is crucial when working with subdomains. Some best practices:

Link autoritatively from root domain

Place links to subdomains prominently on relevant pages of your root domain. This passes authority and signals relevancy.

Link bidirectionally

Have subdomains link back to the root domain, and vice versa. This reinforces the relationship in both directions.

Consolidate link equity

Keep key anchor text consistent when linking internally between subdomains and main domain. For example, use your brand name as anchor text.

Contextual linking

When linking between subdomains, use contextual anchor text relevant to the page topic rather than generic phrases like “click here”.

Relative vs. absolute

Favor relative over absolute internal links between subdomains. So link to just /page rather than http://fullsubdomainurl.com/page. This tells Google the pages are closely connected.

Properly linking subdomains and your main site establishes relevance and authority flow to boost rankings across all associated domains.

Crawl Budget Optimization

Another benefit of subdomains is improving Google crawl budget optimization.

Some advice:

  • Point important subdomains like blog and community to sitemaps
  • Host large media files on separate subdomains
  • Put developer/technical content on a subdomain
  • Use subdomains to limit crawling of less important pages

This focuses Google’s crawling on your most important subdomains and pages.

Tracking Site Metrics by Subdomain

Using subdomains also allows you to segment analytics and site metrics by subsection:

  • Measure subdomain-specific traffic
  • Analyze subdomain conversion rates
  • Compare metrics across subdomains
  • Filter reports by subdomain

Dedicated metrics per subdomain help you make data-driven decisions about your content and optimization strategies.

Should You Keep Subdomains Secret?

Some sites try to fly under the radar with subdomains. But this usually backfires, since Google will eventually discover and crawl all publicly accessible subdomains anyway.

Instead, be transparent:

  • Link out to subdomains naturally across your site
  • List subdomains publicly in site architecture sitemaps
  • Register subdomains as properties in Search Console
  • Don’t try to hide legitimate subdomains

Google rewards transparency. Properly link to and optimize all your subdomains.

Dealing with Expired Subdomains

What should you do about expired subdomains from past initiatives? Here are some tips:

  • Do a thorough audit for any expired or inactive subdomains still publicly accessible.
  • 410 Gone any abandoned subdomains so they drop out of Google’s index.
  • For parked domains, do temporary 302 redirects to your strongest sections before 410ing.
  • Redirect individual pages from key expired subdomains to relevant active pages.
  • Don’t leave orphaned subdomains indexable that lead to dead ends.

Clean up your architecture by wiping outdated subdomains off the map. Redirect any equity before killing off for good.

Using Subdomains for Split Testing

Subdomains provide a convenient way to conduct A/B testing and experimentation:

  • Try core webpages on a subdomain before migrating site-wide.
  • Test new page templates/layouts on a subdomain.
  • Evaluate the impact of various webpage elements via subdomain split testing.
  • Target a test audience segment via a specific subdomain.

Pro tip: Use Google Optimize or redirect user sessions to relevant subdomains to conduct controlled tests.

Just don’t leave test subdomains public indefinitely. Close the loop once you’ve gathered learnings.

Should You Include Subdomains in Sitemaps?

To help Google properly crawl and index your subdomain structure, it’s advisable to include subdomains in your XML sitemaps.

Some tips:

  • List out individual subdomain pages.
  • Or create separate sitemaps for each subdomain to submit.
  • Be sure to ping new or updated subdomains to index via Search Console.
  • Sitemaps help Google discover new subdomains.

Don’t try to hide subdomains from sitemaps. Be transparent so Google can efficiently crawl your site architecture.

Leveraging Subdomains for Email

Subdomains also provide options for customizing email for different site sections:

  • Set up section-specific @email addresses like contact@forum.yourdomain.com.
  • Segment email campaigns and newsletters by subdomain list.
  • Associate email permissions with specific subdomains.

Dedicated email addresses help organize inquiries by subsection of your site for more efficient handling and tracking.

Should You Buy Domains Just for Subdomains?

Some large sites invest in purchasing domain names solely to use as subdomains. Reasons why:

  • Instant authority if the domain has existing equity
  • A premium domain name lends credibility
  • Keyword-rich domains can help with targeting

But costs can add up quickly. Make sure the return justifies the domain investment before going this route. Some marketing and brand value can justify the spend for established sites.

<h2>Using Subdomains for Branding</h2>

In addition to SEO benefits, subdomains provide powerful branding opportunities:

  • Establish domain authority for your brand name
  • Reinforce brand recall with branded subdomains
  • Build brand-keyword associations through subdomains

For example:

  • deals.brandname.com
  • products.brandname.com

Branded subdomains boost visibility when users see your domain repeated multiple times.

Branding Individual Services

You can also use subdomains to highlight specific services, products or initiatives.

For example:

  • service.yourdomain.com
  • product.yourdomain.com
  • initiative.yourdomain.com

This provides a custom domain name and branding boost for key offerings.

Premium Domains for Brand Subdomains

Consider splurging on premium domain names for branded subdomains that align with your business goals.

For example:

  • Community site: members.brandlovers.com
  • Knowledge base: knowledge.thinkagent.com

Premium subdomain branding establishes instant credibility and authority.

Consistency Across Subdomains

While branding individual subdomains, maintain visual brand consistency across all sections:

  • Repeating logo, fonts, colors
  • Similar navigation and UX

This reinforces that subdomains all belong to your unified brand.

Subdomains are a smart way to multiply your brand exposure by creating variations tied to your main domain.<h2>Being Transparent About Paid/Sponsored Subdomains</h2>

Some large sites sell subdomains as sponsored placements. Best practices:

  • Label sponsored subdomains clearly and transparently
  • Use nofollow on links within paid subdomains
  • Disclose paid placements in policy pages
  • Don’t allow subdomains with spammy or questionable content

Google frowns on “paid subdomains” with months of boilerplate content. Ensure quality control and transparency.<h2>Reinforcing Domain Authority</h2>

A benefit of subdomains is retaining your main site’s domain authority. But you still need to actively reinforce this authority.

Some tips:

  • Link new subdomains internally to pass authority
  • Prominently display your brand name subdomain-wide
  • Publish strong anchor text links pointing at your subdomains
  • Show visual/branding cues to identify subdomains with your root domain

Proactively establish domain authority flow to elevate all sections of your online presence.<h2>Avoiding Keyword Cannibalization Across Subdomains</h2>

Be cautious about targeting the exact same anchor keywords across multiple subdomains. This can lead to subdomain pages competing against each other in SERPs.

Some tips to avoid internal keyword cannibalization:

  • Conduct keyword research for each subdomain to find differentiation
  • Build subdomain pages around distinct topic phrases
  • Within content, vary the anchor text used for internal subdomain links
  • Create separation between subdomains while still retaining overall authority

Keep subdomains closely connected while still optimizing for unique keywords.<h2>Scaling Subdomains Across Larger Sites</h2>

For large websites,subdomain architecture can scale up to become extensive:

  • www.rootdomain.com
  • subreddit1.rootdomain.com
  • subreddit2.rootdomain.com
  • subreddit3.rootdomain.com
  • helpcenter.rootdomain.com
  • careers.rootdomain.com
  • deals.rootdomain.com

When scaling subdomains:

  • Audit existing subdomains routinely
  • Consolidate stale subdomains
  • sunset old subdomains gracefully with redirects
  • Routinely evaluate new subdomain opportunities

Continually streamline your subdomain structure as your site grows. Keep it organized.<h2>Being Consistent with WWW and HTTPS</h2>

When setting up subdomains, be consistent with using or not using www and https:



Keep the www and https usage consistent. Don’t mix and match. This can cause crawling issues.

For HTTPS, apply SSL certificates across all subdomains. Don’t serving some subdomains as http: and others as https:<h2>Balancing SEO with Simplicity</h2>

Subdomain architecture involves balancing SEO benefits with simplicity:

  • Too many subdomains overcomplicates things for users
  • But silos help focus optimization efforts

Some tips for balance:

  • Audit subdomains yearly and prune liberally
  • Redirect old subdomains to simplify over time
  • Carefully consider information architecture from a user perspective

Keep your subdomain strategy focused. Have a clear purpose for each one you use.<h2>Being Flexible and Future-Proofing</h2>

Business goals change. Make your subdomain architecture flexible to change with you.

  • Use subdomains for projects with a limited lifecycle
  • Plan a migration strategy when initiatives outgrow a subdomain
  • Redirect subdomains accurately when consolidating sections
  • Don’t paint yourself into a corner with a rigid structure

Building in agility lets you responsively evolve your site architecture over time.<h2>Common Technical Issues with Subdomains</h2>

Some common technical hiccups to check for:

  • Inconsistent www usage
  • Subdomain not pointing to same server as main domain
  • Chain issues with SSL certs across subdomains
  • Improper use of canonical tags
  • Crawl access issues in robots.txt

Audit to catch any technical subdomain problems hurting performance.<h2>Using Subdomains to Satisfy Site Demands</h2>

As sites grow, subdomains help seamlessly scale up to satisfy demand:

  • Offload media or images to a separate subdomain
  • Put developer docs on static subdomains for uptime
  • Host interactive tools on subdomains to isolate bandwidth
  • Cache static content on a CDN subdomain

Subdomains provide flexibility to satisfy spikes in traffic and usage.<h2>Choosing a Subdomain Name</h2>

The specific subdomain name you choose impacts branding and memorability. Some tips:

  • Make it short, simple and catchy
  • Use keywords relevant to that section
  • Incorporate branding elements if appropriate
  • Test it for accuracy and spelling

Brainstorm creative, descriptive names for your subdomains.<h2>Using Subdomains to Split Up Sites</h2>

Subdomains can facilitate splitting large sites into separate, focused sites over time.

For example:

  • Start as one site YourCompany.com
  • Migrate certain sections long-term into their own subdomain sites
  • Eventually transition subdomains into completely separate properties

This subdomain transition gives you flexibility to evolve your web presence.<h2>Limiting Access with Subdomains</h2>

Subdomains allow you to easily limit access for certain sections:

  • Put private assets on limited subdomains with password protection or IP restrictions
  • Block search engine crawling of confidential subdomains in robots.txt
  • Limit rate of requests to subdomains with high traffic usage

Use subdomains to protect private pages or throttle sections of high demand.<h2>Using Subdomains for Tracking</h2>

Dedicated subdomains also enable easy tracking:

  • Filter website analytics reports by subdomain
  • Isolate campaign tracking parameters to specific subdomains
  • Segment conversion goals and funnels by subdomain
  • Track subdomain user behavior patterns in analytics

Granular metrics per subdomain helps you make smart optimization decisions.<h2>Considering a Subfolder Strategy</h2>

In some cases, subfolders can work equally well as subdomains:

Pro Subfolders:

  • Slightly simpler architecture
  • Easy to move pages around
  • Folder-level access control

Pro Subdomains:

  • Clearer separation between sections
  • Distinct branding potential
  • More optimizable as separate entities

Evaluate whether subfolder organization fits your needs instead of proliferating subdomains.<h2>Leveraging the Root Domain</h2>

Your root domain (e.g. yourbrand.com) should represent your core brand identity. Some tips:

  • Publish pillar content on the root domain
  • Focus conversions goals on the root domain
  • Link internally to subdomains from root domain homepage
  • Don’t orphan your main domain as an afterthought

Keep your root domain strong. Let subdomains branch off from the trunk.<h2>Promoting Subdomains Like Related Sites</h2>

Some smart ways to cross-promote your subdomains:

  • Link prominently from related subdomain to subdomain
  • Show links to related subdomains in footers/sidebars
  • List all subdomains clearly in main site sitemap
  • Mention network of subdomains in About Us or other brand pages

Market your subdomains cohesively like related sites or sister properties.<h2>Making Sure Subdomains Load Quickly</h2>

Slow subdomains can negatively impact user experience. Some tips for speed:

  • Optimize images across subdomains
  • Enable caching for static subdomains
  • Load test subdomains and optimize pages
  • Check DNS configuration is propagation properly
  • Prioritize fast loading for high-traffic subdomains

Don’t neglect performance just because a subdomain is secondary.<h2>Using Subdomains for User-Generated Content</h2>

Subdomains are a smart way to host user-generated content:


  • Isolates UGC from your main domain content
  • Provides moderation boundaries
  • Enables easy policy enforcement
  • Allows tracking and metrics specific to UGC

For example:

  • submissions.yoursite.com
  • galleries.yoursite.com

Publish user content thoughtfully on separate subdomains.<h2>Choosing the Right Number of Subdomains</h2>

There is no magic number for how many subdomains to use. It depends on your goals and site complexity.

Some guidelines:

  • Start minimally; add new subdomains cautiously
  • Consolidate stale subdomains you outgrow
  • Prune liberally to avoid needless complexity
  • Be strategic and purpose-driven with each subdomain

It’s better to have a few authoritative subdomains than dilute your equity across dozens.<h2>Using Subdomains to Triage Important Content</h2>

Subdomains help prioritize and structure your most important content.

For example:

  • blog.yoursite.com for blogs
  • news.yoursite.com for announcements
  • help.yoursite.com for support

Sections like blog, news and help are well-suited for their own subdomains. This elevates this content in hierarchy.

Group your most important pages strategically under key subdomains.<h2>Evaluating a Complete Site Migration</h2>

At some point, you may outgrow your initial domain and want to migrate your entire site to a new domain.

In this case, here are some tips for subdomain continuity:

  • Move core subdomains like blog and help to the new domain
  • Redirect all old subdomains long-term to new domain
  • Make sure old subdomain equity flows properly
  • Plan navigation and architecture carefully before switch

With proper planning and execution, major domain migrations can work smoothly.<h2>Analyzing Subdomain User Behavior Flow</h2>

Use analytics to study how users navigate across your subdomains:

  • Identify most common user flows between domains
  • See which landing subdomains lead to conversions
  • Find where users exit from subdomains
  • Optimize user experience across subdomain boundaries

Connecting the dots between subdomains gives insights to improve navigation.<h2>Handling Expired Subdomain Domains</h2>

If you let subdomain domain registrations lapse, here are some tips:

  • Immediately redirect all traffic from expired subdomain to relevant active domain
  • Temporarily point DNS of expired domain to your server for redirects
  • Check for any broken links pointing to expired subdomains
  • Let subdomains fully expire after migrating to new domains

Don’t just let your subdomain domains disappear. Redirect them purposefully.<h2>Showcasing Content via Dedicated Subdomains</h2>

Subdomains allow you to showcase different content types:

For example:

  • podcasts.yoursite.com
  • video.yoursite.com
  • training.yoursite.com

Group related content under descriptive subdomains to better showcase each content section.<h2>Optimizing Subdomains for Speed</h2>

Some tips for fast-loading subdomains:

  • Enable a CDN for media subdomain
  • Minify assets
  • Lazy load non-critical elements
  • Optimize images
  • Cache where possible
  • Follow other speed best practices

Slow subdomains negatively impact user experience. Optimize them for performance.<h2>Using Subdomains for Paid Content</h2>

Subdomains provide options for hosting gated, paid content.

For example:

  • paid.yoursite.com
  • premium.yoursite.com
  • members.yoursite.com

This segments paid content in a logical way.

Some tips:

  • Clearly mark paid subdomains to avoid confusion
  • Use payment provider landing pages
  • Make sure paid subdomains are crawlable for SEO

With thoughtful setup, subdomains help monetize exclusive content areas.<h2>Choosing Where to Host Subdomain DNS</h2>

You can point subdomains to the same servers as your root domain for convenience. But for large subdomains, consider separating DNS hosting:

  • Allows independently managing DNS
  • Enables pointing subdomains to different servers or CDNs
  • Allows greater control over subdomain performance and configuration
  • Provides more flexibility

Evaluate separating subdomain DNS as your architecture scales up.<h2>Using Subdomains to Temporarily Test New Site Initiatives</h2>

Subdomains are useful for temporarily testing new site features or content:

For example:

  • beta.yoursite.com to test new redesign
  • prototype.yoursite.com to try a new product page layout
  • demo.yoursite.com to get feedback on a new tool


  • Live testing in production
  • Targeted user feedback
  • Gradual rollout potential

Use subdomains to trial run radical changes safely away from your live site.<h2>Considering Alternatives Like Subdirectories</h2>

As an alternative to subdomains, consider using subdirectories for content organization:


  • Simpler architecture
  • Easy internal linking and navigation
  • Avoids extra DNS/hosting configuration


  • Not as much separation between sections
  • Harder to apply custom styling
  • Limited branding potential

For smaller sites, subdirectories may suit your needs fine. Evaluate whether subdomains are overkill.<h2>Using Keywords in Subdomain Names</h2>

Keyword-rich subdomain names help SEO. But also consider branding and memorability.

Good examples:

  • news.yoursite.com
  • blog.yoursite.com

Bad examples:

  • latestnewsworthreadingnow.yoursite.com
  • ourfantasticamazingnews.yoursite.com

Keep subdomain names clean and intuitive for users. Keyword targets should align with branding.<h2>Evaluating the Move to a New Primary Domain</h2>

If your current domain has issues, when is it worth migrating to an entirely new domain?

Reasons to switch:

  • Current domain has persistent negative SEO issues
  • Your brand name changed completely
  • The domain is restrictive for future growth goals

Reasons to stay:

  • You have significant equity in the current domain
  • It will be very disruptive to migrate
  • The issues with the old domain can be fixed/mitigated

Domain migrations are very risky. Weigh the pros and cons extensively before committing to a major change. Move subdomains methodically first before the root domain if possible.<h2>Using Subdomains for Landing Pages</h2>

In addition to general site organization, subdomains work well for dedicated landing pages:

For example:

  • offer.yourdomain.com
  • coupon.yourdomain.com
  • survey.yourdomain.com


  • Custom branding
  • Clear call-to-action
  • Flexibility for testing variations
  • Easy tracking

Use subdomains strategically for high-converting landing pages with clear purposes.<h2>Should You Include Data in Subdomain Names?</h2>

Including dates, numbers or versions in subdomains can make them future-proof:


  • 2023.yoursite.com
  • v1.yoursite.com


  • new.yoursite.com
  • improved.yoursite.com

Specific data minimizes outdated subdomains going forward. But also consider branding and usability.<h2>Using Subdomains to Conduct Controlled Experiments</h2>

Subdomains provide a isolated environment for controlled experiments:


  • test.yoursite.com to try major redesign
  • 25.yoursite.com for audience split testing
  • orange.yoursite.com to test new templates


  • Live site testing without affecting main domain
  • Ability to conduct rigorous A/B tests
  • Gradual rollout capability

Make data-driven decisions by experimenting across subdomains.<h2>Showcasing Areas of Expertise via Subdomains</h2>

Use subdomains to highlight specific areas of expertise:

For example:

  • Website design agency: design.agencyname.com
  • Law firm: employmentlaw.lawfirmname.com
  • University: arts.schoolname.edu

This builds authority for niche focuses while retaining overall brand domain benefits.

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