Kit's Question - Sub Domain or Folder?
A while back I posted an article about folders and subdomains, which is best?
1) I use GoDaddy. I simply want to learn how to connect a SubDomain to a Page. So just as an example, every time someone clicks on 'Bio', which would be http://www.kittaylor.net/bio, I want them to SEE bio.kittaylor.net. Likewise, when I give someone the link bio.kittaylor.net, I want them to SEE that link.
I've gotten all sorts of various gibberish to do with Hosting the SubDomain then setting the Folder to the bio page, which I have done. I've also forwarded the SubDomain to that URL, plus a couple other things. Nothing has worked correctly.
I actually want to UNDERSTAND how it works though. I love this stuff, trying to absorb as much as I can. I understand you are busy and might not be able to answer in detail.
2) I have a couple branches of my business with different titles. For example, I do wedding music and promote the company as Rockstarr Weddings. Right now I'm building the page at http://www.kittaylor.net/weddings.
Would it be counterproductive for me to launch rockstarrweddings.kittaylor.net? From the thread above it sounds like it might be.
The mindset behind it though is it looks more Professional and more like it's own individual site than giving people http://www.kittaylor.net/weddings.
IF I was going to do that SubDomain, it connects to my first question. What would be the correct method to go about it?
The first time I tried the SubDomain thing, I got an error message saying I was forwarding a page to itself. I had a SubDomain set, and forwarded the URL to that SubDomain, which was connected to the same page.
So in order...
Sub-Domains on Go Daddy
I've personally quite limited experience with Go Daddy. It sounds like you have created the subdomain (which is just a folder really, with some DNS changes done by the server) and now want to forward into that from /bio. The simplest way to do this would be using a 301 redirect into the sub-domain (depending on your hosting this is done in various ways but i suspect Go Daddy has a system for it).
However in digging around I found this page on Go Daddy about setting up a forward into a subdomain, you can view it here. From what I've read this is setting up a redirect (as described above) but using their system.
A redirect from a folder to a sub-domain works, as i say, using a redirect mechanism. This is the same system that would be used if you were to say change /bio to /about and you didn't want to loose that traffic and try to maintain rankings. On an apache server this is done in the htaccess file (which sites in the domain root - usually) and a redirect would look something like the below.
For simple folder moving / redirects Redirect 301 /old-folder http://www.mynewwebsite.com/new-folder For folder to sub-domain Redirect 301 /old-folder http://subdomain.mynewwebsite.com 301 and 302 let search engines know if the move is permanent or temporary (respectively)
and so that is basically how it works. The Go Daddy system is just a user interface on top of this to allow average joe to do it easily without potentially breaking their website (as it could).
The complexity in Sub Domains comes in that they are a folder in your root directory and so your /bio in theory would have the same name for the sub domain. However, some systems are a little more clever than this and for example on the server SEO Andy uses I could have a subdomain of example.seoandy.net which could be in a folder called bob - whether Go Daddy do this or not I am unsure. But to get over the problem of this forward not working you would need to remove the page that is /bio - then it should clear up - though take a back up in case it still doesn't work.
In my experience Go Daddy are not the worlds best hosting and this is just one of the reasons. Personally I prefer to keep control of everything using my own servers set up and not rely on Go Daddy or 123-reg or anyone else, if you have control you can play more and ensure nothing will break the site (sometimes shared hosting can be really bad for websites for example).
But enough of the virtues of having a server vs simple hosting.
Should I Use A Sub-Domain?
The question you post is a fairly common one, basically "i've X services and I want them all to be unique and look professional alone - folders, subdomains or otherwise?"
The answer isn't always an easy one, but lets talk about the example you give. You offer a service called RockStarr Weddings currently in a folder called weddings, if you moved it to a subdomain of rockstarrweddings.domain though you then have to do a few things.
1) hope people will recall to put all of that before your domain 2) hope that subdomain will pull some ranking from the root or old page 3) hope it will look professional on things like business cards and leaflets
Thats a lot of hope you need. The reality is fairly simple in your case, Kit, either you stick with folders (easiest choice) or you look at an external domain of RockStarrWeddings.com or something like that. Going for a sub-domain usually doesn't look amazingly professional and it doesn't inspire confidence as very few others in the industry do it.
If you did go down that route (of a sub domain) keep it short and to something like weddings.domain and not rockstarrweddings.domain.
If you go down the route of an external domain, look at setting up redirects from /weddings to the domain and continue to run your site as is.
Personally, In this case I would keep it as a folder within the site. You just need to bring those key services to the forefront of the website and make the shine - its what you would need to do if you sent it to a sub-domain anyway so do it now - if that is your key service show it off. Don't hide it in your navigation.
Final bit of advice, it can be hard to maintain multiple sub domains on a site, both technically and from an SEO view - sub-domains don't always rank well and its certainly much easier to get the impact you are wanting by promoting the folder well on the site or creating a new website dedicated to it. It also looks much cleaner as something to promote - plus it's easier to recall.
What Do You Think?
What advice would you give Kit about his current dilemma? leave a comment below.
If you have a question about SEO on your website and want some free advice, tweet @andykinsey or leave a comment below.
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