Sign up right now for email updates and get two free ebooks:

Where Should Your Blog Live? Integrated, Subdirectory, Domain or Subdomain?

A coaching client asked this doozy of a question and I just can’t decide what the answer is, particularly from an SEO perspective.

Should your blog be integrated, eg. subdirectory, on a subdomain, eg. blog.domain.com or seperate domain, as I have chrisg.com (blog) and omiq.com (website)?

Obviously there are advantages to both.

Subdomain and seperate domains have the following benefits

  • You do not have to use the same technologies
  • The topic can be different to your main site
  • No integration necessary if you don’t want or find it difficult
  • Links from the blog to the main website may help rankings in main site

I chose this route because my business website is all about sales for my business, the blog has a different tone and is based on my own personality.

Integrating would have the advantages of

  • Links in are links to your combined domain, and blogs do attract lots of lovely links
  • Navigating between blog and site makes sense
  • To find the main site you could edit the URL quite simply eg. domain.com/blog becomes domain.com/
  • If the blog and site are on the same subject then search engines will take note of the domains “theme”.
  • Less maintenance once set up, just one site to backup and housekeep
  • Modern blog software such as WordPress can handle all your CMS needs

Unless someone has a convincing argument I have to say “it depends” :)

What is your take? Which option do you think is best?

Sign up right now for email updates and get these
two free ebooks

"Creating Killer
Flagship Content"

"Authority Alliances"

Just enter your primary email address in the form below and hit the button!

Before commenting, please read my Comments Policy - thanks!

Comments

  1. If the blog *is* the business, then integrated would be the way to go.

    For a blog around a business then I think that is a bit tricky. Whilst you may be right that a subdomain/new domain *may* pass more value back to the main site it is, in my opinion, it is going to take a long time to have any effect.

    My blog is already ranking as a subdirectory on the main site and was within a week of going live.

    A sub-domain/new domain is going to take some time to rank. And, may never rank satisfactorily. Good links are a pig to get to website outside of website/blog marketing anyway :)

    I am not convinced that google will be fooled into treating links from sub-domain or seperate site to main site as regular external links. Link patterns and lots of other things are bound to make the sub-domain/external site look like it is tied to the main site.

    So, I can’t see much to be gained from using the sub-domains/new site approach and plenty to lose.

    The only reason that may be relevant may be technology issues. Though, with Apache at least, it is staggering how many technologies can be combined on a single site.

  2. If the blog *is* the business, then integrated would be the way to go.

    For a blog around a business then I think that is a bit tricky. Whilst you may be right that a subdomain/new domain *may* pass more value back to the main site it is, in my opinion, it is going to take a long time to have any effect.

    My blog is already ranking as a subdirectory on the main site and was within a week of going live.

    A sub-domain/new domain is going to take some time to rank. And, may never rank satisfactorily. Good links are a pig to get to website outside of website/blog marketing anyway :)

    I am not convinced that google will be fooled into treating links from sub-domain or seperate site to main site as regular external links. Link patterns and lots of other things are bound to make the sub-domain/external site look like it is tied to the main site.

    So, I can’t see much to be gained from using the sub-domains/new site approach and plenty to lose.

    The only reason that may be relevant may be technology issues. Though, with Apache at least, it is staggering how many technologies can be combined on a single site.

  3. I think you covered the pros and cons pretty well Chris. If your blog and your company cover the same subject then I think it makes sense to simply do company.com/blog and have the company reap the benefits of the blog, much like SEOmoz does.

  4. I think you covered the pros and cons pretty well Chris. If your blog and your company cover the same subject then I think it makes sense to simply do company.com/blog and have the company reap the benefits of the blog, much like SEOmoz does.

  5. I feel I got a great deal for my blog. It is hosted but uses my brand as the domain name. I can’t do as many customizations as I might want but that may be a good thing. I have seen sites that spend too much time on widgets and plug-ins without having much to say.

    I think that if you want the blog to play a supporting role, then having it as a subdomain, “blog.domain.com” or “www.domain.com/blog” is fine. I can see where the blog could drive traffic to your main page in which case people may feel tricked. If I end up on a page that is clearly, or not clearly for that matter, a blog my first impulse is to switch away. I don’t want to hunt for the blog entries and I don’t want a sales pitch I did not ask for.

    If you want the blog to be recognized as a media channel, or to put yourself out as a pundit, “Chris Knows All, Tells All, Is All Full…”:), then you need the domain to be as close to the blog name as possible, “www.blogname.com The easier you make it for people to find you, the easier it will be to find you.

  6. I feel I got a great deal for my blog. It is hosted but uses my brand as the domain name. I can’t do as many customizations as I might want but that may be a good thing. I have seen sites that spend too much time on widgets and plug-ins without having much to say.

    I think that if you want the blog to play a supporting role, then having it as a subdomain, “blog.domain.com” or “www.domain.com/blog” is fine. I can see where the blog could drive traffic to your main page in which case people may feel tricked. If I end up on a page that is clearly, or not clearly for that matter, a blog my first impulse is to switch away. I don’t want to hunt for the blog entries and I don’t want a sales pitch I did not ask for.

    If you want the blog to be recognized as a media channel, or to put yourself out as a pundit, “Chris Knows All, Tells All, Is All Full…”:), then you need the domain to be as close to the blog name as possible, “www.blogname.com The easier you make it for people to find you, the easier it will be to find you.

  7. To the best of my knowledge (which, on this particular subject, is largely second-hand), a subdirectory will always rank better than a subdomain. Additionally, if you’re optimizing for SEO, putting the blog on a subdomain will essentially mean that you’re optimizing for a different domain.

    If you’re blog is a corporate blog that’s used to boost search engine rankings and drive traffic, putting it in a subdirectory seems to be the best route.

    Having said that, I haven’t yet had the chance to test that first hand, so consider it hearsay unless someone else can back me up.

  8. To the best of my knowledge (which, on this particular subject, is largely second-hand), a subdirectory will always rank better than a subdomain. Additionally, if you’re optimizing for SEO, putting the blog on a subdomain will essentially mean that you’re optimizing for a different domain.

    If you’re blog is a corporate blog that’s used to boost search engine rankings and drive traffic, putting it in a subdirectory seems to be the best route.

    Having said that, I haven’t yet had the chance to test that first hand, so consider it hearsay unless someone else can back me up.

  9. Chris
    I am just writing based on my observation of my own blogs and just from the perspective of SEO.

    For SEO purposes, hosting as the subdomain((like http://rajeshshakya.blogspot.com) of popular blog host is very good. Reasons:
    1. blog host takes care of SEO requirements and most of the blog hosts (blogspot.com, wordpress.com, typepad.com etc) are extremely good for SEO.
    2. You spend less effort constomizing your blog pages, still maintaining the page integrity.
    3. Other bloggers get view of your blog once and then, because blog host sends announcements and other newsletters to bloggers about new blogs.

    But for your own total control over the site content and everything, having your domain is the best for sure. But you have to make extremely good effort for SEO.

    Rajesh Shakya

  10. Chris
    I am just writing based on my observation of my own blogs and just from the perspective of SEO.

    For SEO purposes, hosting as the subdomain((like http://rajeshshakya.blogspot.com) of popular blog host is very good. Reasons:
    1. blog host takes care of SEO requirements and most of the blog hosts (blogspot.com, wordpress.com, typepad.com etc) are extremely good for SEO.
    2. You spend less effort constomizing your blog pages, still maintaining the page integrity.
    3. Other bloggers get view of your blog once and then, because blog host sends announcements and other newsletters to bloggers about new blogs.

    But for your own total control over the site content and everything, having your domain is the best for sure. But you have to make extremely good effort for SEO.

    Rajesh Shakya

  11. Chris

    As you know Bliss lives at http://blog.pipalproductions.com but as I am rebranding my wedding photography business, I am likely to park the new manifestation of a wedding photography blog at http://www.seshu.net/blog. In my opinion this will drive more people to check out my photography (which is really my goal).

    Seshu

  12. Chris

    As you know Bliss lives at http://blog.pipalproductions.com but as I am rebranding my wedding photography business, I am likely to park the new manifestation of a wedding photography blog at http://www.seshu.net/blog. In my opinion this will drive more people to check out my photography (which is really my goal).

    Seshu

  13. I prefer having a separate domain for my blog from my sales site. Partly because I just happen to set it up that way from the start. But also my blog is about things I want to say or share on a particular subject and it wasn’t intended to be a big money maker. There is a link to my sales site (not nearly finished yet) from the blog but that is meant as a soft push to the sales site.

    I could still move it to a subdir of the sales site and then mask the url and point it to the subdir. But for some reason which I can’t articulate I just like the separate sites better. Just like two flavors of ice cream, chocolate or vanilla. Like them both but prefer vanilla.

  14. I prefer having a separate domain for my blog from my sales site. Partly because I just happen to set it up that way from the start. But also my blog is about things I want to say or share on a particular subject and it wasn’t intended to be a big money maker. There is a link to my sales site (not nearly finished yet) from the blog but that is meant as a soft push to the sales site.

    I could still move it to a subdir of the sales site and then mask the url and point it to the subdir. But for some reason which I can’t articulate I just like the separate sites better. Just like two flavors of ice cream, chocolate or vanilla. Like them both but prefer vanilla.

  15. What about using your domain as a way of branding you? Maybe you blog about different subjects – business, parenting, cooking, photography – but these may all be part of “YOU THE BRAND” and something you’d want to display to customers.

    I do this more on the personal side rather than the business side. But then again, I do let clients know about my personal blogs since they’re not too personal and aren’t embarassing enough to chase anyone away.

    Now if I had a sex blog, that would be different story…

  16. What about using your domain as a way of branding you? Maybe you blog about different subjects – business, parenting, cooking, photography – but these may all be part of “YOU THE BRAND” and something you’d want to display to customers.

    I do this more on the personal side rather than the business side. But then again, I do let clients know about my personal blogs since they’re not too personal and aren’t embarassing enough to chase anyone away.

    Now if I had a sex blog, that would be different story…

  17. I think CG has covered all of the bases pretty well, though I might add from a business perspective that you may want to use dynamic linking on the parent site get some link juice to the blog. I suppose as well it depends on what the purpose of the blog is for the client. And how many exisitng backlinks the parent domain already has.

    Maybe have the blog on a separate host from the parent site? I think in this way using the blog to brand the home site might be a bit easier with Se’s?
    Or just screw the SE’s altogethor and buy a whack of traffic for the blog. Use an interstitial to promote blog. Or when someone exits the parent site have an exit page. I donno theres quite a few options….
    just .o2$
    Cheers and Beers From canada.
    Shane

  18. I think CG has covered all of the bases pretty well, though I might add from a business perspective that you may want to use dynamic linking on the parent site get some link juice to the blog. I suppose as well it depends on what the purpose of the blog is for the client. And how many exisitng backlinks the parent domain already has.

    Maybe have the blog on a separate host from the parent site? I think in this way using the blog to brand the home site might be a bit easier with Se’s?
    Or just screw the SE’s altogethor and buy a whack of traffic for the blog. Use an interstitial to promote blog. Or when someone exits the parent site have an exit page. I donno theres quite a few options….
    just .o2$
    Cheers and Beers From canada.
    Shane

  19. Chris, I’ve read that while the subdomain version nicely compartmentalizes a blog, it steals PR juice from the root domain – whereas having a subdirectory blog does not. In terms of AdSense, according to what someone on the team told me, splitting off a subdomain doesn’t necessarily change the ad targeting. So if your root domain is about one topic and your blog subdomain is about something unrelated, you may suddenly end up with untargeted ads on your root domain.

    So I vote for subdirectory now, having tried subdomains. On the other hand, if you are setting up a portal, then subdomains work very nicely. As well, if all your subdomains are very popular, then most of what I’ve said above is moot.

  20. Chris, I’ve read that while the subdomain version nicely compartmentalizes a blog, it steals PR juice from the root domain – whereas having a subdirectory blog does not. In terms of AdSense, according to what someone on the team told me, splitting off a subdomain doesn’t necessarily change the ad targeting. So if your root domain is about one topic and your blog subdomain is about something unrelated, you may suddenly end up with untargeted ads on your root domain.

    So I vote for subdirectory now, having tried subdomains. On the other hand, if you are setting up a portal, then subdomains work very nicely. As well, if all your subdomains are very popular, then most of what I’ve said above is moot.

  21. @mark – Yes I think so, it depends if there is a complete overlap between blog and co

    @Roger – Be careful with fully hosted services, or at least get regular full backups including posts and comments. I have heard of cases recently where even on wordpress.com people have lost all their work when the account has been terminated with no warning and no option for redress. I don’t want to “out” the blogger but there is a discussion thread doing the rounds on one blog email list and it seems no TOS violations, nothing illegal or unethical, just using wordpress.com for business was enough to get the blog pulled.

    @Adam – Yes it would be good for someone with time and skills to actually test it :)

    @Rajesh – I agree there is a lot to be said in favour of hosted blogs but the risk of losing everything and the lack of control puts me off right now. WP.com has made great strides but not enough to persuade me YET away from self-hosted.

    @Seshu – Always check these things against your own goals, what is good for one blogger might not match your own needs :)

    @Steve – As you can see I have a similar approach, my blog(s) and sales site are seperate and are as seperate in my head too :)

    @Anne-Marie – I agree your blog is representative as the brand you, part of the reason I went with chrisg.com (and chrisg.org by the same token). The further you get from wanting it to represent you I guess the more seperate you need them. I have never written about sex or anything else that might be a time bomb career wise so I can only guess ;)

    @shaners – interstitial? With you right up to that point, I don’t think I could ever use an intersitial :)

    @raj – It’s interesting the affect on adsense, I hadn’t considered adsense as a factor but I know many people do, hmmm …

  22. @mark – Yes I think so, it depends if there is a complete overlap between blog and co

    @Roger – Be careful with fully hosted services, or at least get regular full backups including posts and comments. I have heard of cases recently where even on wordpress.com people have lost all their work when the account has been terminated with no warning and no option for redress. I don’t want to “out” the blogger but there is a discussion thread doing the rounds on one blog email list and it seems no TOS violations, nothing illegal or unethical, just using wordpress.com for business was enough to get the blog pulled.

    @Adam – Yes it would be good for someone with time and skills to actually test it :)

    @Rajesh – I agree there is a lot to be said in favour of hosted blogs but the risk of losing everything and the lack of control puts me off right now. WP.com has made great strides but not enough to persuade me YET away from self-hosted.

    @Seshu – Always check these things against your own goals, what is good for one blogger might not match your own needs :)

    @Steve – As you can see I have a similar approach, my blog(s) and sales site are seperate and are as seperate in my head too :)

    @Anne-Marie – I agree your blog is representative as the brand you, part of the reason I went with chrisg.com (and chrisg.org by the same token). The further you get from wanting it to represent you I guess the more seperate you need them. I have never written about sex or anything else that might be a time bomb career wise so I can only guess ;)

    @shaners – interstitial? With you right up to that point, I don’t think I could ever use an intersitial :)

    @raj – It’s interesting the affect on adsense, I hadn’t considered adsense as a factor but I know many people do, hmmm …

  23. The great thing about blogs is that they generate a huge number of backlinks and when you have your blog in a subdiretory your whole domain will benefit from those backlinks. (backlinks = better listing in search engines)
    And a blog can help build trust and show that you are an authority.
    So if your blog is related to the general theme of your website, put it in a subdirectory.

  24. The great thing about blogs is that they generate a huge number of backlinks and when you have your blog in a subdiretory your whole domain will benefit from those backlinks. (backlinks = better listing in search engines)
    And a blog can help build trust and show that you are an authority.
    So if your blog is related to the general theme of your website, put it in a subdirectory.

  25. Yup, I think that pretty much sums it up for me :) Thanks Malte

  26. Yup, I think that pretty much sums it up for me :) Thanks Malte

  27. Yes, Malte said it more succinctly than I did :)

  28. Yes, Malte said it more succinctly than I did :)

  29. I think it does depend on whether it is a business, personal or not like people have already stated.

    Ok dumb question time.
    How do you get the blog from not using the extra folder name like Chris has? When I use WordPress I need to put it in a folder like for example: http://www.chrisg.com/blog

    Thanks

  30. I think it does depend on whether it is a business, personal or not like people have already stated.

    Ok dumb question time.
    How do you get the blog from not using the extra folder name like Chris has? When I use WordPress I need to put it in a folder like for example: http://www.chrisg.com/blog

    Thanks

  31. @raj – Good to know we are on the same wavelength :)

    @Jermayn – I just installed in the root, not sure I had to do anything special?

  32. @raj – Good to know we are on the same wavelength :)

    @Jermayn – I just installed in the root, not sure I had to do anything special?

  33. Barbara E Stewart says:

    What is the difference between a subdomain and a subdirectory.

    I am a newbie. Obviously. Anyone out there interested in clearing this up for me (and possibly others who read the comments).

    Thanks.

    Barb

  34. Barbara E Stewart says:

    What is the difference between a subdomain and a subdirectory.

    I am a newbie. Obviously. Anyone out there interested in clearing this up for me (and possibly others who read the comments).

    Thanks.

    Barb

  35. Subdomain = subdomain.domain.com
    Subdirectory = domain.com/subdirectory

  36. Subdomain = subdomain.domain.com
    Subdirectory = domain.com/subdirectory