Subdomains Vs. Subfolders

wordpress

#1

So I’m just wondering your thoughts on Subdomains Vs. Subfolders, and SEO vs Site Design.

Subdomains Vs. Subfolders

Let’s say you have a main site example.com and you want to have 5 variants of the site (books.example.com, films.example.com, store.example.com, etc). Each subdomain could have a totally different wordpress theme, or could have the same theme tweaked to be unique for each subdomain. Now this is good for a Themeforest seller, as the store.example.com could be an ecommerce theme, whilst the other subdomains use wordpress themes, this means more sales to Themeforest authors.

But how does this effect SEO? Is it better to just use subfolders for all the variants and then perhaps a subdomain only for the “store”?

SEO vs Site Design

With limited knowledge of SEO, I can only presume that subfolders would be better for SEO than subdomains. However from a site design/aesthetic viewpoint, if the variants were drastically different from each other (a unique wordpress theme for each variant) then wouldn’t it seem better design to use subdomains?

Just food for thought, wondering the best way to go. Would love to hear your input.


#2

Multiple subdomains

  • You will want your main website (example.com) to provide links to the subdomains.
  • You will want the subdomains to link back to the main website (example.com).
  • You can also add links to the other subdomains on each subdomain (like a theme switcher).

You should have some more faith in Google. They’ve gotten very good at figuring out websites - it’s even more complex and intelligent than you can imagine.

Through history, we’ve seen that subdomains are normally treated as separate websites. However, if you make it clear that they’re a part of the same website (for the end user), then Google will realize it as well.

Bing, on the other hand, will probably treat them as totally separate websites.

Multiple subdirectories

With directories, all search engines will recognize the themes as part of one site. Beneficial for Bing, Yahoo, etc.

Custom demo page

Many top authors will get around this issue by creating their own demo page, for example at “example.com/demo/?item=145678” which then loads an <iframe> pointing to the WordPress installation (which can be a subdomain).

This way, all links to your theme demos point to the same place.

Ensuring that this demo page has an appropriate title and meta description for each theme will be very beneficial.


#3

@baileyherbert thanks for the awesome insight! That makes a lot of sense.

Just wondering what you think from an aesthetic point of view. Do you think it is possible to just use one theme but have slight variants on each subdomain (I’m guessing that wordpress needs to be installed separately on each subdomain right? Then just load the same theme into each subdomain but customize each one to look a little different, whilst also having that same flavour linking all the subdomains to the brand).

Also, would it be better to install a Magento theme on the store.example.com subdomain, as I’m thinking of setting that up to be the store for all subdomains combined.