What is a WordPress subdomain? Why I wouldn’t use one

What is a Subdomain?

WordPress originated as a blogging platform but evolved to be an Open Source (free) content management system (CMS), used on millions of sites by millions of people.

However, you can still create your own subdomain at WordPress where they automatically handle the install and impose their own restrictions and limitations. A subdomain is a little bit like owning a house and furniture. A domain is like a house and a sub domain is like a sofa in the house. When the postman (the search engine) delivers a letter he will deliver it to the house not the sofa

I was recently asked to do a press release introducing a company launch. Upon inspecting the company website I realised that the content and source code needed to be optimised so I offered to do it. What I didn’t immediately realise was that that the company had built their site on a WordPress subdomain.

Why I wouldn’t Use a WordPress Subdomain.

WordPress subdomains have extremely limited capabilities for two main reasons.

1. There is no option to install plug-ins. This means that meta-tag plug-ins like SEO Yoast are unavailable and is no way of performing basic on-site SEO. Without meta-tagging, search engines have to rely on content keyword optimisation to direct a search query to the relevant site. With each website competing with millions of others for a top spot in the search engine rankings, using all SEO capabilities is essential. If you don’t it will be difficult for your website to rank highly.

2. The second issue is that inbound links are filtered through the main domain. This means they lose their value and will have less effect in boosting your site to the top of the rankings.

The misconception in this case was that the original website address had been 301 redirected to the subdomain, a little bit like the redirection of a letter. However, this didn’t change the fact that the new website was essentially a sofa situated in someone else’s house.

We resolved the problem by creating a separate domain under the original URL’s address, performing a data transfer and closing the sub domain. The new domain was still in WordPress so the back end was very similar to navigate. However, it was a separate domain with a separate content management system meaning the company could “decorate” it as they liked and have the benefit of fully influential, inbound links.

If given the choice, I’d always go with a separate WordPress domain with the ability of installing all capabilities rather than a limited WordPress subdomain.

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