Domain names can have different parts, sometimes called subdomains.
A subdomain is a domain that is part or an extension of your main domain.
For example, in test.nexym.com, “test” is the subdomain.
Creating a subdomain allows you to expand, organize, or localize sections of your website on various related topics or to new regions and languages.
You can create more than one subdomain if you like.
Here are a few more subdomain examples using our domain name nexym.com:
- community.nexym.com => community is a subdomain
- blog.nexym.com => blog is a subdomain
- business.nexym.com => business is a subdomain
There are various reasons companies and individuals use subdomains.
Let’s explore some of the most popular reasons for using a subdomain.
What are subdomains used for?
Many people find that it’s helpful to create a subdomain for testing updates to their website before pushing live.
Developers often use what is known as a staging site, which is set up to have the same configuration as the main website.
If we created a staging subdomain for our domain name, it could be staging.nexym.com or testing.nexym.com.
A subdomain is also often used for an Ecommerce online store, for example, store.yoursite.com. Online stores are frequently created with a separate subdomain because of the complex nature of the setup involving online transactions.
Website owners often use subdomains for the mobile version of their websites (mobile.yoursite.com) or to create country specific websites to serve certain regions, languages, or populations (ca.yoursite.com, es.yoursite.com, eu.yoursite.com).
You can also create subdomains for sections within your website catered to members or contributors. The subdomains could be ‘invites.yoursite.com’ or ‘participants.yourwebsite.com’ or anything you’d like.
Subdomains can also be used for:
- News section for your website (news.yoursite.com)
- Blog section of your website (blog.yoursite.com)
- Separated sites for associated brands
- To organize sections of your website on various related topics (business.yoursite.com, politics.yoursite.com, food.yoursite.com, etc.)
There are many other ways to use subdomains, these are just a few examples. Depending on your brand and website goals, the use of subdomains can vary.
What are wildcard subdomains?
A wildcard subdomain is a special type of subdomain that allows you to create unlimited subdomains under your main domain name.
For example, if your name is Angie Seth and you want to create multiple subdomains for your website such as: ricky.angieseth.com, marie.angieseth.com, annemarie.angieseth.com, etc., then a wildcard subdomain would work very well.
You would use the following format to create a wildcard subdomains:
angieseth.com=> This is the main domain
* => This means unlimited subdomains can be created after the asterisk (*).
An example of a wildcard subdomain would be *.yoursite.com=> This subdomain will allow you to create unlimited subdomains under your website’s main domain, such as test.yoursite.com or blog.yoursite.com.
The major benefit of a wildcard subdomain is that multiple domains can be hosted on the same root level website (e.g., ricky.angieseth.com and marie.angieseth.com). This is a very efficient use of your web hosting resources.
If you want to create a WordPress multisite network, wildcard subdomains are useful so that each user can get their own custom domain.
How to create subdomains
To create a subdomain, you will need access to the web hosting account and domain registrar for your main domain name.
Even if your web host doesn’t use cPanel, the steps are very similar.
To create a subdomain at Skystra, log into your cPanel account.
Then click on the Subdomains under the Domains section.
You will see a subdomain field at the top, you can type in your subdomain into this field.
The subdomain can be whatever you’d like, such as staging, blog, gallery, photos, community, users, news, etc.
Once you’ve picked your subdomain, click the Create button.
Once your subdomain is created, you’ll see it listed under Subdomains.
You also need to make sure your DNS settings are properly set up on your domain name, pointing to the correct nameservers or IP address at your web host.
Subdomains and SEO
Subdomains are a basic form of organization for your website content. When used properly, they will not affect your main website’s SEO (search engine optimization).
Google and other popular search engines have said that subdomains do not affect SEO.
This means you can create a subdomain or multiple subdomains under your main domain, and it won’t negatively impact the rankings and visibility of your site on Google.
The only thing to keep in mind is that if you create a subdomain, you are creating a new website. This means, your subdomain will have its own SEO.
Since subdomains are treated as completely different websites from your main domain name, they don’t share the same SEO .
So if blog.yoursite.com doesn’t rank well in Google, your main website won’t be penalized.
However, if you create a subdirectory instead of a subdomain (more on that below), your entire domain will be affected if the subdirectory doesn’t rank well on Google.
So if you create a subdomain, make sure the content is unique and optimized for that subdomain.
This way, you can prevent your main site from being penalized in Google if your subdomain doesn’t rank well.
If you have more than one subdomain and they are not getting sufficient traffic, it may make sense to create a temporary tab or widget on your main website homepage that points people to them. This way people can still find these resources while you figure out a better SEO strategy.
We recommend keeping all sections of your website on the same domain rather than using a subdomain. Generating traffic to one domain is hard enough, adding a completely new one could divert your focus and lead to bad rankings on both.
Ultimately, subdomains should only be used if you have a legitimate reason to do so. We discussed some of the reasons to use a subdomain above, for example, to rank in a specific market, target keywords, and localize to a certain geography or language.
In cases where you’d like to build strong SEO and need to organize sections of your website, opt for a subdirectory rather than a subdomain.
Subdomain or subdirectory?
A subdirectory is like a subdomain, only located within your main domain (i.e., nexym.com/test or nexym.com/blog).
You can create both subdomains and subdirectories under your main domain, as long as they are organized in a way that helps build traffic to your website.
If you want to rank in search engines for a particular keyword, and that keyword is specific to a certain subdirectory, create a subdirectory for that keyword.
But if you’d like all of your websites to be listed on separately on Google when people search for certain keywords, creating a subdomain might work best.
If you choose to create a subdomain, keep in mind that it will have its own SEO independent from the rest of your website. As mentioned above, this is a good thing if the subdomain doesn’t rank well. But on the other hand, creating multiple subdomains for different keywords can dilute your SEO traffic.
Often, it’s better to focus on one keyword per subdirectory and create a master subdomain that pulls in all of the other subdomains you’d like to rank for. This can be done by using 301 redirects.
In both cases, you’ll want to optimize the content for your subdirectory or subdomain so the websites get properly indexed by Google and search engines.
In general, when deciding between using a subdirectory and subdomain, keep these rules in mind:
- If the section of your website is specific to one major keyword and that keyword happens to be your main focus, use a subdirectory.
- If you’d like all of your website sections to show up on search engines when users are searching for keywords related to those sections, make sure they are in their own subdomains.
- If you have more than one subdomain for a specific keyword, use 301 redirects to combine them as one master subdomain (which has its own SEO independent from your main domain).
- If the purpose of creating a subdirectory or subdomain is not to rank well in Google, but rather just to organize your site, use subdirectories not subdomains.
You can always combine subdomains and subdirectories using 301 redirects to make them interact and funnel traffic however you’d like.
Ultimately, the best SEO practice is to choose which set up works best for helping build traffic to your website.
We hope this guide helped your understand subdomains, how to create a subdomain, subdomain SEO, and the difference between subdomains and subdirectories.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer it!