Should I Install My Blog In Root, a Subdirectory, or Subdomain?

by John Hoff on May 23, 2010

Last week I posted an article where I answered a few common questions I get asked from time-to-time from people looking to start a blog or moving their blog from a free account to a paid one.

There are many more questions I could list out and answer, but one came in the other day which I’ve briefly mentioned before but felt maybe I should go into a little more detail on.

Question: Is it better to put my blog in the root of my domain, a subdirectory like /blog directory, or in a subdomain? Also, what’s the difference between them?

I know it’s a sucky answer, but there is no right or wrong answer with this one. Here let me give you the differences and then you can decide which option is best for you.

Here’s a quick look at the different URL structures these options come with:

Blog is in the root: http://yourblog.com/
Blog is in the subdirectory /blog: http://yourblog.com/blog/
Blog is in a subdomain: http://blog.yoursite.com

Case for your blog in the root

Your blog’s web address is easier to remember and from my experience, it seems the top level domain (i.e. the root domain name) seems to be liked more by Google than subdirectories. Aside from that, this option might be good if your blog is the only reason why you have a website.

Case for your blog being in a subdirectory, like /blog

The best reason to put your blog in its own subdirectory would be if the main part of your website was set up to sell something or do something other than being a blog.

For example, let’s say you sell shoes online.

In this case, it would make more sense to create a website for selling shoes and then stick your blog in some subdirectory, like /blog, where people can click over and read what you have to say. Also, from an SEO standpoint, many times people who talk about your company might give you two links, one to your root domain and one to your blog. That’s link juice times two.

Case for putting your blog in a subdomain

This is a major change and decision.

Subdomains don’t work like subdirectories when it comes to search engines. A subdirectory (see above) is considered to be part of the website contained above the subdirectory whereas a subdomain is considered by search engines to be like it’s very own mini website.

So a link to http://yoursite.com/blog will give link juice to http://yoursite.com whereas a link to http://blog.yoursite.com will only give link juice to http://blog.yoursite.com and not http://yoursite.com.

I know, it’s a little confusing. Let’s look at an example to clarify.

Let’s take another look at the example of a website which sells shoes.

Your root domain might be an e-commerce site where people can search for the shoes they want and make a purchase. To help with your search engine rankings, it’s great if people link to you with words like, “buy shoes” or “insanely cheap high quality shoes”. These links are what helps Google determine what your website is all about.

Now let’s say your blog, which is contained in the subdomain blog.yoursite.com, is all about making money selling shoes online. Well, that’s not what your main website is about, right? That’s about getting people to your site and making a purchase, not about how they can make money selling shoes online.

Since your blog is contained in its own subdomain, it keeps all its own link juice for “selling shoes online” while your primary site keeps all its own link juice for “buy shoes here”.

See the difference?

In another example, you might want to put your blog in a subdomain vs. a sudirectory because your blog is about support issues or product service upgrades. You don’t want Google indexing your primary website as a product support site, right? That might happen though if your blog was in a subdirectory.

Confused? Comment below.

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