A subdomains is a type of domain that is part of another domain. You can think of it as a separate branch from your main website. For example, if you’ve ever read a WordPress blog, you might have noticed that the domain (or URL) is the name of the blog + “.” + worddpress.com (i.e., blogname.wordpress.com). In this case, wordpress.com is the domain, and blogname.wordpress.com is the subdomain.
Subdomains can be used for a number of reasons, from prototyping sites to using two different themes. In this article, we’ll discuss what a subdomain is, when to use a subdomain, how subdomains influence search engine optimization (SEO) and how to set one up through your domain registrar or web host.
A subdomain is an extension or add-on to your business domain name. Subdomains are used to organize different functional parts of the website.
Say you have a domain name yoursite.com. You can have subdomains such as blog.yoursite.com or store.yoursite.com so that your store and blog can be designed, organized and optimized independently from your main website. As you continue adding different functions to your domain website, you can use new subdomains to separate them from the main website.
The URLs of domain names and subdomains are treated as separate entities—which brings us to the question of how a subdomain appears in the domain URL.
Structure of a Subdomain
The subdomain is appended before your domain name to create a new URL. Once this URL is created, it can have pages of its own as with any website.
Characteristics and Parameters of a Subdomain
Here are some important things to know about a subdomain:
- A domain can have up to 500 subdomains
- You can create multiple levels of subdomains such as store.product.yoursite.com, test.forum.yoursite.com, etc.
- Each subdomain can be up to 255 characters long, but for multi level subdomains, each level can only be 63 characters long
When to Use a Subdomain
Subdomains are used to:
- Streamline site hierarchy
- Improve user navigation
- Create a prototype or test version of a website
- To use two different themes with different functions for one domain (e.g., a blog, forum, e-commerce store, etc….)
- Create location- or language-specific sites
- To create a mobile-specific site
How To Create a Subdomain
The process of setting up a subdomain will vary slightly depending on where your subdomain is registered. However, generally the process to create a subdomain will look something like the following:
Here’s how to set up a subdomain:
- Navigate to your domain name registrar or web host (e.g., Bluehost or DreamHost)
- Select domains from your account dashboard
- Find and select subdomains
- Create your new subdomain
For more information, visit your domain registrar or web hosting provider’s help center for detailed instructions on how to create a subdomain. Additionally, your provider should be able to assist further via support should you have any issues along the way.
Subdomain vs Subdirectory
There is some confusion around subdomains vs subdirectories, and rightfully so. The two are seemingly very similar, yet each has a different structure, site organization and impact on SEO. A subdirectory uses folders under the primary domain name to organize content on your website. A key difference is that subdomains are treated as separate websites and do not inherit any domain authority of the parent website. Its SEO has to be built from scratch.
Subdomains vs subdirectories at a glance:
Both subdirectories and subdomains have their own advantages and disadvantages, and ultimately it’s your decision what your website needs
Whether you’re a freelancer or small business owner or you simply want a space to house your professional achievements, it’s smart to invest in a website that helps you expand your audience, convert leads and establish a credible online presence.
How to Make a Website: A Step-by-Step Guide to Get You Going
Your website is the most effective sales and marketing tool in your arsenal. In just five easy(ish) steps, you can create a beautiful personal or business website that engages visitors and excites them to work with you. Here’s how to get started.
1. Pick a Domain Name
A domain is the unique name of your website.
You can choose any name you want, but it’s best to have one that matches your business or professional name. Not only does this keep your branding consistent, but it can also significantly impact how you appear in search engine results. A good domain name may help you place higher in rankings, which can increase the number of people who click to access your site.
As you’re brainstorming domain names, heed these helpful tips:
- Include keywords relevant to your business to boost your visibility in search engines.
- Ensure it’s easy to spell.
- If you have trouble brainstorming, use a domain name generator as a jumping off point.
- Keep your domain short to make it easier for visitors to remember.
- Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, hyphens and numbers.
- Aim to use traditional top-level domains, or TLDs, such as .com or .net or one that best relates to you or your business.
- Make sure no one else is already using it. While you can purchase a domain from someone else, this can get expensive. You may be better off picking another name or using a different top-level domain, like .net, instead.
2. Register Your Domain and Pick Your Design and Hosting Providers
Once you’ve settled on a domain name, you’ll need to register it with a domain registrar. You can do this using a website like Domain.com or Network Solutions. Keep in mind that these providers simply register ownership of the domain for you, which may cost between $10 and $20 per year, depending on your TLD.
You’ll still need to find another provider to host the URL where you will build your website and potentially use another program to design it. To simplify things, you may choose to register your domain at a provider that offers registration, hosting and design capabilities.
If you don’t have much, or any, coding experience, you may want an all-in-one option like WordPress, Squarespace or Wix.
If you choose to use separate companies to manage your web hosting and designing, look for a hosting service that offers perks such as tech support, a free domain name or Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate.
You should highly weigh the SSL certificate as it’s a global standard security technology that enables a secure connection and protects your and your visitors’ data and sensitive information. Simply put, this security measure adds the S in HTTPS at the front of a website’s URL. Search engines and visitors look favorably upon it.
These features are more common with all-in-one providers, but there’s no guarantee, so be sure the one you choose offers them before you purchase a plan.
Popular web hosts with and without built-in design integrations are Bluehost, DreamHost, GoDaddy and InMotion.
If your web host doesn’t provide any integration features, some third-party design programs you might consider are Canva and Adobe Creative Cloud applications. You can create designs on these platforms and embed them onto your website pages.
3. Add Useful Pages and Engaging Content
You have many options when it comes to how you organize your content about your business and its services.
That said, strive to include these important pages on your website:
- A striking homepage.The central hub of your business website should captivate people and tell them exactly what you do and whom you serve. Incorporate eye-catching graphics, readable fonts, concise and clear descriptions and enticing calls-to-action.
- An enlightening ‘About Us’ page.Share the origin story of your business. Highlight your achievements, mission and values. You can also introduce any team members to foster deeper connections with customers.
- Booking or shop page.Drive more revenue and integrate a third-party online scheduling platform or an e-commerce platform, such as HoneyBook or WooCommerce.
- An accessible contact page.Include social media accounts, emails, phone numbers, addresses and a contact form to make it easier for people to reach you. If it fits your business, add your operating hours, too.
- Memorable content.Sharing compelling content establishes you as an expert in your industry and helps grow a loyal community for your business. This might include blogs, videos, podcast episodes, case studies and more. As a bonus, this content may help boost your ranking in search results and increase site visitors.
- A robust FAQ page.Giving answers to common questions not only helps build more trust with your brand, but it may also reduce the number of calls and support tickets you receive.
- Testimonials and press coverage.Boost your credibility by sharing your successes. Create a page that shares positive reviews about your services and include any mention of your business in notable media outlets.
4. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the practice of refining your business website so your pages rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs), most notably Google. It’s what helps people find you.
As you build your website, keep these basic SEO practices in mind to increase your visibility and drive more traffic:
- Use relevant phrases, called keywords, throughout your posts and pages. Don’t use keywords just for the sake of them, though. Make sure your choices are intentional. Overuse may negatively impact your ranking.
- Consistently publish valuable content for your customers or readers.
- Perform routine content audits or cleanups to see what you can consolidate or refresh.
- Keep your website’s loading speed as low as possible by optimizing images or enabling browser caching. These tweaks can help your webpage rank higher in search engine results. You can measure your page speed on GTmetrix. (Learn more about the importance of webpage loading speed.)
- Ensure your design and content work properly on computers, mobile phones and tablets. Do not underestimate your website’s performance on mobile devices. Up to half of web traffic now comes from smartphones.
It’s great to have a beautifully designed business website, but search engines want to see more than that to establish your authority when they index it in their search results.
As you optimize your site for search, make sure you’re keeping your visitors in mind. You’ll want to choose easy navigation systems and build pages that enable fast load times. To accommodate a range of user abilities, follow Section 508 guidelines to make your site as accessible as possible.
5. Review Your Site Before You Hit ‘Publish’
Before you unleash your website into the real world, you’ll need to test it to make sure it works properly.
Among other things, make sure you:
- Read through your content to ensure everything is accurate and error-free.
- Check for any broken links.
- Remove any filler content from your website theme or template.
- Test your website across browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and more.
- Connect your website to Google Analyticsto monitor its performance.
Once you’re ready, hit publish. To help drive traffic to your newly minted website, share it with friends, market it with clients and include it on your LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media profiles.
Keep Your Site Up to Date
You aren’t done with your site the minute you hit publish. To remain high in search rankings and improve your visitors’ experience, you’ll need to consistently maintain your website. Consider adding the following to your webmaster to-do list:
- Use webmaster and analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to monitor how people use your site. Some website engagement metrics to track include bounce rates, click-through rates and average session duration.
- Regularly update your website with blog posts, products and promotional offers.
- Perform monthly reviews to ensure all aspects of your website, including internal and external links, pages and plug-ins, are working as intended.
- Update your “About Us” page with new team members or achievements.
As time goes on, you may want to foster relationships with other business sites to establish credibility and improve your SEO. When other important websites link to your website, search engines see your site as more credible and worthy of being ranked higher in the results.
SEO agencies put in hours upon hours of work to help their clients bring in more business. As someone with experience in this field, I know the importance of putting your business out there to bring in new clients. Some businesses might assume that because of this, marketing their services comes easy for SEO agencies.
However, many agencies still struggle with marketing SEO work to clients. With the right kind of guidance, SEO agencies can learn what it takes to make their services more appealing to potential clients.
Read below to be sure you’re doing everything you can to market your SEO services to clients.
Work On Creating A Strong Brand
When you’re marketing your services to clients, you want your SEO agency to stand out from the rest, to be memorable. There are more than enough SEO agencies to choose from, so you have to work extra hard to get yours noticed and show clients what only you can bring to them. Branding is extremely important for every company trying to sell a product or service. If you want to bring in more SEO clients, you might have to start working on this.
If you don’t have a strong sense of your brand and what you offer, neither will prospective clients. It shouldn’t be difficult for a potential client to figure out who your agency is and what exactly you can offer them. An important part of figuring out who you are is knowing what audience you want to target and how you can do that.
Perfect Your Own SEO
It almost goes without saying that if you don’t have great SEO for your own website as an SEO agency, potential clients aren’t going to trust you with theirs. However, sometimes our own SEO isn’t always our top priority while we’re busy helping others.
While we always want to give our clients the best care possible, we can’t forget about ourselves. Of course, doing this can also improve your rankings in areas where you’re lacking, and as you already know, higher rankings will only help you. Spending more time on your own SEO will help you bring in clients moving forward, so you’ll be able to assist more of the very people you want to help.
Get Testimonials From Other Clients
You can do everything in your power to tell potential clients how much you can provide for them and help them, but your word alone means only so much. Something that can be far more effective than telling clients what you offer is to hear it from other clients themselves. Potential clients can see from your existing clients how exactly your agency has helped them, which can be more impactful than it coming from you. If you end up with a lot of client testimonials, you might even consider creating a whole page just for them.
Asking for testimonials from your existing clients might seem tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. You likely already know which clients would be the ideal people to ask. If you have clients with whom you have great relationships and have been working for a while now, they could be the perfect people to approach. Testimonials aren’t the only way to utilize social proof, but they’re one way of doing it, and you absolutely need to do something.
Show Your Industry Knowledge
You want your potential clients to see your industry knowledge all the time, from start to finish. Thought leadership is important in any industry, and it’s something that many in the digital marketing field are heavily invested in and value. By becoming a thought leader in the areas you excel at, you can show clients what you have to offer.
Whenever you’re looking to hire people, you want to be sure you’re getting someone who knows what they’re talking about and is above the competition. You can show that you’re a thought leader by posting informative content such as blog posts and podcasts and sharing them wherever clients might see. This is something that you should be working on constantly.
Thought leadership should be an ongoing effort to show prospective clients and everyone else that you’re a knowledge expert in the digital marketing industry.
Nurture Your Leads
Lead nurturing is necessary for anyone trying to market their services and bring in new clients. This is how you get people who are just seeing your agency for the first time to become loyal, happy clients of yours. It’s not enough just to get noticed — you have to continue to put in the work if you want more clients.
It’s important to understand that not all your leads will be in the same place at the same time. To appeal to each of your leads when you have them, you need to define who they are and what stage they’re in. Then, segment them appropriately.
Create content that will appeal to leads at every stage so that you can provide all the information about your SEO services that they’ll be seeking. You shouldn’t just leave information like this out for them to find, either.
Actively make sure that leads find what they need to become clients by following up with them and reaching out to support them. An easy way of guaranteeing this is to utilize email automation software for your leads.