You’ve got your domain name and your website all set up. Suddenly a new hire on your sales team asks, “So what sub-domain should I use?” Huh? A sub-domain makes it easier for people to navigate to specific pages on your website. They can be used in many different ways–from sales pages for your sales team to test sites for your development team. Here we explain the purpose of sub-domains and how to use them.
Breaking Down Domain Names
First, let’s look at the different elements of a domain name:
- Primary domain: The primary domain is the main name of your website– a domain name like: brand.yourwebsitename.com, “yourwebsitename” is the primary domain.
- Sub-domain: In the example above, “brand” is the sub-domain.
- Top-Level Domain (TLD): In our example, .com is the TLD. TLDs are being used today more than ever before.
Common Sub-Domain Name Uses
So why would you use sub-domains? Companies use sub-domains in several ways:
- Staging Sites: If your website undergoes many changes, such as ecommerce, online apps, or plug-ins, you might consider using a sub-domain name to create a staging/test site for your development team. Doing so allows you to introduce updates and upload them to the sub-domain test site, ensuring everything works, looks good, and is user-friendly before you publish it to your primary domain.
- eCommerce: Some companies have a separate, yet seamless, website for the e-Commerce section of their websites, which is a common reason you might introduce a subdomain. Because e-Commerce sites are complex, you can run your main site with fewer concerns for everyday visits, content, blogs, explainer videos, etc., and you can use your separate sub-domain for transactions.
- Mobile-Friendly Sites: If you don’t want to build an entirely new site so you have a fluid design to meet the needs of different devices, you might consider building a mobile site instead of using a sub-domain.
- Location Specific: Having different offerings in different regions is a perfect reason why a salesperson might be asking which sub-domain to use. Your sub-domain shows customers only the items available in their area, the unique pricing that applies to their location, etc.
- Website Sub-Sections: You may have sub-sections of your website, such as members only, customers vs. professionals, apps vs. marketing, and guest shopping vs. accounts. A different sub-domain for each of these sections helps organize your site for easier updates and for marketing purposes.
- Different Languages: If you need to provide content in different languages, sub-domains are an easy solution.
These are just a few examples of common uses for sub-domain names.
How to Use a Sub-Domain
Sub-domains are easy to create either through your domain registrar or hosting platforms like WordPress. Simply stated, sub-domains help you organize the navigation and content of your website. They are a more cost-effective approach for websites with multiple purposes, such as memberships/subscriptions, accounts, downloadable or online apps, e-Commerce, and marketing materials. They also make it easier for companies with limited time and resources to more quickly increase their rank.