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Blog: To domain or to subdomain. That is the question...

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  • Blog: To domain or to subdomain. That is the question...

    Hey Everyone,

    Recently I have been pondering whether or not I should use the built in blog feature that comes with 3dCart or opt to use WordPress and host it as a subdomain with my other hosting provider.

    I came across two really good articles, one in which the author is for putting the blog on a subdomain, and the other in which the author is against it. The authors of both articles make really good points, and to be honest it makes it quite difficult to decide on which is the best option.

    The author who believes you should put the blog on a subdomain quotes:

    a website and a blog are two completely different forms of communication. Each has a separate purpose, goals and navigation.
    I think the problem is that people get confused and think that the website should be the all inclusive, everything in one place, end destination... The truth is there are many places that you can connect with consumers that aren't part of your site. This could include Twitter, Flickr, Youtube, Social Networks and many other platforms where people already are communicating and you have an opportunity to participate.
    For many websites, the purpose is to provide info about yourself, company or product. Just take a look at your navigation. You will see things like "About US", "OUR Services", "OUR Clients", "OUR Products", "Contact US" and "News (About US)". ME ME ME US US US... But because people know that you built the site, they understand there is a certain bias in the info that is provided there.
    A blog, however, is different. The blog isn't about you. Its about your audience. It should be written for them, and shouldn't talk about you, like your website does...Your blog gives you a place to communicate with your audience without them feeling like you are selling to them. It gives you a place to demonstrate what you know and are good at, without sounding like you are talking about yourself and they will respect you for that.
    Ok, so he makes some good points. Well then I read the article in which the author argues that you should put the blog on your main site. He quotes:

    If it complements the content and focus of your site and appeals to your readers then always have it on your own website in a subdirectory.
    The other reason often put forward for preferring an external blog is the benefit of inbound links that you can create back to your main site – “I’ve got a blog at and I’m using it to create lots of links through to my main site at which will help me get to no.1 in Google”.

    In short, no. A more complete response, no, no, no!

    Google is many things but blind in Search Engine terms isn’t one of them. Multiple links from one individual site through to another suffer from what is best described as “diminishing returns”. To explain: the first link you create from the blog you have set up as a separate domain is great and registers a, let’s say, resounding “1” on the Google link scale. The second from that blog (and hence that domain) through to your site is seen as less valuable as you have already “recommended” the site with a link. In this case, it’s given, let’s say, half the value – the next, half again and so on for all of the other links from that blog domain to your main site. Result, as you add more links from your new blog back to your main site, the additional ones quickly become worthless.
    Compare that to holding the blog on your own site, taking the time to write content that people consider worth linking to and working to attract links from a number of different sites...Each of these will be fully valued and counted, as they are external links into your blog from different domains – in a very short space of time, having your blog as part of your own site and domain will have benefited your overall site more than an external blog ever would, no matter how many links with great anchor text you use.
    So, when faced with the decision of where to run your blog from, if it is relevant to your site and to your visitors then integrate it as part of your own website. But, if you are setting it up to primarily boost your search engine possibilities then … definitely integrate it as part of your website!
    This author makes some excellent points too.

    It seems that the authors above have a different focus. The first author is more customer centric. He believes the blog should be about the customer, a tool used to have a conversation with your customer instead of having a conversation at your customer. He believes ultimately this will make your customers respect you more, which in turn will make them trust you more, which in theory should make them want to buy from you more. Here we are talking about quality and not quantity. You might not get as many visitor's to your main site, but the ones you do get should be more apt to buy from you instead of just clicking on to the next website.

    However, the second author is looking at the blog from a completely SEO point of view. In his eyes, if you want to get your website ranked higher and quicker in Google, you should have your blog as a part of your main domain. He is not really looking at the "human" side of a blog, but at the sheer marketing potential that a blog has. Here we are talking about quantity and not quality. With a higher page ranking in Google, you will for sure get more hits to your main site, but how many of those visitors will actually turn into customers?

    It's a difficult decision to make because in the end, we are both online merchants but we are also human. We want to sell as many products as we can, but we also want to relate with our customers on a more personal level (at least any serious online merchant should want to do that). So then what should you do?

    In my opinion, I say why not have your cake and eat it too! Why not use the blog feature that comes with 3dCart to help with the SEO aspect, but make sure you let your visitors know that your blog is independent from your main site to help with the human aspect. Don't litter your blog with tons of marketing speech but try to make it an open forum where your visitors can really communicate. A "free" zone if you will where people can discuss whatever they want openly without the fear of censorship or ridicule. And of course if you promise that, then be prepared to deliver on that promise! If your visitors feel that your blog is nothing more than a marketing tool, then you will quickly find that no one is following your blog no matter where it sits! Think about it, how many blogs, or twitter feeds, or Facebook pages do you follow that only have marketing content with no human interaction whatsoever. Most likely the answer will be NONE!

    Blogs can be a great marketing tool when used smartly, and I think it's fantastic that 3dCart has built blog functionality into it's shopping cart package, although it is lacking several things that could really take it to the next level such as making it fully searchable from the main site's search field and including a more robust commenting system such as Disqus. But alas, that is a whole other can of worms... ;)
    Last edited by Webdevbkk; 11-04-2010, 07:13 PM.

  • #2
    This is all excellent food for thought. Thanks for sharing!
    Laura Z
    Brass & Silver Traditions


    • #3
      Thanks for your thoughts, lots to think about.


      • #4
        Why is 3dcart trying to reinvent the wheel? Just let us use Wordpress right on our domain already.


        • #5
          Originally posted by wcsjohn View Post
          Why is 3dcart trying to reinvent the wheel? Just let us use Wordpress right on our domain already.
          You can use WordPress if you want for your blog, but as of now it would need to be set up as a subdomain and 3dCart would need to point the subdomain to another hosting company (such as BlueHost or Host Gator or something similar) which means you'd have to sign up with another hosting company.

          But yeah, it would be nice if we could put the WordPress blog in a subdirectory and have it hosted here at 3dCart. The only thing about that is, you would have to skin your WordPress theme to match that of your store's theme or vice versa. The advantage of using 3dCart's built in blog is that you don't have to worry with skinning it to match your store. While some people wouldn't have a problem with skinning a WordPress theme, there are others who are not HTML/CSS savvy, so they'd have a no idea how to go about it.

          Another thing to note, is if you have a blog hosted here (i.e. you use 3dCart's blog feature) then it is going to count towards your monthly bandwidth and HD space limits. If you have a very active blog this could push you over your limits very fast. If you hosted your blog with another hosting company though and put it on a subdomain then you wouldn't have to worry about it causing you to go over your monthly limits.