View Full Version : Structure of a multi-section, multi-page website

12-11-2009, 10:23 PM
I'm thinking more from an SEO pov, but thoughts on any other aspects would be appreciated --

Which is better, and why, for the design and development of a multi-section, multi-page website?... let's say it is to be about watersports, but we'll assume that Watersports.com is taken and we'll settle for WatersportsKing.com....

Which is better for the various sections? ...




What are the pros and cons, and what other alternatives are there?

Too may questions? Okay, just answer what you will.


12-12-2009, 01:04 AM
Personal preference, but I don't like subdomains in most cases. If you are going that route, I'd use the subfolders.

One big site vs a lot of little sites as in your subfolders vs different sites: I don't know that there is a right or wrong on that one. Individual sites are a bit more work to manage. If you stick them with different hosts you can use them for link exchanges more easily, but I don't think its worth the hassle of having multiple hosts. I think two hosts is a good idea, but that is to have a backup reliable host, not for interlinking.

Having the seperate sites may be a better approach for the small guy. If you find that one of the sites in your last grouping starts to do better than others, you can concentrate on promoting, seo, content on that site. Kind of like throwing a lot of stuff at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Also, if you take the last approach, I wouldn't use watersportsking-surfing.com but rather belize-surfing.com or similar. Make it a good microniche site with keywords in the URL. At least thats the approach I would probably take.

Are you planning something, gathering information... I don't see how this would apply to your site as your business is today, but maybe I missed something.

12-12-2009, 01:43 AM

This is the best, if these are categories of the "parent" site. Still gives you the google juice, but sets up the division.


Least useful and would say stay away from. Subdomains arent useful in this method.


These would work best if you had enough content to complete a full website for each topic. But you couldnt duplicate content, and would be maintaining a several differenent entities each with their own customer base. (Nightmare)

12-14-2009, 01:11 AM
Thanks, guys. I have several websites that have content that could easily be consolidated -- my coaching site and a self-improvement site, for example -- and I wondered if I was gaining anything by keeping them separate.

None of the sites are doing really well in the search engines. I used to find it quite easy to place well, but this past year I seem to have lost the magic.

Just thinking and wondering what to do.

12-14-2009, 01:45 AM
Why don't you put up one of the sites for SEO review. You might get some good ideas?

12-14-2009, 12:19 PM
Frederick I agree with both Bill and Bryan when it comes to using directories. A few years ago directories and subdomains were seen as different domains so people used the subdomains in order to make it look like they were getting more external links pointing back into the site.

About a year ago (maybe it was a little longer) Google started treating sub domains and directories mostly the same and a link from the sub to the main domain is now considered an internal link.

Most people seem to understand the directory structure better so it makes more sense for real people, though that may depend on your audience and your preference. If one section of your site is large enough that it could stand on it's own domain (say a blog or a forum or just a major section of your site) it might call for a subdomain over a directory.

The different domains (your last example set) would mean working to promote each domain separately. With search engines placing more emphasis on authority and brand that's become less of a strategy. The idea behind the different domains is that each domain might be hyperfocused on a different keyword phrase. If the phrase had little competition it might then rank well on the domain alone. In essence you're building a series of microsites.

Linking between each are seen as one site linking to another giving you the ability to control the anchor text from external links pointing back to your main site.

I think this strategy worked better before the shift to authority and brand. Now you'll likely get more benefit from having everything on one domain. What you might do though, is buy those other domains and point them back to specific pages on your site. You'd be doing this for type in traffic more than anything else.

For example you might want to own several versions of the domain eyesontheprize.com and point that domain to a page on your site. Since you've done some branding for Eyes on the Prize some people may end up remembering that before your name and type it instead.

Paper Shredder Clay
12-21-2009, 03:10 PM
I would also use the folders. But I suppose if you wanted to you could keep the other domains and point to the folders too. But I read somewhere recently that you are better off not having too many domains pointing to the same pages or the link rank gets shared amongst all the pointers.

Business Attorney
12-21-2009, 05:01 PM
Personally, I have always gone with directories but to add a contrary view, this morning I was listening to the radio while shaving and a commercial was pitching a specific page of a website. Instead of "www dot domain dot com slash specials" it was "specials dot domain dot com".

Which is easier to say? Which is easier to hear? Which is easier to remember? Which is easier to type (particularly for a casual internet user who may have difficulty remembering the difference between a slash and a backslash)?

I think the subdomain wins on all of those points.

Obviously, most of us don't buy radio advertising, but I think this example just goes to show that there is no one right answer for all situations.

12-21-2009, 06:35 PM
You could always announce the page as on a subdomain and have that subdomain point to a directory.

I agree though that you're best choice is what makes sense for real people. Google at least should be treating subdomains and domains the same so either would be fine. I can see advantages for either subdomain or subdirectory being the one that makes more sense for real people. I don't that there's an automatic better choice, though I'll still typically use subdirectories on my own site for most things and use a subdomain for sections that could also work as a standalone site.