Possibly the most frequent question people ask me when it comes to setting up a business blog is what URL they should use. There are basically four options to choose from. The truth is there is no single right answer. But, there is one wrong answer however. Below is an analysis of the 4 ways you can set up a URL for your blog and the benefits and drawbacks of each.
- Use a free URL like HubSpot.blogspot.com or HubSpot.typepad.com. This is a bad idea and this is the wrong answer, for two reasons. First, this URL does not belong to you. In any business you want to be building assets that you own and control. The problem with these URLs is that you are building an asset (a website that has a lot of links and good content) and you don't own and control that asset. There is no way to move or change these URLs. You are stuck with them forever. If you change your company name or want to use the content from your blog in a different way online, there is no good way to move the blog. Second, all of the links that you will be getting into your blog from other websites do not pass any SEO value into your main website. One of the major reasons to start a blog is to drive more links into your interesting content, and leverage those links to move your company higher in SEO rankings, and having your blog on one of these free URLs pretty much negates these benefits. In fact, at HubSpot, we could easily allow customers to use a free and simple URL like Customer.hubspot.com for their blog, but we don't allow it at all, for these reasons. If you want to read another view on this, read about Why Your Buisness Blog Should Not be on BlogSpot.com.
- Use a subdomain of your website like Blog.HubSpot.com. This is a great idea and this is what we do currently at HubSpot. Many companies have their blog on a subdomain, and it seems to be starting to be somewhat of a standard. The search engines are treating subdomains more and more as just portions of the main website, so the SEO value for your blog is going to add to your main website domain. If you want your blog to be seen as part of your company, you should it this way (or the next way).
- Use a folder of your website like HubSpot.com/blog. This is a good idea as well. I personally like a blog a bit better as a subdomain because it sets it up as a bit more independent from your company website and gives you a bit more flexibility in what you can do from a branding and layout perspective on the blog itself. But, I think there is not a big difference between HubSpot.com/blog and blog.HubSpot.com. Either one can work great.
- Use a completely new domain like smallbusinesshub.com. This option creates more work for you, but it can be a good idea as long as you understand the challenges you are creating for yourself. As a brand new website, and a separate website from your main website, you are starting from nothing and will have a lot of work to do to build links into your blog and start to get your blog to get noticed in the search engines. The benefit of putting a blog on an independent URL is that you can have it seem more separate from your company, and therefore less promotional. It also can be a way to pass some SEO juice from your blog back to your main website, but this benefit is somewhat limited. My preference would be to focus your linkbuilding efforts on just one website, but having your blog on an independent URL is certainly an OK strategy. You can even redirect this blog URL back to a URL on your own website later if you change your mind. (We did this at HubSpot, our blog used to be smallbusinesshub.com, and we have moved it to blog.HubSpot.com.)
Note: This article is not intended to indicate that you should not use Typepad or Blogger software. Their software is fine (though I am biased but I love how HubSpot's blog software is integrated with other marketing tools), but you should not use one of their URLs.
Thoughts? Have you tried to move a blog from a Blogspot or Typepad URL? Leave a comment below.