Thursday, February 15, 2007

Blogs: On Domain or Off Domain?

Ok guys, this needs a bit of discussion. The question arose on a Point2 messageboard forum, should blogs be on domain or off domain. You can’t say 100% that you need a blog on a different domain. There are pros and cons of each approach. If you weigh them, it’s almost a 50/50 spit and the only conclusion is that there is a place and reason for each.

We evaluated each and decided on our current approach for a number of reasons, the biggest one being this: If we built the blog on domain, our members could have both approaches, but if we built it off domain, you are stuck with that solution. What do I mean exactly? The current solution has the blog on domain. If you want a separate blog on it’s own domain and you wanted to use the Point2 solution (to take advantage of auto posts, syndication to Point2 Homes etc…) you can create a second portal, purchase a domain, and point that domain to the main blog page. On the other hand, if we build a solution off domain, you couldn’t have the option of the other approach.

So to be clear (for everyone reading) what is the difference in the 2 approaches? Here are the 2 definitions first:

Where some use separate domains,

Zillow.com
ZillowBlog.com

Others keep the blog on domain:

Trulia
Trulia.com/blog

SeoMoz.org
SeoMoz.org/blog

The100Lists.com
The100lists.com/seoblog/

So the next question is what is the best approach? My answer is “That Depends”. It’s also the answer of the SEO forum expert:
http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=28618&hl=

Well, a larger group of people could create a better list of why on and why off domain. But because we built our solution on, some of the benefits of that approach include:
- building more content on your domain. In search, larger sites have an edge.
- If the content of the blog matches the content of the main site, it makes ‘sense’ to have the content together on one site.
- Blogs link to blogs and in general, the technology is a great way to achieve deep linking on your website.
- Because we syndication listings, agent profiles and blog content to Point2 Homes, it makes sense to send users back to the same site for one author. (imagine a blog post about an open house, it’s best to take the user back to the source of the post and the main listing content.
- The approach is best for tracking analytics and total exposure generated from all marketing activities.

Those are some reasons, there are others. There are also reasons for the off domain approach and like I said, if you put them all side by side, you probably have a 50/50 split as far as value goes.

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1 comment:

Ron said...

Jeff, great thought on this. My concerns are this though with the on domain blog.

I want to be able to advertise the blog independent of the website, so I purchased a separate domain for the blog. Now where the problem come into play is if I CHECK the box for redirects, the person types in ONE URL and gets redirected to another. In my case, I purchased www.katyrealestateguy.com (I know, it's a direct Jay Thompson reference but why reinvent the wheel: www.phoenixrealestateguy.com ) and directed that to the blog but when the person arrives at the site, they are redirected to www.katyagent.com which is the primary domain for the main site. Not a HUGE issue I guess.

However, if I choose to let www.katyrealestateguy.com stand on it's own and uncheck the box so that no redirect is done, you lose all SEO benefit because of the NO ROBOTS.TXT that gets put into the coding!

I like the argument that by using the main domain you get "new, fresh content" virtually every day on your site or at least a couple of times a week! However, I'm still befuddled by how the redirect will be seen/interpreted by the consumer hitting the site through the alternate portal.