Forum location: Sub-directory or a whole new domain, and why?

Discussion in 'Community Organization' started by bulbclick44, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. bulbclick44

    bulbclick44 Enthusiast

    Ok, I've got a hypothetical question for everyone.

    You own a website with established content. Lets call it 'Golf Info' for now and lets say its domain is 'golfinfo.tld'

    Now. You want to add a forum however you already own the domain 'golfboards.tld'

    Do you:

    A) Add your forum to 'golfinfo.tld/forums' - taking advantage of the existing site visitors to help boost the forum's initial activity


    B) Run the forums on 'golfboards.tld' in the hope that you'll get more type-in traffic and keep it all seperate (whilst still linking to it from 'golfinfo.tld'.

    Which option would you pick, and why?
  2. Knocks

    Knocks Participant

    Most people use the main domain to draw in traffic with a smart, keyword-rich CMS and send them off to the forums via an additional URL.

    It also simplifies the technical part of managing the forum greatly if it resides in a separate directory.

    However, I've always disliked that some of my greatest forums with the type domain are actually located at It's redundant and stupid looking, and I don't know a way around it other than a complex URL re-writing system.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  3. Comeagain

    Comeagain Participant

    I'd put them on the same domain. Either a forums.*.tld, or *.tld/forums. To me it makes it seem more unified. Unless you want them to feel like separate entities.
  4. bulbclick44

    bulbclick44 Enthusiast

    Thanks for the replies so far - bumping this up in hope that a few more people can add their thoughts.
  5. forumhookers

    forumhookers Enthusiast

    I love to have it on main domain . Like what I do. Many blog commenters won't post in forums . I am kind of forum addict . I never visited the forum of the blog. But I have joined many forum.

    Sent from my HTC One X using Tapatalk 2
  6. Flybird

    Flybird Neophyte

    In that situation, I would say set it up on .tld/forums because then you they are not so separate and could draw more traffic from your existing visitors. But if you wanted them to be separate, then it would make sense for a new domain.
    I can't really see why you would want them separate though.
  7. HallofFamer

    HallofFamer Habitué

    Well a new domain can be a sub-directory, unless you use two different hosting account. If you want a brand new domain for your forum though, it is most likely not quite related to the name or content of your main site. If your site is your top priority while the forum is a support/discussion forum dedicated to your main site, there is no need to get a new domain for your forum.
  8. MannyRUA

    MannyRUA Fan

    The forum on the back of the main site gives the 'mothership' site more content so its gets ranked better.

    With our Dyson site, that is what we do. The forums are here:

    Similarly with a pal of mine's site, he puts a blog on the back end here:

    (Blog or forum makes no difference for our purposes of discussion)

    To do otherwise, simply dilutes Google juice to various other domains. What you want is a bunch of peripheral domains and content all pointing at the main one.

    But I also have a domain (or twenty) that I use as portal pages to direct traffic in to the Dyson site. For example: and

    The model you are looking at is like this.


    If the forum is a pre existing one you bought for example, leave it alone and use it as an outer wheel. If a new one, add it on the back end of the mothership site and use it to direct long tail search traffic inside to where you want it.

    It depends where you want to drive the traffic [money site]. If to a golf shop, thow a new forum on the back end that existing customers can use. Leave an existing one on its own domain to feed in. Run a few blogs and feeder pages to direct traffic both to the main site and to the outer sites.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2012
  9. Knocks

    Knocks Participant

    MannyRUA, that's a good model, assuming that the forum itself is not your main bread-and-butter site. I haven't looked at all your sites, but presumably your money site is Dyson spares? If you're trying to sell widgets and using the forums to energize your customers, then this is great.
  10. MannyRUA

    MannyRUA Fan

    The forum can be the main money site, if it is a monetized forum. Our Russian forum is a site that pays its own way. We feed into that from book sites, blogs, dating sites and other types of media.

    The 'money' site is wherever you want the traffic to ultimately end up. The network of sites around it are the supporting sites.

    The money site might be a monetized forum, it might be a golf shop where you use the forum as an outer layer or an inner catcher - depending on the forum itself and the OP's aims.
  11. dojo

    dojo Passionate admin

    I either have the forums in the root section (when it's a stand-alone forum) or the /forum/ directory, driving traffic from the main site. I see no reason to have a separate domain name, when I can make the main one get more traffic, more pages indexed etc.
  12. Tatl

    Tatl Developer

    I prefer subdomains.
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