If you run an eCommerce website, or any type of business website for that matter, and have decided that you want to run a blog alongside then where is the best place to locate it?
You have 4 real options to choose from:
- Free blog hosting via WordPress.com, TypePad.com or some other free hosting platform
- Hosting on its own domain separate from your main website
- Putting it on a sub-domain of your main site
- Hosting on your main domain as a part of your website
The correct answer depends on what you actually want to achieve with your blogging efforts…
‘I want to use my blog to help with SEO.’
The best way to leverage a blog to help with your websites SEO is to use the posts as opportunities to increase content on, and links into the site.
Often product descriptions are designed to sell the product to a customer rather than increase search rankings, and attempts to do both can sometimes leave you worse off on both accounts.
Moving a more long winded description or discussion of a product onto a blog carrying links back to the main product is the optimal route forward.
If your blog post about a certain product is interesting or offers something different it may attract links from other bloggers, websites or forums which will flow through your site and help with rankings as a whole.
My recommendation is to go for option 4 above and host the blog on your main site.
‘But if I host my site under another domain name then it will give me a link back to my main site.’
Yes, if you publish a blog on a brand new domain and link it back to your main site then you will have built a back link. The problem is that this is just one link.
If you write hundreds of posts which heavily feature links back to your main site the search engines will begin discounting the value of these extra links very quickly as they all come from essentially the same source.
Another thing to consider is that if your posts on another domain become popular and linked to then it is that website, not your main one which will receive the benefit.
‘Someone told me putting it on a sub domain of my main site is the best option.’
Hosting your blog on a sub-domain such as blog.mybusiness.com used to be a common solution but there are some good reasons not to do this.
Search engines, in the majority of cases, class a sub-domain as a separate website to the main domain, so essentially this has the same downsides as using a completely separate domain detailed above.
‘My blog is going to feature more personal posts rather than business related ones.’
In this case I think the decision has to come down to your own personal point of view.
Some business and individuals might suit having a personal blog easily available for customers (or more importantly potential customers) to see, whereas for others it could negatively affect the business.
From a purely personal perspective I would expect a blog on an ecommerce website to be pretty closely related to the products on sale.
The other side of this is that you could use the blog as a way to chart your business growth and detail achievements, setbacks, inspirations, etc…
Many people find this kind of thing really interesting, just look at the popularity of reality TV shows over the past decade, a readership here linking to the blog would actually benefit the SEO of the whole site if you hosted it there.
So that’s my views on blogs for eCommerce or business websites.
If it’s related to your business always host as a part of your main site as any content and links generated will positively affect your entire domain.