Don’t Forget the Sub-domain Factor

I was reading this article over at Owen Frager’s blog over the weekend, exploring the power of conversion words when combined with core concepts (e.g., VisitStockholm.com) … which is an interesting read for anyone who is interested in its own right … but a paragraph contained within the article really caught my eye:

…”Don’t forget the sub-domain factor,” counsels Turkel. “I know of dozens of large cities ramping up their budgets to reach the Dual Income No Kids (DINKs) recession-immune audiences.” This might help move domain negotiations that previously lacked justification or sense of urgency to buy. Sub-domains extend the reach of the domain by enabling you to present different faces to different demographic groups…

The Turkel being quoted is Bruce Turkel of TURKEL, an agency focussed on travel and tourism marketing, branding and advertising.

What he is alluding to of course is using sub-domains to segment your audience into silos, providing each with content and an experience relevant to the whole. If you have Oahu.com, you could just as easily have HeliTours.Oahu.com or KidFriendly.Oahu.com. While each of these could support the overall brand experience of the main domain and borrow the trust associated with the primary brand, they could stand alone and speak to the target audience.

It is no wonder then that the major search engines still treat sub-domains as separate websites… because they are. However, an effective sub-domain strategy can allow large brand holders to sculpt the end user’s experience so that they see content that is relevant to them. The domain “Helitours.Oahu.com” can deliver on the brand promise that the name implies: visitors (and search engines) would expect that this sub-domain is, well, about Helitours in Oahu.

Our approach at Left of the Dot is to allow the brand holder to create these sub-domains easily, allowing either the natural community to build out sub-domains to their “best fit and use”, or the brand holder to build their own network underneath.