Not sure whether using a subdirectory custom domain is right for you? Here are a few questions you can ask to help you decide.
Before You Begin
- This article assumes you already know about custom domains and your options for implementing one, and are considering the subdirectory option.
- We'll also assume that you understand how the subdirectory option works, and why it's more technically challenging to implement than the default option (subdomain).
Is a Subdirectory Custom Domain Right for Me?
So you've read all about how subdirectory custom domains work, and are now wondering if you should use one. In other words: is the additional complexity, setup effort, and (in some cases) cost worth it?
To help you decide whether a subdirectory custom domain is the right option for your particular situation, here are some questions you can ask that might clarify the answer.
How important is it to have your Hub on a subdirectory?
This is the fundamental question: do you absolutely need your Hub to be on a subdirectory?
An important thing to consider is whether external factors will influence this decision. For example, perhaps it's already been decided that all your digital properties must live on a subdirectory of your top-level domain. This could be for SEO or technical reasons, or even due to factors like security policies or regulatory compliance. Whatever the reason, under these circumstances you would of course have to explore using a subdirectory custom domain.
Does it align with your go-to-market strategy?
Think about how your company goes to market. Do you have separate lines of business, products, or geographic regions that you operate in? If your company has a single brand, this could be a compelling reason to have all your content live under that top-level domain. In this case, a subdirectory custom domain would be the appropriate choice.
Conversely, if you have multiple brands, using subdomains can help create a creater distinction between them than using subdirectories. Often SEO is given as a catch-all argument against using subdomains, but even Google uses them this way: their Google Ads brand, for example, lives at https://ads.google.com.
What kinds of content will you host on your Hub?
Consider your content. Is it directly related to the messaging and purpose of your top-level website? Or could it benefit from having its own unique destination?
To illustrate the difference, here are two examples from Uberflip's own Hubs. On the one hand, we have our Culture Hub: we think of this as an extension of our company identity, so to emphasize this connection, we host it on a subdirectory at https://www.uberflip.com/culture. On the other hand, there is our Resource Hub, which has a much broader scope: it focuses on best practices around content experience for the industry as a whole. As a result, it lives on its own subdomain at https://hub.uberflip.com/.
What are your brand preferences?
To many marketers, the structure of a domain is important simply from a brand and aesthetics perspective. Putting everything under one subdirectory allows you to keep everything tied under that one top level domain and brand. Think about where you and your team fall on this question. Is this a factor for you?
It could well turn out that you have strong feelings on this matter: maybe a subdirectory just looks and feels more right for your brand than a subdomain does. This is as valid a reason to choose a subdirectory as any other, so make sure to take it into consideration as you make your decision.