This post is part of the Friday Q&A section. Just use the contact form if you want to submit a question.
I’m contacting you to get your opinion on a website design/business strategy as I plan to launch a blog targeting the Australian small businesses niche.
My conundrum is do I launch the blog on the root of the domain or do I place it in a subdirectory (/blog) given that I with time (12 months+) the site will have grown to be more than just a blog and will also provide products and services?
I’m asking you because I get the impression that your blog started out just as blog, but has since outgrown itself and has become a business in its own right, which raises the question, if you had your time over would you have structured your blog/site differently?
Interesting question. In my opinion, If you are building a company that will sell products and/or services, then the root of your domain (i.e. the homepage) should be focused on selling those products and services. Using as blog as the homepage would probably reduce your conversion rates because many people never click to a second page on the websites they visit, so many of your visitors would go away even before they had a chance to know you sell products and services.
For that kind of website and business model I would make the homepage focused on the products and services and put the blog on a sub-directory, so that you could use the blog to attract visitors and naturally channel them to your homepage (not the other way around).
Notice that I said the homepage should be “focused” on the products and services, but that does not mean it should contain only the products and services. In other words, if you believe the content you publish in the blog is relevant to your customers and could help in the decision process, you could create a small section in the homepage to display the latest posts from the blog.
My situation is slightly different. Daily Blog Tips is a core part of my online business, but it is not a business per se. I use the blog to network, showcase my ideas and build an audience, but I don’t make money directly with it (some, but it is negligible in comparison to the rest). On the websites where I do make money you will see my products or services displayed on the homepage.
But this is an important consideration that anyone creating a blog or website must make. What will your website look like in one, two and three years? Will you be selling something? Make sure to plan ahead, else you might get trapped by a bad decision you did when starting out.