What an exciting time: A new blog! Thus begins our content marketing rollout for 2015, and with the new website design in place we chose to implement a new blog as well. While this blog will be discussing technical animation and visualization topics, it may be helpful to share the considerations that went into our overall site setup. We considered hosting this blog in a variety of ways, and initially set up an account on WordPress.com using a separate subdomain blog.frameworkmedia.com. After publishing a few articles during the evaluation period, we integrated the blog back into the main site for a variety of reasons.
From an SEO perspective, there are some advantages to having a blog included in a subfolder on the main site domain versus using a subdomain. This is a topic seeing much discussion (like this one at Moz.com) but the guidance from Google is that they are treated roughly the same, so you can use either technique without too much concern. The unofficial consensus seems to be subfolders resulted in slightly faster indexing and increased rankings for the entire domain, but this is based on anecdotal evidence only.
One of the appeals of using a hosted CMS solution like WordPress would be ease of administration and the ability to write and publish from one single login and administration screen. In the case of these blog posts, however, writing is typically done in Microsoft Word and then entered into an HTML template and published, so the writing process, the most time-consuming part, will not be affected significantly.
Publishing is one area where blog platforms shine, as it is easy to publish and link via tags or categories in a blog. This blog is going to use a minimal feature set, leaving out tags and categories. Comments are also being disabled, as our audience can reach us through our contact page to offer feedback and we avoid the issue of managing comment SPAM.
The final decision came down to control, both of the content presentation and the performance of the site. Content management systems can be known for writing out bloated HTML code and relying on extensive external scripts and content requests, resulting in long load times for mobile users. Our minimalist HTML template for the blog posts offers clean presentation and is quick to load, and we also gain complete flexibility and per-page customization, as we are not constrained by a rigid template or theme.
So the decision has been made, and the subfolder blog implementation is complete. The publishing process is still being refined, but overall the first posts are in and the site performance is excellent with regards to page load speeds and mobile-friendly responsive design. As with any project, we will continue to monitor performance and share any interesting results, but the goal is to have a proliferation of timely and well-written blog posts this year!