So you’ve been advised to create a mobile version of your desktop website but can’t decide if you should register a .mobi domain or build it on a subdomain ie m.yourdomain.com, domain.com/m or domain.com/mobile. If your main site gets automatically redirected to the mobile version does it really matter if it’s on a subdomain or it’s own domain?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of a registering .mobi domain
Pros of a .mobi domain
1. Created for mobile websites
A .mobi domain clearly means it’s meant for a mobile website. If someone asks for your mobile URL you can easily point them to it and be easy to remember. Mobi domains were specifically created for mobile phone users so there’s no confusion if it’s for mobile or not.
Mobi domains are very cheap. I registered isitebuild.mobi for $6.99 at GoDaddy at the time of writing this article.
3. Serve mobile content to Googlebot-Mobile
Google has two crawlers Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile. Googlebot crawls desktop-browser type of webpages and content embedded in them and Googlebot-Mobile crawls mobile content.
For Googlebot and Googlebot-Mobile, it doesn’t matter what the URL structure is as long as it returns exactly what a user sees. For example, if you redirect mobile users from domain.com to m.domain.com, both websites will be recognized, crawled by Googlebot-Mobile then added to the correct index.
With that being said it’s less confusing if you register a .mobi domain that’s specifically designed for mobile users.
4. Target mobile users
Registering a .mobi domain allows you to develop a separate site targeted specifically towards mobile phone users. This helps extend the reach of your audience and generate more leads and sales.
5. Submit to mobile directories
There are multiple mobile directories where you can submit your .mobi domain so you can build links and generate traffic. Just Google “mobile directories” to find them.
6. Submit a Mobile Site Map
Google enables you to submit a mobile site map to your Google Webmaster Tools account. This helps search engines index your site plus analyze your statistics with Google Analytics.
7. Google Adwords benefits
If you have a mobile version of your main website it will reduce the cost-per-click of your Google Ads because you are making the extra effort to create a user friendly experience for searchers. Google wants to return the most targeted results when people search for information on the Web.
Cons of a .mobi domain
1. Need to register a new domain
You need to spend some money to register a .mobi domain however if you use a sub-domain then there’s no need to register a separate domain.
2. Lack of authority
Registering a new domain means it won’t pass on the authority of your established domain. For example a sub-domain such as m.domain.com will retain the branding of your current domain without having to do a lot of extra search engine optimization.
3. Limited top-level domains (TLD)
You’re unable to use country-code TLDs (e.g. .co.nz) when registering a .mobi domain whereas using sub-domains would work fine to distinguish mobile versions for different countries. The same limitation applies if you register .biz, .us, .info.
4. Need to develop a separate website
Instead of just developing one website and redirecting mobile users to a sub-domain you’ll need to develop a separate website.
So what’s best?
My recommendation is to register a .mobi domain so it leaves no doubt in your visitors’ minds about the purpose of your domain. It’s dedicated to mobile users.
Make your own decision depending on the purpose and needs of your customers.
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