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I am building a portal for a specific category of information. I am trying to decide whether to use subdomains like:

www.portal.mysite.com/home.html (home page)
www.portal.fishing.mysite.com/home.html (fishing subdomain)
www.portal.hunting.mysite.com/home.html (hunting subdomain)


www.mysite.com/home.html (home page)
www.fishing.mysite.com/home.html (fishing subdomain)
www.hunting.mysite.com/home.html (hunting subdomain)

Which approach is better and why?

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Can you explain why you're even considering that first option? – Su' Oct 4 '11 at 21:47
because I'm a newbie at this ? ;) - also, I notice that opera's portal page was doing something similar and I thought it looked cool. But you're right I haven't seen any onther site do that - so perhaps KISS applies here. – Homunculus Reticulli Oct 4 '11 at 22:19
Ah, fair enough on newness. Regarding the Opera example, I've added to my response below. – Su' Oct 4 '11 at 22:37
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Use the second one. Keep your URLs as short and simple as possible. Drop the www for the sub-domains. That home.html isn't even necessary. Just let the server-default index.php/html behavior take the place.

It's hard to provide too much reasoning as to why because I'm not sure what you're even trying to do.
fishing.example.com is already a sub-site, presumably about fishing. Slapping a second-level sub-domain on there serves no apparent purpose, is pretty uncommon so will look weird/suspicious to users, introduces more opportunity for typos, and so on.

If you're doing this for SEO purposes, I'd put it in the "trying too hard" category. Just put the "portal" in your page titles, eg. "The ExampleCom Fishing Portal" or something, rather than create weird keyword-stuffed URLs.

You mentioned Opera's portal as a reference point, but it's important to note they only go one deep. The portal sub-domain is equivalent to your topics, eg. fishing and goes at the top level. They do have other subject/portal sites like you intend, like for developers and Unite but they are also top-level, not something like http://portal.dev.opera.com

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Thanks for the clarification. You probably saved me a lot of future hustle! – Homunculus Reticulli Oct 4 '11 at 22:43

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