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Written on February 6th, 2008 by | 260 Comments

URLs With or Without “WWW”: Which is Best?

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URLs With or Without “WWW”: Which is Best?

Recently reader Kathy Frederick asked:

“When I type in “www.junkdrawerblog.com” I notice that the URL field content changes to the URL, minus the WWW. What’s up with that? Is it bad?”

Well Kathy, personally I don’t think that it really matters if you make your URL address with or without the “www“. I see no evidence that it makes any difference with the search engines, unless you happen think it looks esthetically better one way or the other. BUT…

What is really important is that you are consistent with your URL structure.

So why is this is important? Because even the slightest changes in your URL structure can confuse the search engines.

There’s an excellent post written by Matt Cutts from Google on URL Canonicalization with examples and I recommend that your read it.

Here is an example of inconsistent use of a url. Take a look at the following:

http://www.blogbloke.com … and  http://www.blogbloke.com/

Can you tell the difference between the two? No?

Take a closer look and you will see that the second url has a trailing slash, and the first one does not. Believe it or not Google sees them as being two different addresses, and it could possibly split your pagerank value.

There was a time when it was said that all roads led to Rome, and if I had to choose which direction to follow I would stick to the road that is the most travelled.

So which way is better Bloke? The vast majority of blogs out there are using ”www“. Heck, even Google uses it so if it’s good enough for them…

Using “www” is also the internet standard for subdomains, but many users are in the habit of keying an address in their browser without “www” to shorten a URL. That is why you should make it work both ways.

So here is how you do it in Wordpress. In your “General Options” menu you will find a box where you can tell Wordpress how to format your urls. You do it like so:

Wordpress General Options

For Blogger Custom Domain users, you need only to follow my directions in my post Blogger Custom Domains: Best Setup for Optimizing your Blog Pagerank!

So now you know. :)

Filed under: Blog Tips, Design Tips, Featured Articles, Reader Questions, SEO Tips, Search Engines blog content, blog tip, blogger custom domain, Blogging Tips, custom domain, pagerank, seo optimization for blogs, Wordpress Tips

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260 Responses to “URLs With or Without “WWW”: Which is Best?”

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  1. 1
    Kathy Says:

    Thanks, Bloke! I see where I had the URL listed without the WWW. Never thought to look there for some reason. Thanks! I’m all better now!

  2. 2
    Douglas Karr Says:

    This can also assist your site’s ranking since some pages might be ranked with or without the link. I’d add that you should probably add a mod rewrite to your site to automatically bring the people to the same:

    http://www.douglaskarr.com/2007/04/07/google-pagerank/

    As well, be sure to go to Google Webmasters and set a preference for your site so they index them both the same!

  3. 3
    Blog Bloke Says:

    You are most welcome Kathy.

  4. 4
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Hi Doug. That’s good advice re “Google Webmasters”. But I would add that although a mod rewrite might be a good idea in Kathy’s case, it shouldn’t be necessary for new bloggers who don’t need to make changes to their existing url structure.

  5. 5
    Shamelle @ Enhance Life Says:

    Hm.. come to think of it, I never gave it much thought until I read your post!
    Now that you pointed out that it has an effect on the page rank, I will make a conscience effort to be consistent with my blog URL.

  6. 6
    Tica Macha (Teri) Says:

    Hey there, just wanted to touch base and say your site is looking real good. I’m still plugging away with Blogger.
    Take care and come visit. Teri

  7. 7
    Lee Says:

    I have seen some discussion around making sure that sites are reachable whether a user types in the “www” or not. But sadly, old timer’s disease has struck again and I can’t find the article. I’m not even sure what the total rationale was, but the author was almost having a stroke trying to make the point that “www” is superfluous and should never be needed to reach a page.

  8. 8
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Thanks for dropping by Shamelle and please do so again soon.

    @ Tica … my good friend, I’m sorry that I haven’t had time to drop by lately. I’ve been so busy tweaking the new template. We will catch up soon. Promise.

    @ Lee, like I said it doesn’t really matter either way, but if you follow the directions here when you key in the url without the “www” it should default to it. That way you will have “consistency” with your blog address.

    That is what is most important.

  9. 9
    Curtis Says:

    Never really thought about it till now Bloke. I am using www prefix so if its good with Google, ok then. My page rank seems the same both ways.

  10. 10
    Blog Bloke Says:

    Sounds like your setup is good Curtis.

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