January 05, 2019

How to run your B2B SaaS Website

by Stijn Hendrikse

A big decision early in the lifecycle of a B2B SaaS Company is the technology, domain and infrastructure to host your website on.

Here’s my take:

 

Technology

Picking a CMS is pretty straightforward. I recommend one of 3 options:

1. If you have the luxury to pick one technology platform for both your website (CMS) and marketing automation, I recommend Hubspot. The integration of all the pieces, including many tools that you have to buy separate when using for example Wordpress, makes it a no brainer.

2. If you already use a Marketing Automation tools other than Hubspot (Marketo, Pardot, Mailchimp) and have invested in those, a good alternative is Wordpress. While it has less out-of-the-box tools vs. Hubspot (you’ll have to use plugins for things like SEO optimization, landing page optimization, analytics, content planning and online chat) you’ll still benefit from a mainstream platform with a wealth of capabilities, templates and skills that are easy to hire.

3. A third option is a static CMS. While this requires more technology knowledge in your team, it has benefits to have 100% control over each page. You can optimize speed and experience to exactly match your audience and content needs, and if done well, can outrank every other CMS for SEO benefits. It takes more work though, and here are some “tools” to still have some traditional CMS benefits while using a static site.

 

Domain

Subdomain (blog.kalungi.com) or Subfolder (kalungi.com/blog) ?

The short answer is Subfolder.

Keeping all your content on one domain is ideal for SEO purposes (Google tries to weigh both options equally...but still don’t do a great job at that), it’s easier to manage/maintain and manage and potentially cheaper from a DNS perspective.

There is one exception to this advice. If you are able to manage a great static website (this requires engineering time and expertise) having a main site with a small number of great pages could be great for SEO, and in that case you will have to get a subdomain for your more dynamic content (Blogs, Landing Pages) that your marketing team can maintain. More on this under the “Technology” section above.

There are many opinions on this topic, so feel free to find out where I got my input from:

John makes a strong case for subfolders:
https://ignitevisibility.com/why-blogs-on-subdomains-are-basically-worthless-for-seo/  

Google says it really does not matter:
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/subdomains-vs-subfolders-seo/239795/ 

But this blog explains why you need to be careful to follow Google’s advice:
https://www.tutorialguidacomefare.com/which-is-better-for-seo-a-subdomain-or-a-subdirectory/  

Of course there is a Moz Whiteboard Friday Video:
https://moz.com/blog/subdomains-vs-subfolders-rel-canonical-vs-301-how-to-structure-links-optimally-for-seo-whiteboard-friday 

This Quora discussion wraps up the debate:
https://www.quora.com/Subdomain-or-subdirectory-which-one-is-better-for-SEO 

 

Hosting

When you pick your CMS, this can point you to certain hosting options (HubSpot CMS is hosted by HubSpot, and they run on Amazon Web Services, Wordpress comes integrated with vendors like GoDaddy and a static site can be run on for example AWS or Azure).

My recommendation is to follow the hosting environment that comes with your CMS, and not spend too many cycles on this decision.

Once traffic grows you can optimize performance with various caching solutions, and you can worry about that when that time comes. In reality, AWS and others already do this for you in most cases.

Stijn Hendrikse

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