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www or non-www – What’s the difference and how to change it

Ahh the big question…

To www or not to www?

So you’ve just bought your new domain name and built your very own brand new website. Now the tricky question, should you go for a www or non-www URL?

In this article we’ll discuss which is the better option for your website, if there’s any difference between the two versions and how to change your own URL.

What is a www or non-www URL?

At this early stage, you may not be sure of the difference between a www or non-www URL. So it’s best if we show you a few examples to help explain. Have a look at the Twitter URL below:

Twitter use non-www URL

Their URL consists of https://twitter.com – Twitter are one example of a site that don’t use www in their domain name.

Facebook use www URL

Compare this to the URL Facebook use and you can see a www in the domain name. They use the complete https://www.facebook.com.

What’s the difference?

So, what’s the difference?

The odd thing is, there’s very little difference between a URL containing www or not. It’s just how it looks. Google has told us there’s no SEO or technical benefit of either option and both URL structures will provide the same SEO link juice flowing through your site.

Therefore, we can safely assume that picking between the two URL structures isn’t going to be the success or failure of your site.

It’s a subjective decision and it comes down to personal preference and usually how you want to market your website.

People who enter charelshopewell.com will still see the same page as those who enter www.charleshopewell.com. Go ahead and try it out.

Land on the same page?

With the Internet as developed as it is these days, a simple redirect is added to ensure the user ends up in the same place.

Why we use www at #One Marketing

Here at #One Marketing, we use a www URL as opposed to a naked URL – which wouldn’t include the www.

You might be asking why we do that. As we’ve already discussed, it’s more a matter of personal preference over a technical benefit.

I prefer the look of the www domain name, I think it looks more complete.

Some webmasters prefer to keep things simple and use a non-www domain name. These are generally individuals after a minimalist style and design.

There aren’t specific figures but there are certainly more sites that use the complete URL (including the www) over sites that don’t.

The earlier you set your preferred domain, the better

So, I’ll leave it up to you to decide which version you go for. But there is one important point to consider.

Despite there being no difference in SEO value, it’s vital you stick with your original decision!

I recommend setting your preferred domain is one of the first steps you should take once you’ve setup your website. You don’t want Google and other search engines crawling your brilliant new content only for you to go and change your URL structure.

Adding www to your website domain name

So how can you change the URL structure of your own website.

By default, WordPress and other CMS platforms create domain names without the www. However, this is very easy to change.

In WordPress use the process below:

1. Log in to your WordPress dashboard.

2. Head to the settings option in the left hand sidebar

3. Where it says WordPress Address and Site Address alter the URL structure in each section as you wish. Just add or remove the www.

Change URL structure in WordPress

4. Scroll down to the bottom, save changes and you’re all done.

All in all, choosing whether or not you use a www domain will not affect how successful your website is. There are far more important things to consider for this.

As long as you stick with your original decision, you’ll be in safe hands.

Set your preferred URL in Google search console

Once you’ve decided which version you want to go for and you’ve set your preference in WordPress, we can make the process a whole lot easier for Google by telling them exactly which structure we use.

We can do this by using the brilliant Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools). If you haven’t yet set this up, I recommend you do so.

  1. Head to Google Search Console and select the property you want to edit.
  2. Click the settings icon in the top right and then Site Settings.

Google Search Console URL structure

3. Now you can go ahead and select which URL structure you prefer to use for your site.

Google Search Console URL site settings

I hope this article helped you understand www and non-www URLs. There really is no difference between the two and neither one is beneficial for SEO.

Alright guys, that’s it for today. Thanks for reading 🙂

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