What I should know when changing the domain name of a discourse forum

Greetings in the house,

So a couple of years ago I created community.world-like-home.com for international students in France. Today we have close to 30 thousand monthly visitors.

But the forum is taking a lot of time, and I wanted to use Google Adsense to generate some revenue for the maintenance of the community.

But Google’s policy doesn’t allow us to validate a subdomain. So I wanted to use another domain I won worldlikehome.fr

I just wanted to know if someone has changed a discourse domain in the past, and what are the possible effects on traffic? What about the page view count?

Thanks, I have read Change the domain name or rename your Discourse and Massive traffic drop from Google searches after migrating from myBB - #31 by Canapin but non seems to answer the question.

Thanks again

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Why not validate the root domain and continue to use the subdomain? Just because a site at the root doesn’t get much traffic doesn’t mean it can’t be validated.


That’s what I was going to say. And then humorously add, unless you want to lose the SEO that you’re sure has while Google decides that it got moved.


On top level must be enough content and visits before Google approves it to Adsense . That is the major issue.


Thanks @Stephen

Unfortunately, I already tried validating the root domain twice, but Google says it doesn’t respect their policy.

“We’ve found some policy violations on your site which means that your site isn’t ready to show ads yet. Make sure your site follows the AdSense Programme Policies.”

Arriving at the decision to change the domain didn’t come easily. I just realised we have no other option. After a couple of research here and there, including this tread here on meta, I concluded that it’s because the root doesn’t have enough traffic.

It will be interesting to read from someone who has changed a discourse domain in the past, to learn about the impact on traffic.

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I didn’t have any impact. Proper 301 redirections to exacly same content, and telling to Google site is moving is enough.

It takes months before all search results will change from old to new. So what ever you do don’t trash old domain before it stops to get search results and clicks.


Thanks very much Jakke, your feedback is valuable.

I have another question, I was wondering about using a brown new domain (community-world-like-home.com) or an old domain I bought 7 years ago, worldlikehome.fr

What will you advise? I read somewhere that old domains also have domain authority :grinning:

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Engineers of Google could answer that, but they don’t :wink: But it looks like it is easier to get googlebot to brand new site than to old one that has perhaps gotten a label no updates, no indexing.

But the question of old domain is totally content related. If there has been similar content earlier I don’t see any issues — and I’ve done similar operation once and I had no difficulties to get that site indexed and quite high on search results. It is all the time matter of good content in the meaning someone is searching that content, and steady stream of fresh content.

But if that new domain has been like X-rated earlier, then… no :wink:


ok thanks very much, Jakke.

We are most probably going to use the new domain since it can contain the word, “community”.

What about the page view count on articles, are they going to change or remain the same ?

Thanks again :pray: :handshake:

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That can help users to remember, but Google just doesn’t care and it doesn’t affect to SEO-value. And community is another low value search term anyway. You can’t beat older communities :wink: But sure — if/when someone is searching something like students+community+france it isn’t bad word to have in use — but it doesn’t matter if it is in domain.

I really don’t know what finnish katiska is in english but it is smaller fish trap made by chicken wire. I have heavily dog-related site named by that — opening that idea/joke of that name is too hard for my weak english skills. But the main point is that name has zero connection to dogs what so ever. And still that site is the biggest and most important dog-related site in finnish speaking world and top of search results.

Again: it is matter of content. Nothing else matters (of couse meta data must be right, but still).

But you have a domain, so use it :wink:

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My having “community” in the domain has nothing to do with SEO. Ideally, I would have loved the community to remain in the subdomain, since what we want to sell really is found in the marketplace we just launched which is in the root domain.

So hosting the forum at world-like-home.community makes it clear to the user that he or she is in the community, while the main website is at world-like-home.com

Talking about your experience, do you mind sharing your personal experience about revenue generation with Google Ads? An estimate from Google says we can make 600 to 1000 euros per month. But how was your experience with Adsense, did the initial estimate match the actual revenue?

What’s the link to your community? I will like to have a look to see how ads are displayed.

The link in your profile is broken.



Thanks again

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No. It is an over positive estimation.

But, it depends what prices you get from companies. This is more or less, perhaps more less, just another guideline, but you will get 100 € a month when you have real visitors at least 1000 a day and bounce rate is under 90 %. But it will increase with more visits, and that is not linear increasing, more lika log-style :wink:

But for some reason I don’t totally understand Discouse will generate less revenue than WordPress for example. There can be two reasons:

  • companies don’t value forums as high than CMS/blogs
  • Google likes to see useful content, monetizing wise, in the first post and that is not the reality in the most of cases

This is far way from good UX but if someone is asking like how an international student can get some support if he/she feels lonely and then there will be a real valuable answer, moderator/admin should split right away that topic and use that answer as an independent, but linked of course, topic starter.

That way you will maximize its value. But you will force users jumping around in forum too.

And this is even weaker claim: similar content published in WordPress/another CMS will get better SEO value and bigger ad-revenue than similat topic in Discourse. But than can be just an illusion, I admit that. Because all of my CMS-sites are way bigger than forums. You are in totally different situation and I’m sure Discourse can serve you and your audience better than any CMS based blog’ish solution.

But… perhaps you could recycle value forum-content to CMS?

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ok thanks, let’s see how it goes.

Not a good solution since Google Ads is just a way to support the forum while our marketplace gathers some momentum. We have something like 140k monthly page views with an average time of 3 minutes 40 seconds.

This can serve us well, as we have a lot of first posts with rich content.


No it is not. You hit geo-blocking.


Nothing fancy. I use same ad-plugin as (almost) everyone here and Google will make its mind what and where is shown.