I am in the process of redeveloping a site that I have just purchased. The site has always had a forum associated with it, but currently the URL is not associated with the website itself which I see as a weakness as I want to ensure the site itself gets as many visits as possible.
The forum was extremely popular in the past but the site has lost popularity recently, since getting affected by a Panda update a year or two ago. So there is a huge forum with tens of thousands of users and posts that I obviously want to keep. However, the forum is currently held on URL.ibphost.com so if you go on Alexa (or another similar site) and type the URL of the main site, I don't think it will be including visits to the forum (or perhaps I am wrong?).
I have the option to change the URL to forum.URL.com, but all of the modern forums seem to be an extension of the main URL i.e. www.URL.com/forum, which seems more difficult to carry out from a development point of view. Would the latter have any benefits or would I be getting exactly the same things in the way of website popularity as seen by Google and the visit-tracking sites, by having forum.URL.com?
I want the site (www.URL.com) to seem as popular as possible so that all the visits to both the forum and the main pages of the website are tracked unilaterally.
Thanks, any advice would be appreciated.