Why You Should Avoid Free Web Hosting

I’ve received enough question over the last few years on the subject I feel I need to stress the importance of purchasing your own unique website if you’re serious about running a successful home business.

But Burt – Weebly is so easy to use – and it’s FREE!

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Free is great!  Except when it isn’t…

I get the temptation, but there’s so many reasons why free services like Weebly, WordPress, Squarespace, Wizx and others are are a bad idea for online entrepreneurs.

Professional Perception

When I get questions like this I always ask my customers to “Put yourself in the customer’s shoes”. Would you really buy a $500.00 Canon camera from a website named http://canon-cameras.weebly.com?  I wouldn’t.  And neither would the vast majority of modern internet users.

Additionally once you get into it, you’ll realize how important e-mail marketing is.   Give some thought on how your e-mail will be conveyed to prospective customers.  Who would you be more likely to buy from burt@hotmail.com or burt@top10marketing.com?  Without your personal website, you’d be confined to using generic sounding addresses.

Content Limitations

Getting something for free always comes with a catch.  For free website provider, it’s usually in the form of file space or bandwidth constraints.  200MB of space may seem like a lot, but believe me it gets eaten up quickly with photos, images and text.  You may be limited by the number of e-mails you can send or server support which can slow down your site to a crawl.  Additionally many providers like Wix or Weebly don’t allow selling on their site without purchasing their e-commerce packages.

Poor Customer Support… or None at All!

Got a free site?  Hopefully you don’t have issue since technical support isn’t often included.  If you’ve got an issue, you may be on your own.

Spam Advertising

Let’s not kid ourselves:  “Free” hosting companies are there to make money, and if you’re not buying into one of their paid hosting services, many will include advertisements  to make a few extra bucks.  As a professional business this makes your site look spammy and can possibly affect your rankings in the search engines.

Ownership

Since the host technically “owns” the material on a free service like Squarespace, they have the ability to remove content or whole sites for absolutely no reason.  I’m not saying they will but many have it written into their terms of service.  Can you imagine spending weeks molding your site into something beautiful, only to discover that it’s been deleted without explanation.  That though alone should give you pause.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO or search engine optimization needs to be one of the key aspects you consider when building your site.  If you’re site is properly optimized with the right keywords and content then you should be well on your way to getting on Page 1 of Google.  By having a free website, your rankings are at the mercy of the host.  If Google or Yahoo consider your host to be unworthy of SEO for any reason, your site’s rankings could suffer – despite having the best content, keyword, siloing or link strategy.

Well there you have it.  Hopefully I’ve convinced you that paying for a unique domain and hosting is the way to go.  For those that still aren’t so sure, think of it like this: if someone offered you a platform to the world about anything you wanted to say or sell, wouldn’t you gladly pay a sum of $40 for the chance?  That what a website offers you.  Registering a unique domain name is the first step in building that platform.

The simple fact is that a business owner who is not willing to pay the minimal amount to run a website just doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.  Most new domain names can be found for under $30 per year with hosting at around $8-$10.  If forty dollars is too rich, then you may want to consider how serious you are in making a career working online.

Good luck and I wish you every success with your online business…

Burt

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