You’re just starting your business and you’re really exited about getting the word out. What’s the first thing everybody does to get the most amount of exposure for the least amount of money? Build a website! With a website you’ll be able to display your products, monetize your blog, setup an ecommerce store and lots more. Your business will be available for everyone. You will have arrived! But where should you go to get your website? Custom web design can be expensive and you’re just starting out so you probably don’t need much right away right? Just a simple site with basic hosting is all you’ll need. As long as people can get to your site and see your business that should be enough right?
By committing to a free website host you are committing to a series of terms and conditions that you may be unaware of.
Sure you’ll save a little money, out of pocket money. But it’ll cost you in a number of ways going forward. You could be setting your business up for slow growth, or worse, stopping growth altogether. Here are 5 reasons why you should avoid free website hosts.
- You’ll be constrained by the templates and services offered
Your business is young, unique and shouldn’t be forced to conform to the limitations of a basic template. Your website should grow organically and it should adapt to match your business, not the other way around. Basic free templates make keeping your website in-tune with your business growth more difficult
- You’re supporting someone else’s ad platform
The way free website hosts can offer you their service is that YOU drive their advertising platform. Your business is being used to directly advertise back to you and/or your visitors. You’re monetizing someone else’s efforts and you aren’t allowed to monetize your own with something like AdWords. Isn’t making money why YOU are in business in the first place?!?
- You’re on your own
On your own for what exactly? Practically everything. It’s now up to you to choose the proper template, build your own content strategy, and act as your own site administrator. Maybe your host will give you support, but their help is limited and you’ll never call and get the same person twice. They can follow your instructions but they don’t know anything about you or your business. No personalized advice or support. You’re on your own.
- You’re bolstering your hosts’ domain authority
The longer your domain stays on the internet the stronger its ‘authority’ gets. Blog posts, links, fresh content… your website should be establishing itself with search engines like Google and Bing, unless you’re with a free website host. With the free host you’re building the domain authority for THEM not YOU. And when you feel you’ve grown to the point of moving to a private host, the move will be difficult and perhaps impossible by your “free” host’s rules. You may not be able to take it with you. And by the way, when you move your domain you’ll be starting from scratch for search engine reputation. Your domain authority will equal zero.
- You’re setting up a “Workaround” mentality
Once you understand that the free web host will provide a limited experience for you and your visitors you’re now choosing to operate in a constricting environment. An environment that will force you to make provisions for these limitations. That’s a ‘workaround’. Instead of fixing a problem you adapt your behavior to work within the problem’s parameters. Pretty soon your workaround is the norm, your limitation becomes permanent and you just ‘live with it’. Not a good start for your business.
- BONUS You won’t have a good web developer to be challenged by
Your contractors are your partners and they should provide more than just a service. The ‘partner’ relationships are there to provide guidance and challenge you in an area where you are weak. When you rely on a good contractor’s expert advice growth happens. You may also be surprised at how far their expertise goes. It’ll probably help you in ways you haven’t considered yet. Avoid free website hosts. Build the relationship.
In full disclosure, LWD offers custom website design as well as hosting but I didn’t write this post to be patronized. I wrote this post to help businesses looking for a professional website to have a better picture of the long-term effects of choosing a “cheaper” alternative. If you want to start off right and build on a growth path avoid free website hosts please.
Whether you’re choosing to avoid free website hosts or if you have something else in mind let the premier web developer in Maryland help. Let’s talk about how we can put that website of yours to better use!
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