Have you looked at creating a website for your business yet? Are you confused about the free vs. paid hosting debate? So was I.
Essentially, they sound exactly like what they are. You can opt for a free website, or you can buy a paid hosted website.
So what is the difference, and why would you choose one over the other?
Let’s be honest, when setting up our business we all want to save a buck!
When I was setting up my business as a freelance writer I was trying to do it without outlaying any money. However, I quickly came to the realization that in order to create a professional and successful business I had to spend money.
This is why I opted to pay for a hosted website. Read below to find out more reasons as to why I chose this option.
One of the main benefits of opting for paid web hosting is the ability to personalise your domain name. This creates a professional feel to your website and lets potential clients know you are serious about what you are doing. For example:
Free hosting would have looked something like: http://www.writefreelancer.blogspot.com
With paid hosting my URL is: http://www.writefreelancerforyou.com.au
It is all my own, and not owned by a third party domain.
Which one looks better and more professional to you?
Free hosting can give your site a less permanent appearance, which could create an unreliable vibe. This is definitely something you want to avoid when trying to build a solid business.
Outgrowing your free hosting
Free hosting is simple and easy to set up. This is why many newbie bloggers opt to use this option instead of paid hosting. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you continue to grow and build your business and website then you will eventually outgrow your free hosting provider and the limited features that are offered.
This creates a great deal of headache later down the track, as many of the free-hosted sites are unable to be transferred to a paid site. There is a high chance you will loose all of your hard work when trying to move over to a paid site.
For me, the risk simply wasn’t worth it. I can pay for a hosted website now and keep my fingers crossed that I build a successful business that pays for the site. Or I can create a huge headache for myself when I outgrow a free-hosted site.
Free hosting accounts usually have limits on what you can and cannot do. This can mean you may never have your site looking how you want, or have access to all the plug-ins of a paid web hosting service. Plug-ins are a fantastic way of individualizing your site and ensuring it is user friendly.
Search Engine Optimisation
If you are hosting through a third party (free-hosting) it is more difficult to rank on search engines. If you are serious about building your blog and promoting your business then this could negatively impact your online presence.
I am not saying that it cannot be done, just that it is harder then if you used the option of a paid hosted site with your own recognizable brand URL and name.
If your end goal is to monetize your blog, then steer clear of free hosting. They usually do not allow you to use things like affiliate marketing or advertising and will cancel or suspend your site if you try to.
If you are blogging for a hobby then by all means choose the free option. However, if you are trying to build a professional business or monetize your blog consider paid hosting.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for.
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I would love to hear your opinions on the free vs. paid hosting debate! Which option did you go for? Why? What are your suggestions for newbie bloggers out there looking to start a website?