I know that it is risky to choose free service. As is often said, you get what you pay for, but I have to admit there are some awesome resources out there for creating a website free of charge and I have tried them. For the most part, I liked them. I was happy with my layout and graphics and how it all looked and came together until.
Yes, there is always an “until.” In almost every case the “until” moment came after I published my free website. When I returned, I could not find it. Where did it go? What was the name again?
The problem with the free website design and free web hosting providers is that your website – your brand – your hard work – usually becomes a sub domain of someone else’s business. I do not know about you, but that does not sound like a fair exchange to me. With a variety of affordable web hosting providers available why would I choose one that places someone else’s name before mine?
Every marketing professional will tell you that your business must have a sign. In brick and mortar businesses, that sign hangs on your storefront. In internet businesses that sign is your URL and it can be found by search engines, customers, or anyone looking online for your business or your product. I am not going to talk about what to name your online business here – that is a different discussion. I am going to talk about where your online business should reside.
Your online business should reside with a reputable web hosting provider that can document a track record of expanding and improving their service. Years in business, accompanied by the services that they are able to provide are good indicators that they have invested wisely in their business and that they plan to be around for many more years. Look for customer referrals and click on their websites. How do they look?
Finally, and this is most important to me, find out about their customer service. Does the web hosting provider allow you to talk to a person or are you only able to submit trouble tickets and wait for a reply? Yes, it is an online world, but sometimes, I like to hear a voice and work together in real time to solve a problem.