Are you starting your business online? Do you have questions about getting hosting, registering your domain name? Or whether or not you should get a FREE hosting plan vs a premium plan that you pay for? Review some of my startup answers below.
What’s the difference between a domain name & hosting?
Your domain name is a unique address that identifies your website like www.yoursmallbusiness.com. Your web hosting is the space online where you will store your website data, which includes your html pages, blog, pictures, media files and other important information.
What service should you use for domain registration and hosting?
I use and recommend HostMonster, which offers quality low cost hosting plans starting at as little as $3.95 per month. Their services include unlimited space, a free domain name on registration and 24/7 customer support. Best of all, you can host multiple websites under one hosting plan; you just need separate domain names for each site. You can sign up to HM through me at HostMonster.SistaSense.com.
Is it possible to get started for free?
Free is possible. I built my first sites for free on blogger, but truth be told, everything comes with a price. You can create a website for free using popular services like Blogger.com, WordPress.com or Weebly.com. Most of these free hosting plans offer professional template designs that are relatively easy for beginners to work with. They are all great on the surface, but come with limitations.
For starters your domain name will include the name of your host company like mybusiness.blogger.com or mybusiness.weebly.com. For potential customers this is an automatic giveaway that your web business is built on a free site, which can be a turn off. In exchange for free services you give your host provider permission to market their business on your site. Free sites almost always feature logos and links that promote the host company as a way to help them get more business through you.
They give you free hosting in exchange for free marketing, but how do they make any money? Free hosting providers make money by charging for premium services like removing their links from your site, adding custom domain names and providing you with special features to make your site look and function better. These plans all start off free, but eventually you will find yourself spending money on premium services, site enhancements or the costs related to transferring your free site over to a paid self-hosted service like Hostmonster.
Content control is the biggest concern when it comes to free hosting. While you will always maintain ownership of your content, free hosting services can suspend or delete your content at any time without notice. Deletion only happens in extreme cases if your website content violated their terms of service policy, but it’s worth mentioning because many people have unfortunately lost websites with years worth of content this way. Paid self-hosting is the best option if you are serious about starting a business and want complete control over your content, branding and design.
This is an excerpt of my StartHerUp Guide on how to make, market and monetize your online business website.