Website 101: Why virtual hosting is favorable over free hosting

Editor’s Note: At Scoop.it, we’re strong advocates of the content hub and building a place for marketing content to live. Website and SEO expert Drew Hendricks has some answers to one of the more technical questions involved in creating a content hub: what type of hosting should I use?

Virtual hosting is one of the most common options people choose when buying hosting services. It is affordable and easy to use. If you use free hosting, you could be losing valuable sales.  Spending the few bucks to upgrade to virtual hosting can really help you spike your sales as well as conversions. Read on to see how you could be missing out – and what you can do about it.

Ignoring virtual hosting can cost you

You are small business owner, freelancer, or developer. You decide to use free hosting to hang your shingle online. Fantastic! There are plenty of great free hosting platforms that you can use to host your budding site.

If you just need a page with your name, contact information, and list of services and pricing, then you are all set. If you do not plan on growing your site, you should be fine.

However, the direction you want to take your site is to make it the centerpiece of your online and offline promotion efforts, then there are a few things that you need to know:

You Don’t Own Your Content

Content that is hosting on free servers becomes the property of the web host. Guess what happens to content that they don’t like? That’s right, it gets deleted, often without notice.

If you create a promotion, drive advertising or banner exchange traffic to it, you are done. Your information is gone.

This happens more than you would think, especially because of the massive amount of abuse by spammers on free hosting sites.

You Could Be Advertising For Your Competitors

Many free hosts have advertisers on their blogs. If there is a targeted ad for a competitor with a better sales page, better marketing and better value for their pricing, your prospect is gone. You have just created a page for someone ELSE to make money from.

Cumbersome Domains

Sure, you can purchase a domain and redirect it to your free server. However, in certain circles, a website hosted on a free domain can scream unprofessionalism.

Plus, it can make people think you are unstable. Paying for virtual hosting can show that you are serious about your online presence. Therefore, you must be serious about your business in general.

Restrictions, Restrictions

Some free hosting sites offer a wide variety of themes and templates to choose from. Others offer only a few; you need to pay or upgrade to get a the template you really want. Additionally, features you want to use may be unavailable.

Outgrowing your hosting may also be a problem. Growing your website can mean outgrowing your hosting service. When you are ready to move your hosting, you may not be able to take your website template with you. Not to mention moving all of the links from your old site to your new one. You basically have to start over.

I have decided to use virtual hosting. Now what?

Write down your needs and anticipated needs. Do you want a static website, or a blog? Do you want both? Is important that people be able to share your website content? Do you need a shopping cart package? Research your competitors and see how they present themselves online. Do you want to buy your domain and hosting with the same company? How much support will you need getting your website set up?

Read reviews online for the best hosting services. Choose the more recent reviews – two-year-old reviews are a lot more relevant than eight-year-old ones.

Just as importantly, read comments on articles about hosting sites, if there are any. They can give a lot of insight into how the hosting services actually work: uptime, customer service, pricing, response time, etc.

Finally, decide on your pricing limits. Do you want to pay monthly or annually? Do you want to host multiple domains or multiple websites? Find out how much it costs.

Once your get your website going, you can create a custom online presence that can grow as large as you want it to grow.

There is so much you can do with virtual hosting, for example:

  • Integrate autoresponder software

  • Create sales and capture pages

  • Add helpful plugins (WordPress)

  • Simply have your site created from scratch.

More options means potentially more sales and conversions. There is no price you can put on that.

If you want to get 30 effective techniques to master content marketing along with valuable insights from 10+ influencers like Mark Schaefer, Rebecca Lieb, Lee Odden, Jason Miller or Ian Cleary, download our free eBook now!

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About the Author

Drew Hendricks
Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.
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