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Is Free Hosting a Viable Solution?
Is business web hosting really that much different than hosting for a personal site? Yes, there are things you have to take into consideration with a business site that you don't have to do for personal sites. The very first thing that you need to realize is that free web hosting is never a good choice if you're building a site for your business. Many times, internet providers will offer free space for a website, and there's always Blogger.com and WordPress.com.
Why is Free Hosting Bad Business For Your Business?
Free hosting and free hosting sites can be OK for a personal site. But for a business, you want something that's reliable and secure. You're very limited to ensure that if you use a free site. You're often very limited on space. You're very rarely in control of how secure your site is. There's not much you can do if their free hosting has a glitch, which means your site could be down and un-viewable for extended periods of time. That's hardly good for business.
You have to think of your website as an extension of your business. It needs to serve its purpose, and you need to be able to rely on it for sales and leads. It's just a matter of inconvenience if a personal site used simply to share family photos goes down. But it can be a huge loss of income if your business site goes down.
Choosing the Right Hosting
When choosing your hosting, there are several things you'll need to consider. Do not make your decision solely based on cost. Yes, of course, you want to choose the one that gives you the most bang for your buck, but you don't want to cut corners. This is your business we're talking about here.
Get on the phone or at least email us. Here at Hostwinds.com, we will value your business and take the time to respond promptly as any good hosting company should. Explain what you will be using your site for. We'll review it and recommend the best hosting package available for you. What we recommend will depend on a lot of things. Let's look at two scenarios:
You own a snow removal and yard work small business. You simply want a site that builds trust and value in your visitor's mind. You'll have the main page, services offered, and contact information clearly displayed, but most importantly, you'll be using the main page as a lead generation source. So it needs a contact form or opt-in form. This would be a pretty basic site, and it likely won't need extensive storage space or ultra-high capacity for web traffic. We'd likely recommend shared hosting for this.
You own a pharmacy and want to build a site that not only generates leads but makes it easy for your customers to communicate with you and fulfill orders. This is going to be a much more robust site. You'd need the basic pages and everything the above site would. But you'll also need a flexible shopping cart solution and ordering process to put in orders and get refills. Maybe a way for people to make appointments to speak to a pharmacist. Maybe an online chat feature to get answers from a pharmacist right on the site.
We would likely recommend dedicated hosting for this, as you're going to need a lot more storage space. You're going to need extensive resources to smoothly run all the 'applications' within the site. You'll need secure servers to ensure the privacy and security of the user's information.
As you can hopefully see, choosing the right hosting boils down to figuring out what's needed in your particular situation.
Written by Andrea Martin / December 21, 2012