Anyone serious about making money online eventually starts thinking about getting some of their own cyberspace real estate and developing a blog or website. There are a number of businesses that offer free hosting for websites including Google (through blogger/blogspot) and Wordpress.com
While the lure of free web hosting is strong, there are a few reasons you should consider getting your own domain and hosting account.
Freedom to Do What You Want
On a paid hosted you can build your blog or website out how you want free from restrictions. This includes running the ads you want to run and adding pages and features that you want to use. The only restrictions are how much space you pay for and basic rules like nothing illegal on your site. On a free host you have to live with the site rules and parameters. These rules can and do change from time to time and you must stay current on the rules.
No One Can Turn Your Site Off
Blogger in particular has been known to just turn off blogs without warning because they think that the blogs are spam blogs or too commercial. All your work can be lost because someone else does not appreciate what you built. There is usually no appeal either - just kiss it all goodbye.
Ability to Sell Your Site
So once you build up content and traffic you may think about selling your creation. But if you don't control the hosting, you can't sell the site. Why? Because any buyer is going to want to take control and you can't legally sell most free hosted sites. It is against the terms of service. Also, the host, not the creator, ultimately controls the site. If the host goes out of business or decided to turn off that site, you are out of luck.
What Are Free Hosted Sites Good For?
Testing new ideas without committing to buying a domain name (though domains are so cheap for a year, seriously I'd rather own the domain for a test and if the idea works I can just build on it).
Non-commercial blogs about your cat or kids or wedding plans. If you don't plan to make any money and just want to share with friends and family, than a free hosted blog may be the way to go. They are designed to be easy to set up (though so is a hosted WordPress site).
For posting articles with backlinks to your money site. Creating a network of thin blogs designed to link into your money sites on a paid host is a valid strategy.
What to Look for in a Paid Host?
- You want a reasonable cost with the option to cancel and move your site.
- The ability to install and maintain multiple websites together for that one low fee is key.
- Ease of use.
- Good reputation for reliability.
I use Bluehost for my various blogs and sites because it fits all of these criteria and I've been very happy with Bluehost. There are other good companies out there so feel free to compare. Signing up for a website host is a little like marrying them because your host becomes a key factor in your online success. Pick wisely and happy hosting.