How To Host A WebsiteBy
There are dozens of ways you can gain online visibility for your business, and some of them are even free. That might sound attractive if you’re a local business owner, building your business from the ground, up. But there’s a world of difference in these various methods to host a website. “Free” might be attractive, but it’s not always the best choice.
If you’re running a small, local business you may not need a full-blown website with a shopping cart, an opt-in form and a few dozen contact forms. You may only need a page or two of content. Just enough to establish a web presence so you show up in local searches, but not so much that you need to hire designers and content providers to get the site up and running.
Consider joining a local network site. Angie’s List is a good example, but you’ll see network sites for landscaping companies, plumbers, organic farming, and all sorts of industries. These sites typically allow you a page of content that you can use however you see fit. Sometimes there’s a small fee involved, but it’s minimal. Many of these sites are free.
On the plus side, these networks generally handle the SEO and promotion for you, they promote the site as a whole. All you have to do is set up your page and you’re done. On the downside, you’re very limited in what you can do with your page. For example, they generally won’t let you sell anything and sometimes you can’t even include images.
Your next option is to purchase shared hosting from a web hosting provider. The smallest packages will allow you to create one domain with an unlimited number of pages. These packages typically run about $5 to $8 per month and they provide enough monthly bandwidth to handle all but the largest websites.
On the upside, with this type of hosting you can do anything you want with your site. You can upload videos, install opt-in forms and squeeze pages, and you can monetize the site any way you wish.
On the downside, you’re sharing a server with other webmasters so there’s always the very rare possibility that someone may hack into your site or one of the other users might attract too much traffic all at once and crash the entire server, your site along with it.
When you host your website on your own private server you eliminate nearly all risks. Your site typically has unlimited everything – bandwidth, privacy, and security – and you can install an unlimited number of new domains and sub-domains. You can, essentially, build an Internet marketing empire if you choose to do so. However, private hosting is quite expensive at around $200 to $400 per month.
Which way should you go? It depends on what you’re going to do with your website in the future. If you never plan to go beyond the listing stage, then joining a network is fine. But if you eventually plan to build up a complete online business, then start with shared hosting and move up to private hosting in a few years, if necessary.
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