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Free Internet Websites - A Comprehensive Discussion on Why Not to Create a Website for Free
FREE Internet websites are less than a dime a dozen. They are Free! We all love the word free. But is free always good? Most of the time it may be but when it comes to making your own website it is far from good. Many free Internet websites out there offer free website layouts and hosting services. But that is the extent of what they offer.
Creating a website and publishing it online isn’t enough to make it successful. A website’s success, for the most part, is measured by how visible it is to search engines that refer a lot of search traffic to it. If your website does not appear in search engines when people search for its topic, then you will have a very difficult time getting the exposure and traffic to make you “successful”. After all, how many people can you ask to spread the word?
Word of mouth is great, but it solely won’t make you a success online. If we take a step back and look at it from the free website host’s standpoint, we will most likely see that there is a good reason behind their generosity. Or is the world just becoming a much better place and people are giving out stuff for free? Let’s talk about, at least as it pertains to the topic of this discussion.
Why creating a website for free isn’t always goodWhen you create a free website through one of the many free website hosts online, you are hosting your website on their domain name and host. That means, if you had your own website your address would have been www.yoursite.com.
But by choosing to create a FREE site with someone else, your domain name will be something like www.theirsite.com/yoursite. See the difference? You are simply a part of their website when you choose to create a free website with someone.
There is a lot of incentive to the free website host provider for allowing you to create a free website and to host it on their server. Every time you get on their website to create, modify or simply view your site, you are providing them with more popularity, giving them more visits (new visitors who visit your site), page views (number of pages viewed by visitors) and hits (sometimes synonymous with visits or pageviews depending on which tool you are using). Remember, search engines favor websites that are generating heavy traffic.
So let’s say others are enticed by the free offer just like you were and they all go creating a free website – the main benefactor of all this activity is the free website host provider. The more visited their site is, the more credible they will become in the eyes of search engines. Traffic is king in the online world and that is exactly what you are giving away when you choose to create a website for free.
You don’t own your codeWhen your website is “piggy backing” on someone else’s domain and host, you do not own the website code. You cannot transfer your website to your own domain and host if you wanted to, not very easily at least. In addition to not having the flexibility, you are very much restricted in your creativity as far as how much you can do to your website.
Moreover, very little, if any support and guidance is provide to you on the free provider’s website. Oh, and good luck finding the contact us or support link. Support is the last thing free providers want to offer. In my opinion, all that they care about is the traffic they generate. They want you to visit them, create your website, then constantly come back to visit it and tell all your family and friends to do the same.
Providing free web-space to thousands of users isn’t cheap. The free hosting provider usually pays for its own servers or pays to use server space and bandwidth (or capacity to handle traffic) of another company to host all the free websites. If the free hosting provider isn’t making any money, it will likely not be around too long.
Some free providers have tried to build up a large database of users who built their websites for free and then asked them for a small fee in order to continue to host their websites. If you are a website owner, your only options are either paying the fee for a below average service or walking away from your website on which you spent countless hours building.
99% of free providers do not provide any guarantee with regard to your website’s content. Many free providers rely on advertising mostly through banners and pop ups. This kind of advertising used to be more popular but now is more annoying than anything. If these reasons are not enough, continue reading for more…
FREE = Your non existence onlineThe biggest disadvantage you have with a free website is that you don’t exist in the eyes of the search engines. Just scroll up and look at the two URLs we discussed. With the free URL, the main domain is www.theirsite.com. This is called the root directory.
It is the main page of a given website. “yoursite” is simply a sub domain of the main domain. This means that search engines online recognize your free provider and not you. This is probably your biggest disadvantage online especially if you are trying to make money and attract heavy traffic to your site.
All that being said there is still a very slight chance that you are noticed by some search engine out there. However chances are extremely slim that this happens. With search engines being the number one resource for website traffic, you definitely do not want to miss out on the opportunities you can generate for yourself by having your own website with your personal domain name and chosen host provider.
Free Internet websites do not please the search enginesSearch engines are picky in the websites they choose to index and display in their search results. After all they too have to maintain their credibility with their user base. They list websites that are heavily informative, free standing, have been around and are constantly updated with quality content.
With a free website, you are restricted on the number of pages you can have. How much information can you provide on a handful of web-pages? Search engines do not tell you to have a minimum amount of pages before they list you. But experience and just common logic says you need a good amount to get noticed. If I were to guess I’d say at least 25-30 pages of good quality content will get you listed.
Search engines also despise websites that generate pop up advertisement and all kinds of banner advertisement that is not related to the website’s main subject. Most free website host providers rely on this type of advertisement to remain in business. You MUST stay away from free providers that do this if you are serious about your website and its future. Not only will you not have much value to provide, but you will also be associated with spammers in the online community and in the eyes of the search engines.
Creating a free website will make it difficult to establish link exchange partnershipsBecause other website owners will see you as if you don’t have much to offer and that you are not important to search engines, they will most likely not want to be associated with you either. This is a big disadvantage as Link Exchanging is a very effective and proven SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. You can still include outbound links (link from your site to another) on your web pages, however just having outbound links and no inbound links (link from other sites to yours) will raise a flag to the search engines and you will remain ignored.
Think about it from another website’s point of view. Why would someone want to refer their traffic to you if you only have a handful of pages, are hosted on a site that is advertising all kinds of non-relevant information and has annoying pop-up advertisements?
You are right they wouldn’t. Furthermore there is a lot of uncertainty that comes with a free website. Many free website host providers run out of server space and can’t afford more to stay in business. Others simply decide to stop their operations whenever they feel like it. It’s like a magician’s pigeon. Now you see it, now you don’t.
Bottom line is that you have no control over your destiny when you are constantly relying on someone else. All that hard work you put in could be gone with the blink of an eye. Search engines use algorithms OR complicated formulas to find and index websites.
A big component of the algorithm is how many other websites are linking to you. If they don’t see much activity in that department, chances are that you will not be highly regarded and possibly ignored. Just like the search engines will ignore you, others will too and you will continue to struggle to get respect online.
Creating a website for free means there will be no progressionHow much do we really value free? Isn’t it sad that without regard to the true value of the product or service that we receive for free, we have a very hard time treating it with the seriousness that we would otherwise had we paid for it with our hard earned dollars?
It is a fact that most people that build free websites abandon them within a couple months if not a few weeks. Many abandon them before the websites are even finished and therefore leaving links that do not work and images that have not been uploaded.
Missing links and images and old content may be ignored immediately by search engines. The algorithm I mentioned earlier is extremely complicated and includes conditions that websites need to meet in order to rank on search engine results.
Maybe you didn’t have big plans for your website at the time you created it but say all of a sudden you have become ambitious and want to add more content and features to it. Let’s say you want a discussion forum, or a simple “contact me” box where your visitors can get a hold of you. What do you do then?
As unfortunate as is it, you will have to start from scratch. This time around, make sure that you create your website using your own tools and publish it online by purchasing your own domain name and hosting service. There is simply no progression with a free website solution.
You will have a tough time making money onlineSuccess is not an event. It is the result of many events consistently gone well overtime. There can definitely be some short cuts along the way to expedite success. After all I am the biggest advocate of working efficiently as opposed to working insurmountable amounts of time.
The shortcut theory doesn’t apply to our discussion here however. Many people expect to make a lot of money online. But many also expect to make all that money with little to no effort. There are ways you can make something out of nothing, but that does not apply here. You may not end up spending money, but you will definitely spend some quality time building your website. And since time is money, you will be spending something..
Choosing a free solution is definitely not doing either and therefore will NOT work. Accept this now before you get caught by a surprise in the long haul. In order to do well online, you will have to invest your time and money. Just like you would if you were starting a brick and mortar business, an online business also requires a certain amount of investment. It is not nearly as much as an offline business, but it still requires some nonetheless.
Just ask yourself, how many successful websites do you know of that were created using the free option? Go on Google this minute and put in a search for your favorite hobby. I can bet you that you won’t find websites created using the free solution, at least in the first 25 links. We all know that majority of searchers online do not go past page one of Google’s search results. If your website is not on that first page, you are definitely loosing out on significant visitor traffic.
In addition, as discussed previously, you are severely limited in your expansion options. If you want to sell a product and add a shopping cart, order forms and other interactive features that your customers can use to conduct the transaction, you will most likely not be able to do this.
Most free service providers simply do not have the ability to provide this kind of advanced technology. I am loosely using the term “advanced”, because these functions today are merely basic and yet most free hosting providers cannot accommodate them.
Free website layouts often don’t go a long wayJust take a look at any website created using a free solution and compare it to any other free standing website with its own domain and hosting. Use one that came up when you searched for your hobby. Be honest when answering which website you are most likely to spend your time on and make a purchase from? Are those pop up ads appealing to you? Do you enjoy those flashy banners that have nothing to do with the website’s main topic? Which site has better functionality and aesthetic appeal?
Forget about all that for a minute. Just focus on the first and foremost – the domain name. Look at the domain name of each and ask yourself which website do you feel more comfortable dealing with. I can guarantee you that this short exercise is enough to convey my message of why you should not go the free route.
Just like you, most people today are smarter and more web savvy. They know exactly how to evaluate a website just by the appearance of it. I know that content and functionality is what matters but appearance goes a long way for many as well. The look and feel of your website can be very important.
Just think about your discussions with you friends regarding choosing partners of the opposite sex. I don’t agree when people say that looks don’t matter. To me that is quite hypocritical, but I will not go there. Looks do matter, whatever much or little, but they do. This applies for most things in life and a website is no different. Just because of the look of your free website, most people will turn right back without even giving you the chance to sell them your products or services.
There are always a few exceptions to the rule, but they are far and fewI wouldn’t be surprised if there are some legitimate free website host providers out there who are simply generous because they know by giving our world can be a much better place :-)
However I would really be surprised if there are many of these that exist. The ones that do exist are very limited in their offerings. Think about it, until how long can someone give out so much for free before tapping into their own pockets? It costs money to buy hosting space.
In general however, if you are serious about building a website that can be scaleable and gives you the flexibility to modify it however you want and make it as big or small as you want, you should not go the free route. More importantly, if you are serious about making money online – stay away from free website creation options!
The only time I’d recommend going with a free hosting solution is if you need a temporary website for a one time event. Some examples include a class presentation that you want to demonstrate with a website, a site to promote a local event you are hosting or say a site where you want to post certain things for a limited number of people to view – like a professor would for his students. Read more about this exception to the rule here.
And even if you just want to create a personal web site for fun, why not add functionality like email capability, or a message board where your friends and family can leave messages? And why not have a cool domain name like your own name dot com for example? You will have all the control over your website and can ensure that there are no annoying pop ups or banners that you don’t want.
All in all, why not just make your own website? All you need is a domain, a host that fits your need, and some software to develop your web pages (there are many low cost resources for this) and you are good to go. Trust me, you will be extremely happy to realize that you made the right decision when your hard work turn into fruition in the form of a good looking and well functioning website.
Owning your own website is not expensive at allMany starters elect free Internet websites because they think that having their own presence online is an expensive and complicated process. If you fall into this category I hope that your viewpoint has changed by now after reading the discussion on website domains.
I can understand your perception of creating a website being a complicated task that often is intimidating to many. I can also understand the reluctance in investing into something you have no prior experience with. However do understand the true costs involved.
The average website costs $5 and $15 per month to operate. You can get a domain name for as little as $9.99 a year. And if you implement an advertising program like Google’s Adsense, then your site will potentially cost you nothing. In fact you will get paid to have a website.
Google pays you to display ads on your website and you get paid each time your visitor clicks on the ad. How cool is that? It is difficult to do this with a free website solution. There is an application process that you have to go through to register with Google and often times you can be denied participation in the Adsense program because you do not have your own website.
Not to mention that you will have to include a few lines of code that Google provides you to make ads appear on your website. Remember, it is very difficult to make coding modifications when you do not own your website.
In addition to the ease of owning a domain and creating your web-pages, most hosting solutions that are recommended provide a web creation HTML based tool to allow you to create your web-pages without much effort. Everything works with simple point and click technology and you will never have to learn HTML or any other type of programming.
ConclusionYou can probably tell how strong I feel against free Internet websites. Free Internet websites get very little, if any, respect in the Internet world. When my sister was 11 yrs old she created a site and worked on it for almost a year on and off.
I won’t mention the name of the free website host service provider but one day they decided to remove her website just like that after providing a few solicitation notices demanding payment.
Anyway, the past is the past. Going forward, I strongly recommend registering your own domain and creating your web-pages yourself using web development tools like Adobe Dreamweaver and Coffee Cup to build your web-pages.
The process is extremely easy, painless and you will be glad you did it. Click on the links above and read my detailed discussion on each topic and you will realize that you can get started in a matter of minutes.
Also read my discussion on hosting. I promise you will learn everything you need to know on this website. I have also provided some credible solution providers that you can further research on your own. The best part about hosting fees is that they are not expensive and you can cancel at anytime you want. Many of my recommendations allow you to try their services for free for a period of time.
If you would like to go with a one stop website service provider (who I went with in putting up this website), look into SBI. They are my personal favorite as they provide you with the domain name, webpage creation tool and hosting all in one place – and that is just the start.
Wait till you see what else comes with the package! Don’t settle for the short end of the stick. Learn how to make your own website at a highly recommended one stop website domain, hosting and building solution provider here.
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