If you’re looking to create a website for your business, you’ll no doubt have come across tons of advice, some of it conflicting.
The most common piece of advice out there is – get your own domain and hosting. While domains and hosting are pretty cheap these days, you may still be wondering whether it’s worth it.
What is website hosting?
Web hosting is essentially what allows you to post pages or posts on the internet. A host stores your website files on a secure server connected to a network. When someone searches for a website, these files are retrieved from a server and this information is transferred back to the searcher.
Even if you have a free website on WordPress, your website is being hosted. However, with free websites, you don’t have any control over who hosts your site. You typically have limited control on what you can do with your website too.
What is a domain?
Simply put, your domain is your website URL. Our domain name is www.teamorganic.co.uk. You must get a domain if you want your website to be self-hosted.
In order to get a domain that’s yours, you need to buy it from a domain registration company. You can’t have a domain that’s already been used, although you can have something similar.
They’re generally cheap, roughly around £10 for a year but you can get them cheaper if you sign up for a few years. Many hosting companies offer free domain registration for the first year, so look out for this when shopping around.
Whether you’re new to building a business website or you’ve been looking to upgrade, here are the top reasons why getting your own domain and hosting is beneficial to your business.
1. It looks more professional
Having a website URL like www.mydomain.com looks so much better than www.mydomain/wordpress.com. It looks more professional and serious as you’ve invested in it.
If you’re only an online business, then your website is your shop front. Imagine not having your own name above your door?
2. Your own domain is easier to remember
Say you want to give out your website to people at networking events, they’re going to remember a short domain a lot more easily than a long domain attached to another website like WordPress or Weebly.
If people are searching for your company online, they’ll find it a lot more easily if your domain is simple and not cluttered. Websites with .com at the end are generally preferred by search engines so you’ll find that your website is more easily discovered.
3. Full control
Anything you put on a free hosted website is the property of that website. With free websites, you’re limited in what you can do with the site and how much you can personalise it.
If you use separate web hosting, you have full control over what content goes up and how the website looks and operates. You can personalise your website with better themes, you can edit code if you want and you can install plugins that help boost your site’s effectiveness.
4. You can install plugins
Plugins are tools to help you run your website more effectively. There are plugins to deal with spam, SEO, traffic boosts and to add features like social media icons or shopping carts.
This helps you to create a website that’s truly yours and achieves exactly what you want it to achieve.
5. Earn money
It probably goes without saying, you’re building a website in order to make money. Rather than simply having a landing page with minimal information, you can turn your website into a money maker.
You can do this through selling advertising space, once you have the traffic for it or you could go into affiliate linking where you feature links to other companies for a share of the profit.
If you want to set up an online shop with a cart then self-hosting is essential. This will give you all the control you need and the ability to install necessary plugins or work with a third party who will handle your e-commerce site.
6. Become search engine friendly
You may have already heard of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) but what is it? It’s the process of making your website easier to find in the search engine rankings. The higher your site is in the rankings, the more likely people are to click on it and become a customer.
Self-hosted sites with personal domains will always be preferred by Google. It shows you’re a serious site and are therefore more worthy to share with their users.
With your own website, you can boost your search engine rankings by installing SEO plugins which will analyse your site and posts and give you tips to improve them.
The first downside is that you’ll have to pay of course. Prices for hosting are quite cheap, usually around £3-10 per month for a basic website on a shared server. However, most hosting companies will charge for the year up front, meaning you’ve got a bigger bill at the start and every renewal date.
However, if you would prefer low monthly payments, there are some hosting companies out there that charge by month like A2 Hosting and Hostgator.
Setting up with a hosting company can be simple but it often isn’t. It’s frustrating when you have to wait for things to go live or for domains to become active or transferred.
It can also be difficult and confusing to get started if you don’t have experience with hosting companies. However, most big hosting companies have good support and community forums to get the help you need.
For those who are casual bloggers or want only a landing page with more information about your shop, then self-hosting might not be essential. However, we would always recommend that it’s better than having a free website long-term if you want to make money from your website.
Do you need help in getting the most out of your website? At Team Organic we transform websites into search-engine friendly places.
It all starts with a review, grab a free website review from us here so we can get started on boosting your site and driving sales.
We now offer small business website hosting that’s affordable and secure. We will take care of the set-up, management and maintenance of your web hosting for a small fee.