Why You Should Own Your Own Domain
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It can be very tempting to go with a free web hosting service that takes care of all the details, without your having to own your own domain name. That’s a route that many individuals, bloggers, and even small businesses take. It can be a false economy, however, especially if you’re trying to build a brand.
Let’s start from the assumption that you either have or are planning to launch a small business. It almost doesn’t matter what kind of business. You see the Internet as a way for you to reach customers, and you want to project an air of professionalism. Even if you’re aiming for a “down-home” friendly feeling to your business, you want your potential customers to trust that you’ll handle their orders promptly and properly, fix any problems, and – above all – that you’re not going to pack up and vanish overnight. If you’re using a free web host, your site will probably have a domain name like http://www.freewebhost.com/youronlinestore. How professional is that?
Let me answer that in two words: not very. Your customers would much rather shop at a place like http://www.youronlinestore.com/, which gives a greater sense of permanence. It gives you a brand you can build on. With the other URL, people can tell at a glance that you’re using a free web host, and what kind of message does that convey? It says that you’re not willing to invest money in your own business (and with how little it costs to register a domain name, there really is no excuse for that). Would you buy from someone like that? If not, why would you expect prospective customers to buy from you?
Also, if you’re using a free web host, as you would have to if you don’t have your own domain name, you can expect that host to place ads for its service on your site. It doesn’t matter what kind of site you have. To make matters worse, the free web host might even place AdSense or other search-related ads on your site. Think about this: because you don’t own your own domain name, your free web host could even place ads for your competitors on your site – and make money from them! If that doesn’t seem likely, remember that AdSense and similar services display ads that are related to the content on the web page, so it’s entirely possible that ads promoting your rivals could show up on your site.
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