I come across sites all the time that are obviously hosted for free. Why obviously? Because they have no domain. Having no domain can cost you big time.
You have taken the time to put together a great website. You have collected pictures, designed or bought a nifty template, and filled it with great text. Your website is ready to go. Everything looks great ? until you decide to host your site on a free hosting account provided by your ISP. Big mistake.
Having no domain name is no big deal if all that you will ever do with the website is post family pictures. A domain name is mandatory though, if you plan to do business online. If you don't take your business seriously, why should anyone else?
Domain names build trust in your website visitors
One of the biggest barriers to doing business online is the lack of face to face communication. When people can't look into your eyes and size you up in person, they are slower to trust you. In the absence of being able to talk face to face, your website and everything about it, communicates trust, or the lack thereof.
Registering a domain name is an important first step to building the trust your visitor has in you and your company. Always keep in mind that trust is much easier to lose than it is to build in the first place. It takes a long time to build trust but it takes no time at all to destroy it.
Domain names are portable
When you go with a generic website address from your ISP, the few dollars you save per year are far less costly than the lack of mobility to you get with a free website address. You may have hopes that your part time web project will one day lead to a full time income. When you have a free website address, you are stuck to that ISP. In contrast, when you own a domain name, you can take your domain name to any web hosting company you choose.
As the traffic to your website builds and your website climbs in the search listings, changing its name later is impossible without taking a big traffic hit. When you have a domain name however, changing hosts will have very little effect on your traffic. This is even more important if your website is suddenly hit with a major increase in traffic. You may need to change web hosts but if you don't have a domain name, that traffic may disappear. On top of that, if you start using too much bandwidth on your free hosting account, your provider will most likely pull the plug.
Domain names make it easier for your prospects to email you
When you have a domain name, it looks more professional. Having an email like firstname.lastname@example.org looks far better and is easier to remember than email@example.com. Easier for your prospect translates into more money earned for you.
Domain name registration is a no brainer and something you should do right away.
Joe Duchesne is president of Yowling. Business web hosting and domain registration are two of the services they offer. Reprint freely as long as you keep both clickable links found in this resource box.