Every individual when it starts surfing the net for choosing its hosting partner get confused by variety of offers. Most of the beginners usually fall into trap of free hosting, cheaper hosting and other stuff that lead them to land in no man's land later on. All there efforts and time goes in vein and he has a nightmare to restart working on things again. There is no doubt that every one out there on internet look for cheap or free hosting, it is very much important to make decisions thinking of long term prospects. Here are some reasons why:
1. Free sites or free hosting does not have any guarantee; there is a chance to be removed tomorrow. The most important reason I like to highlight that, it leads your site permanently removed from search engines too. There are billions of sites are coming up day by day. The popularity of site is much depend up the maturity of it and it place in search engines natural ways, once you get your site deleted from there it is very hard to bring back the new things again as the vacuum was immediately filled by others.
2. Free hosting or free sites are usually supported by advertisements and other stuffs. You have created a free site in sub domain and also find good free hosting. You have done offline and online promotions to your customer's friends and other people who are known to you. Here you are falling in a trap, by promoting the ads and other stuffs of free hosting provider. Also the persons who have book marked your site will not find it again once it is removed by the host.
3. There are hell and heaven difference between a top level domain and a free sub domain. Domains are unique and represent the status of you. No other competitor of yours can steal your name and in matter of time your clients will memories the name. Where as any one can have any amount of free sub-domains, imagine your fate when your competitor starts doing that.
4. Imagine a good client found you on web and become interested it your product and services. Before hiring your services he definitely like know more about you or he will do a research first whether he should consider to contact you. If you hold a free hosting site the first impact of your will go in his mind that you are not a serious seller. To prevent this you should consider a personalized top level domain and consistent hosting services.
5. When you find a hosting company offers services extremely low price, consider twice before choosing. Do a small research to find out why it is so cheap, even below the industry standards. I always follow the principle that "Quality Never Comes Low." When it comes to provide support or services it involve some cost in manpower and other stuffs which a company need to meet day today. Don't fall in trap of fly by night operators, always begin with established and trusted providers in industry.
6. Other mistake usually most of the beginners do is, not keeping there backups at there own, but rely on hosting service providers. Imagine the host's server went down or free host removed the site, you are all stuck and have no option to start again from scratch, which is extremely painful.
7. The most common mistake comes to my knowledge is, beginners are not clear about there requirements. It is obvious that no one knows what is required in future, but if your requirements are clearly documented it will be easier to analyze choosing the hosting services that suites your needs. Always consider that there may be a possibility of shifting from static site to a dynamic one or you may require using certain scripts. It is an ongoing process and if documented properly can help you a lot in near future.
Oops! Seems enough negative thoughts? Don't get the wrong idea ? consider following points also before taking the decisions:
1. Not all free hosts are bad or decisive, there may be an excellent host which is up-coming and can provide wonderful services. They may offer free hosting to promote there services so that they can have customers in there portfolio. But remember those are limited time offers and will be closed soon when they get there desired portfolio filled.
2. Cheap and affordable web hosting may turn to be a great deal, if you carefully compare some of the affordable type plans with some of the more expensive ones, you may discover that there are lots in common between them in reality. Here you always try select which host can have better server; updated software's and provide you quality support in practical terms.
3. Not all the free websites are going to be removed without notice or provide a bad reputation for your company. There are services from giants like Google's Blogger or Yahoo's Geocities will help you to increase your link popularity if used effectively.
4. Also consider reading my previous article (a novice one) "choosing the right hosting solution" here at http://www.arun.info/choosing-hosting-services and also do a net search i.e. example search term "how to choose the right hosting" which will give you an opportunity to read other articles written by experts in the industry.
Finally, when you choose a host ? always think that it is the best friend of your site. When you make a friend in real life you always consider lot of things before choosing and also overlook minor mistakes to keep a long term relation. A web host is a real friend for you as it provides your business keep running online 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
Arun Tibrewal is an online marketing promotions specialist since 1998 and owner of http://www.i-wayhost.net and its network sites.
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Web Hosting, Online Marketing Guide