Are you thinking of building a website or having someone build a website for you?  Before you make an expensive choice, here are 3 FREE hosting website options.

Are there Free Hosting Website Options

WordPress.Org

It may sound silly to point you to a FREE hosting location, but not everyone is ready to commit to a paid option.  Paying for hosting, or paying to have someone make and manage your website requires a lot more faith than most people really have.  Yet, you have probably received emails telling you how only a professional can build a website.  The secret to website building is really just doing it.  I have seen many different websites that are designed by “professionals” and the website is horrible.  They lack functionality, search engines hate the site or cannot read them, and customers have no options.  Sometimes, those “professionals” then say they can improve certain features for additional money.  HORRIBLE tactics.  Yet, it happens.  So, if you are not ready to commit to a paid option, WordPress.org may be a good option for you.

WordPress is now one of the power houses of websites.  Following the guidance on the WordPress.org hosting platform, you can quickly choose a theme (how your overall site will look) that is free and add content.  With powerful options for customizing websites to add in eCommerce solutions, you can be up and running faster than waiting for a response from someone that offered to create your website.  Even if you just put in the basic elements, you can add in more later.  100% free!  Of course, WordPress.org is not the only free option.  Considering that large corporations use the WordPress platform (through paid hosting) to create beautiful websites, it is safe to say that a website with WordPress can be a great solution.  Also, you can forward your custom domain to the hosting so you still take advantage of any domain you have purchased.

Facebook

If you are familiar with Facebook, you know there is traffic there.  Building a PAGE on Facebook is generally a mandatory online presence.  Did you know that your Facebook Page can act as your main website?  There are a lot of different strategies out there to make this happen, but as long as you provide information through your Page and respond to interactions, you can use Facebook as your main site- at least until you make a decision.  I know several companies that run all of their online presence with their Facebook page as their main source.  It saves them time trying to update multiple locations and they can still drive traffic from anywhere else to that page.  Since you are going to have to set one up anyway, why not test drive it as a main page while you take some time to explore other options?  You might find Facebook as the best solution and stick with it for the long run (which you still need your Page set-up for the long run anyway).

SquareUp.com

If you are in eCommerce, provide services, or otherwise need a shopping cart solution, SquareUp.com is a great option.  It is a credit card processing company (similar to PayPal, but much faster at getting you your money).  Where WooCommerce (the shopping cart solution for WordPress) connects with payment processors, SquareUp is the payment processing solution.  People do not have to leave your free site to make the payment, and you get your money the next day.  It’s easy, and they offer guidance along the way.  The payment processing fees are low, and consistent rates with similar competitors.  You can also get a physical swiper and use the website as an inventory system.

Free Hosting Website Options – Challenges

Free website hosting options do have some pitfalls.  First, you usually have to forward your domain for an easy solution to using the free hosting.  Second, most free hosting options need to pay for the hosting- so they may place advertising you have no control over on YOUR website.  The advertising does not benefit you in any way, other than it helps pay for that free hosting.  In the case of SquareUp.com, they make their money off of the fees from selling with them (which you have fees with any payment processor).

Another disadvantage to free hosting options is that you do not own your content.  You can usually backup your sites, but it is possible that the free hosting platform may choose to shut down your site.  That could result in a significant loss of customers (another reason to make sure your email marketing is started from day one), sales, and momentum.  Paid hosting platforms DO also have restrictions, but you have more control over the effects if one hosting fails.  For example, if your hosting shuts down your site, you simply find another hosting site.  Then, you load your backed up content onto the new hosting site, change your server information in your domain and within 24-48 hours you are “back in business”.  In comparison to a free site, hosted pages that are bookmarked will work again while bookmarks to the free site will no longer function.

Careful but Quick Consideration

These 3 options are not the only ones out there- but give you a good idea of some choices for Free options.  Most paid hosting companies offer tutorials and can help you get started immediately.  As you progress in your knowledge, or if you have some technical skills, you can find many more choices and flexibility with customization with paid hosting.  For some “cheaper” options on hosting, I recommend either BlueHost or HostMonster.  I have had websites on both of these over time (this site is hosted on HostMonster at the moment).  While it may seem complicated, if you are hesitant to pay for a site or pay for someone to build the site for you- try one of the FREE website hosting options mentioned.

-Kim on Free Website Hosting Options

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