Whether we like it or not, the online authority of a business has become a crucial marketing factor in most businesses. According to statistics, a whopping $2.2 trillion in 2015 was influenced by digital interactions.
Any company, for that matter, needs to step up their online marketing strategies to boost online authority. Traditional marketing isn’t enough to generate leads and definitely, your business will miss out a lot of potentials if you won’t expand your reach online. That’s why as entrepreneurs, your online penetration is fundamental for your business success.
Perhaps one of the most effective ways to boost your online presence is to create a website for your business. However, for small businesses, it could be difficult to manage because of limited financial resources. This is the very reason why some web hosting companies offer free web hosting services.
Some advantages of free web hosting are;
- It’s free, no start-up cost.
- Ideal for testing different web hosting providers.
- Noob-friendly, you don’t need to start from scratch.
But how good is free web hosting service for your business in boosting your online authority? There are arguments whether free web hosting really helps businesses. Here are some factors to get into to know whether or not free web hosting is good for your online presence.
Building Brand Identity
Aside from your logo and your company profile, you need a place to put these elements to build a strong corporate online identity. How can you build your brand online if in the first place you don’t have an address to put them to? You need a solid platform to build your brand and that platform is your company website.
However, for start-up businesses like yours, we know how difficult it is to make ends meet. With very limited financial resources, you are probably putting aside creating a website. But as much as you want to budget your expenses, you need a website to let your online consumers know who you are.
This is where you can make use of free web hosting service for your business. There are providers who can offer you free web hosting service along with having your own domain. For startups, free web hosting could be your entry point in building a strong identity online. With free website hosting, you don’t need to pay for a monthly subscription to have your own online space. You can establish your blog, online store or whatever line of business you have through your free website.
Along with its perks, free web hosting service also has its pitfalls. Most free web hosting offers a subdomain upon their own domain name (ex: subdomain.domain.com). In this case, some users may not take your business seriously. Additionally, free web hosting service has limited options which can hinder more opportunities for brand identity. There are just some brand-boosting strategies you need that only paid hosting can offer.
You already have built your brand identity and customers visit your website but how can you make them stay? How can you keep them coming back to your website?
As a small business owner, there are free web hosting features which you can make use of for customer retention. You don’t a large website to keep your customers. Take advantage of what you have. You can integrate your social profiles to your website as another medium so customers can reach you. Quality contents and useful information and updates such as blogs, loyalty programs and CRM systems can also be integrated to your website even if you are using a free web hosting service.
Convincing people to visit your website and use the service you offer or buy from you is much easier than convincing them to stay in your website or persuading them to keep coming back. This is when user-experience is most important and that is something that a free web hosting cannot offer. In order to increase user retention, you need to keep your website updated with new features. Also, according to reports, 38% of users will stop engaging to a website with a poor or unattractive layout. With free web hosting, you are limited to choosing a pre-designed layout from the list of templates/layout the provider offers.
Tracking Your Business Online Progress
Tracking you lead generation or sales from your website is important especially for e-commerce sites. Free web hosting service offers basic tracking and reporting this is essential for your business. Most free web hosting service provides reporting for data such as day by day, weekly or monthly sales, daily user search activities and product inventory. You can use the data from these reports to come up with new marketing ideas to boost your online presence.
However, if you are looking for extensive reports for your business, you cannot rely on free web hosting alone. Advanced tracking and reports such as statistics, transactions reports and purchasing reports can only be accessed with a paid web hosting service. Also, with limited storage, you can only store limited amount of data in your database when using a free web hosting service.
As reported by Statista, there are about 315 million internet users in North America as of January 2016. This is a large chunk of users and if you can penetrate to these users and boost your online authority, you can catapult your business to success.
Free web hosting could help your business boost online authority as a start up. Though free hosting has its limitations and loopholes, small businesses do not need to invest big bucks just to start making a name online. Free web hosting can help you get started. And when already have settled and you are starting to gain a significant number of online traffic… when you think you are ready to offer your customers more, do not hesitate to expand. You can upgrade to a paid account when time comes that you need to.