What a lovely world we live in where we can just wake up, have an idea and start a blog within an hour. The templates are there, we can customize (to a point) and have the opportunity to then share via social feeds.
This has absolutely been a blessing to so many start-ups out there who started on a free hosting platform and gained the traction needed to start a business or earn some side cash, but is there a limitation to the idea of a free platform?
The quick answer is yes, but there are ways to finagle it so that you could potentially thrive even with a free platform. Below are ways in which free works and when you may want to bust out the credit card and move to a paid web host.
The first angle to look at is the success stories people had on free platforms and the skill set that set these individuals apart was their organic marketing approaches. The term organic in the simplest terms means free, so this can be a combination of working through your friend group and use of social media, word of mouth, free networking events, handing out business cards, or SEO research (although SEO is limited on free platforms).
Another element of success is simply the timing in which a person entered onto the web hosting scene and their topic at hand. When free web hosting was still starting out, you were not up against as many people for the same spot which definitely helped the pioneers of the industry find their niche and stay there. It also helps to have a unique twist to your product or service to make you stand out as well. This doesn't mean if you start a small-business tomorrow that you jumped in the game too late, you just need to be creative in your approach to stand out.
Now, if you have exhausted the above concepts when it comes to free web hosting or want more freedom on the web page, more options for SEO and even if you want to make some side cash doing affiliate marketing, then you'll need to break out your credit card. Unfortunately, free web hosts do not offer a lot of widgets (tools) to allow you to have these capabilities on your page--if they did we would all be in the same position. Adding that little amount of power to your website and business can truly jump start your page and allow you to do more.
So, what am I trying to say? Basically, I am saying it is best for any business to start out free, gain the free exposure through the above tactics and see where you go from there. You may somehow have the marketing skills to build your business organically and that's great. If not, you may need a little help from paid hosting sites like GoDaddy and HostGator which will then allow you more freedoms and flexibility to monetize.
Did you have a successful business that was on a free web hosting platform? We'd love to hear your story.
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Socially Dedicated, a Philadelphia-based firm, provides marketing, content creation, public relations, business management consulting and social media management to small businesses. Check out our website or locate us on social media using the icons below.