Many companies have websites such as www.yahoo.ca/maryshairdressing or www.telus.net/henryscontracting because they use free or included websites, but is this a good deal for your business?

Using a free or included website domain name won’t strengthen your brand as much as hosting your own website would. When you use a free domain name, you’re sharing it with several other businesses, that’s only distinguished by a portion of the domain name. It doesn’t look professional, either.

Availability and reputation is also a potential issue. Companies that supply free websites are usually interested in extracting all of the ad revenue they can out of your sites. They don’t necessarily care if your website is running properly all of the time. As long as people are still clicking on ads somewhere, they are making money.

Free website providers aren’t picky about what they’re advertising, either. Would you like for somebody to go to your website and see an advertisement for your competitor? Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don’t focus on their client’s websites. Their primary purpose is providing connectivity. In our experience, these sites are often slow and go offline without notice. ISPs tend to be unresponsive to the needs of the individual customer in this regard.

Using a free or included website doesn’t give you much flexibility. You are locked into the name you are using with the provider. You cannot change your website provider without rebranding everything, and sometimes you have to redo your entire website.

Getting your own domain name isn’t expensive. In fact, buying a domain from a registrar like GoDaddy or Webnames usually costs between $12 to $25 per year, depending on the registrar. You can use an old computer in your basement to run your website, you can use a server on the internet, or you could even use servers that scale up and down depending on the traffic to your website.

For more information on hosting your own domain name, refer to our previous article about email domain names or contact us.