Why You SHOULD Pay For Your Website

Last week, I was helping a friend start their own website – a simple affair with an “About” page, a contact form, and a blog. They were signing up for a free service from WordPress.com. But my advice to them was to upgrade to paid hosting. Perhaps even within WordPress itself. But upgrading to a paid plan brings great benefits. Here’s why you should be paying for your website, and not using free plans.

Even Semi-Professional Sites Need a Domain Name

There was a time, 20 years ago, when almost everyone had their own personal GeoCities homepage. Those were the days! But we’ve moved on a lot since then. These days we expect even a half serious website to have its own domain name.

Free Websites Don’t Give you a Domain Name

If you host your website on a free service, you get a web address like this:

  • xyz.wordpress.com
  • xyz.wixsite.com
  • xyz.blogspot.com

You get the idea. What you want, is the domain name “xyz.com”. That indicates trust, and the fact that you’re serious. The only time when I would say that it’s ok to not have your own domain name is if yours is a purely personal blog – nothing more. But as soon as you even think of making it serious, you need to have your own domain name. There’s no two ways about it.

How Much Does a Website Cost?

The lowest priced websites will cost you less than $3/m after discounts. I use Hostgator as a benchmark. Here are their basic prices:

Like this:

Hostgator Prices - Why you Should be Paying for Your Website
Hostgator Prices – Why you Should be Paying for Your Website

Here are all the Hostgator coupons for you to take a look at. But the above two are most likely what you need. There are plenty of other web hosts of course, but if you’re reading this article, you’re probably looking for something cheap. And there’s nothing cheaper than Hostgator.

Domains and Hosting – Two Components of Cost

When you upgrade to a paid plan from a free one, you’re paying for two things:

  • The domain registration and renewal
  • The actual hosting costs

Think of the domain name registration as reserving your address, and the hosting cost as the rent you pay for living at a particular location.

Free Hosting is Paid by Advertisements

With a free website, you’ll be living in someone else’s space and they need to make back their money somehow. So how does that happen? Advertisements of course! Providers like Wix will allow you to host your website on their infrastructure and use their page builder tools, at the cost of putting up their own targeted advertisements on your site.

Not only is this a monetization of content that you created, it’s also a betrayal of trust for your customers, since you have no control over what these free platforms show to your visitors. Not to mention that these advertisements will almost certainly have tracking components that will continue to follow your visitors long after they’ve left your page.

Upgrading to Paid Hosting Solves This

Once you start actually paying for hosting, providers don’t need to resort to semi-shady tactics like the above to generate revenue. Not only will you be able to use your own domain name, you will have complete control over the presentation of your content.

There’s No Shortcut – You NEED to Pay Money

As shown above, it doesn’t cost much to start a website. A few bucks a month at the lowest price. In fact, most hosting providers will throw in the domain name for free when you choose to host with them for a year or more. You’ll need to pay the renewal costs after that, though.

Compared to other businesses, starting a website entails a laughably small investment. There’s no venue to rent, no license fees, no salaries to pay, no inventory…nothing! A website is one of the easiest ventures to start because of its low barrier to entry. Considering all this, it’s not unreasonable to charge a few bucks a month for something that can become a hugely successful business.

So don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. For the cost of a nice cup of coffee every month, you’ll be making an investment into your business that can reap rich dividends in the future!

Where to go from here:

  1. Compare prices for web hosting. Or just get the cheapest $2.64/m plan from Hostgator
  2. Install WordPress on your new web hosting
  3. Start creating your homepage!
About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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