When your business is new, you may not be in a financial position to invest in a paid website. It is important that you consider switching from free hosting to a website design hosted elsewhere as soon as possible. Your site is the only representation of your business that many potential customers will see. You want to make the best possible impression you can from the start because you may never have a second chance. Consider these reasons a free website may be hindering your success and how a paid one can change that.
When you opt for a free website, you are limited in the amount of space available for use. If you use up that space, there is no room to add pages to your website. Also, bandwidth is limited, making it possible that you lose potential sales because someone is unable to visit your site. It can't grow as your business continues to grow. A paid site does not restrict you to the number of pages you can have on your website, and you are also flexible in how much bandwidth you have. You don't have to worry about losing sales over something you can prevent.
A free website has the host's name in your URL. It could reduce your credibility because people will wonder why you don't have a domain to yourself. Some free hosting sites will allow you to use your domain name for an additional price. But you will pay a higher price than you would if you purchased your domain name elsewhere. Trust is the single most important thing that customers need to do business with you.
You want your website design to reflect your brand and bring your good traits to the forefront. A free site limits design and functionality. You can't always include all the helpful plugins, and your website looks like many other sites on the host. With a paid site, your imagination is the only limit where design is concerned. Your website design can be a unique and perfect reflection of you, helping you stand out from the crowd. You are not limited in functionality and can include the elements that will help you the most. You are in total control.
When you opt for a free website, you give up ownership of your content. The host can take your site down whenever it chooses. It may shut down entirely, and often it retains the option to show whatever advertising it wants. None of this helps you. With self-hosting, you keep full rights over content and availability. You won't wake up one morning and find that you need to start over with a new website that nobody can find. All your efforts in growing won't be lost.
The key to being found is in the hands of Google more than many people realize. Google likes sites that are self-hosted better than ones that are on free sites. Google and other search engines take you more seriously on a paid site. They are more likely to place a paid website higher in search rankings than it will a free site. The easier you are to find, the more chance you have to convert visitors into customers.
SEO is Limited
SEO is essential, and with free hosting you don't have the options available that you have with a paid site. You can spend hours making your free website easy to find, but without SEO capability you limit yourself considerably.
You need to know what is working on your site and what isn't. It is important to know what visitors find interesting, what they avoid and other activities that help you better target your marketing efforts. With free websites, you get very little, if any, analytics ability. You end up running your marketing campaigns on guesswork rather than solid information. This isn't an issue with a paid site.
Free may be great if you want a website to share personal information or for fun. But where your business is concerned, you get what you put into it, and a free website presents you as immature and not serious about your business. If you aren't seen as taking your business seriously, why should potential customers?