Businesses, small or big, must have an online presence nowadays to reach people who are now spending most of their time on the Internet. Having a website puts your business online and makes it accessible 24/7 by your current and potential customers through the Internet.
There are many kinds of websites that you can create for your business. You can also create a web page for your business without spending a dime, such as by creating a Facebook Business Page or by creating a free business blog hosted by Blogger.com or WordPress.com. Free services seem to be good because you have nothing to lose, but will it really prevent you from losing anything?
Facebook Pages are controlled by Facebook, while free BlogSpot blogs are controlled by Google. Without your full control to your page, your business page is not risk-free. Facebook and Google can take down your page anytime if they think that you pages violate their terms and policy.
However, if your Facebook Page or Blogger site is in compliant, you can be confident that it will live as long as Facebook and Google continue their services. But what if Google and Facebook are gone? Of course Google and Facebook are not dying soon. However, no website can stay on the top forever. Remember what happened to Yahoo (the former Internet king) and MySpace (the former most visited social networking site in the world)?
With the rapid changes happening in the online world, business owners and entrepreneurs should be more active and flexible when it comes to Internet marketing. Creating a free website for your company may save your money, but it can also deprive your business from many opportunities.
So should you create a totally free website or page for your business… or should you invest some money to have your fully owned and controlled website?
To give you more ideas, here are some of the benefits or advantages of having your own self-hosted business website:
1. It will promote your own brand. You will have your own domain name (e.g. www.yourbusinessname.com) rather than using the domain of your free website provider (e.g. www.facebook.com/yourbusinessname or www.yourbusinessname.blogspot.com).
2. You can create brandable and more professional emails. You can have an email like firstname.lastname@example.org rather than having an email like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. You will have full control of your website. Your website will exist without depending on the existence of your free website or page providers like Facebook and Google. You can also backup all your website files and transfer it from one webhost to another.
4. You can create more powerful SEO content. SEO or search engine optimization is an important online marketing strategy. With your own website, you can publish more content or articles that are optimized for the search engines and their users. And since you can have a root domain name that is directly relevant to your business, you would have a higher chance of getting to the top of the search engine result pages.
5. You can do more with your own website. With your very own company website, you can create several functions and features with it. You could build a blog, integrate it to your social media pages, and many other things that will enhance your website’s marketability.
Creating totally free pages for your business, like creating a Facebook Page, will help your business to reach more audience or customers. However, a self-hosted website will always be your mother ship on the Internet – Facebook Pages, blogs, and other social media pages should only be your secondary marketing tools that support your main company website.
I understand that many small and medium business owners lack the money to invest on a company website. However, the truth is that a business website is not expensive compare to other marketing and advertising tools. And aside from its cost-efficiency, the benefits and advantages your business can get from having a website is far beyond your expense.
Therefore, whether your business is big or small, create a powerful marketing weapon that can help your business win its competition. Let your Facebook Pages and other free online web pages have a mother ship or headquarter on the Internet. Consider having your own fully controlled and self-hosted business website.