****updated January 2021
Starting an online business isn’t cheap. I hope I’m not bursting any bubbles.
Sure you don’t pay for office space, insurance or a water cooler, but there are other costs involved. One of them is your website.
Lucky you! There are so many free blogging sites out there! It’s a no-brainer to choose one of the free options to start, right?
Here’s the thing: I’m frugal. I’m incredibly frugal. I will move heaven and earth to find a low cost or free option for just about everything. If there’s an inexpensive way to do something, I will let you know what it is. One of the few places I make an exception is with your website.
If you’re serious about your new online business, there are plenty of places to make expensive mistakes. There are plenty of places to use up your valuable time. You’re going to avoid all of those rookie mistakes.
Tracie’s Tip: Don’t start with a free blogging site.
A few reasons:
#1 Reason Not to Use a Free Blog Site When Starting an Online Business:
With free sites, like Wix or Blogger, or even WordPress.com, you don’t technically own the site. Your content is at the mercy of the site you’re using. If something happens to that site, your content is gone. If the site doesn’t like something you’re doing, they can shut you down and – again – your content is gone. Both of those may seem drastic now, but if they happen to you, it’s going to hurt.
#2 Reason Not to Use a Free Blog Site When Starting an Online Business:
They aren’t nearly as customizable as their paid counterparts. If you want to add a podcast player, a photo gallery or make sure your site is optimized to get the most sales, you can’t do that with most free blogger sites.
#3 Reason Not to Use a Free Blog Site When Starting an Online Business:
It looks unprofessional. If you’re going to be using your site to make money, you need a site that looks trustworthy. When you don’t have a customized url, you look less legitimate as a business and customers are less likely to trust you.
Tracie’s Tip: If you want the best website for your buck, use WordPress.org. Note. I said WordPress.org. NOT WordPress.com. There is a difference.
WordPress.com v WordPress.org
Contrary to popular belief, the main difference between the two types of WordPress sites is NOT that one is free. Both are free in and of themselves. The biggest difference? For for someone who really hates technology, WordPress.com seems like the best option because so much of it is set up for you.
Here’s the problem. WordPress.com has the same drawbacks as other free blogging sites, except with WordPress.com you have the option of paying to upgrade to add customization, get rid of ads, have more memory, etc.
Those add-ons add up.
After paying for all of the ads ons, you’ll pay more than if you just start with a WordPress.org site.
So why would people choose WordPress.com? For most people it’s because they are intimidated by the idea of having to buy a domain and find a hosting service. When you set up a new WordPress.org site, you need to pay for a domain and host, which will cost about $50/year.
What to Know About Hosting Services
Choosing a web hosting service is an important decision for a new online business owners to make. But while making the decision of what host to use may take a little thought, you don’t need to worry about setting up the hosting yourself. Often the hosting company will help you or it’s easy enough to find someone on Fiverr to give you a hand. For a round up of things to consider when choosing a host, check out this Money.com article on the Best Web Hosting Companies for 2020.
As your business grows and you want to expand your site, many of the cool features you’ll want to add are actually WordPress plug-ins. Plug-ins are the bits of code designed to offer special features like podcast players, shopping carts or social media widgets – the things that make your blog site unique, personal and fun (not to mention useful!). The vast majority of those are only available on WordPress.org. In fact, WordPress.org has more plug ins available than any other website building platform in the world.
If you made a mistake and signed up for the wrong account, don’t despair. It is possible to move your site from .com to .org using the WordPress Importer plug in.
What Are YOU Using?
So, let me know! Which web platform are you using? Do you love it? Let us hear about it in the comments below!
Want more ideas on how you can save money when launching online? Check out Launch Tech: The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money