Online businesses have become the new normal, and the Internet has given everyone plenty of opportunity to make money. This has resulted in a huge increase in the need for websites, as well as the need for hosting for those websites.
When starting a website, you have a few options. You can start a blog, you can create a portfolio website, or you can create a business-style site (with a home page, about page, services page, contact us page, etc). You can also start out with a blog or portfolio site and expand it later as your needs change.
No matter what style of website you choose, I strongly suggest going the self-hosted route. A self-hosted website is a website that isn’t hosted by Wix, WordPress, Blogger or any other website building service. However, it does not mean that these tools aren’t available to you if you’re hosting the site yourself. More on that in a bit.
It’s beneficial to choose free hosting with a website building service if you don’t immediately have budget to spend on a website. This will be obvious, however, as a website hosted in this way is easy to identify by its URL, which will contain a .wixsite, .wordpress or .blogspot component.
There are benefits to hosting your website through these platforms, especially if you have little experience with web design. They guide you through the setup, help you choose a theme (free or paid), and you’re able to get the beginnings of a website online in less than an hour. These platforms are also great if you’d like to have a limited amount of freedom when editing the look and feel of the site, and if you’d like to work on the site and add content to it with relative frequency – like a blogger would.
Benefits of a Self-Hosted Website
- Your Online Home has your Name on it
This one is rather obvious, but I’ll mention it anyway. Your website will have your name (or your business’ name) on it, and you won’t be advertising WordPress, Wix or Blogger every time you mention your website’s URL to people.
Having a website with your name (and only your name) on it improves your professional image, improves the perception of your brand, and it allows you to feel confident and take pride in your website.
- You Get to use WordPress Anyway
Once you’ve purchased your domain name and hosting package, you log into your account, go into the settings and you can install WordPress, or other website building tools. This makes the back-end of your self-hosted website look like a regular WordPress site, so if you’re used to using WordPress, the learning curve isn’t so steep.
- Custom Email Addresses
A self-hosted site allows you to set up email addresses that are branded with your business’ name. This, again, helps to improve your professional image, as you aren’t using a Gmail address for your communications. I say this because anybody can make a Gmail address without too much skill and effort, whereas a customised email address shows that you’re invested in the business and take your brand seriously.
You’re also then able to customise your email address and add new addresses for new team members in the future. Because they’re all hosted in one place, you’ll have ultimate control over deleting and creating new addresses.
Once you’ve set up your website and managed it yourself for a while, you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t work for you with your current system. You’re then in a better position to decide on the upgrades you need right now, and what can wait until later. You’ll also be able to make improvements that suit your business and style. Added benefit: you’ll have much more freedom to make bigger changes and customisations that will improve the user experience on your site, and differentiate you from your competitors.
If you’re in South Africa and looking for web hosting, I highly recommend Gridhost. I’ve been hosting my website with them since the site went live and I’ve had no issues with their service. I can even recommend their call centre, which is something I’d never do. If you’d like to view their hosting packages, click on over to Gridhost’s website here.
Disclosure: I recently joined the Gridhost Affiliate Programme (I chose to host my site with them before I joined the Affiliate Programme and before I knew about the programme). This means that if you purchase hosting through my affiliate link, I may earn a small commission from the sale at no cost to you.
If you’d like me to help you set up your hosting, or if you’d like me to take the hassle away completely and do it for you, click here to go to my contact form. Fill it in, tell me what you’re struggling with, and we can organise a call so that I can help you get going immediately.
This is the first post in my new “Website 101” series. Stay tuned as I’ll be publishing new posts over the next few weeks.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.