Presenting a Professional Business Image
As a business owner you really need to consider purchasing a business domain name to appear as a professional and creditable business.
Small business owners often start out with free web hosting provided by their internet service provider or through one of the free web hosting sites. Also when starting out, new business owners have a tendency to use their email address provided through their internet service provider or use a free email address service. We are all on a tight budget when starting a new business but a business domain name is one of the things that should not be scrimped on. Registering a domain name is so economical now, there is no excuse for not securing a domain name for your business right from the start.
Not ready for a website yet, no problem. Some domain registrars will still provide you with a domain email address to use. If the domain registrar does not include an domain email address for you to use you can still get email only web hosting to get your business off to a professional looking business.
Not convinced? Let’s explore the pros and cons of owning your own domain name.
Free Web Hosting – Internet Service Provider Web Hosting
Free web hosting is very tempting to the new business owner due to budget constraints. What you may not realize is using free web hosting is detrimental to your business.
How do you think the company offering free web hosting makes any money? Advertising! That’s right. If you host your website at a free web hosting service they will insert advertising. You have no control over what ads are shown. Do you really want a competitor’s website ad being shown on your business website? or an ad that might be offensive to your website visitors?
Put on your web surfer hat. When you are looking for something on the net, what websites have you found that were using free web hosting service that you made a purchase from? Why not? What impression did you have of the business? Did you question the quality of the product? Were you put off by all the ads and pop ups that appeared?
Internet service providers sometimes provide web space with your internet service package. This is fine for a friends and family website but if you are using it for a hobby that will eventually turn into a business (you never know, it just might!) then this will create problems for you later (explained below) because you are going to have to start from scratch when you move to paid web hosting.
Whether you are using a free web hosting service or the web space provided with your internet service there will be problems associated with this decision.
- Website Address
A website hosted at a free web hosting site or at your internet service provider will tend to have a really long URL (website address). Your URL will include the company’s URL.
Example: At GeoCities the website address would be http://www.geocities.com/yourfoldername/
A business domain name should be something easy to remember. Wouldn’t www.yourdomainname.com be easier for people to remember than the example above?
- Search Engines
Some search engines have a policy that they do not show websites using free web hosting in their search results.
The ads that the free web hosting inserts into the website could impede the search engine bot from viewing your website through incorrect coding that hangs to search engine bot up.
- Error Pages
With quality paid web hosting you can create custom error pages for when there is a website problem. With free hosting the visitor will see the web host’s error page and be totally lost.
- Website Design
When the free hosting company inserts ads it could damage your website design or take the visitor’s attention away from your website.
If you use any of the features or designs provided by the free hosting service/your internet service provider you cannot take them with you! Look at the terms and conditions for the service. Somewhere it will say that you cannot use their designs and/or features elsewhere.
- Moving to Paid Web Hosting
If you start off with free web hosting either through a free service or at your internet service provider and then decide to move to a business domain name you are going to have to start from scratch as far as getting listed in the search engines.
When a website is moved from free web hosting you will not be able to implement the proper techniques to tell the search engines your website has moved. You are going to have to start from scratch to get the new website location listed in the search engines again (if it was indexed to start with).
Paid Web Hosting
Once you secure your business domain name, are ready to have a website and secure quality web hosting:
- Your website address will be shorter and easier to remember than the one from a free web hosting web space.
- You will have more control over your web space.
- You will have control over your website’s appearance.
- Your business will appear professional and creditable.
- If you decide to change web hosting companies there is no problem with the search engines.
- You will be able to create custom error pages for those times when there is a website problem. The error pages can contain information for the visitor to help them find their way.
- You can move your website to any web hosting company you wish (as long as you don’t use their designs and other features, just like the free hosting service.)
Not ready to have a website yet? Let’s look at using free email addresses next.
Free Email and Internet Service Provider Email
Put on your web surfer hat again for a minute.
With fraud being a concern today, how comfortable are you about sharing confidential information with someone you don’t know that is using a free email address? Not so comfortable? Well how do you think your customers feel? Anyone can get a free email address or use their internet service provider email address today and disappear tomorrow, without a trace.
If the email address being used for business correspondence is at a business domain wouldn’t that show that the business owner has made a commitment to running a business with a professional business image?
Now put your business owner hat back on.
Say you switch internet service providers, or move where this company does not provide service. You will loose your internet service provider email address therefore, you are going to loose business correspondence! Someone that is not a customer yet might have a business card, brochure or some other piece of advertising that has that email address on it and has saved it for the occasion that they or someone they know would need your service or product. They could email you with an order and you’d never know it.
Business Domain Name Email Address
With a business domain name email address:
- Your business looks more professional.
- Your business correspondence will project a professional business image.
- If you change web hosting providers you take the email address with you.
- You can create different email addresses for difference purposes. e.g. Comments and Questions, Accounting, Sales, etc.
Project a Professional Business Image with a Business Domain Name
Creating a professional business image for your business is important to the business’ success. By purchasing a business domain name you will help your business by looking professional and add credibility to the business as a whole.
If after reading this article you have been convinced that your business does need a business domain name, don’t run off and buy one yet! You have some work to do first.
In our next articles for the Starting an Online Business series we will work you through choosing a domain name, registering a domain name and securing quality web hosting after creating a web hosting checklist.
Business Domain Name Related Articles
“Your e-mail address is one of the first things folks see when you reply to Web site inquiries. What does your e-mail address say about you?…”
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