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Don't Think You Need A Web Host? Top 11 Reasons You Do

by Amy Armitage

You might think you're saving money and showing good business sense by using the free Web space that comes from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Alternatively, you may have gotten a friend to give you a subdomain, meaning your URL would like something like "yourname.theirname.com." Perhaps you don't have a standalone Web site at all, but have drafted your Facebook and/or MySpace pages into service, making them your de facto Web presence.

This doesn't show good business sense at all. It shows that you are cheap, shortsighted and unimaginative, and those are about the three most unappealing traits anyone could want to project in any business climate-much less a recessionary one that demands first-rate customer service and creative thinking.

Here are 11 of 1001 reasons

There are so many reasons to have your own Web host, custom URL and well-crafted Web pages that it's hard to pick the "top 11." The following, in no particular order, should be compelling enough to get you moving in the right direction.

#1- You'll save time.
You might think that using your ISP's cookie-cutter site-building tools save you time by getting down to the basics. Wrong. You will spend a ton of time trying to make those underpowered "click 'n' pick" page builders do what you need. Creating your own pages, with great tools that range from freeware to the gold standard Adobe Dreamweaver, will get you what you really need, and fast.

#2- Prices are low, low, low.
There are dozens of Web hosting companies, and over the last five years we have gotten to the point that $10-a-month hosting accounts have the storage space and bandwidth that $100 accounts did. A full-blown e-commerce site that would have cost hundreds of dollar several years ago gets the same functionality today for a fraction of that amount.

#3- The site will be you, you, you.
The ticky-tacky, "same old thing" appearance of freebie ISP pages will kill any hopes of individuality or flair. With a real Web hosting package, one that allows you to upload whatever kind of pages you like, you project a unique identity. You will look like you, not another clone of a template from a click ‘n ‘ pick site builder.

#4- Choose your own name.
How seriously will your firm be taken with the name "members.myfirm.host.com"? Name your own site by buying your own domain and hosting it with a professional firm. If you're pressed for time, some firms will handle all of it for you-domain registration, name servers, hosting, e-mail - the whole ten yards.

#5- Mobility and options.
Many professionals rent office space even though they work primarily from home. They do this for the "look" and effect. Today, the first thing most clients and customers are going to see is your Web site, not your office waiting room. You can meet clients for lunch, go to their offices or rent a meeting room if you need to, and save that extra expense.

#6- Help is available.
Your ISP won't help you with your freebie site beyond posting a FAQ page, if that much. A paid host, on the other hand, is in business to be of service, so if you can't get your Flash intro page to work, they will actually talk to you and give you advice.

#7- You get great resources, too.
Hosting companies will put everything you need in the way of free tools, plug-ins, how-to articles and even sales/marketing assistance into one central location. You don't have to hunt all over cyberspace for the answer to your streaming media question. You will find the answer easily.

#8- Easy adaptation to changes.
You can do as much or as little with your space as you like. If you need special functionality, like true e-commerce capabilities or embedded videoconferencing, you can add it quickly. You need as much flexibility and control as you can get, and you don't get it for free. On the other hand, it doesn't cost that much now, either.

#9- Ever expanding choice of hosts.
If you start feeling cramped by your host's plans, you can move elsewhere, quickly and cost-effectively. There is so much competition in this area that you'll never run out of options. Don't like the service? Move in minutes.

#10- Stay updated, automatically.
When you use a top-rated host, you know that they will be upgrading their hardware and software continuously. You will always have the latest and greatest infrastructure behind your company. Freebie packages just can't compete.

#11- It just keeps getting better.
Not only does the infrastructure keep getting better, the deals do, too. You can update and upgrade your hosting plan on an ongoing basis with little effort. Adding up all the foregoing reasons, the fact that it just keeps getting better should be the "cherry on top" and seal the deal. The truth is, there is absolutely no good reason not to have a hosted account, unless you're just playing around anyway. If you're in business to succeed, there's only one way to go, and that's with a hosted account.

Friday, Mar 5th, 2010