Free hosting used to get a bad rap. It could be highly restrictive. It was difficult to scale up if there was additional traffic.
Today, free hosting has evolved to accommodate more features, functions, and space. Free hosting has streamlined the process of creating websites, by creating professional-looking templates, easy-to-add video and image tools, and universal formatting dashboards.
Free hosting has also lifted a lot of restrictions, but not all of them. Before choosing free hosting, it is important to consider all the options and weigh the pros and the cons.
You’ve looked at your options and have chosen a free hosting service.
What’s the next step? The next step is to get the most out of your hosting.
Read the Terms of Service
Free hosts create certain rules that every user must abide by. They usually have some rules that apply to free hosting, which don’t apply to paid hosting.
As an example, Joomla and WordPress do not allow affiliate links. If you happen to be an Amazon affiliate who is trying to build an information site and insert affiliate links, you will end up with a deleted blog.
Hubpages encourages affiliate links. Yet, due to the overwhelming number of spammers, Hubpages requires writers to disclose their affiliation and insert no more than two links to one domain per article. Otherwise, your content can be deleted – with out notice.
Reading the terms of service and getting to know the rules is quite important. Take the extra time to comb through the community forums to discover what issues users are tackling.
Choose an SEO-Friendly Theme or Template
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the means by which search engines rank your website. In other words, it is a formula used to either put your web page on the front page of search results – or not.
They send special programs, called bots, to index (or spider) your site. These programs are designed to compile data to determine how to rank your site.
There are certain elements they cannot index, or at least index well.
Stay away from:
- Flash intros – These mini-movies may look cool, but they are difficult for a bot to read. They also annoy visitors who don’t want to spend 10 seconds looking at a flash movie. Especially if they see the same movie every time they go back to your homepage.
- Image maps – These are websites created entirely out of an image. Even photography sites with a lot of images still include some text for a bot to read. That content makes a huge difference.
Be sure to use:
- Targeted keywords – Do the proper keyword research (or hire someone) and be sure that each webpage is properly search engine optimized for each keyword.
- Enough text – You need at least 200 words; the more the merrier.
- Add alt tags – These tell the bots what your image is about. Also, be sure to use keywords.
Promote, Promote, Promote
The lifeblood of any website is traffic. Don’t skimp on your marketing efforts because it is on a free site. Use everything you can to promote each piece of content on your site. Tactitcs to promote include:
- Guest blogging
- Blog commenting
- Thorough SEO
- Social media
- Repurposing content
If you don’t have a large marketing budget, the tactics I just listed will keep you busy and give solid results. If you do have a budget, consider using paid marketing like PPC, Facebook ads, and other paid strategies.
Create Excellent Content
For some reason, people put way more effort into paid hosting sites than free ones.
It is essential to put great content on your pages, or all of your hard work in marketing will be for nothing.
What is great content? Great content educates, inspires, empowers, or entertains. It informs rather than sells. Combined with great formatting, links, images, videos and other media that support your post, you can create an excellent post that reaches the same target audience that consumes information in different ways.
Free hosting comes with a lot of benefits which can really help a small business grow. Be sure to create fantastic content paired with far-reaching marketing efforts. Review the service agreement regularly for possible speed bumps and also to take advantage of new features.