Regardless of whether you work from home or have a brick and mortar business, you’ll want to have a website. It’s still possible to get a business off the ground without a website but it can take a long time to build a large, loyal customer base.
Also, more people are buying things online now than ever before. In fact, TechCrunch reports that 8 in 10 people, or 79% of people buy things online now! And these numbers are only going to increase. Who wouldn’t want a slice of that pie?
If you’re scared of the technical side of things (like me), you’ll be able to find many options that have incredible pre-made templates (1000’s of them!) for you to choose from, all set and ready to go, along with great technical help when you need it.
In this article, we’re focusing on FREE options which will work nicely to get your business off the ground. Many of the hosting options listed here will offer the ability to upgrade as well, which won’t be free, but may add some cool features that the free versions don’t include.
Your FREE Hosting Options
There are SO many to choose from these days, it’ll confuse the heck out anyone! We’ve researched and recommend a few of the trusted hosting providers only, which are included below.
I’m sure in another year, we’ll have to update our list again but, for now we believe the following options are the best available for FREE…and one for ALMOST FREE but worth mentioning ?.
SiteRubix (powered by Wealthy Affiliate) allows you to start two FREE websites to develop and use however you like. It’s a great way to get started. You can choose to buy the “.com” or “.org” for your site as well, which may tend to rank better in the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo etc.).
- Responsive – can be used on ANY screen size like mobile, tablets etc. Looks professional on any screen, large or small.
- 1000s of template designs to choose from
- Outstanding tech support 24/7
- One click set up
- Keyword and competition research tools – helping you find the best ways to reach new customers by using the right search terms on your site.
- Community of people (outside of tech support) to help you trouble shoot issues not just with your site, but also with your business. This is the key difference between SiteRubix and the others!
More information on SiteRubix for small businesses can be found here.
Wix is another solid option, and becoming wildly popular!
- 500MB storage (with upgrade, can get up to 20 GB)
- Drag and drop design
- Up to $300 worth of ad credits for your business
- No tech skills needed (major bonus)
Weebly is another very popular choice, perhaps not quite as solid as Wix or SiteRubix, but certainly holds it’s own.
- 500 MB storage
- Tech/community support
- Free Weebly sub-domain
- Drag/drop features
- Great E-commerce option but will need to upgrade to the $12/mo plan
AwardSpace has been around over 11 years now, and getting more established.
- 5 GB bandwidth
- 1 GB storage
- No Ads! – other free hosting will often have ads
- Does not have drag/drop capabilities but WordPress installers make it user friendly
- Email account (one, with spam filter)
Bravenet is yet a great ALMOST FREE option. They’ve been around for awhile now and have established a good repution. You can get started for as little as .99 cents so not free, but hey it’s not too expensive at all!
- 1 GB bandwidth
- 500 MB storage
- Drag/drop feature
- free Bravenet subdomain.
- 1 email with 250MB storage
Freehostia – although the name seems a bit unusual, what it offers is quite appealing.
- No Ads! Always a bonus.
- 250 MB storage (not as much as some of the others, but nothing to scoff at)
- 3 email accounts
- 5 hosted domains
- One click installer
Although any of the above hosting options are great…they’re FREE (well, most of them anyway:), and have similar storage and other features.
But we like SiteRubix because it offers an amazing training platform to help get your business off the ground and expand your reach. The other hosting options don’t have that.
SiteRubix, paired with Wealthy Affiliate, provides training that teaches you HOW to reach customers by explaining how to write content for your site, SEO strategies, how to choose the right keywords to place on your site that will draw in more people to your site.
And if you run into problems? Don’t sweat it – there are over 1 million members you can reach out to who are happy to help you out, 24/7.
We are clearly biased because we use SiteRubix and love it! The tech aspects of building a website scared us and we never have to worry about that any more. If we have issues, we get them resolved within a few hours (minutes usually).
They have well over 2000 templates to choose from once you get going. And once you pick one, all you have to do is post your content and SiteRubix takes care of the rest.
How Do You Get Started?
Now that you’ve chosen a hosting provider, it’s time to get your site up and running.
Pick a domain name for your business, which is usually just the name of your business. However, if it’s not available (meaning someone else has already purchased that domain name), you can pick something that is similar.
The beauty of Siterubix is that you also have access to an incredible training platform with over a million other small (and large) business owners through a program called Wealthy Affiliate.
Despite it’s name, Wealthy Affiliate is not just a community for online marketers – the training is useful for ANYONE who wants to expand their business, whatever business it is, by using the power of the internet. A review of the program can be found here.
Take a peek below…and type the name of your website below.
Congratulations on finding your website name!
Create Your Website
Start by creating some content on your site. Many of the templates are self explanatory and fun to use. Just remember to be yourself when writing and don’t make it sound too technical.
People are really wanting to get a sense of who your are so write like your talking to a friend. It will make you come off as likable and people will be more likely to trust you.
Again – with the above hosting options you won’t need to worry about knowing how to write code or any of the other technical stuff – how awesome right!
Figure out how you want to structure your site and include the following.
- Homepage or Blogroll – explaining who you are, what type of business you have, location (if you own a brick/mortar business)
- Product or Service overview – What you are offering.
- About page – tell people a little about yourself. Make it fun, and show your personality! If you’re comfortable, add a photo of yourself or at least a picture of your business, a logo, or something related to your business.
- Contact page – provide an email address (often included with your hosting package), a business number (if you have one), and physical location (if you have a store, shop etc.).
- Blog – This is how you can interact with your current customers AND new potential customers. This interactive part of a website can be optional, but it’s a key part of drawing people to your site. By providing regular blog posts on your site, the search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. will rank you higher than your competitors and at some point, first page rankings! This is what you want. More on how to achieve this can be found at Wealthy Affiliate. (linked to the SiteRubix hosting)
Make Your Site Responsive
Essentially this just means make it readable and easy/quick to load on mobile devices, not just on laptops, PC’s and the like.
Your hosting provider will be able to help you choose which design will work best for your type of business.
So many people are searching online with their mobile devices these days that you want to pick a template that is mobile friendly. If your site takes too long to load, they may hit the back button and go to someone else’s business.
We hope you’ve found some useful options and tips here to create a stellar website for your business.
Owning your own business is a lot of work, but can be so rewarding! People are actively searching for the product or services you have to offer. And many of those people begin their search online.
Having a nicely designed, professional looking website can add a lot of value to your business. And if done right, you can attract droves of new customers looking to purchase your product or service!
If you have any experiences with any of the above hosting options, or about how to grow your business, leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by.