Do you own a Virtual Assistant website, or are you considering getting one?
Well, most VAs, at some point in their business, realise that a website is just the marketing tool they need to skyrocket their VA business.
Some then take the bold step, opt for a free webhosting site, get a domain name, choose a site template, write the best content possible and wait for the streams of customers to arrive at their doorstep.
After a few weeks they look at the web counter (that little tool that tells you how many people visited your site) to see that they had a whooping 23 visitors – of which more than 20 counts were probably the times that they’ve accessed the site themselves. They feel dismayed and wonder if this online marketing “thing” via a website is really working for them?
Online Marketing via a website can do wonders to any VA business ….
….but ONLY if you own a website that works for YOU!
During the past week, I first did a small experiment with the few sites that are listed on the BVAW Virtual Assistant directory.
Now, normally if you Google the name of a business, you stand a pretty good change of finding its website if it has an online presence. OK, I know, sometimes you may have to go to the 2nd or 3rd page on the Google results to find what you’re looking for, but 8 out of 10 times you will find the business – even if you have to tweak your keywords and search results a bit to narrow down the possibilities.
Well, in my experiment, I just entered the names of the businesses with websites that are listed on the BVAW Virtual Assistant directory as a search term in Google.com to see if I can find the actual website of this business.
It was interesting to find the following:
- I could NOT find the actual website of any VA business when it is hosted on a free webhosting site – not even up to page 20 of Google and not even if I optimised my keyword search with the names of the owners. These are websites with a domain similar like www.freehostingsite.yourdomain.com
- I found 68% of the actual websites that have their own domain name e.g www.mywebsite.co.za within the first 30 google results. These are typically websites that are hosted by a proper webhosting company.
So, what in actual fact does this mean?
Well, in my opinion, it boils down to the fact that “you get what you pay for” and that free webhosting sites might cost you traffic and potential clients in the long run.
Disadvantages of free webhosting sites
With free webhosting sites, you are only piggy-backing on someone else’s website and you are not the master of your own destiny. Some free web hosting providers also force ads on your website that sometimes have nothing to do with the content of your site – because that’s how they make their money.
And apart from little to no support, the most disturbing of all the disadvantages is that your site is NOT visible in some of the search engines. You’ll have to rely on directory listings to direct traffic to your site. This is not an ideal situation if you want your website to be a key online marketing tool.
Advantages of free webhosting sites
Free webhosting sites can have some advantages in that it can be a good learning experience of setting up a website for the first time, you can play around with
- ideas for content,
- your site’s look and feel and
- it is an easy way for a “non-techie” person to get online.
But don’t stay there. As soon as you have built some experience with the internet, rather move on.
The best way to ensure that the work you put into your website will pay off is to pay for a unique domain name and for a hosting service that will give you better capabilities. It will furthermore enhance your professionalism in the eyes of your potential clients when you have a domain name that is the same as your company name e.g. www.yourcompany.co.za.
There are great web hosting companies out there – it might be worthwhile to explore some of them – even before you take the step of putting your business online for the first time.
We can really recommend Site Build It! and Afrihost.
Join the discussion – How do you feel about free webhosting sites?
Please use the comment box below and share with us the advantages and disadvantages as you see it? We would love to hear from you.