Posts Tagged "cost"

Free and Low-Cost Web Design Options

Strapped for cash? You’re not alone. In fact, a low budget is the most universally familiar obstacle to small business owners. There are many ways to safely cut costs when setting up your web space, and finding less-costly web design options falls into this category. Here, we’ll take a look at the best ways to approach low-cost web design while maintaining a polished, professional appearance.

Free Options

There are two main free options available to you—an unpaid worker and a ready-made design built into a web space package you’re already purchasing. As with any budget option, there are disadvantages and advantages to both options.

Going with a ready-made design for your web space is a reliable option. Keep in mind, however, that a creativity-based business can suffer from an obviously-stock template. If, for example, you are a painter selling canvases online, customers will be a bit confused by a standard, boring web space design. Thankfully, there are many excellent bundled designs to be found via our top hosting picks. These designs are included in your purchase price, but still offer customizable and exciting visual options.

Your next free option is to find a skilled designer who’s just starting out. They are rather easy to find if you look in the right places—college campuses are a great place to begin. Place ads on the bulletin boards—real-world and online—of some local colleges and universities. You’ll probably receive more than a few offers, which gives you a nice selection. Just be sure to check the work over very carefully before it ‘goes live’ on your web space. Taking advantage of a fellow start-up is never good business, so be sure to use the barter system—offer a gift card, discount code or even profit-sharing potential in exchange for services.

Low-Cost Options

The most readily available low-cost web space design options are, essentially, enhanced versions of free options. You can find a great deal of customizable, yet ready-made, web space designs available through many different platforms. Many of these options can be customized to the point that they are unrecognizable as ready-made designs, lending your site that all-important air of creativity.

Another low-cost option involves seeking out a talented, yet undiscovered, individual or company. These individuals are in the same boat as you—just getting started. Services can often be obtained at a significantly reduced cost, or through bartering. Just be careful to pay fairly; after all, your business is worth a reasonable investment.

For a world of attractive, professional-looking templates which don’t require an IT degree to set up, visit sites such as ThemeForest. Even those brand-new to the world of web design can customize beautiful designs with just a few clicks!

Safety Comes First

Glitches can occur when utilizing the services of a less-than-professional individual or company. However, there’s no reason to get paranoid.

In order to keep costs down and stay sane, have your web space checked over by an internet safety professional before it goes live. This can usually be done at a very reasonable cost, and very quickly. This is a step best left to professionals backed by a well-regarded company. The money you spend is an investment in your and your customers’ safety—well worth every penny.

The Bottom Line

With so many low- and no-cost options out there, finding the right one for you should be an easy task. However, keep in mind that a professionally designed web space is your ultimate goal. These sites are easy to spot, and they immediately foster a sense of consumer trust. They cost more but, ultimately, that cost is neutralized by increased traffic and sales. Check out our best budget-friendly picks and start building your best site right away!

Annual or Monthly: The Best Billing Cycle for Your Web Space

Depending on which company and package you choose to set up your web space on, you’ll have to make a decision between annual and monthly billing cycles. There are disadvantages and advantages to each type of plan. Here, we’ll take a look at the best—and worst—points of each.

Annual Billing

Disadvantages

In an annual billing cycle, you pay up-front for an entire year’s worth of web space services. These services may include each feature on your site. In other instances, you might pay for a year’s worth of basic service, then add on individual features later at an additional cost.

Some companies make an annual package look extremely attractive by piling on additional website features. However, take a good look at each of those features, and determine which ones you’ll actually use before making your purchase. In many cases, these extras are a great value. Sometimes, however, they simply float around, unused.

Annual billing’s biggest disadvantage is its lack of flexibility. One-time billing sometimes means that you’re stuck with the service for an entire year—or at least stuck paying for it. This is often a sign of a less-than-reputable hosting service, and can easily be avoided by checking out our top picks. The best hosting services often offer money-back guarantees on annual packages, allowing you to check out the features and benefits without the risk.

Advantages

The biggest advantage of annual billing is cost. In nearly every case, the bundled price of a year’s worth of web space services is lower than paying month-to-month. If you are extremely familiar with the company and package, annual billing can be a great way to save money. Another advantage is the convenience of making a one-time payment and not having to worry about it for the rest of the year.

Be absolutely certain that a package is right for you before you make a purchasing decision. In addition, try to seek out companies with reasonable fees or penalties for early cancellation. These simple tactics will avoid feeling stuck, and can provide you with an extra layer of flexibility should your web space needs change.

Monthly Billing

Disadvantages

In nearly every instance, paying for your web space services on a monthly basis will cost you more money. Service companies want to retain your business, and offering annual packages at discounted rates is a great way to accomplish this goal. While this is the only major disadvantage of monthly billing, for those on a budget, it can be a deal-breaker.

Advantages

Ironically, although monthly billing costs more in the long run, it can be a budget-friendly option for small business owners who are truly strapped for cash, simply because a single monthly payment is lower than an annual payment. While this makes monthly billing attractive and sensible for many individuals, be sure to keep the ultimate total price in mind when structuring your web space budget.

As you can see, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing a billing cycle. It all depends on which plan works most efficiently with your needs and budget. You can get started right way by checking out our comparisons of top plans.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Web Space

When you want web space, you may find it interesting just how many providers offer it for free. It goes without saying that “free” is a very attractive price; all other things being equal, you’d always want to take the free option.

Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in; there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and so free hosting is a different beast entirely, with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The question is, is web space worth paying for, or is free hosting sufficient? Let’s find out.

Advantages of Free Web Space

Well, first off, it’s free. That shouldn’t need clarification—you’re getting the service without having to pay for it. You can take the money you’re saving and go see a movie or something.

Unfortunately, that’s where the list of pros begins and ends. There’s no other respect in which free hosting could be superior to paid web space. That being said, that one pro is pretty massive, yes? It’d be enough to form an argument for free web space entirely on its own.

So now it’s time to examine the downsides of free hosting—to see what you’re trading in for that oh-so-attractive price point.

Disadvantages of Free Web Space

Fewer Features

Hosting providers are businesses. They’re not operating for you to run your website; they’re operating in order to make money for their owners. Most free providers also provide paid plans—the free plans are designed to get potential customers for those paid plans. What this means is that, by default, the free plans are going to have fewer features than the paid ones; you need to have motivation to upgrade, after all.

Advertising

One common problem with free web space is the forced advertising placed by the hosting provider on your website. This is a real problem; while your own ads can be an unobtrusive way to monetize your content, the hosting provider’s ads will often be large, tacky things that create a poor impression on users. They also prevent the possibility of using your own ads without turning pages into a horrific mess of ads upon ads that no one will go out of their way to view.

Limited Disk Space and Bandwidth

Disk space is typically limited in free hosting. Most free providers offer 512MB to 1GB of disk space for you to use. That’s not bad, but it’s not good; it’s enough space for basic HTML pages, yes, but complex scripts, images, audio files, or downloadable applications will all burn through your space with great rapidity.

The steep limits on bandwidth are also an issue. If your site becomes popular, users can easily eat through the handful of gigabytes you’re given in traffic, pulling it down until the next month.

Conclusion

If you’re planning to put up a small personal website for your friends and family to see, free hosting isn’t so bad if you know what you’re getting into.

But if you need a website for business or professional use—or if you simply want to avoid the headaches—invest in paid web hosting. In all respects besides the price, paid web hosting is simply a better choice. Just make sure you choose a good web host on which to build your online presence.

The Most Important Web Space Features

Setting up your web space involves an endless array of features to consider. How can you possibly make sense of it all? Well, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax. In this article, we’re going to review the features that are most important for your website. While this isn’t a complete list, it’ll give you an idea of what to look for when shopping for a web host.

Web Space Cost

You’ve probably been shopping around for a hosting service already, and some of the prices you’ve seen probably left you stunned. Services can run into the hundreds. However, when just starting out, there is no need to pay anywhere near these high costs. Shared hosting is a very affordable option, and web hosts provide it for as low as $3 a month.

Site Builders

A good site builder is essential for the beginner and small business owner. These tools will make what can be an incredibly complicated process simple and easy to understand. All the details have been worked out for you, so your website can be up and running almost immediately.

Site builders also let you make your website really come alive by incorporating personal touches. These touches make your site stand out from the pack, so use them well and show your personal style.

Technical Support

You don’t want a hosting service that leaves you out in the cold when something goes wrong and you need assistance. The best services offer 24/7 support and a variety of communication methods. Look for a service that offers at least live chat support. If they offer email and phone as well, that’s even better.

Uptime Percentages

Uptime refers to the average amount of time you can expect your website to be accessible to you and your customers. Downtime should be very minimal. Look for a service which offers a 99.9% uptime rate, and make sure that this rate is guaranteed. Because the more time your website is down, the more traffic and money you stand to lose.

Backup Frequency

Some of us have gone through the frustration of having our computers crash and losing valuable documents and data. Now imagine if your entire site crashed, taking all your information away, never to be seen again. Not a pretty picture.

Web hosting services offer data backup on a regular basis. In most cases, this backup occurs on a daily or weekly basis. The data on your site is backed up on a secure platform, ensuring that even if the hosting service experiences a crash, your data will be safe and secure. This is a vital feature, and you shouldn’t consider signing up with a hosting service which doesn’t offer data backup on a regular and reliable basis.

Conclusion

Each small business is different, but some fundamentals of web space building simply don’t change. Insist on the best when it comes to these crucial components of creating your site. After all, you can’t build a strong site on a shaky foundation, so start with the best and you’ll have the foundation you need to prosper and grow.

Shared Web Space: Pros and Cons

You have several options when it comes to web hosting: shared hosting, dedicated hosting, and virtual private servers (VPS). Shared web space can be an excellent choice for many different reasons.

How it works

Shared web space is exactly what it sounds like: multiple websites sharing space on one server. The number of websites assigned to a server depends on the hosting provider and the equipment’s capabilities. Web servers are expensive to maintain, so many web hosts try to get as many accounts on one server as they can.

Benefits

The main benefit of this type of hosting is its affordable price. A good dedicated server can cost $200 to $300 per month. Even the cheapest VPS can cost $49 or more monthly. In contrast, with shared web space, you can purchase a few gigabytes of storage for $5 to $10 per month and sometimes less. This brings you a significant amount of savings.

Another selling point for shared web space is that little to no technical expertise is needed to use it. The hosting provider maintains the physical server and handles majority of the technical problems that arise. The company’s technical support agents will usually help you with any problems you experience with the service. Additionally, most shared web hosts have a control panel where you can easily install popular website applications such as WordPress.

Disadvantages

Like everything else in the world, there are disadvantages to shared hosting. If another customer’s website on the same server uses a lot of the server’s resources or contracts a virus, this can affect your website’s performance. However, this is not a common occurrence. Reliable web hosting providers work hard to keep their servers working optimally and securely.

Is shared web hosting for you?

Shared web space is the best choice if you’re just starting out, on a budget, or have a website that requires just a normal level of server resources. Most small business and personal websites run on shared hosting. Just make sure you select the right web host to suit your needs.