When you have don't have much to invest in your new online business, it may seem prudent to build your business on a site like WordPress.com, Blogger.com, Weebly or some other service that offers free domains and websites.
However, choosing a free domain or hosting is a HUGE affiliate marketing mistake.
While I'm all for reducing costs where able, owning your own domain and having a hosting account should never be considered an option for the following reasons:
- Hosting on a free domain is not really free. The owners often place advertising on your site from which they benefit.
- You have less disk space, low bandwidth, and no access to your MySQL database.
- The sites are often slow to load.
- You get little or no SEO (search engine optimization) benefit. It's rare that a site hosted on a free server will show up in the search engine results, especially if it is a subdomain. A subdomain is usually formatted like youname.ownername.com.
- The owners of your free website make all the rules. If you don't follow their rules, they can cancel your account at any time for any reason, and usually without warning. That happened to me many years ago and is something that I discuss in the Super Affiliate Handbook.
- But the biggest downside to using a free website indicates to merchants with affiliate programs that you are a novice marketer, and many, if not most, merchants will decline your application to their program on that basis alone.
Serious affiliate marketers register their own domain names and hosting accounts with good providers.
To make money takes money… although domain registration and hosting is a very small expense for starting a business that can reap big rewards.
You can get a free domain registration when you host your site with BlueHost.
Otherwise, if you don't wish to host with BlueHost, you can register your domain name with GoDaddy and choose your own hosting service.
Here's a list of the hosting services I am currently recommending.
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Excellent point about owning the site with your affiliate links on it – free sites have too many unknowns. Even if you survive the computer programs that “inspect” your pages (it’s unlikely a real human will have much, if any, say in the process) there’s no guarantee that the site will be around forever.
Squidoo sold out and some of their pages got migrated to HubPages which, after a honeymoon period, applied its more restrictive rules to wipe out lots of previously profitable pages for affiliates.
There’s not even a “safety in numbers” factor – Yahoo! shut down Geocities even though it had an estimated 38 million pages on it.
It’s definitely worth the handful of dollars to own your own domain and your own hosting.
Art Wesley says
Thank you, Ros!
I thoroughly enjoyed these posts and tips regarding Affiliate Marketing.
Are you familiar with ‘Neil Patel’? What is your opinion concerning his methods…
Jim Lillig says
Excellent advice. Free sites are a waste of time. If your time is money then you are wasting that too. You should always own your own name at the very minimum.
Rosalind Gardner says
By the way, your domain name lillig and lillug don’t come up.