Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Own Your Website*
If you can’t part WordPress from Joomla, then “Free Websites” are great places, thanks to free tutorials, to start learning the ropes of content creation, the intricacies of web hosting, and the subtleties of running a website (what it really takes to manage a website); for it’s free to join after all (you’ll find out later that “free” is very expensive).
But once that art form (web hosting, content production, website building and management) is mastered, it’s time to get out of the free website cocoon and start venturing out on your own; for there is a vast and wide universe of internet opportunity waiting for you to explore.
Don’t be afraid to take a leap of faith; for evolution (embryo, fetus, out of mom’s womb, baby…, full-fledged human being) is the natural course and order of things in life. The choice is simple: Evolve or Perish.
Evolve by Buying Your Own Web Hosting Package Now! and start your own website. Perish by faithfully staying with the free website, and when they cash in, as a result of selling their stake or interest, you are left holding the bag with nothing to show equity-wise for your arduous work.
1- Freedom of Speech
- Despite claims to the contrary, your Freedom of Speech is not guaranteed at a “Free Website”. There are taboo subjects you cannot touch with a 10-foot pole. If you dare to, liking it to touching the third rail of an intellectual train tracks, intellectual electrocution is sure to ensue.
- By taboo subjects, we are not referring to libel, defamation, racism, sexism, homophobia, pornography, etc. which, in our view, if promoted, call for disciplinary action; we are alluding to controversial or politically charged subjects, which the “free website” is contractually obligated to steer clear of.
- Contrast that with ownership of your website, which gives you the freedom to cherry pick the subjects, topics and issues your are passionate about, without having to convene a censorship committee (editor) beforehand. Freedom of Speech is guaranteed at the “free website” as long you have nothing meaningful to say.
- If you want to lull yourself into a false sense of intellectual comfort that “I can publish whatever I want at the free site”, then you are welcome to indulge in intellectual fantasies and illusions, but sooner or later you’ll be in for a rude awakening. If you value your Freedom of Speech and do not want it compromised nor curtailed, then you what to do:
- It is so stipulated: “By posting Your Content on our website, You grant our Service a worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable and non-exclusive license, to reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform, distribute, modify, adapt and publish Your Content”.
- Even though most “free websites” acknowledge Your ownership of the Content, they still want to use it royalty-free, perpetually so. Which means Your Content is a perpetual source of income to the “free website” at Your expense.
He who owns the pipe calls the tune. Privacy Policies are set by website owners, not by free members. In order to join most free websites, you are required to provide vital information (first and last names, date of birth, email address, etc.), which they leverage to make a fortune at your expense (for the record: we are not against fortune builders).
- Despite promises and reassurances that “your information is safe with us” or “your information will not be sold, traded or bartered”, in light of recent revelations about rampant invasion of privacy, we’ve come to learn that these “promises” were empty, and the reassurances rung hollow.
- If you don’t mind divulging your vital information anyway, why not do so in an environment you control, why not use it (said information) to create your own website (johndoe.com, janedoe.com, yourname.com, myname.com, etc.), your own brand, which you control, and capitalize on it, instead of giving it for free to a “free website” in exchange for access to a “free web page” and/or “free hosted website”, which you have no control over, and come with the usual strings attached.
- It simply means they have the right to assign (sell or leverage their stake in the website anyway they see fit) their interest to a third party, without any consideration for your interest, i.e. your content. They can assign. You can’t.
- You just give them a free license (royalty-free, perpetual and irrevocable) to print money with your content. So, if you want to enjoy the right to transfer or assign your website’s interest without granting same to a third entity (free website), you know what to do now:
- To understand the Equity concept in the website-ownership context, let’s resort to Real Estate Equity: On January 1, 2013 you buy an imaginary house for $100k, with a $20k down payment and a 15-year mortgage (interest rate: 4.5%) for $80k.
- 5 years from now the hypothetical house is estimated to be worth $150k., the mortgage balance is about $59k. Your equity in the house, if sold, would be 91k ($150k – $59k =$91k). Now that the Equity concept (real estate-wise) is made crystal clear to you (we hope so), let’s extrapolate to Website Equity.
- You buy a domain name, a web hosting package, create a website, build it with sweat equity, and fill it with content. That’s the sum total of your original investment, which is worth X. 5-10 years later the website is worth Y (a greater value than X). Your equity in the website is Z (Y – X = Z).
- Strangely enough, in stock parlance Equity is referred to as ownership, which can be leveraged. As owner/founder, you can take your website public (IPO: Initial Public Offering), sell shares, become a multi-millionaire, dream, dream, dream…But before you can make your dream come true and enjoy all the Website Equity you can get, you must wake up first and take the appropriate action:
- If you are under the illusion that a “free website” is a not-for-profit enterprise, think again. If at the outset the creation of the free website was dictated by altruistic motives (we want to save the whales, let’s save Bambi, I want to save the world, etc.), sooner rather than later, reality sets in: the free website must generate revenue and earn a profit to stay in business.
- That’s where publisher-created content (your content) and the free website’s revenue sharing program* cross path. The free site’s revenue is a lion share, your revenue a pittance. How do they arrive at that revenue split formula (lion share vs pittance)?
If you want to take home the lion share of the revenue generated by a website, after reading Top 10 Reasons To Own Your Website, you know what to do:
* Did you know that some “free websites” have the unmitigated gall to advertise with Your Content, without providing any compensation for such advertisements. It’s embedded in their Terms of Service policy, if you care to read them before you join.
Consequently, they rake in millions at the expense of Your Content, while providing no mechanism or avenue whatsoever for fair compensation; which begs the question: what is your recourse for redress and relief? Litigation and adjudication? Before you become a litigious laughing stock, do the smart thing:
- What might have started as a hobby, a platform to express yourself, to keep in touch with friends and family, to rant and rave, to have fun, may bloom into a full-fledged and lucrative business (case and point: Facebook). That’s where monetization comes in. How do you monetize your website?
- Advertising, affiliates, creation and sale of your own digital products (e-books), free and paid membership (freemium), sponsored posts, creation and sale of apps (if your are code-savvy), etc. are just a few of a plethora of ways you can monetize your website.
- While most free sites have the decency to offer a mechanism to monetize your content, the limited opportunity pales in comparison to the breadth, depth and latitude afforded by ownership. If you want to enjoy unlimited opportunities to monetize your website, take action:
9- Email Address
- Your email address says a lot about your level of professionalism or lack thereof (amateurism). If your free email address ends like this for instance: email@example.com◊, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, etc. (we have nothing against the aforementioned free email addresses and the companies that provide them), it’s a red flag indicating a lack of professionalism.
- However, if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc., it’s an instant recognition that they are dealing with a professional, someone who cares about his/her brand’s image, not an amateur. And, as a bonus, an aura of credibility is conferred.
- Furthermore, do you know that most companies will not do business with you if you don’t own your website? Ownership of a website gives you administrative privileges: you can change the layout, the look and feel, the theme (if you so wish), add plugins, embed and edit codes, access CPanel (Control Panel), Databases (MySql, PhpMyAdmin, Remote MySql, etc.), add sub-domains, multiple email addresses, etc.
- It’s your platform, rule and manage it as you see fit. Simply put, they want to deal with a decision-maker, not someone with limited access to a free site. Be a decision-maker, a leader; not a blind and passive follower:
10- Sale of Website
- Last, but not least. After investing years of tears and sweat equity in building your website, you’ve managed to create a formidable portfolio of content (incidentally, About.com, a content website, which was purchased for $410 Million by the New York Times in 2005, was sold in 2012 for $300 Million to IAC – InterActiveCorp), and your SEO-optimized website, the envy of the competition, becomes an authority site, to which other websites are linked (high page ranking for your site).
- The time has finally come to reap the rewards and enjoy the fruit of your labor. Your site drives a ton of traffic to it, becomes viral, advertisers are clamoring for ad space, institutional and accredited investors are eager to get a piece of your website pie, etc. At this juncture (a nice dilemma to have), you have three choices:
1) Stay private, 2) Launch an IPO (stock sale), or 3) Become the target of an acquisition.
- Should you choose options 2 (stock sale) or 3 (get acquired), you stand to rake in millions and live happily ever after, worry-free financially speaking. While it is easier said than done, if you ever doubt the possibility of such outcomes, the table below should help cast aside your skepticism. What’s the value of a Website/App? See for yourself:
Getting rich off of a website-ownership is still within the realm of possibilities!
Based on the case made in favor of website ownership, you may conclude that we despise free websites. Far from it. While we are not enamored of the idea of putting all your eggs content in a free website basket, it would be “dereliction of duty” (as it were) to advise you to totally abandon or severe your relationship with a free website.
If you are already a member of one, keep your membership. But in addition to limited and conditional access to the free site, it would be wise to own your own (if you have not already done so) to better leverage the free site membership. Failure to do so would be foolish and a flagrant and conspicuous display of a lack of wisdom, vision and foresight.
We are not totally against free websites. They have a role to play. They can be a component of your overall and broader social media war (or peace) chess, but not the single tool in your PR toolbox. Relying on a single free platform (free website) to build a vibrant brand (You) is shortsighted, and is not a viable strategy in the long run.
The Ball Is in Your Camp
If after reading Top 10 Reasons To Own Your Website, you are still unconvinced that ownership of your website is the right thing to do, do it anyway! (LOL!) You’ll thank us later. You can make excuses (the homework ate my dog), which on the surface appear plausible (yet gullible), to justify your inaction.
You can use specious arguments (the dog ate my homework) to rationalize your idleness and/or procrastination, but in the end, your action (or inaction) will have spoken loudly for itself.
In light of the benefits and potential upsides offered by website ownership, one can’t help but reaching the sad conclusion that free websites are very expensive. Indeed. Whether you choose to act or not, do the following: Buy a Web Hosting Package posthaste. Do it now!
Every reality begins with a dream; every dream with an idea, an inspiration, an aspiration…The Universe rewards action, but punishes inaction.* It’s up to you to be rewarded or punished!
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