Webspace comes in different forms, including social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, business pages on Facebook and LinkedIn and many others. Then there are free blogging platforms like WordPress (dot) com, Weebly, Live Journal and many more. The common denominator with all of these is they are free and you DON’T own them. The ultimate control is with the platforms, not with you.
You Need To Be In Control Of Your Webspace
The only way you can truly be in control of your webspace is to own it yourself, or at least rent it! This may be in the form of a personal or business website, a rented page that you have full control of without the danger of falling out of line with the dreaded “terms and conditions”.
The problem is that many people are ignorant of this until they find out their blog has been suspended, or they are put into “Facebook Jail” for not keeping in line with the TOS. You also face the danger of losing the account altogether without the ability to appeal or find out what you actually did wrong. You are NOT in control of your own destiny when it comes to free webspace.
The Pitfalls Of Webspace With No Personal Control
I have recently experienced exactly what I have been talking about with losing free webspace. There were 2 WordPress (dot) com blogs I had that were free accounts with free sites. One has been active since 2013, but both were suspended on the same day for not complying with the Terms of Service. Yes, I am able to appeal and await the replies as I write this, but there is no guarantee I will get these back. That is potentially a lot of time wasted building them up from scratch and something probably ridiculously stupid that means you lose them.
The usual excuse is using the sites for SEO purposes. In my case, the sites were used to curate useful content that needs a link back to the source website to comply with proper practice. Staff at WordPress need to know this, but often they don’t. They can look at your site, which may have been “flagged” by their system, and make a personal decision that your site is non compliant and yet you are following proper practice. They “assume” you are using the site purely for SEO reasons, which does go against the terms of service, when you are sharing great content for your readers based on their interests.
Having a website suspended is commonplace for often incorrect reasons. If your appeal fails, you have no further means to get your site back unless you pay for the service of course, when they seem to forget the terms of service. When you pay for it, you then OWN it and therefore you are not penalised. The control is in the hands of the staff of the company, NOT with you.
The same applies to social media. These days we need a social media presence and most people will use these to the limit without a “back up”. The back up in this instance is your own website or blog. Again, you do not own this webspace, so you have to comply with the terms or face being shut down or banned for a few days. There is nothing “social” about being controlled is there?
Then there is the censorship that has come about more recently. None of this is in line with a person’s right to freedom of speech, but they do it anyway. I have always been wary about what I say and do on social media because of the dangers of being banned, but on my own site I can present my personal opinions without being banned because I said something another person doesn’t like.
I’m not saying we don’t need to act responsibly because we do, but allowing others with a slightly different opinion to you taking offense in what you say and banning you for no relevant and valid reason is certainly avoidable when you own your own webspace. After all, people can choose not to visit your site can’t they?
Is Owning Your Webspace Expensive?
The answer to that question depends a lot on the level you want to personally go to. A domain name isn’t expensive and it’s possible to get lifetime hosting for a one off cost that is also affordable. If you are prepared to spend some time learning the basics, you can start a website and build it quite cheaply.
If you upgrade the free platforms to include your own domain and website, you will usually be faced with a monthly cost of around £25 each month. You will still have the same problems of time spent building the website and creating all the content etc. If you were to use the lifetime hosting option, you will have the cost of domain renewal every year and no ongoing monthly costs. Even some of the hosting companies around offer affordable yearly hosting packages for one (or more if appropriate) website. There are some that will be suitable for a personal website that cost less than $20 for the whole year (Yes, that is US Dollars, not pounds).
The one problem you may face with all of the above is SEO. Every item of webspace needs to be optimised well in order to be found on the search engines. This can be expensive on its own with hourly costs for many good agencies being around £75. Courses on SEO are also expensive, but you can learn a lot using free resources on the top video platforms. A solution for this is to rent a page. You can do this with us at Home Based Business 4U. If you want to find out more, go here and we can update you with all kinds of valuable information from time to time.
The final story I have for you is a top marketer and Network Marketing stalwart used video a lot to help people. Because the platform doesn’t like MLM or what they believe it stands for, they removed his account even though it was in good standing and never once received a warning. He had hundreds of videos with thousands of views, but this made no difference. He appealed against the decision and have many valid reasons why he DID comply with the terms and conditions, but they refused the appeal and he lost everything!
So, do you want to be 100% in control, or do you want to take the risks involved with free webspace?