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  1. #1
    Established Providers wise1's Avatar
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    Question Guide to becoming a free web host - Part 3
    Having looked at why you want to get into free hosting and considered the platform and tools for the job you need to look at getting clients. Now you might think, hold up, what about building my site and what plans to offer? Why have you missed that?

    Well I am going to cover that a little here however building the site and the offers you set are really up to you and depend entirely on the platform you have chosen so whilst it is certainly important I can't cover every scenario so you will have to work on that yourself to a large degree.

    Understanding the free hosting marketplace

    The key to success in free hosting is understanding the clientele. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not by far the majority of signups you can really do without. Gone unchecked you will get the majority of signups from China, India and Russia. Now I donít like using a broad brush approach however it is what it is.

    I would class sign ups from these countries as 98% abuse and spam. They will equate to more than 80% of all signup requests you receive.

    You will receive fewer signups from the ďright regionsĒ, these are the USA, Canada, EU, Australia, NZ, Singapore for example. I class these as the right regions because ultimately these are the most likely areas where you can attract clients that will pay. Fewer signups from these areas are due to a distrust of free services and also because more have the ability to pay for hosting so why go free.

    What you need to decide is whether you want to attract or dissuade applications from certain regions. Once you decide where you want to attract clients from you can build a marketing plan targeting them.

    Who is the right customer?

    The right customer in my view is typically one that you can describe as:

    He/she requires hosting for a personal site or service they wish to offer, they will not upload illegal or nulled products, will not attempt to knowingly abuse the service and will abide by the rules having actually read them.

    If a key element of your service is to try and convert your customer to paid hosting then the description above is absolutely key.

    Of course itís difficult to know whether you have the right customer until they actually host something with you, however you can help that along by simply not allowing specific regions to host with you at all.

    Making use of all customers

    Should you decide to simply allow everyone in the door and closely monitor them for abuse then you can still make use of them. Whilst they may not offer potential for conversion to paid you may be able to utilise certain ad networks to force ads on their sites as a condition of allowing them services. However this can be a lot of work to maintain and rarely yields much in the way of income, certainly not enough to justify the work in my view.

    Marketing to your chosen clients

    Once you know your preferred client group you can market your service to them. I mentioned earlier in the guide that hosting is 30% technical and 70% marketing. You can have the best managed service out there but if you canít convince people to host with you itís all been wasted.

    As this is free hosting cost is important so we donít really want to be spending money to get clients that are not going to in turn pay so we can cover the cost. So things like Adwords are not an option, aside from anything there is really no distinction on Adwords between free and paid hosting. The keyword is hosting and that is going to cost you more than you can imagine to get any decent airtime. Good sports will cost you $4-$10 for every click on an ad.

    So your options are basically down to this:

    1. Google

    The only search engine you need to get into is Google, donít worry about any others, many others like ask.com actually harvest Google for content so as long as you are correctly listed there you will get lots of airtime if you have the right setup.

    2. SEO

    Search Engine Optimization is key to ensuring your website getís listed in Google with all the right keywords. Refer to this guide by Google itís a really great way to ensure your site will get the right attention.

    3. Forum Advertising

    Like this site you should take every opportunity to post ads in the advertising forums. But donít break the rules and post on a regular basis, itís the best form of free advertising you can get. You could even say that articles like I am posting here also help to bolster your reputation.

    4. Linkbacks

    You can ask but donít force your clients to add a link to their site or even a banner if they are willing. This can help get better indexing in Google and other search engines as well as the traffic you will get from visitors to that site clicking the link/banner.

    5. Directories

    There are lots of free web hosting directories out there, whilst I do not rate them as very useful it is still about getting as much airtime as you can so every little helps by either asking or submitting a link. Many ask for a linkback by placing their ad on your site, this is ok but donít go overboard with it, after all you donít really want visitors to your site clicking those links and picking another hosting service.

    6. You and your website

    Last but perhaps one of the most important is you and your site. When you are posting on forums are you coming across as trustworthy? Are people making negative comments about your comments or are you getting ignored? Donít take it personally, learn from it. The way you come across on forums can very much determine whether people will take you seriously and therefore the service you are trying to offer them.

    With a new website you want it to stand out, donít go for the free templates that you see everywhere, it just stinks of laziness and people wonít spend the time looking through it. Engage your visitors by giving them a reason to visit, in order to do that you need content that changes. People don't visit much if at all when the first 3 times they visited nothing changed.

    A very good way of doing this is a blog, something that you can update on a regular basis which informs clients and visitors what is happening, new or simply some guides. It gives confidence that the service is active and an effort is being made. It will encourage people to visit often and get updates.

    Forums are an option however be careful with them. empty forums make people think itís not popular, infrequent posts make it look like there are not many clients. Unless you have enough time to put in useful content and lots of it or you have enough customers willing to participate don't have a forum.

    7. Post2Host

    If you are a post 2 host service then restrict your forums to topics about the service. If you are going to force people to post on your forum to keep their service active then make it relevant. Do not have forums like Jokes, how you feeling, entertainment, chit chat or anything else not related to the service. Stick to things like coding, design, best website tools and topics that are relevant to the service. These are things that people are more likely to stop, read and perhaps even comment on as itís very relevant, after all that is why there are using your service.

    Nobody cares how you are feeling or why the chicken crossed the road. It is a big failing of post 2 host services allowing pointless forum topics that only serve to allow your clients an easy ride when making up their post count each month, make them work to keep the service!


    Summary

    Understand the free 2 host client base, select the right customers for you and market to them using as many of the available resources mentioned to get to them. Donít fall into the trap of opening your doors wider than you planned because you are not getting enough clients.

    Remember that too many of the wrong clients will simply drain your time and you will get nothing back from them.
    All of my free hosting is now private and by invitation only, please do not PM or email me looking for VPS codes, you can only get a VPS if you are invited by another member.

  2. #2
    FreeWHT Novice
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    Oct 2013
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    thank ytou for the tips

  3. #3
    FreeWHT Novice
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    Very useful guide especially for the new businesses or startups.

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