Setting up a small business online comes with a lot of options. That means that you'll have to make a ton of choices based on the information that you can gather, which can be hard at times. This is especially true when it comes to whether or not you should consider self-hosting your small business website. Since most small businesses sell a product or server, this article will focus on the benefits and drawbacks of self-hosting your online retail business.

Benefits of Self-Hosting

  1. You can create a URL, which easily beats a URL.
  2. You completely control what happens on your site.
  3. You can set up your site any way you want to, and this also includes the ads that you choose to place on your site.
But, self-hosting your small business site may not be all it's cracked up to be, either. Why? Here are some drawbacks to this popular option.

Self-Hosting Drawbacks

  1. Learning HTML or CSS or both
  2. Re-learning or brushing up on your coding skills
  3. Finding a way to make transactions work – PayPal is the popular option, but PayPal does come with plenty of issues.
  4. In order to gain advertising revenue, you have to figure out how to set up ads on your site. This can be tough if you're trying to gain access to a a setup like Ad Exchange or AdSense. But, ad revenue is the one thing that will put icing on the revenue cake once you start getting lots of site traffic.
  5. Self-hosting can be a mess when it comes to fixing problems and issues. You will have some software company support, but that might not be enough when it comes time to really work out the kinks.
So, which option is best and what should you do?

Software Options

If you are going to go the self-hosting route, make sure that you have picked out the best possible shopping or small business software available. To do that, check out forums and review sites. Read about what other small business owners are using, and choose what works best for you. Don't base this decision on price alone. Consider what each software package offers you, what you need, and what you expect to get from the option you choose.

Setting Up With a Site

If you decide to go with an eCommerce site to set up an online shop, you may be able to find one that lets you customize a URL for a certain fee – a fee that's worth it. If not, you can start off with a site that does it all for you, pay that transaction price, and go from there. You may decide to self-host at a later time. Or, maybe you'll be content with what those sites offer you.
Either way, pay attention to what you're capable of (no coding experience? A self-hosting site may not be for you!), and what you need from a site that lets you host your business for a monthly fee.
Need help deciding? Just ask!