Costs aren’t typically a huge issue when it comes to hosting webinars for your viewers.
If you have a computer and an internet connection, you’ve already covered most of the expenses for your presentation.
There is one more component to the cost, however, and that is the online software which will enable you to actually conduct the conference on.
There are many, many options when it comes to choosing the right platform to host your webinar with.
Some are premium, with price tags typically floating in the $25-80/month range. These usually offer additional features for their price, and enable more ways to connect with viewers.
However, especially if you are just starting up in the field and do not want to commit to this expense right away, there are also a number of options which give most of the essential functions of hosting platforms for free. This short guide will touch on some of these.
- Skype: I bet you all heard of this one. Skype uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology to allow people to talk to each other online.
- Single calls, group/conference calls, video calls- you name it.
- Additionally, Skype also has screen and file sharing functions enabled right out of the gate. Since, essentially, webinars are online conferences, Skype works really well for simple webinars.
- Simply set up a group video call with screen sharing on the speaker’s end and talk away.
- Skype can support group calling with up to 25 attendees, and the platform is both completely free and ubiquitous enough that pretty much anyone will have already used it or at least will know about it.
- Google+ Hangouts: This is essentially Google’s answer to Skype, and another solid, free platform for online meetings and conferences.
- It is part of the Google+ software framework, but can be considered a program to itself. It has many of the features mentioned above, including video calling and group conferencing.
- Furthermore, it works well within the online “software family” Google already has created. This means that it will display additional interface functions connecting Hangouts to Gmail (useful for email listing), Google Chat (great for moderators to keep an eye on issues and answer questions) and Google+ for social outreach. Google Hangouts is completely free, but will require you to create a Google+ account to use it.
Free For Up To 10 Participants:
- Anymeeting: Designed specifically for small firms and startups which may require video conferencing regularly, Anymeeting allows for free webinars to take place with up to 10 participants.
- Larger groups (up to 25 attendees) are supported but will incur an $18 monthly fee.
- Basically, Anymeeting straddles the line between a free and premium service, but what does it offer to justify its limitation? Aside from screen sharing and group video calling, Anymeeting has a tailored interface allowing you to play YouTube videos and display PowerPoint slides (pretty much the bread and butter of any presentation) to the conference group. In addition, it has a mobile-friendly layout for on-the-go webinar viewing.
There are also a number of premium webinar hosting services which offer free trials to new members. Free trials typically last 30 days, after which you will be prompted to buy the full premium version.
Some of these platforms include: omNovia, iLinc and ClickWebinar, among others.
These choices may be interesting for people who wish to experiment with additional features such as integrations with more software programs, event registration and reminders, as well as conference recording and playback, but who don’t want to go “all in” and buy a premium membership just yet.
At the end of the day, there are options for pretty much any type of need in the free online webinar space. Take a look at the choices we outlined here and you’ll surely find the one that best suits your needs.