How to Grow a Successful Web Hosting Company
- The Importance of Customer Service
- Identify and Play to Your Strengths
- Investing in Your Brand
- Staying Focused
- Knowing Your Customer
- Setting Limits
- Success Surrounds Success
- Growing with the Times
When it comes to web hosting, there is a lot of choice for customers out there today. Acquiring new customers — and keeping them — is essential to the growth of a hosting company. However, this is a lot easier said than done and requires a lot of dedication and persistence. Here, some of the industry’s best talent share their experience on steering a web hosting company toward success.
1. Know the Importance of Customer Service
Ben Fox, former CEO of Pressed.net and Site5
With so many hosting companies to choose from out there, your clients need a reason to sign up — and stay— with you. Don’t underestimate the power of having a great reputation for quality customer service.
Ben Fox, former CEO of Pressed.net and Site5, emphasized the importance of having reputable customer service to ensure positive word of mouth:
“I think amazing customer service is always underrated, it has a huge impact on the retention of your customers and the cheap acquisition of new clients. If you are responsive and caring, your clients will tell others and you will grow. Large companies have a bad reputation when it comes to customer service, and smaller businesses can really define themselves with it.”
2. Identify and Play to Your Strengths
Ben Fox, Pressed.net
Once your hosting company is up and running, it can be easy to sit back and get comfortable. But it’s important to constantly think of ways to bring the business to the next level. Remember, you are not one of the ‘big guys’ so pricing should differ, as Welch-Bolen explains,
“Too many small hosting companies think they should charge the same as the big guys but they will never have the scale needed to make that profitable. Instead they should define themselves on their service and reputation and charge 2x to 5x more.”
It’s also important to customize your services to your size. As a smaller company you have the opportunity to be personally in touch with the wants and needs of your customer.
“Offering website care plans on a recurring basis can really bump revenue, and define what you do. Just by having a call every two weeks with clients on these care plans, you can find out what else they need and offer that to them.”
3. Invest in Your Brand
Douglas Hanna, former CEO of A Small Orange
Never underestimate powerful branding when it comes to your company — no matter how small. Clever brand marketing at trade shows, on your website and on social channels will ensure your company is noticed and recognised.
Douglas Hanna, former CEO of A Small Orange, a hosting company acquired by Endurance International Group, spoke to us about the importance of branding.
“A good brand is more than just a logo and website and carries through to how you do business, so developing a brand isn't something that should be done haphazardly."
When it comes to the competitive world of web hosting, Hanna insists that “figuring out how to stand out from the crowd” is what will set your company apart from the others and be a key differentiator.
4. Stay Focused
Chris Sheridan, former Head of Strategic Partner Sales Weebly
Chris Sheridan, knows all about the importance of identifying your company’s priorities and being careful not to allow distractions to get in the way.
His advice for growing companies is simple: review, review and review again.
“When we launched our reseller channel in January 2015, my main priority was to keep the team focused. We had a big "to do" list of items we needed to complete. In that first year, we kept reviewing the list and re-prioritizing. I think this is a very healthy exercise. You want your team focused on the items that have the biggest impact. It is very easy to get distracted with non-critical items (they somehow always creep in!) Consistently reviewing the priorities and ensuring we are all working towards the same goal has always been critical for me.”
5. Know Your Customer
Graham McMillan, former CTO of Pressed.net and Site5
Customer knowledge is where smaller hosting companies can really stand out from the larger companies — what they want, what they need and what they will want.
Graham McMillan has experience with building web host companies from the ground up and insists knowledge of the customer is essential for future growth:
“Have good data about how your customers use your service and pay attention to what they will need for the future.”
6. Setting the Limit
Graham McMillan, former CTO of Pressed.net and Site5
When it comes to the world of web hosting, limits are beneficial. “You will spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to offer a true unlimited experience to the <5% of your users that actually need/want it", McMillan explains.
“Limits are a good thing; they set expectations for your staff and the customer and keep the experience fair for all users and allow you to more easily do capacity planning.”
7. Surround Yourself With Success
Stewart Smith, COO, Root Level Technology
It’s no secret that the team you build for your company will be a huge part of its outcome. Stewart Smith of Root Level Tech drives home this idea, saying:d
“Part of growing a successful web hosting company comes from the drive of the employees just as much as the acquisition of new customers. You need a strong team managing support as well as the infrastructure hosting the customers' websites.”
8. Grow With the Times
Sander Cruiming, CEO, XXL Webhosting
If you run a web hosting business, then you don’t just host the website and email for your customers - but you have the honour to run and help your customers with an important part of their business: their online presence. This involves not only making sure their website and email are working properly at all times and answering support questions of your customers, but also going a step further. A good hoster should also proactively inform and help their customers with any issues that might arise and give them advice how to improve and achieve more from their online business. This will result in a positive long term relationship between the hoster and the customer, with a much lower churn rate and the opportunity to upsell additional services.
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