Best Practices How to Start a Web Hosting Business By MailChannels | 5 minute read Starting your own web hosting business may seem like a daunting prospect, however, with the right guidance you’ll have your own business up and running before you know it. In this age of technology, web hosting businesses are an essential service that provide a vital means of powering the internet and the content on it. By using your own dedicated servers, you can contribute to the world wide web by hosting website content and getting paid for it. The following five steps are an essential part of starting your own web hosting business and should put you in good stead to launch your brand and carve out your niche in the industry. Step One: Establish Your Brand and Target Audience There are so many web hosting businesses out there that you really need to invest some time into defining your brand and your target audience, if you want to succeed in this highly competitive market. Choose a name that stands out and make sure there is an available domain for you to purchase. When narrowing down your target audience, the best thing to do is niche down. Do you already provide services like web design and development, digital marketing, branding or IT services to small businesses? When you can focus on one specialty you’ll be more likely to find a gap in the market and an opportunity to grow your business. Here are some benefits of choosing a niche for your business: Cut costs in things not related to the niche. Focus your marketing efforts only on customers within the niche. Sell affiliate products, such as WordPress plugins and website themes in your niche. Have a greater chance of success when competing with relatively few competitors in a niche market Step Two: Find a Server Partner As this can be pretty expensive, you may be tempted to go for the cheapest option out there. This should be avoided at all costs as there are more important features to look for rather than just a low price tag. You should instead find a server partner that boasts a solid reputation and glowing online reviews as well as 24/7 support in case of any hardware failure. Here are a few things to consider when evaluating a server partner: Make sure they have a good business track record and is a reputable brand. This will ensure that their business won’t disappear overnight, which will leave you and your customers scrambling. Ensuring they have good infrastructure around security, redundancy for high availability, and 24/7 network monitoring for minimal downtime. Partner with larger companies so you can easily grow your products and service offering by reselling domains, email, web security and email marketing solutions that they offer. Make sure they have a dedicated hosting support department so you can quickly resolve any issues. A bonus would be to have this service available 24/7. Step Three: Establish a Process for your Business A sleek, modern website will let your clients know that your business is a brand they can trust. Integrating billing and management tools into your website is a must and having a means of handling customer inquiries is also a good inclusion. Here are a few things to set up for your business to build trust with your customers: Build your branded website with ecommerce capabilities. This will allow you to automate the purchasing of your products and services. Have a flexible backend where you can easily create and modify your customers’ accounts. Establish a Customer Support model that includes different types of support like phone, email, chat, ticketing system. Find a solution for web security and common issues like IP blacklisting. MailChannels can help you manage all your email delivery to ensure that your customers’ emails don’t go undelivered or blocked by spammers taking advantage of your network. Set up customer communication process to support each stage of the customer’s journey (e.g., welcome emails, payment reminder, late payment notice, account suspension notice) Step Four: Advertise Your Business Advertising is important to get your business noticed. At first, you can focus on social media and telling family, friends, and colleagues. Hours of hard work will eventually pay off and once you’ve utilized your existing networks you can begin to look at traditional means of advertising your business. Here are a few more ways you can advertise your your business: Look for publications in your niche where you can sponsor ads or guest blog Collaborate with other business that service your niche to gain more exposure for your brand Utilizing ad networks like Google Ads and Facebook Ads to advertise your business Step Five: Grow! Once you’ve gained some happy clients that are pleased with the service you provide, there’s nothing stopping you from gaining more! Remember, treat your clients how you’d expect to be treated. Provide them with a premium service that justifies the price they pay, and you’ll be sure to impress. Honesty really is the best policy, so keep them aware of any issues that you see coming up in the future and things will work out great. Be open to feedback as this will help you to improve the services you provide and encourage your clients to stick around. Here are a few things that can help you delight your current customers and find new customers: Offer a small discount for recurring customers as a thank you for their loyalty Create an affiliate program so your customers can be ambassador for your business Conduct regular customer surveys to get feedback about your service and products.