Today I got a call from one of the upcoming Web hosting Company asking me to recommend their hosting to ShoutMeLoud readers. The conversation lasted for almost 20 minutes, and the person was trying to convince me about pitching his product, and the benefits they are offering. Usually when I get such calls, I try to learn how new companies are trying to market themselves, and being a start-up web-hosting company it always takes a lot more than just convincing someone to recommend them.
While I was on the call, I asked a few questions about the hosting company and that gave me the idea for this article. That gave me an insight on what kind of stuff I usually look in a webhosting company before using it myself or recommending it to other shouters. Here at ShoutMeLoud I cover articles related to many top webhosting companies, and I realize when I recommend a product, I am always sure about that it will not be a bad choice for me or for ShoutMeLoud readers who buy hosting based on my recommendations. Here I will be outlining some of the points that I asked the salesperson, and any budding webhosting company can use it to understand the mentality of a blogger before they pitch a product to them.
What Webhosting company qualities you should look at:
How old is the hosting company?
This is the very first thing that I lookout for. Reason being, many start-ups starts with an aim of creating most amazing hosting company in a region or globally, and they work day and night to reach there. However, the bitter truth is, only few percentages of such hosting companies make it that big as most of them die over a period of time. Now imagine a scenario when you fall for a super cheap new hosting company, and after using it for 6 months, the company decides to shut themselves down due to non-profit or their hosting business plan did not work out as they had imagined. They couldn’t acquire enough customers to sustain their hosting business, by the end it is users like you and me who are at loss. Isn’t it?
Infrastructure of the hosting company:
Starting your own hosting company is not tough these days. You can become a reseller with any existing hosting resellers like Resellerclub, Hostgator and put your brand logo and name, bingo your hosting company is ready to roll. So, what’s the point of buying hosting from a reseller hosting when we have an option to buy it directly from the main hosting company. With parent reseller, you will get better support, better up-time and better service, so why to trust a new name by risking your online business?
So few questions that should be answered:
- If the hosting company have their own data-center or not?
- Where is hosting company’s data-center located? Geo-location of hosting is also important when you consider country-targeted traffic, which I have already talked about earlier.
Along with this, I also consider the point how a company is handling the support system. I run my own domain reselling with ShoutMyDomain, but never use it for selling hosting because I know that excellent and round the clock customer support is a prime requirement for running a successful hosting business. So, if a company doesn’t have enough man power to solve user sales, technical queries then my suggestion is to stay away from it.
Is new hosting company funded?
Even if you decide to go for a local webhosting business, always do a background check in the form of:
- Who is funding the company?
- How well the company is funded?
If a company is well-funded then it can survive for long even with initial loss. If not, read my point here.
Pricing and technology used:
Pricing of hosting plan is always one of the major considerations for young bloggers to swipe their credit card. If you are wondering why so many webhosting companies like Bluehost offers hosting for so cheap ($3.95/month) for the first year, and offers fat affiliate income to the marketers, it is because most of the hosting companies earn with renewal and add-on services that they offer.
If I look at my hosting usage pattern, I don’t try to change hosting often, as it adds useless tech hassles. So, a good idea is to pick a web-hosting company which is reliable and offers best technology for the platform you are going to use. For example, if you are going to use WordPress for running your website, opt for WordPress specific hosting (servers are optimized for running WordPress platform), instead of any random hosting company. If you are going to use Drupal or Magneto, look out for hosting companies that have a good credibility in running Drupal powered sites. This is one reason I never recommend Godaddy hosting for running WordPress sites.
- Don’t fall for super cheap hosting offer.
- Look out if servers are optimized for platform you are going to use.
What new hosting companies can learn from this?
Above-mentioned points are targeted for new bloggers and marketers who are planning to buy a webhosting plan, and for the new hosting companies who are trying to create a name for them.
- Purchase a hosting plan from a Webhosting company who is in business for long.
- Consider the technology used, and is it compatible with your website platform.
- What support options hosting company is offering?
- Where is data-center located?
- Do you know any trustable name using it or recommending it?
For new hosting companies who are trying to create a brand:
My goal is not to demoralise the new hosting companies who are trying to create a name and business for themselves but to give them an idea from a customer and a marketer’s point of view. Getting the first few words out for your company is very tough, but if you do it right you can always make it big in no time.
- Optimize your server for a specific target (niche) audience. For ex: WordPress, Drupal or simple web page builder.
- Have a long-term business plan, and advertise on big media sites to create brand value and trust factor.
- If you are already hosting any big sites, highlight them on your homepage. This will increase the trust factor. Even client testimonials will be useful.
- Create a blog and share the company culture, technology and ideology to further improve the trust factor, and create awareness about your brand.
- If you are not funded but have a great team and business plan, try to get huge funding. If you are already backed-up by a company or funded by top VCs, highlight it on your hosting landing page.
- Cheap pricing is not always the selling factor; you can sell more if you offer excellent support and reliable servers.
- Free hosting is over-rated, if you are offering free hosting to market yourself, you will only get customers who are unwilling to pay anything, and are just looking for a free solution. Rather you can sponsor your premium hosting for few existing bloggers/marketers who in return willingly share reviews and feedback with you and your readers.
I hope this guide will help newbie internet marketers to help selecting a suitable hosting company for them. If you plan to start your own white labelled hosting company, here is a guide to help you get started. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me via comments. You can also refer to this guide to get a better understanding of hosting packages.