What do businesses expect from their hosting providers?
What are you NOT offering that they could just as easily get from your competitors?
What could you offer to stand out and secure their business?
These are three questions you must repeatedly ask yourself. After researching emerging trends in the hosting industry, I can tell you that it's no longer enough to only host website domains. That's the standard, but to truly differentiate your services, you need to understand all of your prospects' website needs and deliver an offering that caters to them.
More than Hosting
The importance of guiding businesses through the website journey has been a common theme at many HostingCon events. In October 2014, we attended HostingCon Europe in Amsterdam and learned that it is up to hosting providers to go that extra distance to empower the less tech-savvy business owners to be successful as they venture online. Then the other day, I stumbled upon this HostingCon Global 2015 recap post by Business 2 Community only to find that we're still singing the same tune almost a year later. One of the main event takeaways was that web hosts can generate more interest by offering Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solutions for their clients' websites.
Now when I say DIY, I'm not talking about giving businesses some amateur arts and crafts project. Clients work with you because you're able to host their domains, but they also need to create the websites that will live on those domains. Instead of defining your service by your job description, dare to ask "how can I help make their jobs easier?" When it comes to the website development stage of the process, there are two ways you can do just this:
1) Offer Compatibility with Existing DIY Website Builders
Ever heard of Wordpress? The Content Management System (CMS's) own website boasts that as of 2014, tens of thousands of Wordpress sites are created in a given day. Many businesses prefer to build their websites using a CMS since these template-based platforms are cost-efficient, user-friendly and ideal for users who need to update web content frequently. Other popular website builders include Joomla, Wix and Weebly. Why is this relevant to you? Prospects are looking for web hosts that allow them to easily install these CMSes or website builders.
2) Offer Your Own DIY Website Builder
As BusinessNewsDaily's article, How to Choose a Web Hosting Service: 3 Questions to Ask, points out, these DIY website builders are not offered by all hosting providers. To separate yourself from the pack, you can even offer your own DIY website builders, using tools like BaseKit and Camilyo. When you introduce a solution such as this, that's one less item prospects have to worry about as they establish their web presences. They'll appreciate your careful attention to their needs and will value your services more.
Be There Every Step of the Way
If you want to grow your client base and continue delighting current customers, consider evolving into a website consultant, rather than just a web host. Convince your target businesses that they can't go anywhere else to receive the same level of tailored expertise, guidance and management of their website data. Assisting them with setting up their websites is just the first step. Other ways you can add value is meeting with clients regularly or sending periodic updates about how they can implement search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to increase the visibility of their websites in search results.
Perhaps the most significant service and relief you can provide customers, however, is the safety of their website data and the productivity of their business operations. By selling block-level backup of your clients' server data and leveraging backup technology with continuous data protection (CDP), you'll help prevent them from suffering indefinite downtime that's costly to their businesses and a consequence even worse, data loss. At the block level specifically, you can back up data more efficiently and more often, meaning your recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) will be better aligned with their business needs.
To learn more about the hosting backup landscape and how to add backups to your services, check out our webinar: What Does Your Backup Service Look Like?
Are you a fan of R1Soft Server Backup Manager?