You may have dreamed about starting your own business or owning a business of your own. You may have also had your ideas penned down at the back of a book or on a blank sheet and then erased them thinking now is not the right time.
Do you really want to start your own business? Why not start a web hosting business of your own?
The first step in an online business is to develop a website based on the niche of your choice and place it on a server so that everyone can access it. As a reseller who is starting out in the web hosting industry, it would be best if you choose a top reseller hosting provider who can partner with you in your entrepreneurial journey.
But before push comes to shove, there is a list of things you ought to know if you are starting a reseller web hosting service. Here’s a list of twenty useful tips and steps that covers everything to equip you before you take the plunge. So, here are 20 steps on what to do and what not to do before starting your web hosting business.
20 Point Checklist to follow before you start your web hosting business
1. Define goals for your web hosting business
When you are defining the goals for your hosting business, make sure that you are tying them to your organization’s and your business’ vision and mission. For instance, your vision could be ‘To empower the upcoming small businesses in the online space in a particular region.’ Now with this in mind, you will take all the right steps so that it does justice to your vision.
By defining a goal for your web hosting business, you as a reseller get clarity and can steer ahead in a proper direction. Make sure that your business goals are specific and descriptive in nature. It doesn’t have to be a perfect vision or mission statement with your business goals. Writing them down will also help you put in place the next best steps or actions you have to take to bring these goals to fruition.
Delegate responsibilities with respect to who will be responsible to carry out these actions so that your goals are met. Also, as you define goals, please make sure that they are measurable so that you can optimize them for the better and can check regular progress.
2. Define your target audience and understand their pain points
Once you have defined your goals, with your vision and mission statement, the first thing you must do is understand your target audience so that you know what their problems are when it comes to buying web hosting. Let us take the same example mentioned in the above point with your vision- ‘To empower the upcoming small businesses in the online space in a particular region.’ Now, in this case, if you are targeting a particular region, you should know which businesses are looking to go online, what their requirements can be, what compromises they are okay with, and what they pay or would pay to their web hosting provider to manage their website. Understanding these aspects would help you to start unpeeling the layers of your core prospects and their unmet needs. This will help you segment customers into groups and provide products that fit with a market.
3. Understand and analyze the competition in the market
Whichever region or territories you pick to do business, or even market segments, just make sure that you understand the competition and the business context very well. The business context is a very powerful starting point because that helps you understand where you are going to do the business, who are the players involved, what are they giving to their current customers, and what their current customers are missing out on in terms of value. Understanding competition and the players, along with their strengths and weaknesses and your own strengths and weaknesses will help you come up with a proper marketing strategy that you can implement with a budget in place.
For any reseller hosting business, in fact, any business, this aspect is crucial because it defines your action plan and makes it concrete and measurable.
4. Create your brand identity and decide on your brand name
You can start with this exercise while you write your vision and mission statements for your business because all the ideas you write there will seep into creating a brand logo and identity. This will help you come up with a logo, tag line, brand guidelines, your brand’s fonts, etc. You can use them on your website, and daily communication with clients, etc. so as to distinguish yourself with your own uniqueness in the market going ahead.
5. Buy a domain name and build your website
Once you zero down on your brand name, buy a domain name from your hosting provider and start building a website. Since you are building a website for web hosting products, ensure that you choose a theme, layout, and CMS that suits the category of web hosting itself. Test your website’s pages for page speed and check if they take videos and images (if need be) as per your needs. If not, ask your hosting provider to scale your plan.
While building the website, here are a few things you must remember-
Make sure that your domain name is unique and does not resemble other domain names because that can create confusion. It is necessary that you choose a domain name without hyphens, numbers, and special characters. This only helps your domain name to be easily pronounced.
6. Have a clear marketing plan
Once you build a business strategy and plan with your vision and mission and get your website ready, think of targeting a certain amount of leads in a month. You can do that by getting a rough idea of the customers you want to convert according to the plans you want to provide.
Make a proper marketing strategy by choosing the right channels. For instance, if you think your category will have lots of information before making a buying decision, then have SEO and SEM as your channels of acquiring customers through Google or Bing search. You can also use Quora, communities, and social media platforms to create a buzz about your brand and also use coupons through an affiliate program. Ensure that every marketing channel has a goal tied to it with a budget in place. This will help you calculate the ROI of your activity and further optimize it. So, before you start the business get these things ready on paper so that when you start, you know where to begin from.
7. Test your core proposition and brand’s messaging within your target audience
Once you have all the ideas with your vision, mission, and goals, you can test the same within your target audience to understand their reaction and response to your kind of service. Test your brand’s core proposition and messaging to get an idea of whether you are really catering to the needs and requirements of the market or not. Your brand messaging must resonate with your core audience and if it isn’t this is a chance to optimize the message for the better before you start marketing your brand through different channels. So, make sure you keep this in mind before starting your web hosting business.
8. Select the right reseller hosting provider
Half the battle is won once you select the right reseller hosting provider. To start with, if you are choosing one for yourself, look for some of these important factors like –
In case you find a provider that gives you all of the above, it is best to buy a plan from them. Also, before you start the business, ensure that you and your reseller hosting provider are on the same page with respect to support, uptime, resource allocation, and billing.
9. Check if the reseller hosting provider has White Label support
This is an extension of the point mentioned above. While choosing a reseller hosting provider, you need to know if the provider can help you with 100% white label support. This is important because you as a reseller will need to do your own branding if you want to build your own business and your brand. So, 100% white labeling is a must for you to do justice to your business.
With white label support, your business will appear as an independent web hosting provider. None of your clients will see your parent hosting brand’s logo or any identity. This will help you create your own unique identity in the market.
10. Make provision for 24/7 technical support
Once you have chosen the reseller hosting provider that you want, make sure that you are paving the way to provide 24/7 technical support to your clients. 24/7 technical support will help your customers resolve their issues easily at any point in time and would be always happy with the service.
In order to make sure that this facility is made the most out of, you must provide multiple channels that can be accessible to the support. Such as live chat, email, phone support, etc.
11. Use a corporate billing system
This is more of a post-purchase thing, but make sure that you are using a corporate billing system that allows you to activate new orders and handle your billings. It is a key factor in a web hosting business.
A corporate billing system such as WHMCS will help you activate the orders of your clients automatically. It helps you manage your clients with a built-in help desk without the need to log in to multiple systems. This inevitably makes your communication and billing process easier and allows you to be more professional.
12. Use private name servers
Private name servers have a professional appearance and you can easily switch status from one host provider to another. You can transfer all of your customers’ web hosting accounts without asking. After transferring the information, all you have to do is change the server IP address of the old host provider to the new IP address of the new host provider.
So when you are about to start your own web hosting business and want to change to new IPs offered by your hosting provider, use private name servers.
13. Buy dedicated IP
It is recommended that you purchase a dedicated IP address from the reseller host and use that for the domain provided by the reseller account. Some resellers use the customer-supplied IP address from the host, and if one of these domains crashes, the customer’s website can get affected too.
Assigning a specific IP address to customers enables them to use the email securely and protect their reputation from harmful consequences. So, before you start your web hosting business, buy a dedicated IP that you can provide to your customers.
14. Get used to the features and software
After buying a reseller hosting service from your provider, it is better to get used to the features of the package. This will help you get a firm grip on the cPanel, WHMCS, statistics, security, and monitoring. The more you understand the working of the features and the software, the better your everyday managing of the software will be. So, if you are looking at your web hosting business, understanding the software and its features is a must.
15. Create the right hosting packages for each segment
Once you have your marketing plan, website, and other assets ready, it would be recommended to create reseller hosting packages that you can sell across different segments in the market. You might need to create custom packages for your customers, so do bear in mind that you will need to keep their requirements and web hosting needs in mind. Any kind of packages that will be created should have competitive pricing that can match with the known providers in the market and of course with your unique offering. That will help you do well in the web hosting business.
16. Provide options for secure payment gateways
Security is an important factor when it comes to payment gateways. Before you get started with your web hosting business, make sure you are in a position to offer various online payment methods, including Mastercard, EC cards, and online banking (debit, credit, etc.). This allows customers to choose the easiest, most reliable, and compatible one. However, since these are monetary transactions, you need to make sure that you have a very secure payment gateway for you and your customers.
17. Get antivirus software for your website
This is extremely important because you will be doing transactions daily from your website. You don’t want spam attacks or DDoS or malware to ruin your customer’s security or shopping experience, do you? Just understand from your hosting provider what do they have in place for security and protection against virus attacks. Ensure that there is a monitoring mechanism in place because then you will be able to gauge the effectiveness of their antivirus software.
Another thing worth mentioning, make sure that the security software is a part of your hosting provider’s package while making the purchase.
18. Check for Softaculous auto-installer
The Softaculous auto-installer will help you with a wide range of apps that can be installed and automated with just one click. This includes apps that cater to all kinds of websites such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento, Prestashop, etc. You can check for daily updates and the latest version of the apps that get released so that you can install the same in no time. Also, you can get instant backups of your website’s files on FTP/FTPS/SFTP locations or even Google Drive or Dropbox.
Most importantly, you can test upgrades or test any changes before making them live on your website. This feature of the staging instance is not available in any other auto-installer. Hence, it makes Softaculous important as an auto-installer and you must check if your provider has the same before starting a web hosting business as it will save a lot of your time.
19. Check for Cloudflare CDN (Content Delivery Network)
Cloudflare provides DDoS mitigation, content delivery, and internet security services. For websites, it essentially helps the page load faster. As a web hosting business, this can be a huge advantage while loading the pages of your website and can be a huge differentiator when it comes to customer experience.
With Cloudflare’s browser caching, repeat visitors get a great experience when it comes to page loading because Cloudflare enables repeat requests from the local cache to speed up web page loads. This is why checking out for Cloudflare can be a big boon for your hosting business.
20. Other additional pointers
Just before you start your web hosting business, you can also check if your reseller hosting provider gives you the provision to allow your customers to create unlimited business email accounts for their domains, uninterrupted upgrades for resources, backup, and recovery mechanism as well as free hosting migration. All these aspects can be checked with your provider before you start your own web hosting business.
With this, we are hoping that you can begin your reseller web hosting business to a flying start. If there is anything more you need to know or have any questions about this, please share in the comments section below.