The most popular web hosting sites weren’t overnight sensations. The founders worked hard for their success, striving to be the best in the industry. Below are the stories of some of the dominating companies today and what they can teach about hosting startups.
Founded in 1997 by now CEO Bob Parsons, Go Daddy is the largest web hosting company in the field. Squeezing pennies from every available area, Go Daddy has gotten involved in parking, auctions, private domain-name registration, and pay-per-click ads. To get his company’s name out there, Parsons has an aggressive in-house advertising team that’s not afraid to take risks. Using adult-themed campaigns and outrageously attractive women (including the occasional adult-film star), he publicizes his company effectively, bringing in millions of customers each year.
Parsons is a perfect example of how to take chances when advertising your startup. The more shocking your campaigns, the more your company’s name will be remembered. The best form of advertising is word-of-mouth, and by taking risks that may or may not work, your business will be all anyone can talk about.
Brent Oxley created this web hosting company in 2002 when he was a student at Florida Atlantic University. By 2008 the business was wildly successful and had established itself as green hosting and was working with Integrated Ecosystem Market Services. Today, with clients in over 200 countries an over 9 million hosted domains, HostGator specializes in reseller, virtual private server (VPS), shared, and dedicated servers. However, it seems to be the company’s customer service skills that attract new clients. The company smartly offers coupon codes to new clients, reducing the costs of running their website. Used as a retaining strategy, the coupon code discounts encourage customers to stay with HostGator, a company that has shown empathy, great rates, and excellent service.
Taking that extra step to help clients trust your startup is crucial to success. Understanding and knowing your customers’ needs will not only make them happy, but also give you an edge on your competitors. Find a way assure them that you are the best choice for their host needs, and take the necessary steps to convince them of your dedication.
Conceived in 1979, Network Solutions is one of the few successful Internet-based companies that existed before the Net was even widespread. Gary Desler, Ty Grigsby, Emmit J. McHenry, Ed Peters, and Albert White worked together to become a well-known name in the industry. Starting by offering systems programming services and moving to hosting as the years passed, the company drew attention and was purchased by Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) in 1995. Five years later VeriSign acquired it for $21 billion. As the business has grown it has expanded into web hosting, online marketing, and website design. However, what not many people know is that co-founders Albert White and Emmit J. McHenry were bitter with regret after the VeriSign deal (since they received less than $5 million only five years earlier). There had been difficulty raising capital because so many people didn’t think the Internet would become popular, and investors were constantly turning them down. As a result, the two stopped pursuing their goals and decided to sell.
Startup owners can take this unique lesson and use it to reinforce their dream. If you are convinced your company will be a success, don’t let yourself give up or take no for an answer. By being persistent and believing in your company, you have the ability to make it as successful as any other top-notch hosting company.
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