To say that the web hosting industry is saturated is an understatement—however, the vast majority of these businesses have never been heard of. Instead, a handful of the biggest companies remain the go-to source for all website owners. On the other hand, the majority of website owners couldn’t even tell you who their host is. They get that business confused with where they registered their domain, their web developer’s business, their SEO guy and a “host” of other techies.
Of course, a lot of these professionals work in tandem (there’s a reason hosts and SEO agencies are such good bedmates). However, if you’re looking to start a web hosting company or simply want to make a better choice when choosing a host, it’s important to know how hosts are attracting customers. They might not be as out there (complete with billboards) as other industries, but they’re chugging away:
- They’re forum leaders
This is one marketing approach that is almost exclusively used by hosts: They dominate on web forums. They know most of their customers don’t have a clue what web hosts do, and they also know there’s no shortage of questions out there begging for answers. By establishing themselves as experts in the field (because they often are), they build trust, network for free, and they have a complimentary, established platform that connects them with potential customers. For many web hosting startups, this is a great foundation for creating a customer database.
- Social media genius
Obviously, right? Just like any other type of business, social media is a great avenue for web hosts to show off what they have to offer, engage with customers and foster relationships, and ultimately connect in a free, fun way. However, the best web hosts (or the smartest) use social media as a means to both inform and entertain. They can clue their customer in to what they’re really doing all day, dole out free advice that helps with trust, and basically prove that they’re professional.
- They’re writing articles and blogs
Guest blogging, regular blogging, creating white papers and e-books, penning advice pieces—these are all great ways for a web host to establish themselves as an expert and a leader. This is an especially useful tool for any web host in a niche industry, or one that relies heavily on word of mouth (most of them) to get new business. Plus, getting your name out there is a must for search engine optimization (SEO) and local SEO (LSEO), which bring us to our final approach.
- They’re all over SEO
SEO, like our free web hosting, is a confusing concept for the average website owner but web hosts are more attuned with it than others (it’s the natural side effect of being in the tech field). Many web hosts know how to create content and websites that adhere to the best SEO practices, they stay on top of keywords, and they avoid black hat tricks.
Running a web hosting company is no easy task, but there are some unique approaches to becoming established. Consider this a starting point for your own hosting company, or intel the next time you’re research a web host for your own site. The more you know, the better decisions will be made.