The CIA World Factbook reports that there are well over 903 million “internet hosts” around the globe, so it’s no wonder some hosts are looking into niche hosting. This is a fully saturated market brimming with competition—and yet the average American would be lucky to name even a couple of web hosting companies. Of those 900+ million, over 500 million are in the US. Maybe going niche is a smart move after all.
Unsurprisingly, it’s easy to find web hosts that are using all kinds of angles, campaigns and approaches to lure in customers. They might tout themselves as physically close to their data centers, suggesting that maintenance and emergency fixes are easy. There are hosts who are all about the freemium model, raking in the customers who don’t want to pay even an extra dollar for their services (these hosts make money in other ways).
Finally, there are hosts who are going all in when it comes to niche industries. Is this the golden ticket?
What is Niche Hosting?
Niche hosting is kind of like search engine optimization (SEO) niches: it’s all about focusing on certain industries and customizing services/products towards them. By targeting a business category, such as financial or tourism, web hosts can personalize preferences and requirements to meet specific needs. “Generic web hosts” have wide-reaching tools like Fantastico suites that work for just about any website or industry. These are great tools, but they might not be the best fit for a niche.
For example, if there’s a SaaS business owner, they need to set up payment modules quickly and manage subscriber needs. On the other end of the spectrum, a mom and pop shop might want a host that offers one-click access to all tools for invoicing and the like. A niche host will consider the unique needs of the industry they serve and create a package that’s perfect for them. Keep in mind, you can have both hosting for your Joomla site or WordPress site.
When a site owner is shopping for the best web host for them, knowledgeable customer service agents are crucial. Most people know very little about web hosting, and it’s a two-way street. A niche web host hires and trains customer service reps who know the industry they’re serving—perhaps they even came from it. They’re familiar with both the business and tech questions (and answers!) that are likely to pop up. In the end, it means a better customer experience, more customer loyalty, and faster troubleshooting calls.
The real appeal of niche hosting is that supreme experience that can’t be achieved any other way. Price can’t be the only means of attracting customers. While it technically works, it can also mean the web host has minimal resources and can’t manage customers. A web host is potentially serving thousands of sites, so it’s a landscape potentially filled with poor service.
Of course, this also means that niche hosts often charge more—and customers are willing to pay. While many customers might think all web hosts are the same at first blush, it’s the host’s job to educate and inform. As more and more site owners start to understand what hosts do and why they’re not all equal, they’ll start to demand better service and a host that understands their business.
Is niche hosting the next big thing? We sure hope so!