Join Date: Mar 2013
Company: ZX Enterprises
I have been doing this field in one aspect or another for 22 years (yes I did start when I was 3! anyways..)
I got away from hosting for awhile and did game servers only for about 5 years which I still do but now I delegate it to my staff so I can focus on getting new business rolling.
Marketing is the aprt I love but it has changed DRASTICALLY in last 6 years since I actually ran a hosting company last.
Used to be easy, it was crap adsense sites for monetization, blog posts and such and you would get ranked in couple months doing nothing else.
Now its required that you on;t cut curners, that you post and publich quality handwritten content. Now video, mobile and social media is 70% of your online precense.
Starting a new hosting company is hard, its an obscene amount of work and takes many many thousands of investment if your doing it right.
Sure you can put up a website and "affiliate style" resell every product but that means your an affiliate not a hosting provider.
There isa couple alrge companies now that dominates the industry, you know who I am takking about and way I see it the ONLY way you are going to compete is not with price wars but with quality of service, something they lack badly most of the time.
I am rethinking my whole infrastructure and also how I market it,
I have a Xen based cloud and a VMWare cloud and that is gonna be the base machines, I dropped the openvz nodes because while cheap it isnt what I would call "quality". Free and quality do not beling in the same sentence.
So now that I have established some very good positioning as reseller with direct software companies like Attracta, parallels, AWBS, Microsft, GlobalSign and Comodo, Adobe and others now tyo put it all together.
I think packaging is the key now, features combined with top-notch customer support platform.
So its kinda of an idea, use it if want, isnl;t like Im some genius ro a guru in marketing but I didnt start yesterday either.
So my tips would be for new companies:
1. Build a easy navigateable eye pleasing site, no flash!
2. Establish your backend infrastructure, Id personally recommend VWare virtualization as a base setup to start with it is the most stable I have ever seen in 22 years.
3.If you don't know how to get your site ranked then talk to the masters of that industry about helping you, Attracta and forl out the money to have them do it with their 100% first page Google guarantee
4. Create a company blog,support forum, and an affiliate system
5. Setup your backend on a tried and tested platform like AWBS ( I have those on sale in marketplace ad) for billing and provisioning automation
6. Spend the money if needed and setup a top-notch Support platforrm and then staff it with quality operators. Id would recommend Kayako myself, best I have seen and best $1,000 spent this year.
7. Offer incentives to your members, give them free Ebooks (Get reseller rights and download the content) or after they pay their bill steady and on time for a few months give them a free upgrade or free month
8. Don't be stingy with affiliate payouts, after all they are getting you targeted leads that has over 50% conversion rate.
9. Do not be greedy, take careof your employees you can not make the money without them
10. Develop networks of other entrenepenuers, LinkedIn is great for that which is why I work on it alot, have over 600 connections in amonth. Just because the person dies same thing you do doesn;t mean you will lose money of build a relationship with them. Their audience is not yours so that just stupid thinking. I ran into that ALOT with gaming especially, people would not share info, they acted like if they knew a skill the other didnt they are superior and they have an edge, I mean seriously grow up! Combine forces and use those built bridges to cobine forces and dominate.
11. Populate your form and Blog with QUALITY posts, on forum do like they have here and offer incentives for posting, an idea I am implemeting on my won support forum
12. Run SocialMedia campaigns, contests and giveaways that will dirve traffic to you, targeted traffic! Traffic in itself is worthless, it is a waste of resources, what you want is people who are "actually looking" for your services to be viewing your sites as those lead to conversions
13.Establish direct reseller and Authorized partner status's with the large industry giants. Microsoft, Parallels, Cpanel, AWBS, WHMCS, SecPanel, DirectAdmin, Softaculous, GlobalSign, maxMind, Comodo, Adobe, VMWare, Citrix, Cisco, Attracta is just a few I have established already. If don;t know how to go about it ask me I'll help you some of it is very daunting and alot of paperwork and headaches. If want to get set with Attracta and get good prciing get hold of me I deal direct with the CTO and got a setup they really do not offer most. They typically give 10% if use the cpanel plugins, etc I can prob get you set at at least double that but the setup is a bit more involved.
14. Do not think you know it all, read, read, read, ask questions, take courses, read some more. I have been doing this for 22 years and Im 99% self-taught and compared to some of my associates I am STUPID!
Spedn the money on certifications and training its an investment that will pay off, for instance myself Im focussed on getting Microsft Silver Hosting Competency this year, which costs alot by time done getting all the certifications and training but when get it you 1) get better pricing 2) get alot of free perks to use for your own infrastructure 3) One of the largest companies in the world MARKETS you which is almost priceless
15. Use the tools available, there is alot anymore that will make your life easier. CanI build asite in Notepad? Yes Do I? Hell no its easier to use an editor for example. Another is can I setup aiptables firewall command line? Yes Do I? No I use Webmin for an GUI or use Secpanel so is just a click of the button instead of very technical command line coding.
16. Of course BACKUP everything. I have my nodes set to auto backup to SAN offline but I also believe in redundancy, I have scripts wrote in linux that uses cron and rsync and tar to run a secondary backup system per vm that backups up on schedule then syncs it to 3-5 locations outside the data center including a server I have setup at home
17. Ok ther eis alot of ideas and Im done rambling I have tons of work to get done this week before go back to hospital for surgery again so need to get to it but last one,
If don;t know, ASK FOR HELP, swallow your pride and get it done.
What I am doing with my business now is I am trying to integrate every value service I possibly can as options for my customers. A One-Stop shop hosting provider. If they need a $2 shared account I got them covered all the way up to establishing a new business COMPLETLEY with a well-rounded thorough online presence which is many thousands of dollars. The customer should have choices, not Hey You, yeah its your money but this is what we have, this is what you need and just buy it attitude.
Hope my brainstorming helps some people, I am no genius by a long shot but I am older and have many years involved in online businesses as well as retail businesses and I have learned a few things along the way.
ZX Enterprises CEO
Specializing in establishing business presence online from step 1 to first page Google with multi-social media campaigns. Cloud Hosting cheaper then you will find it anywhere!