Archive for Web Hosting Resources

Feb
17

What is all the fuss over SMBs about?

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I was asked recently, what is all the fuss over SMBs about? The gentleman who asked the question is a small business owner and he believes he is nothing special. Because of this belief he wonders why does he hear so much about the SMB market especially in Web hosting.

So why do we hear so much about SMBs? I am going to make a very over simplified view of the host market. Though it is essentially true it does leave out a lot of smaller niches. I am going to do this to expedite the process and make this blog smaller. In hosting, there are enterprises, small and mid-sized businesses, and personal markets.

The enterprises have very precise and somewhat expensive needs. The things the require cost a lot for a host to invest in and once they do invest they can charge a high amount. Once the infrastructure is in place, this brand of Web host needs quality sales people, the type of sales people who were handlers for Vegas casinos prior to employment in hosting, for enterprise sized businesses hold onto their IT departments with a clenched fist.

The personal hosting market is vast and the needs are easy. However, the competition is just as vast and extremely cut-throat. This is the arena for large Hosts who drop their prices extremely low and move the accounts up the ladder. The requirements are easy, but the user base is a pain to work with (desiring everything in the world for 2 bucks a month) and the competition is extreme. So this area, like enterprise is a difficult one to break ground in.

Now SMBs are different. SMBs understand the cost of business and are willing to pay for quality. They won’t be paying you thousands of dollars a year but most won’t expect the world for a buck either. They have specialized needs, but not so specialized that it will break the bank procuring them. Also when it comes to niche markets, the SMB is an easy market to get into because if you solve the needs and emphasis one or more of those needs you are now a niche Host. the SMB market is vastly expanding as well. It is an area that continues to grow and will be growing especially during these hard economic times (a good web site costs about 50-100 bucks a month office space costs 10-100 times that).

So why the fuss? Well because:

  • Growing Market
  • Specific Needs, Easily Catered
  • Versatility of the Business Model
  • Willing to Pay
  • A Market that Invites Niche Markets and Specialization

And that is why SMBs are important. Until next time, happy hosting!

Categories : Commentary
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Oct
17

2004: First Breakout Year for Web Hosting

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According to some extremely long and painstaking research, I have found 2004 to be the pinnacle of Web Hosting. If you use Google Trends you would probably say that 2004 was the dot com bubble burst for Web hosting.

Search on any web hosting related term and you will see a huge spike in 2004. vizAs the years go by, the amount of searching done on web hosting continues to decrease. Was this because the vast majority of Google users were Web hosting faithful or technologically inclined? Do users now search for more things that deal with the latest Paris Hilton scandal? Or could it be that the amount of information, the buzz as it were, has seemingly died off?

Well I had to answer the first question. Searching for other pop culture keywords did not reveal anything major. The trends did not fit the questions instead of lowered 2004 results increasing. So the next part is to examine the information.

So following the news articles, did 2004 have more news? Again a dead end. The graph below is a
“faithful” representation of web hosting news items from 1998 to today (source Google News):

1998_2008

More investigation was required. Continuing on my journey of truth I looked for what the sources where and then it hit me. Newspapers such as USA Today were reporting on web hosting in 2004 and the big time player’s interesting in web hosting began to ebb.

Two things that should also be considered. In 2004, a lot of marketing capital was flowing and web hosts were more content in sending out ad dollars than press releases.

The other thing to consider is how we navigate across the Net. Communities and social sites far higher than they were back then and with sites being interlinked its sometimes easier to find a host though acquaintances and friends than it is through Google.

On the whole, this seems to be a far more complex question to answer than I originally figured. I will am undaunted however. I am going to revisit this problem and find the answer. Until that time happy hosting!

Categories : Marketing
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A lot of questions can be answered by browsing the Web Host’s site. In general, there are several things you must ask your Web Host they include:

  1. How many employees do you have?
  2. Do you outsource support, if so who do you use?
  3. What is the average wait time for the initial response to a support questions and what is the average wait time for resolving a support question?
  4. What procedures do you have in place if you have a data breach?
  5. What are conditions of eligibility for your money back guarantee? (If they offer one)
  6. How many accounts do you place on one server? (for non-dedicated plans)
  7. How scalable will my account be?
  8. How often will my data be backed up? Is the back up on site or off?
  9. Can you give me a few current customers I can contact to ask them about your services?
  10. Are there any restrictions for bandwidth and web space use? If so what are they?

When asking questions of a potential host, the length of time it takes for them to get back to you and the degree to which they answer is very important.

As a general rule of thumb, your average Host’s sales team will send you replies as fast as or faster than their support team (since they want your business). So keep that in mind.

Lastly you want to ask yourself questions once you get the reply. Did it answer your questions thoroughly? Are you satisfied with the response? These together might be even more important than the answers themselves. A sales team who goes above and beyond the normal yes/no type answers is a good find. If the host does give you customer to contact then you should make sure you do contact them regardless if you desire to host with the company or not.

Hope these help. Until next time, Happy Hosting!

Categories : Commentary
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The conclusion to my interview with Michael van Dijken and John Zanni, both from Microsoft.

Read More→

Categories : WebHostMagazine
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Part 2 of my interview of Michael van Dijken and John Zanni of Microsoft from Hostingcon 2008.

Read More→

Categories : WebHostMagazine
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