If you thought the days of the dedicated web hoster were over, think again. With the right adjustment to its image, its search engine marketing and above all its added-value focus, the web hosting industry has as bright a future as any other. And that’s despite the cut-price all-you-can-eat approach of cloud storage providers that now offer unlimited storage for a flat monthly fee. But how, you may ask, will smaller web hosters compete with the huge resources that big cloud players can muster? The answer is simple – they will offer customers something more valuable.
Goodbye Web Hosting, Hello WordPress, Shopify and More
Marketing on keyword phrases like ‘web hosting’ doesn’t cut it anymore. ‘Ecommerce hosting’ has tanked too. Too general, too commodity-oriented and too easy for PaaS and IaaS vendors to snaffle up with their extensible offerings, their replicated storage spaces and their ready-to-go database software. Today the keywords that count are the ones that reflect a new trend as customers, especially in the business space, become WordPress-centric (blog, content management, even e-commerce), or Shopify-centric for online sales, for example. These businesses now search on ‘WordPress hosting’ for instance, instead of ‘Webhosting’.
Help Me to Swim, Don’t Leave Me to Drown
Both bigger and smaller enterprises can often benefit from the knowledgeable input of specialists who can do more than just fire up a cloud-based server with a few web administration tools. Just as web hosters need to think laterally about the applications and the industry segments now coming to the fore, they should also consider extending upstream and downstream in the web presence game. For example, they might offer consulting and design services centered on WordPress (or Joomla, Shopify, Bigcommerce and so on) for upstream; and SEO and online advertising campaign management for downstream.
What will Customers Go For?
Not every organization has the full in-house expertise and resources to do its webhosting and all the activities that surround it. True, in cases where the business is totally online or the website is mission-critical, then it may make sense for an enterprise to handle its own webhosting, possibly using a rock-solid commodity web space provider. If on the other hand, the company does not have the web administrator, developer or designer that it needs, a good ‘web-hosting-plus’ partner can be an excellent solution.
Reliability, Security and Customer Service
Along with a one-stop-shop solution for helping customers to get the most out of their web presences, tomorrow’s web hosting company must remember the basics too. As a webhosting service provider, if you choose to add value to an existing cloud server/storage resource, then make sure you can offer overall superlative reliability and excellent security. There are few things worse for a customer’s online credibility than pointing their own customers to a web site that fails to display or that puts their data at risk. But for web hosters who keep service levels up and add value that is aligned to current customer needs, the only problem (if there is one) will be keeping up with demand.