Reselling hosting services: 5 mistakes to avoidBy Solange Messier
Reselling website hosting services is a great way to add more to your business’s bottom line by opening a new revenue stream and helping you grow. It also adds more value for your customers. After all, as the last few years have shown us, every business needs a reliable website—and that means they need reliable hosting.
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Hosting reached over $70 billion in 2020 as more businesses went online (GlobeNewsWire). Demand isn’t expected to slow down either.
What might be more surprising is that many agencies, managed service providers, media companies, and other resellers have yet to add web hosting to their packages. Their customers, though, need a reliable host as much as they need great web design or SEO packages.
Some of these business owners likely don’t invest because they think they need to set up a hosting solution from scratch. The truth is, you don’t need to do that. Reselling hosting services is a much wiser way to add this in-demand service for your clients. You can team up with a trusted hosting service provider that is ready to deliver reliable uptime.
As with any new service you roll out, though, there are always pitfalls you’ll want to watch out for. Here are a few mistakes to avoid when thinking about reselling hosting services.
1. You don’t understand how the hosting service works
While this might not be true of MSPs and IT experts, it could be a reality for some organizations like publishers. It’s tough to choose a great hosting service if you don’t understand hosting. If you’re turning around and reselling a service to your customers, you should have a handle on how things work.
Your customers are likely less tech savvy than you are when it comes to how hosting works. That’s why they’re asking for your help in finding a great host for their website.
Your client will also likely turn to you if they have questions or if they need support using the service. You want to be sure you can answer them.
Finally, you want to be sure you know what you’re selling. If you don’t know the difference between shared and dedicated hosting, you could end up reselling a service that doesn’t fit your customers’ needs. Some businesses need private hosting, even though the plans are more expensive (TechRadar).
Read up before reselling hosting services
2. You decide not to provide in-house tech support
If you don’t understand web hosting, you might not want to offer in-house tech support. This can cause its own set of problems, though. Delayed responses and frustrated customers are a couple of common examples.
This mistake often goes hand in hand with not understanding hosting services. The more you know, the more you’ll be able to help your customers.
Setting up forums where customers can chat is a good strategy for making sure they get the right support. A chatbot or a 1-800 number might also be other options you add to your in-house tech support. You may even want to train existing employees to provide support for your customers.
The hosting provider should be able to offer more technical expertise; they know exactly how their service works. Even then, they shouldn’t be your customer’s first stop in getting hosting issues resolved.
Some parent hosting companies sometimes provide shoddy customer service. Your customers are paying you a premium for their hosting. The last thing you want to do is tell them they have to play phone-tag with the hosting service. They’ll wonder why they didn’t buy direct from the host.
Your hallmark is superior customer service. It’s how you stand out from the crowd and develop a reputation as a company that local businesses want to team up with. Invest in it, and your customers won’t be the only ones thanking you.
3. You let price pick your hosting provider
A lack of knowledge about hosting can lead resellers to choose a service based on price alone. Many resellers choose a low-cost service because they think they can realize higher profit margins.
You want to make sure you do your research before you pick the service you’ll be reselling. Some upstream hosts have great reputations. Others are notorious for security issues or downtime. Any host with less than 99.5% uptime isn’t a host worth partnering with, no matter the price (ThoughtCo).
A good understanding of hosting services and a little bit of research can go a long way. In turn, you’ll be able to partner with a hosting provider that offers your clients more.
4. You don’t have a good understanding of customer needs
Another common issue is a disconnect between the hosting service you’re reselling and what your customers want.
We mentioned shared versus dedicated hosting before. If your client needs a server they have space to grow on and fast speeds, shared hosting isn’t the service for them.
The same is true about security. Dedicated servers are often more secure than ones that are used for shared hosting.
If a small-business client is okay with slower response times for a better price, shared hosting is a good option. If you’re only reselling hosting services with dedicated servers, the client might look elsewhere.
Remember that many of your clients don’t have the tech skills to operate a website on their own. That’s why they’re looking to you for help. You may want to go the extra mile and offer managed WordPress hosting, which can take the burden of the website off the client.
Understanding your customers’ needs will help you choose the right service to resell.
5. You don’t offer customization or add-ons
If you don’t have a good understanding of your customers’ needs, you might not be able to offer them customized hosting plans. You might also forget to add on other web services they might need or want.
If you’re reselling hosting services, then you want to make what you offer customizable. Check in with the parent hosting company and see what they can do to give your customers more choices. The better the service fits, the happier your customers will be.
You’ll also want to think about what other services you can offer. After all, your customers likely need more than just hosting. Reselling web hosting and website services together makes sense. Offering web design services could help your clients check more boxes on their ecommerce to-do list. You might want to add more tech support options or even marketing services.
Adding these options lets your customers choose exactly what they need. In turn, they’re happier to pay you to get the service and quality they trust.
Finding the right hosting service for your clients
Before you sign up for reselling any hosting service, make sure you read the fine print. Some hosting companies bury extra fees or limit customization options in their contracts. You want to be sure you know exactly what you’re providing for your clients.
By understanding the service and what the client needs, you can pick a better provider for reselling hosting services. With the right add-ons and technical support, your clients will be happy to sign up for hosting they can trust, and you can open a new revenue stream to help you grow.