Although everyone seems to understand the importance of having an online presence, not everyone knows how to make it happen. As some of the lucky folks who understand the nuances of web hosting and the tools it takes to foster online success, we can help usher others online by sharing some of our hosting services and expertise—all while pocketing a few extra bucks.
Reseller hosting means you purchase hosting wholesale and then allocate portions of your server and domain resources to customers of your own. You act as a go-between, connecting a hosting provider’s infrastructure with the new audiences you can reach.
According to figures from Market Research Future, the web hosting industry grows by 16% each year and should reach a total worth of $154 billion by 2022. That leaves ample room for resellers to carve out a successful and profitable business, especially if you follow some of the following advice.
Partner with a Popular Host: Seek Out the Tools for Success
When you resell a company’s hosting services, you must work with a provider you trust. Their performance, support, and security set the stage for what you can deliver to your customers. Regardless of your hosting goals, some features to look for that resonate across the board include:
- Unlimited cPanel licenses
- Free WHMCS installation
- Easy white-labeling services
- Free website or cPanel migrations
- Dedicated IP address
- Custom nameservers
- Domain name reseller account
- Softaculous installation scripts
- High-performance solid-state drives
- Automatic backups
- Flexible email configurations
- Strong security platforms
As you can see, the best cheap reseller hosting plans do not prevent you from offering full-service hosting under your own brand name. The more services your host delivers, the more you can provide for your clients. Simply working with the most affordable reseller plan will lead to disaster. The company’s reliability and reputation will seep into your services, as well.
Do Your Homework: Understand the Business and Set the Right Prices
As you can imagine, you should not start a reseller business on a whim. Take the time to examine the industry and your goals. Determine if reselling should be your main source of income or if you would be better off providing hosting as an ancillary service. Perhaps you use it as an add-on to services like development or design work.
As you start researching opportunities, formalize your ambitions into a business plan. It should outline how you will set your business apart from the competition, which services you will offer, and how long it will take to turn a profit. Your web hosting provider can help you with this. For example, InMotion Hosting helps new resellers by configuring their WHMCS and eNom accounts to work with one of three pre-built WordPress templates. And, InMotion Hosting can deploy one of these templates for you in less than 48 hours.
Find Your Niche: Capitalize on Your Expertise to Create Opportunities
Web hosts often specialize in particular sectors, such as speed, easy-to-use site builders, marketing tools, or scalability. Choose a host whose goals align with your own. For example, are you a WordPress expert? If so, not only does InMotion Hosting offer managed WordPress Hosting and include speedy solid-state drives for free, but they also offer the impressive BoldGrid site builder.
Your research and business plan should reveal what types of services and features resonate with potential customers and help you distinguish your business. Most commonly, users look for a website builder, control panel, and analytics capabilities, among other tools. Emphasize the availability of such tools to your customers. Also, remember that even if you lack an encyclopedic knowledge of email protocols or cloud infrastructure, displaying a strong brand identity that creates an emotional investment by your customers can go a long way.
Support Your Customers: Serve Your Clients’ Technical and Account Management Needs
You would not stick with a web hosting company if you routinely waited hours for help solving basic problems, right? Why would you expect differently from your customers? Customer service can make or break your small or growing reseller business. Positive reviews boost your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness.
Moreover, the Harvard Business Review found that customers who had positive past experiences spend 140% more than those who had negative encounters. Unsatisfied customers are only 43% likely to remain clients a year later, while happy consumers might stick around for another six years or more.
To keep your customers happy, be responsive and available to address their concerns. That could mean prompt replies to their emails, adding live chat functionality to your website, or developing a rich knowledgebase of articles that outline solutions to common problems.
Step-Up Your Marketing: Learn About SEO & Leverage Keyword Research
For computer nerds and developers like me, networking and schmoozing new customers can be difficult. Bragging about yourself can be hard to pull off in a genuine way that encourages prospective clients to trust you with their online presence or eCommerce business. Even if your services, expertise, and support speak for themselves, no one may know to listen.
Do not fear reaching out to friends and family about your new business. Encourage them to spread the word. They want you to be happy and succeed, meaning they make great brand ambassadors even if they are not in the market to buy your services.
Short of face-to-face marketing within your local community and networks, resellers also find success by mastering the art of SEO (search engine optimization). Customers increasingly rely on Google search results when shopping online or researching their options. Thus, the higher and more frequently your reseller business appears, the better odds you have at landing more customers.
SEO and keyword research might seem a bit like alchemy at first. Fortunately, multiple tools and tips exist to maximize your SEO results through simple research and sound technical habits. Whether for SEO or another aspect of your business, start small and slowly scale your efforts as the market and your success allow.
Laura Stamey writes, designs, and develops for HostingAdvice.com as a Contributing Editor. The HostingAdvice team boasts more than 50 years of combined experience building and scaling personal projects and industry-leading websites and applications.