I think the design of the website is a big part of the sales that the business will receive. A rubbish design is likely to make the company look unprofessional and not grab the sales where as professional looking site is more likely to grab the sales as it gives the impression that they are serious about the business.
image is everything in business. So yes if the first thing you see is a website that looks like junk, you expect the hosting to be junk.
Perfect example, datashack! Most of us know that when it started out his site was just whmcs with a logo on top that wasn't very good looking. It turned alot of people off and had alot of people asking if he was a legit host. He built of cheap prices and quality products and service. Most of us know he has been nothing but a solid provider, just a good example of this.
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A lot of companies try to cram as many links and images on the home page as they can fit. Trying to give as much info as they can as soon as you hit the site. I find and a clean layout and easy to navigate site is worth clicking a few links to get the information I want.
I would rather buy from a simple no nonsense and no BS site like prgmr or buyvm than some company that spends more time developing there own site than providing good service/hosting. Not the only reason I like those two but it didn't hurt that there wasn't a bunch of crap splattered across the page. See what you're getting when it's available and where who gives a crap about the rest?
It's hard to tell now, because I've seen a hosting that is making money and maybe most new clients than any of us here with a crap website (just WHMCS) but targetting the right niche and forum with a great offer. Now that other saw this gold rush, they go there too and competition is a bit harder for him but still profitable.
Ecatel doesn't even have a site and they're doing well
Haha this is very true. But i see they are active on some forums. Like WHT i have seen threads regarding the selling of Ecatel servers. Also could the fact that there isn't much choice when it comes to buying Netherlands servers? Well i don't think there is. Another thing is the fact that there is a large market for people wanting offshore servers.
I think that the site plays a huge role for a majority of customers. Let's face it: No matter what your price point or feature configuration, there are a few dozen other sites out there offering the same thing. With the proliferation of reseller accounts and hosting templates, it's very easy for anyone to set up a cookie-cutter website and start taking customers.
In all my years of sales and sales management, I can say with authority that most customers make their purchasing decision within several seconds of being exposed to you or your site. Most customers purchase based on their emotional connection to your brand or marketing material.
Look at the number of WHT newcomers who post threads asking why their hosting business isn't getting anywhere. Most of them have template sites filled with technical specifications and keyword salad. While their site may be informative or search-friendly, it doesn't get the customer's juices flowing and doesn't give the customer any incentive to choose them.
Spend the money on a good designer who can create something that you really love. It WILL pay off in the end.
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Design is a wrapper and little to nothing more. Most websites are designed by people disassociated from the day to day operations and it shows no matter how pretty the visuals are.
That said, there are plenty of non-existent companies who are nothing more than resellers and typically lousy at that, who have fancy eye-appealing websites.
Then you have real companies who are busy taking care of customers, doing installs and running a business who have a website that they did (Datashack likely). Those sites tend to be straightforward and they just work, but not a visually stimulating overcompensation.
I never buy anything because of advertising fluff. I look for real details on the company - how long in business, what sort of experience, where are your services provided from, do you own the facility or resell, who are your upstream providers, what do you provide free of cost that is useful, how much does admin time cost, etc.
I encourage folks to differentiate themselves by providing the answers to the most common questions we all face over and over in an upfront on the website manner.
One company I've long liked for having a good visual website with enough technical info is FDCServers. Like their "Looking Glass".
When I used to sell hosting, my new customer rates doubled when I upgraded to a much better design, which was radically different than what I had. The old one was not so bad, but the new one was very good, and it had a very noticeable impact. I didn't change my advertising media, just the design.
That experience taught me that an attractive and bold website is an extremely important factor in giving a first idea about your company to a potential customer.
- Sign up process is easy and clear.
- WHMCS (unless you can build a BETTER control panel).
- Live chat actually responds.
- Past customer quotes.
- Lifetime coupons (because your costs only go down after the first month).
- Easy to read terms of service.
- Website is overly cluttered.
- Huge affiliate payout (unless I get a discount for not being referred).
- Copyright is out of date.
- Design seems outdated.
- Difficult to navigate.
- Fake live chat (I see it all the time).
- Trying to sell all kinds of things when I know what I want.