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  1. #1

    How to build a reputation?

    Ok here is a question I have been trying to figure out for almost 2 years.

    How does a Hosting company build a reputation on a forum like this?

    Lets say there is a small but great Hosting company that host around a 100 or so sites. (growing ever so slowly but growing nonethe less)
    These sites are mainly construction companies, communications companies, developers.
    The clients do not surf the web and find forums like this to brag how good this company is, they are just happy that their sites are always up and when they have a problem support is handle quickly and with no hassles.

    Now as a new guy on the block ( I consider a Hosting company less then 4 years old new) and faced with these types of clients how would they become known in a place such as this?

    Ok I might be part of that company, and yes you do not see our site linked in the signature I really see no since in it here as there are 100's if not 1000's of companies to choose from here and most of which we can't compete with their low ball priceing.

    So the question is with out giving away sites just to get some one to say how great you are here how would one get that reputation?
    A new Beginning for WebMasters
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    TotalWeb International Net Consulting
    Internet Consulting, Hosting and Business Solutions

  2. #2
    Greetings:

    When we started in the business Internet services side of our business in September 1996 (hosting in November 1996), we were blessed by God in that there was a need for managed hosting providers who were well versed in Microsoft FrontPage (a niche market at the time).

    So in that case from late 1996 to late 2000, we were able to differentiate ourselves in that forum. Times do change, and what worked before doesn’t always work now.

    For us, we have been blessed by God with a lot of in-house talent in the areas of understanding Internet networking as it relates to server administration, security, and management.

    So once the FrontPage niche started to dry up (so to speak), we were able to branch off by managing and securing servers for other companies.

    That opened doors in terms of participating in forums like WHT and others; some more, some less.

    In the past 18 months, God has blessed us by allowing us to have a really firm grasp on H-Sphere (http://www.psoft.net/) and that allowed us to participate meaningfully in the H-Sphere community forums at http://forum.psoft.net/.

    While over the past several years, we have gotten to a point where 98% or so of our clients are outside of the state were we operate our business, we are trying more and more to grow locally.

    James, you stated your clients are mainly in construction, communication, and development.

    While I’m sure some of those companies are represented on WHT and other forums, you may want to see what local, tri-county, and tri-state marketing you can do.

    Find out ways to show that you are the local company of choice for those types of companies. Talk with your existing customers to find out where they network with their peers; and then see if you can attend those events.

    Call your local chamber of commerce to find out about what networking events they offer where your current type of clients show up; then participate.

    Lastly, look for those forums (it may be WHT, it may be another) where you can share with others experiences you’ve had which help others in some way. Over time, others will see you as a person who is helpful and willing to share and help others where the situation fits.

    Thank you.
    ---
    Peter M. Abraham
    LinkedIn Profile

  3. #3
    Thank You for the advice dynamicnet,

    I am a member of quite a few forums. As a matter of fact I have seen your nick and sig in some of the same forums.........

    I do help out where I can but when there are so many members willing to help out me repeteing the same that others have already said I see not much need to it.

    As for the companies we service well they are from all around the world not only here in the states but Canada, Europe, UK, and Great Britian.

    Now they all recommend us and they have helped build the business we have now. Plus the clients we have localy recommend us to all who ask. (word of mouth is great but can be slow)

    We have done the local advertiseing, the local networking with other businesses and have had some success.

    But large businesses will look at how long you have been in the market and smaller businesses seem to think web hosting is not for them.

    I see that forums like this seem to work for alot of the big guys and also will send customers to those who really should not even be in the business. (personnal opinion)

    But for those of us who are just starting out and trying to make a real business out of it it seems to be a bit harder with out lowering the standards of service to provide competitive priceing.

    To me that is just not an option. I would rather grow slowly then to have to offer something I know would drive me broke in a year or so.
    A new Beginning for WebMasters
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    TotalWeb International Net Consulting
    Internet Consulting, Hosting and Business Solutions

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Duluth MN
    Posts
    3,864
    It's hard to build a reputation and differentiate yourself when the services brought to the table are just like everyone else. If you go to a farmers market, how does one apple seller differentiate themself from another apple seller? You need to find a niche, like the person selling pineapples. Everyone is selling produce, but its the niche that helps you stand out and build a reputation faster.

    I'm finding it hard to differentiate myself from other hosts out there, especially here on WHT. But that is because I have mostly been focusing on the shared hosting market, and didn't really have anything special to offer, other than the quality customer service that I provide my customers. And that is hard to show on a forum of non-customers. So I am currently reaching further into several niche markets, and refining what I do so that I can stand out among the crowd. And then I come here for advice, to give advice, and to chat with my peers in the hosting industry. Maybe when I've been here, and my post count is quite high, and I'm recognized here for my personal character, then maybe my company will stand out from the rest in the apple market. But until then, I'll continue to sell pineapples.

    Since you already have a niche market with construction companies and contractors, grow that. Like dynamicnet said, seek out the niches where you can shine. Find contractor/construction forums, rub elbows with those kind of people to become known as the best for that niche. Come here and get to know the community. Actively participate, but most of all, be yourself, and build a relationship with the community. That way, people will start to remember you, and think of you when looking for certain services.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCC
    So the question is with out giving away sites just to get some one to say how great you are here how would one get that reputation?
    I think the more relevant question to ask is if you really want to target the market that many of the online forums may represent. In my opinion WHT has a distorted view of costs as far as hosting is concerned. Many times it is price alone that determines the sale, that was extremely obvious in the old Advertising forums.

    That's not to say there are not any good, quality clients to be found at places like WHT. I have quite a few that contacted me from reading my posts here and have since become clients. Everyone of them was a smart educated consumer that knew what they wanted and cared more about service and quality than saving a nickel. I'll take a smart educated consumer over a price shopper anyday.

    From my own experiences, I have had more orders not pass our review system when the people came from online sources.(excluding the educated clients we obtained from WHT) People that came from our local advertising have never failed a fraud/Spammer review. In fact, I have never had any billing/fraud/Spam issues with any clients since we stopped the bulk of our online advertising.

    As Dynamicnet points out, social engineering is the absolute best way to build up a quality reputation. Just because a forum may attract thousands of people who *may* want hosting, doesn't mean you want to change your business model to meet their requirements. Quality clients take much longer to attract and develop but in reading so many of the problems with providing ultra cheap hosting to the masses. It is much better to provide the types of services that those quality clients are looking for.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Australia (Crikey)
    Posts
    2,271
    I consider a Hosting company less then 4 years old new
    These days, a host that is more than a year old i pretty dam good. A host that is 3 years old is actually very old in the hosting world.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    24,009

    Re: How to build a reputation?

    Originally posted by JamesCC
    . . . How does a Hosting company build a reputation on a forum like this?
    That's a simple, yet complex question. I'd like to say that HTTPme built up a very good reputation on WHT, along with myself. So you have your business reputation, and your personal reputation. They're both mixed, but they're separate too. It's a matter of being honest, consistant and delivering what you promise to your clients, over time.

    That's the short answer.
    AussieHost.com Aussie Bob, host since 2001
    Host Multiple Domains on Fast Australian Servers!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    390
    One great way to build a reputation is to become a trusted industry "leader". You do this by providing useful information to others, writing articles, attending conferences, networking, posting helpful replies on message boards, etc. Sooner or later your name will be one that everybody in the industry knows and trusts.

  9. #9
    I'm a newbee, but building a reputation in forums like this is different than in other forums. Here, you build your reputation by making relevant posts that show your intellegence or specialty.

    My advice is to build your reputation with your clients and some of them will surely make posts in the forums they visit and then you can link back to their testimonial when necessary.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Colorado, USA
    Posts
    812
    Act professional. Don't solve support or billing issues on a 3rd party forum would be my main advice. Respect your competition and give credit where credit is due.
    Web Hosting Resource Kit - Web Hosting Reviews & Hosting Tutorials

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