Originally posted by SK
More than 50% of my business, I get from Web hosting Directories. I also advertise on goto.com, it works for me, I know a lot of people had bad experiences. Other than that, ad your site to search engines. If you spend few hundred dollars a month, it should help.
Mostly, you have to be patient, if you give good service, you'll be amazed how much more customers you'll get from word of mouth.
We found that advertising on goto.com not for our hosting business but for our personals ad business was a complete and total waste of money and time. I will only breifly explain my words here:
When we first started out advertising our personals ads system on goto.com we were paying out like .50 per click through, we got a huge amount of clickthroughs, but the signup ratio was around, 1 in 800 click throughs from them, we then finally managed to get listed on Yahoo! and our clickthroughs to signups increased to like 250 in 800 clicks from Yahoo surfers. In our mind this told us that the people that were clicking on our listing in goto.com were nothing more than clickers, people who enjoy spending our money to click on our listings and those of our competitors as well im sure. So for us it was a total waste of $900.00 that we paid to goto.com for that service.
When we questioned them about how they limit the click throughs against fraudulently having people click through, they told us that they are not at liberty to tell us their method, but rest assured that they have something in place that deals with fraudelent clicks. Meanwhile they could not or refused to respond to why the signup ratio from goto was 1 in 800 while the signup ratio from yahoo was 250 in 800. In fact they ignored that part of our email to them altogether.
So, IMHO goto.com is a complete and total waste of time and money spent. I think it better to have top knotch tech support for your customers, good word of mouth, great pricing, and even a target market wouldn't hurt. We have two websites devoted to hosting, one is a "software gamers" type of hosting site targeted at gamers and gaming, and another that is more of a general hosting site, one of these new fangled .ws names (yup, its too difficult to get webhost in a .com anymore), and that .ws site doesnt target anybody, but rather is a general nicely styled domain for general hosting.
As far as advertising, banners, well, how many banners do you really click on, I can say it takes a really stupendous banner to make me want to click on it, it really has to target what Im looking for and let me know it. For example if I go to a host directory of hosts, and see a banner ad that is flashy, and eye catching, but doesn't tell me anything about them, Im less likely to click on, and probably wont click on it at all, but if I see a banner that lists the items you get in their base accounts, and a price, Im liekely to click on it to see what else they offer.
So no matter where you advertise, keep in mind two things, how appealing and clickable is your banner to you, and how much does you banner ad tell prospective clients about your service. Just having a flashy, animated banner does not help to get people to click on it. Also find the really high trafficked web hosting directory listing sites out there and advertise on them, afterall, if the hosting directory site that you decide to advertise on only gets like 1000 uniques a day and you could be paying the same or slightly higher amount of money for an ad on a hosting directory that gets 10,000 uniques per day, which do you think will benefit you more, even if you have to pay slightly higher rates for the 10,000 unique visitors per day, it may be worth it.
As far as ebay goes, I've never even thought to look at them to find a host when we werent our own hosting company and were still using virtual accounts, and on goto.com I've heard by my ex business partner that people were paying up to and over $6.00 per click through for the words web hosting, that hardly seems worth it, and I have no idea how these companies stay in business at that rate, some of them pay goto 4.00 per click , and offer hosting at 9.95
Its a tough business to be in, especially with the market so saturated. If I didn't have the need to be on my own dedicated server, I wouldn't be in the hosting business at all, but since my virtual hosting bills were real close to what Im paying in ded server hosting, it seemed worthwhile, since I can add up maybe 75 other sites onto my server without a problem with resources and memory and what not, so that could make a nice little profit, wont pay my mortgage, but might make my auto loan payment if it works out.
Good luck to all, I wish you all well in your hosting endevars(sp? - wheres the spell check when you need it).