Being new to the hosting game i am interested to know from some of you more experienced hosts... Are most of your customers developers with a bit of experience with hosting control panels etc, or are they mostly newbies who are setting up their first website? Or is it a bit of both?
I ask because obviously the more experienced users are less draining on your technical support and are probably the more desirablecustomers.
Your target market will greatly affect the ratio. If you are a budget provider you will tend to attract the newer users, for example.
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When dealing with web hosting, you have a wide range of customers from personal websites to small businesses to medium businesses and even major corporations. In that range of customers there will be even your larger customers who may not know too much of the hosting aspect of a website, all they know is they need one. That being said, I wouldn't just say you want to have customers that know about hosting and generally computers, because for the most part the control panels are easy to use and get around. The customer will learn. If you are worried about support, go with a provider that has end-user support available to you. Or you can outsource it.
As someone else mentioned, it is HIGHLY dependant on your target market. We see a huge ratio of website developers and hosting account resellers (small hosting companies). We have a few newbie hosters, but not many at all.
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My first and current(for 6 years) Hosting Business has been targeted to:
Local end users, not resellers.
They are non-tech business people who want to pay me for giving them E-Mails and WebSites..., they "don't ask" for web hosting as they don't know what's that.
Not resellers nor Webdesigners.. as we offer that too.
So basicaly I'm a Reseller and I love it so far.
I started another Project aimed only to resellers:
WebDesigners or Computer/Support store owners outside my city and all latinamerica.
I closed it after almost 2 years as that product doesn't have the potential I wanted because of its nature.
And because of that I tought of a diferent kind of Reseller service that I'm still working on the website, billing system, helpdesk, prices, etc.
But this one is not aimed to WebDesigners, but for the Computer Stores who want to offer Websites and Hosting besides their main service, so they won't have to refer them to a Webdesigner/Host
My local Hosting business is still great and designed just for Local Market(my service is very expensive)...,
but my new project is designed for National and International Spanish speaking market(All Latinamerica and maybe Spain).
Another good thing is that the main segment of my target market(computer/support stores) are listed on the Yellow Pages of all the states, so I just need to call directly, which I already did just to check and had good responses from them, that is, they were interested on the service.
Here is sample of our sign up form
Hosting Plan :xxxxxxxx
How Did You Find Us: Referral [refferal customer]
Hosting Plan :xxxxxxxx
How Did You Find Us: Google [new customer]
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