I want to get more clients, this is my situation
I'm running a neat server setup expanding every few months I have decent amount of cash.
The problem is incline of customers, I'm stuck at two and 1 site hosted mostly for free...
Client 1 pays 100bucks, client 2 pays 60bucks.
If they have problems with their sites I'll manage it, their invision boards.
I've been trying to host invision/vb forums, blogs, etc for awhile.
The problem is my hosting is best for _large_ forums, blogs, etc. In the future when we have seperate php servers online for example the clients can be put on a idle server during high traffic times, to always keep their board online and fast.
How would I go about targeting clients? I've tried getting cheap clients with tiny forums for 15usd amonth, thats alot of manual work for me just for 15 dollars, yet when they hear I don't have cpanel, I never recieve a email back
I think the answer is pretty apparent! A control panel, as silly as it seems, can be a real deal breaker for folks who need fast, easy access to their hosting. Even if you're just hosting a board/blog, it seems like they want something like that. I suggest cPanel, but that's what I'm used to so I'm biased.
Our control panel clients pay only ~1/3 of the non-control panel clients. Control panel clients open 3-5 times the number of tickets of non control panel clients. Stick with your niche - though make sure you get your name out, i.e. be active on forum boards etc.
Control panels may also severely limit the ability to run the servers the way you need/want it.
Having a control panel allowing your customers to fully control their hosting account with you is now almost a given. Customers love being able to easily change settings and add items like more email addresses from an easy to use and nice looking interface. The new cPanel 11 control panel is wonderful, show your customers some love and provide them the tools they need and they will reward you with their business.
How long have you been in business? Can take awhile for your name to get out and/or individuals to trust you.
@andren - if his potential clients are asking for cPanel, why deny them? You are losing potential revenues for nothing. If they don't want cPanel, they won't use it, simple.
I've been doing this for over a year now, we had some instability when moving (Lack of clients caused lack of funds) now I've been steady stable for over 6months, my current clients couldn't be hapier with the hosting I provide, one is a semi-experenced webmaster, since he got the site free he hasn't had one complaint, nor the previous owner whom switched the site to my hosting. He said I'm the only host that's had them up all the time and fixed all errors quickly, they were refered to me by the guy who colocates my hardware though :-(
I've advertised here at wht last year, on a busy resource site for invision board. I contacted some people with large vb boards, I offfered them 2 months _free_ hosting and _free_ movment back to their hosting if they didn't want mine and just wanted to help me test hosting vb, yet that was still denied.
I can't have cpanel and such it doesn't work with the webserver I use, one panel does work out of the box but it requires Centos5, why would I sell performance hosting with a os as crappy out of the box as a centos system?
My systems are all being graphed on every service, when something is getting too high we upgrade. So it's alot better than some shared hosting that goes kaput when someone uses too much cpu!
He may lose revenue, but I guess he's in it for the profit.
(plus technical reasons - try running a hot spare with cpanel)
If you will be losing money because of not being able to afford cPanel or another control panel for your customers, then that means your pricing structure is all wrong and need to increase the amount you charge to be able to provide a service that customers want or you won't be picking up customers because you are refusing to address the needs of what customers want.
In this case, the OP stated that he is losing potential money because potiential customers do not want to sign up for the service he is targeting to because he doesn't provide cPanel. Up the price of the plans if it is too cheap to cover the cost, so that you can provide cPanel and the customers will respond by rewarding you with their business as that is what they are requesting to have and use.
If not offering cPanel to customers is because of a technical reason, then need to retarget the niche you are after to those that wouldn't need one. Ie...advanced web masters who prefer to work off a comand line instead of a control panel interface etc.
Because you are targeting the 'upscale' market, this does not mean you can not automate the whole process and save you a ton of time on accepting orders, provisioning accounts, managing the servers/clusters, accepting support tickets, doing billing etc. etc. All the above also mean that you save a lot of money if you have integrated all these into one system (H-Sphere). No need for separate billing system, separate support system etc.