We generally have made it a point to reach our local community, most of the competition looks to compete at the national area, but since we’ve focused primarily on our local area’s, we’ve been able to provide a more personal customer support experience that would generally not be possible when focusing on a much broader scope.
2) What made you start a web hosting business and would you do it again if you could start over?
I originally started a web hosting business, because I got tired of paying my web host for poor service. I’d had many years of experience taking care of UNIX and NT servers in my previous jobs, and so I just purchased a few books, some hardware and got my first small server up. We gradually grew from there, added personal, new hardware, co-location space etc.. I really believe I’d definitely do it again, if I could start over. I truly love making people happy, and providing exceptional service. I’d probably do a few things differently but for the most part, I’d definitely do it again.
3) What is your overall impression of the web hosting industry today?
I think the hosting industry is healthy, there are enough strong companies out there, to help balance out the not so great companies. I hear a lot of horror stories from customers on message boards talking about horrible customer support, service problems etc.. So as long as there is a balance, I believe the hosting industry can survive, at least until Wal-Mart gets into the web hosting industry, and shuts us all down.
4) You seem to concentrate on the local market. Why is that and what makes you so successful?
We concentrate mainly on the local market, because most clients seem to prefer local service and they feel they can generally be reached and taken care of a bit easier than some national companies. This is especially true of a lot of customer who are new to the Webhosting scene, perhaps an older couple wanting to get a simple website of their grandchildren online, or a church wants to get their activities online, and just may need a voice on the phone to help them get it going. I honestly feel that a lot of companies have lost that “customer is right” type of attitude and have lost a lot of professionalism that has made customer service, truly customer service. We’re successful, because we have a whatever it takes approach to all our customers, and our goal is when our customers site is successful, then we’re successful. Even with our business clients, we almost take a business partner approach and our job is to help their site do well, not just be functional, but even promote it locally and in search engines.
5) What advice can you give to newbies?
Get a business plan, don’t just jump into the market with a reseller account, and start selling hosting for 12 months at $.99 cents. Plan for problems, hardware fails. Backups can get corrupted, and sometimes people just need a friendly voice, when their having a bad day. Plan for problems, and always look at where you want your business to be 5yrs from now, and what you’ll need to do to realistically make that happen. Also taking some classes on business management, and customer service, will definitely put you several steps ahead of many of the new companies that will be arriving on the hosting scene. Most importantly, start small, find your niche, and run it.
ZoneRegister.com is a domain registration, and web hosting business based in Oklahoma City, OK.
Our company has been in business since August 2000, known then as Impact X Web Services, and later created ZoneRegister.com as our hosting/domain division. We specialize in UNIX and windows hosting services, domain register, and offer exceptional technical support for all of our members.
Many thanks to Marrel for spending the time answering our questions. Good luck for your future ventures from Webhostingresourcekit.com This interview was recorded in November of 2004.