Webdesigners develop relationships by offering hosting

There are thousands of webhosting companies offering a myriad of options. It can be extremely difficult for your web design clients to indentify which offer truly does offer good value for money and the features that they require. As a web designer you are probably going to be one of your clients first ports of call in regards to advice about choosing a webhosting company.

Customers like things kept simple and if they have one port of call for all their requirements, they will thank you for it. As a webdesigner there can be many benefits to hosting your clients site. So why not consider offering free hosting to your clients as part of your webdesign package. This adds value to your service, they may consider it $200 or more in savings. This makes your webdesign proposal far more attractive.

You can also consider charging for web hosting and including some basic updates in a quarterly price. This helps create a dialogue and an opportunity to get first-look at any new web design work that your client may have. I am not suggesting that you go out and setup a dedicated server. Even if you know enough to setup one dedicated server that is not enough to run a reliable webhosting operation. You need plenty of time and resources to do it properly.

What I am suggesting is checking out the VISP, vServer and Reseller packages available. There are many quality webhosts offering great reseller packages. Choose a web host that you have experience with and can rely on. I use several in various countries to facilitate the needs of my international clients. If you are concentrating locally,
say in the United States, then look locally. You will find Fasthosts and HostGator are just two examples of very cost effective reseller plans.

For example with HostGator (and many others) you can offer your clients a full cPanel. The key to making webhosting easy for you is to ensure WHM Webhostmanager is included with the reseller package. Its a web based wizard nterface for creating and managing accounts. It means an account setup is as easy as signing up online for an account
with your favorite webhosting provider or even easier.

Now you might say your a webdesigner and you do not want the hassles of running a server. You won’t be running the server, your just reselling. For $25 a month I can have unlimited websites hosted for my clients and for many of my clients this will suffice.

The added benefit as a web designer of offering your clients hosting, is that your are keeping an ongoing  relationship with them. Even a request for support can become an opportunity to up-sell your website
design and maintenance services.

Choose a reliable, well established webhosting provider, that has good uptime and local response times. As a designer you do not want to spend your time fielding flack about downtime. But there are plenty of advantages to hosting the websites in your chosen environment. Every webhost has its own peculiarities, causing all manner of headaches. For example, for me as a web developer I am filled with dread when a client tells me that they are hosting with GoDaddy.

Maybe it is just me, I always have problems configuring scripts and getting things to work on their severs. By offering free hosting as part of my design package I can avoid such conflicts completely.
Obviously not all your clients are going to go with you as a webhost, and in some instances you may not be right.

If as a designer you are using ColdFusion or Flash MX as a major component in your applications you can look again at more specialized webhosts that offer reseller or VPS packages. In these instances you will probably need to charge a small monthly fee to cover additional costs in such a setup. Sometimes your resources will simply not be up to the job, if that is the case simply say so. Your client will thank you for your honesty.

Personally as a web developer I want my reseller package to include:

WHM WebHost Manager
Clients to have cPanel Access
Clients cPanel to include Fantastico

All of the above to be running the latest version at time of purchasing the account.

In that way I know I can accommodate 1click install e-commerce and storefronts, blogs, forums, chat rooms, online interactive help, trouble ticket systems, image galleries and almost every other small business web design client requirement.

Other things to look for in your reseller web hosting company are:

1. Excellent Customer Support: Your hosting provider should be there for you 24/7 and give you instant access to the technicians you need to solve your problem. Ask them how long it takes for them to typically respond to your problem. A good test is to call them in the middle of the night to check if you get to a live, level 3 support.

2. A Sound Infrastructure: Check whether they offer a multi-homed network powered by multiple bandwidth providers to ensure redundancy. Some offer a 100% guarantee on its network availability or network uptime.

3. Financial Stability: If you’re running very critical operations, you can’t afford to be with a hosting company that may not be in business in a few months.

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