Since I decided to take the plunge and get a dedicated server for my hosting company, I’ve been working on ways to focus on and improve my offerings as a full-service small business host.

Of course, I’m a one-person company right now – the main reason design clients and others host with me is that they want personal service. My goal now is to make the hosting decision as easy as possible for them by offering both hosting and other services as a one-stop shop.

In the past few weeks, I’ve implemented a number of changes at NOCO (not including buying the dedi):

  • set up an affiliate program for hosting clients in WHMCS. If a new referral comes through a NOCO text or image link on an existing client’s site, the current client gets a credit on their account.
  • replaced my static FAQ page with a new dynamic one using the phpMyFAQ system. Now clients or potential clients can post a question if they don’t find the answers they need, and I can add new items to the FAQ more easily.
  • added two SSL certificates with free installation. I’m thinking about adding more – my domain provider Enom offers quite a few but when I tried to set one up in WHMCS I had some issues.
  • added free trial accounts – a prospective client can check out NOCO for seven days. I’m using a module from WHMCS Gold to manage free trials. They’re automagically removed from the server at the end of the trial if the prospect decides not to sign up.
  • added daily offsite backups through bqbackup, to supplement the onsite ones. Just for my peace of mind.
  • added Plesk Sitebuilder for those new hosting clients looking for a simple templated site.

That last item required some serious consideration – was I possibly cutting myself out of work by offering a Sitebuilder system? But I don’ t think so. The hosting clients that come to NOCO on their own – through searches or ads – may be looking for a quick fix, the kind they can get with site-building tools at the big box hosts. But if they’re looking for a local hosting company with those kinds of tools, then NOCO can meet that need.

When I started NOCO Hosting I only made mention of Red Kite once – on the About Us page. But I’ve rethought that; I’m now advertising the availability of professional custom web design and development services on NOCO’s site.

I think I’m on the right track with my goal of repositioning NOCO as a boutique hosting resource for small businesses, primarily local ones, but I do have a number of clients in other states now. I plan to continue adding new services and goodies for clients as appropriate.

This morning I spent a few hours make some adjustments to my reseller hosting:

  • I changed plans to quarterly and updated pricing based on the new billing frequency;
  • I updated the hosting plan tables in both my studio website and hosting site to reflect the new pricing, and also to update some of the offerings my host now has, such as additional software on the server;
  • I rewrote the text on my studio site to focus more on the value of having the web designer/developer also host the website;
  • I modified some text on the hosting site to reflect new prices and new specs from the host.

I also discovered that WHMCS had a new release – I’d noticed that there was a problem in one of the portal template pages, but the upgrade took care of it. Oh – and I noticed that my host is offering a free guide to reseller hosting, a big PDF download, so I got a copy of that.

I wrote up a short page to give to new clients describing why I’d like them to choose my hosting services:

  • All hosts do things a little differently and I will bill at the hourly rate to work on unfamiliar servers;
  • I won’t be able to easily contact their hosting support if needed;
  • Most important, I host my own business sites and know how reliable my services are.

This effort is just a part of the wide-ranging ‘business mod’ that I’m working my way through. I’m confident I’ll have a much tighter process in place when I finish in the next couple of months.