Setting up a Hosting Arm of your Digital or Web Agency
To me, hosting your clients website is not only recurring money for jam but a great way to set your clients mind at ease. Another added bonus is, bespoke, local web hosting is in great demand as larger companies cant and wont offer the level of support that an agency at ‘’ground level’’ can.
If you have ever wondered what you can earn hosting clients websites then continue reading and consider this, there is infinite potential, even after you have paid for the overheads of a hosting server. Its good business!
Where to begin?
The very first thing you need to do is look at setting up a platform thats super duper simple for YOU to use and comes with support. Your clients wont know that this support is available and they day you need it, you look like a hero.
You don’t have to have an area where clients login (reseller accounts), its not necessary and from my 5 years expirence most never ever check or want to know, they just want their bill paid and website online.
I use WHM and Cpanel as the framework to run this for me and then I have purchased an account with a local VPS here in Melbourne, Australia who set it all up and actually host the servers for me.
The beauty here is, this makes it so so simple to host client websites. The server company provide backups, free migrations (which you can choose to oncharge your client should you wish) and it also allows for dead simple email setups, DNS management and Free SSL certificates (again, you can on charge for these!)
I started on a managed shared server which proved affordable but came with speed and upload issues, I am on my third server now which is a VPS and allows for super fast websites with no backup issues. I would invest upfront first time in something like this if I had my time again, however you have to start somewhere affordability wise.
What/How to charge?
Web hosting is an easy sell if you know how to sell it. Your customers are with you because you can do something they cant or don’t want to do and they never want to have to worry about their websites NOT being online, if its online and secure, theyre willing to pay. Majority of the time that’s all they care about.
The best way to approach it is to bundle a really attractive bundle of things that come included e.g.
Free SSL certificate (its normally ALL people need)
Backups – you need to determine an UpdraftPlus or offsite storage area, trust me this is a brilliant and important investment.
Ground level support – that being, if they call or email, they get you, the owner, a real human/person. This builds incredible long lasting relationships
WordPress updates and plugin updates – can be managed through something like ManageWP in one neat dashboard
Hardening of website, so locking down from hackers
Free migrations (just raise a ticket with your host, get them to do)
These items here are what the big hosting companies cant or wont offer as they just want large numbers of customers and don’t want the headache of some of these items when they arise.
As this is a bespoke service you can charge anywhere from $50 + GST per month up to $129 + GST per month and just tailor/tweak the offering accordingly to accommodate more value, loads you can tap on such as SEO, reports etc.
How to take payment
I have seen lots of people really complicate this in my time, this should be dead easy. One of the big issues loads of businesses currently have is not being paid in a timely manner or even paid at all for that matter. Direct debit is the only way to truly combat this and what you stress when signing someone up to direct debit is ‘’you don’t have to think about this each month, an invoice will be generated and you don’t need to do anything when it arrives, peace of mind’’.
I use software called Practice Ignition and suggest you do the same. I have had a lawyer write up some terms and conditions which ensure you are not doing free out of scope work for your clients and this gets accepted with a digital signature before the client enters their credit card or bank details. I use PI in conjunction with Xero, its an absolute game changer and ensures I get paid every single month.
In a nutshell, this is how you set up a hosting arm of your business today, its super easy to implement and an absolute no brainer for real recurring revenue.