Competitive!!!

The hosting industry is one of the most competitive I’ve ever seen. Any shared hosting plan over $10 a month is considered way too high, and the packages that come with most hosting companies (Including Bluehost) are ridiculously generous for the price paid. What is a company to do?!!?

Bluehost has only been around since December of 2004 (About 2.5 years). Although I have been involved in other successful hosting ventures it wasn’t until we started Bluehost that I really “got it”. In an ultra competive market like web hosting you have to find a way to stand out. For mosts hosts it is all about price. It is for us as well, but there is WAY more than that too.

The way I see it, you have three things that a web hosting company needs to be highly successful. Notice I said “highly” successful. I am not about mediocrity!! If you are going to do it, then DO IT RIGHT! 1 – You have to have the right price point. In this market, that means under $10. 2 – You have to bring something technically superior to the table than what your competitors have. I believe we have done this with things like PAGE WIZARD, our domain manager, our java FTP applet, SSH (Shell access), etc. Most hosts don’t offer these, or offer something inferior (Especially when it comes to site builders). 3- You MUST have incredible support. This is excruciating to do right. The fun is building the company, not helping someone to change their name servers. That is why so many hosting companies blow it. We honestly believe we have the best support out there BAR NONE. Our average hold time is less than a minute!! When is the last time you called your cell phone company and got someone on the phone in less than a minute! I am not even done listening to their stupid menu at 1 minute!

This market is SOOO competitive and price oriented that I worry that the ultimate loser will be the consumer. To be so worried about aquiring the customer instead of keeping the customer is the mistake that many are making. Bluehost makes “enough” $$$ to take a trip here and there with the family and still give good support, and I will PROMISE to keep things that way!
Thanks,

Matt Heaton / Bluehost.com

10 Responses to “Competitive!!!”

  1. Matt, I moved my blog from blogger.com to Bluehost in late August last year, out of dissatisfaction with blogger.com, and a desire to use WordPress, I also needed a place to store files online, something my ISP’s 10MB offering was no good for, and my home internet connection not fast enough to realistically run a webserver on.

    I saw your deal, but did not pounce as it reminded me of another hosting company that a friend of mine had used, only to find slow MySQL servers (it was literally a case of try to load a page and hope it doesn’t timeout), support staff who were not interested in helping, and billing problems.

    I then saw that the people at WordPress were recommending Bluehost, so I did some research and found that your deal was actually backed up by people who care about customers.

    It was then that I pounced on your deal, and have been a happy customer ever since. I’ve only needed to contact support twice, and on each occasion they were very helpful and had my problem solved in seconds.

    You are right that Bluehost is the best, I am really impressed, and can see my website being hosted by bluehost for many years to come. I was extremely impressed when Bluehost handled my blog going from about 82 page views per day, to over 2000 page views in one day after a popular website decided that they didn’t like me. Admittedly these numbers are small in comparison to most websites, but it is still refreshing to know that the servers can handle sudden spikes.

    Cheers,
    Samuel Gordon-Stewart
    Canberra

  2. chrys says:

    Happy customer acquired and kept! Thanks, as always, for being there!

  3. Samuel,

    I wish I had the similar experience.

    I signed up on April 1 my time, and now it’s April 3 my time, and my blog’s still dead. Pages are displayed when the server feels like it (sometimes spews 500 server error), and I cannot access admin pages at all (500 server error), which means I can’t post new items, etc.

    The main website promised 24/7 phone support on the day I signed up, but when I called, there was no 24/7 phone support. Although a support staff emailed me and we corresponded back and forth, it just takes SO long to do it that way, and it’s extremely frustrating.

    I’m slowly beginning to regret switching my hosting company because it never took me this long to set things up there, and they had 24/7 phone support, and they also had live-chat in case I didn’t want to get stuck on the phone for a long time while they investigate. (I’m currently in Asia for work.) I feel like I’ve wasted two days to save some money when I should’ve just stayed with my old one. The only reason why I switched was that sometimes their mySQL db went down…about every month or so, which frustrated me. But nothing compares to this.

  4. ankit says:

    Currently have a single hosting plan. Okay it has all the features one may ever think of. But very few hosts are offering a PREMIUM Hosting Plan.

    A much more affordable alternative to leasing a dedicated server.

    The plan would be for Blogs and Forums which get SQL Load and fail to meet your CPU Load Criteria.

    SO, in lue of high cost you can decrease the number of sites hosted on a server and Increase SQL Conections.

    Most People don’t need such high data transfer and site builder and for that matter Fantastico.

  5. S McHait says:

    hi Matt,
    on the hosting plan thing, you are ABSOLUTELY right,
    when i first saw the hosting plan of BlueHost,
    it’s just TOO GOOD to be true (for a moment, i really thought that i’m dreaming…it’s true lol),
    there’s NO WAY that you can find a second website hosting company on the planet of Earth that will offer the same plan with the same GREAT PRICE!

  6. OK, a quick update.

    Brandon escalated the issue and got it fixed w/ Spenser. Now everything’s working fine, and Ben even moved my service to a PHP5 box without any problem.

    Now I’m satisfied, esp. because they responded very quickly to resolve my issues when I called on Monday to discuss my problems.

  7. Greg says:

    If Bluehost started in Dec of 2004…wouldnt that be about 1 and a half years!…Ive been using Bluehost for close to a year now…hosting about 5 different sites..and over the past few months i have experienced more frequent downtime and overall “laggyness” with my sites.(myself and site users from all over)..I only notice the one package available now…as a customer I wish more packages were available as I would like better server power (4 cpu’s) and maybe even a more exclusive hosting package with more add-on domains and options…so I am currently shopping around.

  8. Moti says:

    Your 3 points and basic strategy (excellence and ensuring loyalty) are very correct for this commoditized, low entery barriers market of hosting. The other part that you have that I believe helps you is simplicity. After having been disappointed with my previous host [eDataRack - DO NOT GO THERE! the worst service possible] I checked a lot. What attracted me to your offer was indeed the combination of a very inclusive package, great price, and what seemed and I have found to be, great service. But there was another underlying aspect: the one package. With other hosts it was very difficult for me to know which package I need. Do I need this or that feature? I wasn’t sure as I am not a web developer. But your package was the most inclusive and basically solved all my headaches about comparing and figurint out plans. It just had everything in it and better space and transfer rates than others.

    Now that you have grown, your customers are growing as well. Another way for you to make money is to offer a “premium” package that allows those customers that have outgrown the package you have to stay with you. It should be simple as well and not confuse the starters [like me]. It probably would offer dedicated hosting (which would solve the SQL issue raised above), unlimited transfer rates, HUGE hosting space, and whatever high-trafic sites need. Again, simple, inclusive, and at a good price.

    There are other things you could but it is not the space to talk about those. I do teach about such…and your problem is exactly what I have done research on…

  9. Brian says:

    Hi Matt. I have been using bluehost now for around two years or so. The first time was for a company I worked for. The second time (lately) is for a personal site. Anyway, I love the service and have always found tech support great (both on email and phone).

    Did you realize that in the above message and the one before it (Market Leader??) you have two different dates for starting bluehost. One says 2003 and one 2004?

    Later,
    b–

  10. Holly says:

    Hi,
    I started using bluehost on one of my blogsites and I love it! My brother’s SEO firm uses it as well. Thanks for the info!

    Holly
    http://www.FreeSedu.com

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