As an agency owner, fulfilling as many client needs as possible is the name of the game. And for websites, the primary continuing need is an outstanding web hosting solution. For agencies, a web hosting partner is a great option.
Web hosting is a critical service, as no website can exist without it. Offering these services to your clients is a great way to earn extra revenue and position your business as a full-service agency.
But the barriers to entering the web hosting market are high.
The monthly costs for renting space in a data center are steadily rising. Global spending on data center systems is projected to reach $222 billion in 2023, and managing a data center is no easy task.
According to Glassdoor, employing just one IT technician in the U.S. will run you around $48,141 per year, and web hosting programs require a whole team — including senior experts with much higher salary demands.
If you aren’t prepared to bear those costs, how can you possibly fulfill this central client need?
You can do so by working with an agency web hosting partner.
Through an alliance with a hosting provider, you can provide hosting services without having to deal with the time-consuming hassles of managing servers.
How can you build a successful web hosting partnership? It all starts with selecting the ideal hosting partner for your agency.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is an agency web hosting partner program?
- Benefits of agency web hosting partners
- Essential elements of agency web hosting partner programs
- 7 tips for how to choose a web host for your agency
- Final thoughts: 7 tips for selecting the ideal web hosting partner for your agency
What is an agency web hosting partner program?
An agency partner program for web hosting is a strategic alliance between digital marketing agencies and website hosting providers.
These programs are mutually beneficial partnerships between an agency and a specific hosting partner, through which that provider helps that agency expand its business, offers incentives for new customer acquisitions, and provides a comprehensive suite of services to support agency growth.
Types of web hosting programs for agencies
- Agency partner: A direct partnership with an agency to help it grow and improve its overarching business offer through a mutually-beneficial alliance.
- Affiliate: Agencies utilize affiliate codes to get commissions for generating leads, conversions, and sales.
- Referral: Web hosts offer existing agency customers a commission for referring their products, services, and brand to potential new customers.
- Reseller: Web hosts provide services under a white-label agreement to an agency, which then resells those services as its own.
The type of agency-oriented alliance that’s best for you and your clients will vary based on factors like your brand identity, customer base, and position in the market.
Each program offers strong benefits for agencies, but agency partnerships offer unique benefits tailored to agencies that serve multiple customers.
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Benefits of agency web hosting partners
Single provider hosting for your clients
Having a single web hosting provider for your customers streamlines and simplifies the process of providing hosting. Instead of searching for a host for each new website client, you can use your valuable time working on more lucrative business activities.
Hosting under your branding
Some hosting partner programs allow white-label service. That means you can brand the hosting services they provide under your name.
This means you can develop your brand identity as a full-service digital marketing agency and position yourself as an industry expert.
You can offer server resources, domain names, emails, and technical support under your own name. But you won’t need to purchase data centers, manage physical servers, or invest in any other hosting infrastructure. The agency hosting partner handles all of that.
White-label services can help you stand out from the massive number of competitors vying for success in this space.
Boost revenue while minimizing cost
Using a web hosting partner means you can boost your revenue without added costs. You can earn discounts and commissions for each new customer and generate a new revenue stream by offering hosting services to your clients. And keeping all of the hosting with one partner reduces your hosting costs as well.
Improve overall performance
Partner programs help you optimize website performance, security, and overarching website management processes for your clients. This bolsters your business offerings and reputation while helping you establish yourself as a top-notch, high-performance, and reliable agency.
Reduce hassle and stress
Dealing with frustrating downtime issues, security breaches, migration problems, and unreliable website speeds can easily become overwhelming without an agency hosting partner. Technical support requests from customers are also time drains that take you away from design work. These problems frequently lead to costly solutions, lost revenue, and damage to your brand reputation.
Working with a web hosting expert that provides managed hosting and an expert technical support team lets you avoid these issues. Even without an agency partnership, getting started with managed hosting is a great idea.
Built-in technical expertise
No hosting expertise? No problem. Partner programs provide troubleshooting services to help you solve technical problems with a complete IT team ready to solve all client technical issues.
Hosting providers can help you expand your services as you grow with seamless scalability. This makes it easier for you to evolve while eliminating the need to switch providers once you have more clients.
Essential elements of agency web hosting partner programs
While every web hosting company presents core features like server space, bandwidth, and domains, hosts that specialize in agency hosting partnerships provide a suite of services designed especially for businesses like yours.
Agency web hosting partner programs come in many shapes and sizes, with diverse capabilities and additional perks. While there’s no singular “most important” element to look for, there are certain essential characteristics to seek out in agency hosting programs.
Website availability is key, as your clients and their customers will need access to their websites at all times. This means you should seek out ample server space, disk space, traffic capacity, bandwidth capacity, and reliable uptime.
You should also look for accessibility features like virtual private server root access and hosting options that serve your clients’ needs. Seek out dedicated application servers or hybrid servers based on your target clients, and email accounts for your users.
Shoot for high uptime rates. 99.99% uptime means only 52 minutes of downtime a year, but a drop to 99.9% means over 8 hours yearly. With downtime, every minute counts. A 2023 study by BigPanda found that the average cost for unplanned outage downtime runs as high as $12,900 per minute.
Partners who offer built-to-order servers, clusters, and custom enterprise infrastructure will be better able to meet your specific availability needs.
Anytime customer support is vital to a hosting partner program. Your agency partnership should always come with a reliable, attentive, and readily available support team with advanced technical know-how and extensive industry expertise.
Look for partners that offer priority support via multiple channels, like chat, phone, and email. Make sure providers are available for troubleshooting all 365 days of the year.
Seek out useful features like domain registration and pointing, free white-glove migrations, automated daily backups, SFTP and SSH access, website builders, flexible developer environments, and customizable hosting packages.
A strong host also offers features that enhance the user experience for you and your clients, such as simple multi-site management platforms, site stencils, and fully-managed application hosting services.
Prioritize a robust collection of security features, including free SSL certificates, proactive security patches, dimensional caching, and private VMware.
Dynamic security features are also essential. Phishing, ransomware, and cloud-based attacks continue to rise. So make sure your partner is prepared to protect you and your clients.
Seek out high performance, super-fast loading speeds, and systems that support functionality. Tools like automated plugin testing and monitoring, elements that help you increase conversion rates for your clients, and global content delivery network (CDN) options all boost performance.
Look for search engine optimization (SEO) and SERP rankings tools along with other performance features and services that make your clients’ lives easier, such as sales performance monitoring software.
In addition to these four categories of essential elements, consider the potential for ROI by weighing the monthly costs vs. the financial benefits. Make sure any possible partners are transparent with their pricing.
7 tips for how to choose a web host for your agency
Here are some simple strategies you can use to snag a strategic partner that can help you and your clients reach new levels of success:
1. Know your goals and needs.
2. Compare features and dependability.
3. Match partner programs and plan types to your needs.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
5. Look for a partner that can evolve and adapt with you.
6. Channel Goldilocks when determining your budget.
7. Prioritize the content management system(s) your clients prefer.
1. Know your goals and needs
Look for long-term efficacy in your potential partnerships from the very beginning, consulting with your provider regarding expected results, benchmarks, goals, and projected metrics pertaining to agency growth.
While short-term ROI is important, long-term goals such as overarching aims and evaluating growth potential are also vital. Asking and answering key questions helps you pinpoint your primary goals.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What is our overall goal with this partnership?
- What are our clients’ primary needs?
- What are our long-term goals?
- Which aspects of our business are we hoping to improve upon?
- What core hosting features do we want to offer our clients?
- What additional features would our target clients benefit from?
- How might this partnership develop our brand identity?
- How much do we want to spend on a hosting partnership?
Questions for potential agency hosting partners:
- What solutions, promotional opportunities, and services do you offer for agencies?
- How can your agency manage clients and business owners through multiple platforms?
- How do you assist with website-building?
- What developer tools does your platform use?
- What kind of technical support is included?
- How much traffic can you handle?
- What are your security and performance specs?
2. Compare features and dependability
Once you know your goals, you can list the essential features for achieving them.
For example, suppose you’re a digital agency that specializes in retail and ecommerce. In that case, you’ll probably prioritize uptime guarantees, website speed, end-user experience, WooCommerce automated testing, social media shopping tools, and ecommerce hosting specialization.
If you’re in the healthcare space, security is paramount. Ensure your partner provides strong security features and a compliant hosting environment addressing HIPAA regulations.
Choose which features you’ll need from the following categories:
- Availability: Low downtime rates, lots of storage space and bandwidth, traffic scalability, and multiple server locations.
- Support: 24/7/365 customer service that’s reliable, attentive, and offers advanced technical expertise.
- Features: Useful systems, services, and add-ons that make your clients’ lives easier and enhance site security.
- Performance: Fast loading speeds and performance-enhancing services to help your clients’ websites thrive.
3. Match partner programs and plan types to your needs
Larger agencies often benefit most from a direct agency partner program. If you’re an SMB agency owner, a partnership via an affiliate, reseller, or referral program might be a better fit for your agency because of lower upfront costs.
Whichever program best aligns with your priorities, make sure it offers the type of hosting your clients need. For example, if you’re searching for maximum control regarding server resources, you’ll probably want a VPS hosting or dedicated hosting plan.
If most of your clients are freelancers who prioritize uptime over all else, you might consider cloud hosting. If your focus is on keeping costs low, look into a shared hosting plan.
Avoid reseller web hosting plans that aren’t designed for agencies. They simply aren’t as good of a fit for your business needs, as they cater to diverging business models and aren’t always able to seamlessly handle multi-site management.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Communication between your team and your agency partner needs to be open and constant. Be as clear as you can from the very beginning when communicating your workflow practices, expectations, and general best practices to ensure compatibility while deciding between agency web hosting partners. This makes it more probable that all day-to-day activities will run smoothly.
5. Look for a partner that can evolve and adapt with you
The capacity for partnership adaptability throughout future changes is key. Because as PwC reminds us via their Marketing Predictions for 2023, “When it comes to digital marketing… there is no guarantee ‘what works today will work tomorrow.’”
Choose a partner that offers scalability so you can expand when the time is right. They should also offer flexibility, customizability, and personalized customer solutions, as these qualities help increase the likelihood of long-term success for both your agency and its clients.
6. Channel Goldilocks when determining your budget
When it comes to deciding on a budget, it shouldn’t be too big or too small. If you opt for the cheapest hosting partnership, you’ll likely have performance issues, a lackluster suite of features, and subpar customer support. If you opt for the most expensive, it’ll likely be nearly impossible to earn your target ROI.
7. Prioritize partners presenting the content management system(s) your clients prefer
Whether it’s WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, or something else, selecting a hosting partner that’s an expert in that space streamlines your clients’ workflow processes while saving you valuable time.
For example, WordPress agency hosting partners might offer WordPress plugin management and a site builder with templates, while generalist hosts might skip those features.
Final Thoughts: 7 tips for selecting the ideal web hosting partner for your agency
An agency web hosting partnership is a brilliant way to expand your business offer and satisfy your clients. If you choose the right provider, you and your customers will enjoy many benefits. Looking for availability, support, features, and performance is key to finding a great partner program.
By adopting a strategic approach to selecting a partner, you’re sure to find a program that can produce great results for your and your clients’ businesses.
Do you want your agency to evolve into a one-stop shop for all of your clients’ needs? Would you like to offer white-label hosting services to customers without making huge investments and managing hosting yourself? Are you interested in partnering with an expert provider in the WordPress space?
The Nexcess agency partner program might be a good fit for your agency. Nexcess is a reliable web hosting agency partner providing fully managed WordPress hosting for agencies and a dedicated customer support team that works 24/7/365.
Here at Nexcess, better is built in. Our team of dedicated experts fixate on helping agencies bolster brand authority, provide more to valued clients, and reach new levels of success.
Contact us to improve your bottom line with an agency partnership.