I spoke to the director of Worcester Web Studio, Ray Gillespie, about his business and how they use 20i.
Hi Ray – what does your company do?
We are a full service digital agency, offering the full range of digital services such as web design/development, digital marketing, server/email management and anything else related to the online world. We also write custom themes and plugins for WordPress.
Business is good thank you, despite the COVID-19 situation. We’re finding that more than ever, businesses are keen to push their offering online so that they are less reliant on in-person or bricks-and-mortar premises.
How do you get your clients?
It’s a mixture of word of mouth and our own marketing. We do a lot of SEO and social media, which brings in about 50% of new enquiries. The other half comes from recommendations from existing clients.
How do you use 20i’s Reseller Hosting?
It’s our main platform for most clients. We use a mixture of services, but 20i tends to be our go-to platform in the first instance. It works really well for us because it gives us the right balance between control and support.
On the one hand, we need to be able to understand and manage all the services we are using. On the other hand it’s really important that we have support when we need it – we get both of these with 20i’s Reseller Website Hosting platform.
Who were you using for hosting before 20i?
We’ve always used a mixture of platforms, but the reseller hosting platform we used before 20i was Heart Internet.
How have things have improved since using us?
With our old setup we were finding more and more that specific limitations were making life difficult for us and our clients. For example, with the rapid increase in HTTPS use, we wanted a platform that allowed us to generate free SSL certificates using Let’s Encrypt. While our VPS platforms allowed us to do this, our reseller hosting didn’t, and we were reluctant to move completely away from reseller hosting as a concept.
When we discovered that 20i offered this as standard we were very interested in moving across. We then found a whole host of other benefits that allowed us to offer a massively-increased service to our clients while maintaining the same costs.
What’s the #1 most important thing you look-for in a web host?
It’s difficult to give just one feature – on the one hand, reliability is of paramount importance, but reliability alone isn’t sufficient – you also need excellent support, and value for money. I think that’s the holy trinity of hosting really. If you lack any one of these aspects it’s not going to work.
What’s the most enjoyable project you’ve worked-on?
We’re really lucky in that everyone on the team really enjoys being in this industry, so we enjoy working on all our projects. Sometimes it’s a unique client, other times it’s solving difficult development problems or it might just be a case of being really happy to see your work pay off for the client and bring in more sales or enquiries.
One recent project we really enjoyed was for a local hospice, where we built them a virtual chalkboard
One recent project we really enjoyed was for a local hospice, where we built them a virtual chalkboard where people could leave notes say what they want to do before they die. Prior to COVID-19, the client had a series of pop-up chalkboards on a high street stall, and people would come over to add their comments.
With the current restrictions this was no longer feasible, so they asked us to create an online version, which we recently set live. It was really fun to create something that we’ve not seen before and help a client use the web to solve a problem like this.
Do you have any advice for those wanting to start or grow a business like yours – that you’re willing to share of course!?
I think the number one piece of advice I would give to anyone in this industry is to build up trust. As long as your prices are competitive and your service is good, developing a reputation for being trustworthy and honest will get you a long way.
Any plans for the future?
It’s difficult to make specific plans while there is so much uncertainty due to the COVID-19 situation, but it’s a fast-moving industry. We’re constantly evolving our offering to cater for this.
One thing we’ve seen over the last few weeks is much more demand for ecommerce and online advertising. So that’s a side of the business that will likely grow over the next 12 months.
Who knows really though? I think we’ve all seen how quickly the world can change unexpectedly, so while making forecasts and plans is a necessary part of business development, it’s just as important to be flexible and adjust your goals as you go.
Wise words indeed, Ray. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us and best of luck with your business.
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