Four years ago my co-founder JR Farr and I made the bold decision to take the plunge and sell our startup MOJO Marketplace to Endurance International Group. For those that don’t know, Endurance has been a dominant and relatively quiet brand rooted in the website hosting industry. It’s probably safe to say that there is a good chance you or one of your family members have used one of our products.
With that said, I have spent the past four years thinking about the challenges we face in the hosting industry and if there is one thing I know for sure at this point, it’s that most customers seeking hosting are not prepared for the technical understanding required from them. (I actually don’t believe customers actually seek hosting, what they are seeking is a web presence. More on that later ;))
I recently moved into a new role at Bluehost leading product and customer experience. Bluehost has been around since 2002 as a leading hosting company and excelled at powering open source products such as WordPress. The brand has had tremendous success over the past 15 years subconsciously leading with technology first.
Yes, we have great technology but most consumers don’t really care! We care because we are in the industry but customers just want their website to work. Let me give you a couple examples.
At Bluehost we leverage a technology called cPanel to power many of our hosting features. It’s a great product and does it’s job just fine. During the last few years while many hosting companies have been focused on hosting, builder brands such as Wix and SquareSpace have emerged and gained a chunk of the website market share. Years ago leading with technologies worked well for hosting but looking forward we can’t continue to present a control panel technology to customers that are looking for a website solution.
When a customer comes to Bluehost seeking a WordPress website, that is what we should deliver and in it’s most simplistic form.
Another example that I’m proud of is that we recently enabled free SSL certificates for all WordPress websites. Historically getting an SSL on a website required a high level of technical understanding.
The old way (below) was inside the customer’s control panel and was displayed with these other technical settings such as private keys, certificate signing requests, etc. Let’s just say there were a lot of sites without SSL certificates and a lot of support calls asking for help.
Earlier in this year we released a new SSL management page featuring a simple on/off toggle. In addition to the toggle, all new sites just come with the SSL turned on by default so customers don’t even have to think about it.
Obviously there are more advanced settings that customers can get to but why lead with that?
2017 is the year we dedicate to solutions and customers… and keep technology behind the scenes. We have assembled a great team and are laser focused on rethinking what it means to deliver the best WordPress hosting experience!