Niche Market for Web Hosts – Blog Hosting
Is Niche Hosting the new mantra in the Web Hosting industry. Certainly looks so with Email Hosting, Database hosting, Podcast Hosting and now Blog Hosting.Blogs are online personal journals put up in reverse chronological order by “Bloggers”. Used to Discuss every conceivable topic on earth, Blogs are a way to provide opinions in areas as diverse as Politics to software. Bloggers primarily use text as a medium of communication on their blog sites. Now, Blogging has taken on a new form of its own with Video blogging(vlogs) where people relate news with videos and pictures. Mobile logging(moblogs) allows people to post pictures, audio and video taken with mobile phones.
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Serious bloggers use RSS and other syndication methods to make sure that their audience gets updates without even visiting the website. With Podcasting(Syndication with audiovisual content), viewers are able to download audiovisual content and hear it using software like iTunes.
Is it any wonder then, that the bandwidth and space requirements of Bloggers is on the rise. Niche Hosts are seeing the smoke and are gearing up to provide Bloggers all the tools, hardware and software they need to start blogging the first day.
What about those free Blogging sites like Blogger.com and umpteen more. What chance do Commercial Web Hosts have when these free sites provide the space, bandwidth and tools to start blogging. The fact is that Free Blogging sites have the same problems that free Hosting providers do. Limited space and bandwidth, Popup ads and a convoluted URL (like yourname.blogspot.com). Many do not allow audiovisual content. Serious bloggers like to have their own name (myname.com) and the freedom which comes with setting up their site the way they like it.
Then why would a Blogger go to a niche Blog Hosting provider as opposed to a regular Web Host. In any case, it all boils down to bandwidth and space, right? Wrong. As in the case of any Niche service provider, a Commercial Blog Hosting provider knows the special needs and requirements of the niche customer.
Niche Blog Hosting providers provide Special packages aimed at bloggers – blogging tools, gallery style software, rich media, customized templates. All this generates interest in the serious blogger, prompting him to choose a Niche provider over a mainstream provider.
So what does it take to provide Blog Hosting.
- Niche Hosts should Create Special packages aimed at Bloggers. Bloggers with Photo or audiovisual content need at least 750 Mb space and above.
- Integrate Blogging software with their new accounts. During signups, they should be able to choose the software(paid or free) and have it installed as soon as the account is setup. WordPress and Movable Type are the most popular. Do a good comparison of all the software, and choose what you need.
- Gallery style software which allow customers to upload pictures.
- Customized templates for various types of bloggers(politics, software, personal)
- Some tips and tricks on blogging information would be very much appreciated by customers. Especially on search engine optimization specific to the blogging software.
- Put high traffic bloggers in high performance servers with lesser accounts and away from the small bloggers. You can make it package based.
- Most important, a well informed Tech support that understands the software and the specific issues that they face.
A mainstream Web Host that needs to get into this niche, should understand the needs of the customer and accordingly designs its offerings specific to this niche. Will this niche last for at least a few years? Blogging has simply grown over the last few years and shows indications of only growing further. Therefore I would advice Mainstream Web Hosts to add Blog Hosting as a segment of their business, rather than completely switching to it.Would your regular customer, who switches to blogging, leave you and go to a Niche provider? Maybe not. But you can be sure it is the Niche provider who is getting all the new signups from new customers interested in the Niche. A Web Hosting company looking for growth opportunity would do well to consider opening up new segments like Blog Hosting. The key is to study the customer requirements thoroughly and create the perfect package for them.
About the author:
Sangeetha Naik heads Bobcares.com. She is the co-founder of Poornam Info Vision Ltd., Software and IT services company specializing in Linux based solutions for Webhosts and ISPs. Poornam Info Vision is an ISO 9001:2000 certified company with a team of over 140 engineers.
Sangeetha is a Computer Engineer based in India and has over 7 years of experience in the Hosting industry. Her articles have been published both online as well as in print.