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WEB HOSTING ARTICLES

What to Look for When Choosing Hosting Automation Software
By: Terri Wells
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    2006-11-01

    Table of Contents:
  • What to Look for When Choosing Hosting Automation Software
  • Business Functions
  • The Customer Side
  • More Customer Management Features

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    What to Look for When Choosing Hosting Automation Software - More Customer Management Features


    (Page 4 of 4 )

    We’re not done yet by a long shot. Many of your customers will have some kind of email address other than the one through their domain. Still, if you can provide them with a hosted email service that works as well as a desktop application, without the client side software, they’ll be more inclined to stay. That’s important in an industry in which customer loyalty is low to nonexistent. Especially if you’re pitching to businesses, your customers should be able to add, manage, and delete email addresses on their own.

    A web site doesn’t really feel like it belongs to you if you can’t easily manage your files. Customers need a way to get them to your servers, and take down their own existing files. Make this as simple for your customers as you can and still maintain security; not everyone who puts together a web site is tech savvy, and they shouldn’t have to be.

    Along the same lines, you might consider providing your customers with a simple HTML editor. Many web hosts don’t, but if you have a good one, you have a better chance of keeping your less technically-inclined customers happy. If you really want to get fancy, you can offer site builder wizards and web site templates that will get your customers well on the way to creating the site of their dreams with very little hassle. Some site builders include automated graphics tools, automated web blogs and forms, site navigation, style sheets, and much more.

    Your customers may have database needs; especially in the case of ecommerce websites, they may need to manage their connectivity to a database, and even manage items in the database itself. Database tools vary a lot in price and capabilities. The kind of tool you offer your customers is going to depend very much on the market you’re targeting.

    Again, if you’re targeting ecommerce websites, your customers will need ecommerce tools. They’ll need to be able manage their flow of goods through website transactions, and process credit card and PayPal payments. With this target market, having good ecommerce tools to offer your customers is not optional; it’s a must.

    Finally, I’d like to address the issue of tech support. Sometimes you can set things up so that your customers are able to solve their problems without calling on you. If you can provide them with easy access to the kind of information they need to get things done, you’re making them more self sufficient – which is satisfying to both them and you. Aside from a good FAQ, good tutorials on the topics they’re most likely to need help with are a nice touch. When they do need to call on you for help, the more ways they have of reaching the person who can help them, the better. Email, live chat, and phone numbers should be available. After all, if you’ve automated everything properly, they’ll only be contacting you for the really important things that they can’t take care of themselves.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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