With so many companies sharing an incredibly competitive field of hosting, it's quite difficult to set yourself apart and become a household name. The competition often has better advertising budgets, more experience and often can afford to provide lower prices, due to the sheer volume of the users they currently have.
So, how can a new company make a name for itself?
While trying to find the answer to this question, contacting someone like InMotion Hosting sounded like an absolute no-brainer. Therefore, I was really glad when Cody Murphy from Sales and Development has agreed to talk to me about the company and how did it come to be.
Here's what we found out about the business practices which managed to turn InMotion into what it is today:
A business standard from the very start
The year was 2001. Co-founders Todd Robinson and Sunil Saxena have been working in the web hosting industry when they realized that there is one thing it genuinely lacks. That was nothing else but customer support - which was actually quite diminishing in that time. To put things in perspective, now it is way easier to make a website than it was before.
Powerful CMSes like WordPress or website builders like Wix, Weebly or InMotion's-own Boldgrid have made page creation simple and enjoyable. It wasn't the same back in 2001. You had to do most of the stuff yourself and compared to now, support and tutorials were incredibly scarce. InMotion offered a very impressive thing for the time - 24/7 US-based technical support which made it possible to speak with a human being at any time of the day.
Now, many take it for granted but at the time, it was only the beginning of a business standard.
The community is always key
But how has a small company, started by two colleagues, grown into something so big and remained to be successful for nearly two decades? The answer is actually quite simple: community. Cody Murphy explains:
We relied on word-of-mouth advertising in the beginning, but even though we have grown, recommendations from friends & family is still a large part of our growth today. Community has been very important to our success over the years. Giving back to the open source community has been something we’ve done since day one. Supporting the community, and encouraging our employees to do so has certainly been a major factor in our success.Cody Murphy
Many customers tend to believe a recommendation from a friend, colleague or a family member more than they believe a regular advertisement. Therefore, it is important to nurture your community and make sure that it loves you enough to be the flagbearers.
How do you do that?
Well, InMotion has sponsored countless WordCamps, JoomlaDays and other events, which may interest both established development veterans and newbies. This way, a lot of the developers have become loyal to the brand and helped the company get a steady influx of visitors that kept it going for so many years.
This is truly a great lesson for many to learn from. While traditional advertising may appear to be more beneficial in the short run, you should take care of your community. Because eventually, your community will care for you.
Care for your team and your users
Speaking of community, it includes a lot of people - some of them may not even be the users of the services! One of the best examples is InMotion's brilliant tutorial system. Including over 4,000 articles over many years, this library of online support has aided thousands of people all around the world - including me! Cody Murphy has explained the logic of the decision like this:
We believe in, and support, open source software, so creating content is one way we give back to the online community.Cody Murphy
And of course, the online community delivers! On average, the support center is responsible for at least 60% of the website traffic. Sometimes, the number is as high as 90%. Naturally, plenty of those people then become users of the InMotion hosting - and so, the cycle of people recommending it to their peers goes on...
Of course, you can't achieve greatness only caring for your visitors. You have to care for your employees as well! A lot of the people currently in the more advanced positions have actually started out as regular customer service representatives and many reviews and performance meetings allow all of the workers to make a positive impact regarding the quality of InMotion services. In the middle of going up the corporate ladder, employees can relax in team building sessions or partake in Nerf gun fights.
Security like in the movies!
More and more with each passing day, people are interested in keeping their data secure. After all, losing your information can end up being a serious disaster! InMotion understands the concern and it currently fully owns the hardware in the two datacenters that they have, located in Washington, D.C metro area, and Los Angeles, California.
As far as security within the data center, the facilities use state-of-the-art features like biometric sensors, keycard access, and video monitoring.Cody Murphy
All the access is logged and everything's monitored 24/7. Private, modern servers on both coasts of the US ensure that InMotion hosting is always going toe to toe with the business standards.
The future of InMotion is bright
After 17 years of service, InMotion hosting doesn't show any signs of slowing down. The new WordPress hosting platform launched in early 2018 will put even more focus on the world's most popular content management system. For those more interested in doing things on their own, the provider will offer Ubuntu and self-managed VPS services, providing world-class servers with 100% freedom of choice.
Of course, with an increased influx of services and clients, there are demands to be met but a new support office has been opened in Denver, Colorado, just last year.
There are also plans to expand the Virginia Beach, VA support office to give it even more capacity to keep providing the clients with top-notch customer service. InMotion has helped to set a new standard in customer service back in 2001 but it's not resting on its laurels.
There are plenty more things the company plans to do in the future. After expanding the operations in the US, there will still be plenty of things left to achieve.
Maybe one day we'll see this American provider spread its wings and try going abroad?
We can only wait and see. If the previous experience is anything to go by, InMotion could be set for a dazzling success. It has done several interesting things already and we are staying tuned to see what's next.