It’s been a while since we presented a customer in our blog! I am happy to introduce now Web Pepper, one of our big resellers and active FaceBook fans. He has shared some cool stories about how he got inspired by the Computer world, how he has chosen to work with WordPress and what was his experience with SiteGround.
SiteGround: Please introduce yourself and your online projects hosted by SiteGround?
Web-Pepper: My name is Ralph de Groot, Web-Pepper is a nick related with my one-man company. At Web-Pepper I build and maintain WordPress websites for small and medium sized business and various artists. I would describe myself not only as a webmaster, but also as someone that provides highly personalized assistance to my customers with their websites.
I started Web-Pepper in 2003, before that I worked as computer hardware service and support engineer servicing some of the highest end computer users in the Netherlands like several ministries, governmental agencies, and high-end computer businesses in the Netherlands. That's where I learned what high-end support is.
SiteGround: Tell us more about yourself and Web-Pepper.com! When did you start your business and what kind of services do you offer?
Web-Pepper: My father was already programming Z80 processors in about 1980. We have had a computer at home since I can remember. From the earliest Apple to the 8086, 286, 386 we had them all. I recall people coming at our house to see a 10 Mb hard disk in function. That is how I got infected with the computer-flue. I can remember when I was a little kid (I was born in 1971) my father told me that one day, there would be a global network, and you would be able to use a computer anywhere you want. At that time, I thought: “If I can find a way to earn your money from that network, I can work anywhere I want, THAT'S GREAT!” I first came online in 1995. IRC was the big things and I started to create small websites for the IRC channels.
SiteGround: How did you come with this particular name (Web-Pepper)?
Web-Pepper: Initially, I used another name for my company. Back then I was still repairing computers and giving support to people at home. But I also started working business to business and specialized in WordPress. One day I needed to explain to a customer what a CMS system could do and how is it better than a static HTML website. I told him that this kind of technique would “spice up his website”. This guy was (still is) very VERY creative and he answered “So you Pep-Up the website?”, “You are a web-pepper!” It sounded cool and as my current company name was really more suitable for a computer-repair-shop I went for Web Pepper instead.
SiteGround: You are quite active FaceBook user and one of the most active fans of our own FaceBook page. However, your profile web pepper seems to be more of a professional one. What is the role of FaceBook in your professional and personal life?
Web-Pepper: It is true that I use FaceBook for my company Web-Pepper, but actually Web-Pepper is not just my job it is my lifestyle. I do it 24/7 and I like it. It does not feel like work anymore. I check my FaceBook as often as my email.
SiteGround: You specialize in WordPress - why do you like it, what are WP's advantages compared to other website applications?
Web-Pepper: When I first started building websites, I programmed them in MS Frontpage, but I soon noticed maintaining them wasn’t fun and took me too much time. About 6 years ago I started to work with WordPress. Why WordPress? Well… Some guy told me to stop creating websites by hand and start using a CMS System. He could not tell me which one to use, so I had to find out. But since I had to start learning a system from scratch, I decided to go to the one who was the most easy for my customers to use.
I tested several options including Drupal, Typo3, Joomla and WordPress. Then I found a person who did not know anything about computers or internet: my mother. She tested my 4 websites for me. After 2 weeks she came back and told me she could not do anything with them except for WordPress, she told me that one was so easy to use, even she could handle it. Then I knew that I needed to start learning using WordPress.
Maybe you could read this, it also gives you a nice story (it's in Dutch, but maybe you could use Google translate) http://www.web-pepper.com/nieuws/websites-van-bekende-mensen-bedrijven-gemaakt-in-wordpress/
SiteGround: You also offer SEO services - could you tell us more about the challenges in this area?
Web-Pepper: It’s a part of delivering a good website. I think SEO is pretty difficult and there are many ways to do good.
SiteGround: Which website you worked on is your favorite project ever and why?
Web-Pepper: I can’t answer that question. I don’t have a favorite customer, I love them all. I have customers calling me 5 times a week and customers that I need to call after months not heard; there are some pretty (internationally) famous persons that use my service, like Jan Vayne, Micky Jooren, Sascha van Esdonk, Hugo van Neck and Wolfgang Peppmeier, but I am just as happy working for ordinary people and helping them with the great effort to start their own small business and want to do something online. I’m a service-guy with a big heart, I love helpting people.
SiteGround: Which of your projects was the most challenging as a setup or ongoing maintenance for you, what made it so difficult?
Web-Pepper: I remember a website I once built, it’s not online anymore, for a reunion of some pub. They first told me they needed a really basic website and I agreed to take it on some relatively low and fixed price. After some meetings it turned out they had some really crazy ideas and the project got quite complicated. It took me hours of research. At the end I had it going. It did not pay off very well in terms of money, but it brought me a lot of new experience. That’s more worth than gold!
Tell us a little more about your experience with SiteGround hosting!
At this moment I have more than 50 accounts at SiteGround with over 70 websites and 0 server worries. Whenever I have a question, SiteGround support helps me in no time! Another thing I really like about SiteGround is that they keep innovating, making new stuff to make things better, faster and safer. For example adding Cloudflare, SG SuperCacher and that kind of stuff. I feel that SiteGround and Web-Pepper have the same personal approach to their customers needs; I think that’s why I like SiteGround so much!
SiteGround: How did you find us and why did you choose us at first place?
Web-Pepper:Well, I have used a lot different hosting companies but they all had the same problem for me: Their irresponsiveness outside office hours. Once I had a problem with a website and to solve it I needed to contact the hosting company with a single simple request. It was a Friday 17:05 in the afternoon, and I had to wait until Monday-morning. All that time my clients website was down.
This situation made me look for a hosting company that would suit me better by having an attitude similar to mine: I needed someone that will help the customers like they are friend or family. SiteGround does this. I’m not a server-guy, and I don’t want to become one, so I needed a hosting partner I could really count on. And this is SiteGround.
SiteGround: What role does SiteGround hosting play in the services you provide?
Web-Pepper: Well SG takes care of my websites like they are their own. They take care of protection, provide me with feedback. I’m a one-man company, whenever I have a question I use Google and SiteGround-Support :c)
SiteGround: What was your initial impression after you started using SiteGround hosting, did it change during the years?
Web-Pepper: At first the most important was that I could reach someone 24/7/365 when I have a problem. However, I got to see that SiteGround Support is not only there to answer the question you ask, they really think along with you. You can go and ask questions like : “what plugin should you prefer for… “ which is definitely not like reporting a hosting related issue they need to fix, and they will still answer! Another thing I really appreciate is that SiteGround is open for ideas. If you miss a functionality and tell them about it, for example something in the reseller area, they at least TRY to do something about that OR explain to you WHY it can’t be done.
SiteGround: What was the main reason that made you use SiteGround for so many projects?
Web-Pepper: Because I can rely on SiteGround, I choose for separate accounts for my clients. It is very clear and is practical and functional. Maybe not the cheapest solution with all that separate accounts, but it is affordable, clear and SiteGround is money well spent.