A few months ago the website design and development company IvyCat approached us with a serious problem. Their business suffered, team morale was low and customer happiness was at risk. They couldn't handle their hosting business alone anymore and needed professional help. Today we are happy to share their success story and the path we walked together to reach it.
The Background - One-stop Shop for Website Design, Development and Hosting
Since early 2000, the US-based company IvyCat have been designing and launching websites. Passionate about WordPress, they have focused their business primarily on the design and development of WordPress sites and popular plugins, as well as the subsequent website maintenance and support services. They have also been obsessed with providing timely, friendly and expert customer service.
For the last 15 years, IvyCat also hosted their customers’ websites themselves.
The Challenges of Providing Hosting as an Add-on Service
Initially, IvyCat team thought that providing hosting services was a great add-on for their web design and development clients. As their customer base grew into the hundreds however, the IvyCat team began to experience the pains of keeping their hosting service high-quality, reasonably priced and well supported. Gradually, it became a more and more complicated task to be good at both web design & development work and at hosting, with the available resources.
Eric Amundson, Founder at IvyCat, explained: “At IvyCat, we reached a crossroads near the end of last year: we have enough hosting business that we need more help with support. And looking at our numbers for last year, around 85% of our income came from our WordPress and web design services, leaving only 15% of our income representing our hosting and domain services. The hosting service however causes about 85% of the stress at IvyCat.”
As hosting grew into a stressful and unrewarding line of business, finding a solution to alleviate the company’s pains and at the same time improve their customer experience became a top priority.
Selecting a Professional Hosting Partner
After much consideration IvyCat decided that the best solution for their customers and the prosperity of their business was to stop providing the hosting service themselves and to find a professional hosting partner. It was crucial that the hosting partner offered not only a high quality product, but also provided the excellent customer service that the IvyCat customers were used to.
IvyCat did a thorough review of the hosting market and short-listed several providers. They tested and evaluated them based on the following criteria:
- Customer support
- Website loading speed
- High stability
- Secure environment
- WordPress hosting expertise
The top performer that met all their requirements was SiteGround.com.
“We’ve selected SiteGround with our customers’ best interests in mind. The simple fact is that SiteGround is everything I wanted IvyCat hosting to be: fast, flexible, well-supported, and with a strong background in WordPress,” said Eric.
Firstly, IvyCat got impressed by the results of a comparison test performed by WP Site Care where SiteGround came out at number one in terms of performance and pricing.
Next, IvyCat appreciated the attention and enthusiasm they received from SiteGrounders during several industry events and admired their active contribution to the WordPress community.
Lastly, IvyCat decided to experience first-hand SiteGround’s hosting services and support. Following their findings, IvyCat unanimously took the decision to entrust their whole hosting business to SiteGround.
Choosing a Beneficial Form of Partnership with the Host
After selecting SiteGround, IvyCat had to consider the best possible form of partnership. There were two options available – to become a Reseller, or an Affiliate. The Reseller Program lets agencies themselves manage the hosting accounts of their customers. The Affiliate Program means companies only refer business to SiteGround and all subsequent communication with the individual customers and the management of their hosting accounts is performed by SiteGround. IvyCat decided that becoming a SiteGround affiliate is the better option for them, given that they did not want to handle the management of hosting accounts anymore.
Seamless Migration of Numerous Websites to the New Hosting Platform
IvyCat and SiteGround planned the transition of IvyCat customers’ websites to the SiteGround hosting platform carefully and in full collaboration.
All customers were duly informed via a series of messages about the upcoming change, the reasons for it and the benefits for them.
The migration ran in batches over the course of two weeks and was carefully monitored by the SiteGround Technical Team so that no downtime and issues occurred. In the end, 235 websites of IvyCat customers found their new, friendly and expert host - SiteGround.
Eric added: “All of IvyCat’s own websites were also moved over to our new server at SiteGround, and we couldn't be happier with their service and stability.”
Enhanced Business Results, Improved Team Morale, Happy Customers
After the migration IvyCat experienced significant improvement of their business metrics and customer happiness.
Commenting on the results, Eric said: "Now that we're not maintaining and supporting servers, we're able to focus more on growing our WordPress development and maintenance business. I was worried the lost revenue from hosting might hurt our bottom line, but it's quite the opposite: this is the best year we've had yet because we're able to better focus on our core competencies, work with larger clients, and give projects our undivided attention. And, our customers are happier because their sites are faster, better supported, have better uptime."
Eric concluded: "IvyCat's revenue is up 24% year-to-date over last year, and I credit this to the wonderful team at IvyCat and our decision to focus on development and support, while entrusting our hosting to the pros at SiteGround."
- Company: IvyCat Web Services
- Core Business: WordPress Design and Development
- Challenge: Offload the hosting line of business in order to refocus on core business
- Solution: Became a SiteGround affiliate and migrated customers’ hosting accounts
- Results: 235 sites successfully migrated, happier customers, 24% year-to-date revenue increase