It is fascinating to be experiencing the dramatic shift in business environment/conditions in many business sectors. Many sectors in technology are moving towards commoditization and if the business in this sector does not react quickly enough, they will be eaten up by other vendors that have either the scale or the money to take smaller players out from the market.
I have a personal story to tell about this change. I am a true believer in continuous learning and there are many reasons for this. Part of it is rooted in my DNA, but the biggest reason by far is that when I deliver seminars and workshops globally, I feel that I need to have enough skills and capabilities to discuss about the topic with some personal experiences. That is why I feel strongly about focus and building your core competence in specific areas. You might be reading my personal blog where I dwell on different topics in technology and life and many of the topics relate to technologies around Office365, Dynamics CRM, SharePoint, Microsoft Azure etc.
I have also had a chance to build tens of web-sites during the past 10 years so hosting providers and hosting overall is something that I know pretty well. Let’s get to the story itself. All of my five (5) web-sites are hosted by a managed WordPress hosting provider, which really means that I do not have to worry about anything. The hosting organization takes care of my stuff. I can focus on building content and driving traffic. I have changed hosting companies based on my needs, but the past 2 years I have been with WPEngine.com that focuses purely on WordPress sites and is highly regarded within the WordPress community. You can see many references to this by known WordPress gurus such as Chris Lema that wrights regularly of topics around WordPress.
I look at businesses with Business Model Canvas in my mind and when I look at WPEngine.com, I think I run into a snagu with them from a customer segment perspective. Their value proposition is amazing, but the value proposition and the market segment does not fit with my small management consulting practice. I wanted to add SSL on our educational site TELLUSAcademy.com and I was hoping that they would let me attach SSL to my domain without having to upgrade to a larger monthly subscription. I sent a message to their support, explaining the situation and saying that the only change I wanted to do is to buy SSL certificate and attach it to the www.tellusacademy.com domain. I got a response following day that the only way to do that would for me to upgrade to a higher subscription level. I had of course done my homework to investigate/research the market and what the current players are as of now that provider managed WordPress hosting.
There is quite a few links on the web-site where you can learn what is out there and Chris Lema’s blog entries will provide you with links to other sites as well. The response from WPEngine.com did not give me any option that to move to a new managed WordPress vendor. I initiated the migration last night by moving my sites to the new hosting provider and I will discuss more about this migration on my personal blog www.drsalonen.com. The new managed WordPress hoster has an automated tool that enables automatic migration and this was painless, smooth and did not cause me any hassles.
You might wonder who this new provider is and you might even be shocked whom I selected. It is Godaddy.com who i used to run from in the past, but they have a new leadership and have created pretty exciting managed WordPress business and I have to say that all of my sites are now also much faster than before. And you can’t beat the price. I am paying $9.99/month for all five sites and I locked myself in for 24 months. You can’t beat that.
I do want to emphasize that this was not just about money, it was about me realizing that I am not really the right type of customer for WPEngine anymore. Another thing that did not make me happy during the time that I was with WPEngine.com. Suddenly I started getting larger bills and the reason for this was that they initiated a new pricing model where I would be charged for traffic and overages in the same way as telecom companies do. I understand the logic, but I do not think it is good policy to implement new pricing structures with your existing clients without even having a discussion about it.
My web-sites have been getting more traffic, which is obviously good but the fact that I would not have anything to say about it, that was not the way I wanted things to be run. The support that WPEngine has given me during the past 2 years has been amazing, so I have no complaints about it. I know they have new investors and I am sure that there is and will be changes in things going forward. The competition in the hosting space is brutal and I do not thing there will be many smaller players left in the end. Larger players in the space have the scalability, the money and the will to take markets and Godaddy.com got mine this time.