A little over a month has passed since we came back from HostingCon Global 2016 in New Orleans, so I have had some time to stew over everything I saw and the very interesting people I was able to talk to at the event. Last month I promised I would give some insights about the general mood I perceived, as well as trends that seemed to be taking off. Without further ado, here they are:
It’s a good time to be in SEO
It is clearer than ever that there is an increasing demand for SEO among partners. Just two years ago we had to really push the concept of SEO in order to increase the awareness of the service. This year, most of the partners were aware of the options available and were planning business cases as customers are pressing them and demanding this service. Users know that SEO is important and want their hosting companies and website platforms to help them tackle the challenge it presents.
At the event, everyone’s take was that SEO is the number one request for Hosting companies customers.
The only way for WordPress is up
WordPress is huge and it is becoming an strong hosting category. Everywhere you turn there is a dedicated company or an established player looking to foray into WordPress hosting.
CMS Providers are stepping up their game
We’ve seen more CMS platforms looking to extend their functionality by offering complementary services like SEO. The CMS battles for domination are exciting to watch, and we tend to focus on the big dogs like Shopify, Weebly, Squarespace, etc. but there are also a new breed of CMS entering the game (like Sitey or Siftr) to watch out for.
Marketplaces aren’t new anymore
Marketplaces are no longer that hyped and some partners are realising that any marketplace needs some market push by sales agents, etc. It remains true that marketplaces are a way for partners to link their customers with providers that are trustworthy and can add value to their sites, but these days not all marketplaces are created the same and to make a solid one that stands out, partners have to go the extra mile now.
Mood: not as energetic as past shows and a little more hustle in the air – it seems growth in general has slowed for many companies, which doensn’t come as a huge suprise since web hosting is a mature, commoditised market.