Why I (Almost) Love Dreamhost, and How To Fix It

Dear Dreamhost,

I have been a long time customer, fan, and eventually an enthusiast for your services. You have a (much appreciated) habit of trying to make things as easy to understand as possible, yet without sacrificing features for the more technically savvy. Last but not least, your customer service is a force to be reckoned with.

That brings me to your sales process…
I have helped many clients get setup with your hosting, but the (generally confusing) two week trial, and the initial steps it takes to get hosting is intimidating for a client, at best, and a hassle for long-time users.

The usual scenario:

  1. I go through the process of identifying my clients needs, and educating them on what they need to buy.
  2. Generally clients want to have hosting on their credit cards so they have a sense of ownership (and in case their developer goes awol). They also rarely want to hand their credit card information over to a developer. Especially if most of the business is done remotely, and you don’t have the ability to have a face-to-face meeting. So, I point them to Dreamhost and say “well it is going to say you need to do a 2 week trial, then once you sign up it will walk you through some steps to ‘buy’. Make sure you get hosting and domain name…but I am not exactly sure what it will ask you at each step, so good luck”.
  3. A day or two later I will get a series of questions about if they need VPS, dedicated, etc etc…don’t even get me started on the process of a domain transfer!
  4. I end up creating a fake account so I can go step-by-step through your process and write down the options they need to click on each step.

My solution:

Implement a “My Developer” feature. Here is how it would work (two fold):

Send a Package:

  1. As a developer, I can go onto Dreamhost with my current account (or create a new one for free), and I can “Create a Package”. This package will walk me through the usual steps, but will allow me to set all the options my client needs.
  2. When I am done I can send the package to my client. They can review it in case they want to provide feedback, or they can just enter their billing information, and be done!

Request a Package:

  1. A client can go through and set as many options as they feel comfortable with. Or none at all and just define high-level questions like “I need a name and a place to keep files”.
  2. They then send this package to their developer, and their developer can confirm the package (adding in the missing details) and send it back to be paid for.

This system should also allow any account to designate a “My Developer”. This person would have “Editor” abilities within your account. Not able to change billing, or paid-features, but able to suggest features, and setup new databases etc.

How about it? You should snatch up this idea before any of your competitors do. You can have it, all I ask for is your conitnued awesomeness (with a dash of free hosting for life).