TL; DR: As a one-stop shop for unlocking the power of the web, 123 Reg aims to provide small and medium-sized businesses everything they need to build professional online brands, engage customers, and attract visitors. The company offers domains, email, hosting, and digital marketing tools, plus solutions optimized for the world’s most popular content management system: WordPress. With around-the-clock support and free courses on everything from SEO to social media, it’s easy to see why more than 1 million businesses across the UK have turned to 123 Reg to find success online.
Gourmet cupcake businesses have been on the rise over the past decade or so, with entrepreneurial bakers setting up shop everywhere from strip malls to food truck rallies.
You’ll also find these sweet little stores sprinkled across the web — and Brand Director Richard Winslow said 123 Reg has helped quite a few of them get there. “We help people get online, whether they’re charities, football clubs, or the cupcake businesses that are becoming quite common,” he said.
The UK-based company, founded in 2000, primarily served tech-savvy customers in its early days. Since then, Richard said the web has become increasingly accessible to those with nontechnical backgrounds.
“The customers have changed, technical skill sets have changed, and we’ve had to evolve our products to be able to meet new demands,” he said. “Today’s customers don’t care so much about technology. They just want their site to look good, work, and make Google happy.”
The company also expanded its portfolio of products to include everything a small business might require to build a professional online brand, engage customers, and increase visitors.
That includes expert advice. Say, for example, that your cupcake website has an online order form but lacks a phone number. “We know that there are a lot of people who will want to call a business up to discuss things — so we would tell our customer to add a phone number to their site,” Richard said. “In this way, we offer a middle ground for the customer who wants the expertise of a web hosting company behind them, but doesn’t want to pay the high fees they would through a web design agency.”
With domains, email hosting, shared hosting, and virtual private servers; hosting optimized for WordPress; 24/7 customer support; and online business training, it’s no wonder 123 Reg has helped customers whip up more than 1 million websites across the UK.
A One-Stop Shop For Building a Professional Brand Online
According to Richard, many of these micro-businesses still lack an online presence. “Out of about 5 million micro-businesses, only about half have an online presence, whether it’s through a website or social media channels, etc.,” he said.
Richard said a majority of 123 Reg’s clients fit into that profile — small startups looking to build an online presence from scratch. The first step, of course, is to register a domain, and 123 Reg strives to make that process as easy as, well, 1-2-3. The company has a wide selection of affordably priced domain extensions and a comprehensive suite of DNS management tools, and it also provides a free site with every domain name.
If a user finds their ideal domain name taken, they can place a backorder with 123 Reg and the company will monitor the domain to see when it expires. Just one person is allowed to backorder a particular domain at a time, and the user only pays the backorder fee if and when the domain is successfully secured.
The company’s domain services work seamlessly with 123 Reg’s other products. “We’ve always had one of the most powerful domain management control panels out there,” Richard said. “We made sure that if you have a domain with us and want to add another service, it’s simple to attach. You just add hosting to it, and if you’ve got hosting and you want an SSL certificate, that’s a simple add-on, too.”
Of course, even the best website is useless if not visible to readers. To that end, 123 Reg includes tools to drive traffic to sites and boost engagement, including a Search Engine Optimizer and Local Listing tools.
Hassle-Free WordPress Hosting Optimized for the Popular CMS
WordPress, which powers more than 30% of today’s websites through open-source technology, is one of the world’s most popular platforms for building and maintaining an online presence.
Richard told us he’s seen WordPress evolve into a robust, commercially driven resource. “It started as a techie product and became a lot more user-friendly,” he said. “With WordPress’ latest launch, they included more WYSIWYG functionality and tutorials so that somebody who’s never built a website can use WordPress as a website builder.”
WordPress makes it easy to build sites, and Richard said 123 Reg makes it easy to get those sites online. In fact, the company ensures users are up and running in minutes with a one-click installation process that includes instant access to the latest version of WordPress. Premium packages are available to provide extra power to high-traffic sites through dedicated resources, and users can easily create backups and restore data when needed.
All WordPress hosting packages include a free domain as well as email accounts enabling them to communicate under a consistent brand name. Need guidance? Customers also receive access to a support staff specializing in WordPress upgrades and plugins.
According to Richard, 123 Reg’s servers are also optimized specifically for WordPress. “You need good caching in there because WordPress is still a heavier application,” he said.
But the company isn’t resting on its laurels. Though 123 Reg’s hosting platform is already WordPress-optimized, its dev team is working to bring a whole suite of features forward, including snapshot and restore functionality.
Richard said customer feedback inspires product development efforts like this. “We read every single comment that people send us,” Richard said. “We also conduct customer polls and host strategy sessions to get feedback on particular products. We then use all of that knowledge to ensure our products are evolving to better serve customers.”
Around-the-Clock Support and Online Business Training
The company has adopted a 24/7 multichannel customer support model accessible via phone, email, or the company’s ticket system. While Richard said his customer base is less technical than in decades prior, they’re also more computer-aware. Because of that, 123 Reg trains customer service agents to be on the hunt for the customer’s intended result, despite what technical jargon they offer up. “They use computers every day but don’t always get the nitty-gritty details,” he said.
When it comes to assisting these clients, 123 Reg aims to provide an individualized approach. “When we speak to customers, we try to understand what their skill set is and whether they’ll have to complete the task again,” Richard said. “If it’s a one-time thing, it’s not very beneficial to the customer to train them how to do it. You just want to help them get results.”
On the other hand, if a customer has 100 domains, 123 Reg will walk them through the process to help them replicate it in the future.
Along with hands-on assistance, the company offers free, in-depth online courses created specifically to help small businesses get online. Learning objectives include advertising on social media, search engine optimization, improving blog content, content marketing, and increasing brand awareness. The self-service courses allow users to create their own login, track their process, and learn at their own pace.
While 123 Reg offers free training as well as reasonable prices, Richard told us the company doesn’t try to compete when it comes to costs. “We offer fair pricing and a good refund policy — we have the bases covered,” he said. “I think our differentiator is a high level of support.”
The company uses a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to gauge customer satisfaction and drive business growth. “Many hosting companies haven’t done very well with NPS,” Richard said. “We have because we listen, understand what the customers want, and work to make sure that they have the right products and services to help them get there.”
A Trusted Provider Used to Create More Than 1 Million UK Sites
As a company, 123 Reg has nearly two decades of industry experience. During that time, the company has registered more than 3.5 million domain names and helped approximately 1 million businesses across the UK launch sites.
Richard told us 123 Reg’s easy-to-use products, knowledgeable customer support, and affordable prices have helped build client trust. “We’re the largest provider in the UK, and we’ve been around for many years,” he said.
Contrast that with the experience you may receive with a small web agency or individual designer: “They end up going out of business with a new company or move into a different agency, and then all of the knowledge is lost, and people can’t access the website,” Richard said. “We take away the middleman and provide an end-to-end solution that’s not going anywhere.”
The company’s experience keeps employees focused on long-term objectives. “We want to make sure we make improvements across the board rather than just a ‘wham, bam, this is an amazing’ one-off solution that’s going to work well next year but fail in three years’ time,” Richard said.
Instead of jumping on the latest trend, 123 Reg aims to help small businesses grow. “We understand the customer is important, and to help the customer, we need to invest in growing the customer,” he said.
Recent reports indicate that in a now-saturated cupcake market, bakeries often face sluggish growth. If they’re wise, they just might turn to a company like 123 Reg to get back on track.