TL; DR: WP Pro, born out of Bluehost’s 16 years of experience with the world’s leading CMS, is optimized for users looking to build, grow, and scale their sites. The fully managed platform comes with an all-in-one marketing dashboard, built-in security tools, and a concierge-like approach to support. Looking forward, innovations like WP Pro will serve as another step in Bluehost’s continuous evolution.
WordPress, the world’s most popular open-source CMS for building an online presence, now powers more than 30% of the web. And for online entrepreneurs leveraging the tool, a WordPress-friendly host makes site management that much easier.
A quote from WordPress.org says it all: “Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environment.”
To that end, WordPress itself endorses Bluehost, a popular hosting provider powering more than two million websites globally. To make conditions even more favorable, Bluehost recently introduced WP Pro, a managed hosting platform optimized for the CMS to help businesses effortlessly build, grow, and scale their sites.
Bluehost premiered the product at the December 2018 WordCamp US in Nashville. “Since it’s been out in the wild, we’ve focused on keeping our ear to the ground listening to customer feedback and making refinements,” said Krys Lambiase, Senior Product Manager at Bluehost. “At WordCamp, for example, I spoke with a man who tried our beta version the first day it went live. He gave us phenomenal ideas, so when the next release rolls out, we’ll have a litany of additional tools.”
That’s not to say the current version isn’t feature-rich. The platform, designed with Bluehost’s 16 years of WordPress experience and built with SSDs, is optimized for lightning-fast performance, includes an all-in-one marketing dashboard, and features a wide range of themes. It’s also secure, backed by 24/7 white-glove support, and packed with the tools businesses need to boost ROI.
“Successfully rolling out a new product is never easy,” Krys said. “When WP Pro launched, things went smoothly, and people liked it, I was over the moon.”
An Intuitive Platform with the Tools Professionals Need to Boost ROI
Krys said Bluehost became inspired to create WP Pro after researching the market and realizing there was massive potential for improvement.
“We looked out into the community and realized there are a lot of managed WordPress hosts that use a ‘yell and sell’ approach, where the value they inject is in the form of free trials,” he said. “We thought it would be better to provide a free bundled product available for the long term.”
The team soon decided that free integration with Jetpack — a comprehensive WordPress toolkit that enables users to customize site design, increase traffic, and enhance security — would provide far more value than a simple one-month trial.
“We realized that Bluehost is in a great position, due to our relationship with WordPress, to take Jetpack and make it feel more native to the hosting environment,” Krys said. “Hosts are just the plumbing of the internet — kind of boring, right? The software itself is what’s interesting.”
The aim was for customers who host with Bluehost to enjoy a unique WordPress experience. “What we wanted to do is say, ‘Look, this is an optimized hosting platform where we’ve taken the greatness that is the Jetpack toolkit but made it feel native to our hosting platform — for free,’” he said. “You’re not jumping from control panel to control panel just to find out how many people visited your site.”
Overall, Bluehost’s goal is to ensure deep visibility into site performance and ROI to ensure customers achieve actionable results with WP Pro.
“That’s something that we are going to be doing a lot more of moving into 2019: Giving customers the ability to see not just how their website is performing from a visitor standpoint, but whether they are achieving their goals,” Krys said. “Did you set out to create a blog, sell products, or let the world know how much you love cats? And are you succeeding in that pursuit? Our insights will help you see how you’re doing.”
A Concierge Approach to 24/7 Managed WordPress Support
Moving forward, Krys believes hosting providers must differentiate themselves in crucial areas to survive.
“It’s going to come down to how intuitive your dashboard is, how native the tools feel, and the strength of your support,” he said. “If you don’t have great customer service, trust me, that will be known. Those are the things we’re trying to master with WP Pro.”
Bluehost’s managed WordPress hosting solution is as hands-on as they come. Upon signing up for a plan, customers immediately receive a concierge call designed to provide the company with a comprehensive understanding of their desires. It’s not just a tour of the control panel, though that service is available for customers who request one.
“You’re essentially sitting down with a live person who talks you through what kind of website you’re looking to build, or if you have an existing site, it’s ‘Hey, let’s go ahead and get that migration started,’” Krys said. “To us, a managed service isn’t just someone getting the server up and pushing an update through. It’s a human being who will truly help configure your website or build it for you.”
The company’s Grow Plan and Scale Plan, available for $29.95 and $49.95 per month, both feature access to WordPress Live support, which includes personalized assistance from WordPress experts available 24/7 to help with questions about anything from design to functionality.
“Essentially, it’s someone who’s going to sit there and ask how to help you achieve your goals,” Krys said. “They will help with a range of topics, including SEO, landing page optimization, pay-per-click optimization, and even selecting a theme. For a first-time WordPress user, that’s a big decision.”
An All-in-One Marketing Dashboard and Built-In Security Tools
Users also gain valuable insights from the company’s new all-in-one Marketing Center, which provides a one-stop-shop where businesses can manage their social media; SEO tools; an monthly, weekly, daily, and, hourly traffic statistics. Bluehost implemented the dashboard in response to market research and customer feedback.
“We found that customers are interested in two things, especially when it comes to WordPress: security and insightful marketing tools,” Krys said. “We ran a free-form survey, and that word kept coming up — insightful.”
The company created Bluehost SEO Tools, a feature available through the $29.95 per month Grow Plan, to fulfill those customers’ needs. The built-in SEO tool helps businesses boost search engine rankings through real-time site optimization tips, which are supplemented by statistics that demonstrate the impact of your actions.
“Bluehost SEO Tools is one of the coolest features I’ve seen since I’ve been in this industry,” Krys said. “It scrapes your website, analyzes what you’ve done, and tells you what to do next to improve your SEO.”
Krys said it’s a customer favorite, along with malware detection and removal through SiteLock. “There’s a portion of the control panel that will show you how many times someone has tried to attack your website, how many login attempts have been blocked, and how many threats have been removed. I think that resonates well because a lot of hosts typically give you the ability to find problems, but not solve them.”
Future Steps in Bluehost’s Continuous Evolution
Krys told us that WP Pro is a guiding light for the company’s path forward. Bluehost’s ultimate goal is to infuse its plans with essential tools that businesses need to thrive. “We’re not going to nickel-and-dime or charge you à la carte for all the tools you need,” he said.
The company also plans to expand on the success of its WP Pro platform. “I’m excited to take the approach that we just took with WordPress and explore other areas like WooCommerce,” Krys said. “I think we’re going to blossom this year because of the success of this one product.”
Like fertilizer for soil, these tools have the potential to supply businesses with essential elements for optimum growth.