The owner of web-hosting business UK Site is challenging larger corporate competitors by bringing a personal touch back to digital services.
Syed Zaidi, founder of UK Site - which is based in the Leeds Digital Hub - told The Yorkshire Post that personalisation is at the heart of the firm’s strategy.
While large firms such as GoDaddy and 1and1 provide cheap rates for small business owners, Mr Zaidi is able to build a relationship with the companies whose websites he hosts in order to provide an all-round service.
He said: “I noticed there was a gap in the market. People could go to generic web hosting but they would rather come to a local company where they can see the person that is providing the service.
“In a big corporate, you are just paying through a website and everything is automated, it’s like you are dealing with robots.
“For a businessman who’s running his own small to mid-level business, he needs someone he can speak to in a non-technical language about the website and the hosting service requirement.”
UK Site was founded in early 2014, after growing from his first business, digital agency Blueclicks.
As Mr Zaidi was developing clients’ websites, they would often ask for recommendations for web hosting services.
“I would refer clients to bigger companies,” he said. “But if clients weren’t happy, problems would come back to me.
“I would have to go back to the company and in some cases we were going round in circles just to get a few small things sorted.”
As a result, Mr Zaidi began hosting clients websites on his own servers. After initially signing up a handful of web-hosting clients, UK Site has grown to 20 customers.
The business is working with a number of Leeds-based companies, including an advocacy firm and a dental clinic.
Mr Zaidi said: “If their website is down, instead of going through all the techy stuff, they can pick up the phone and ask me for help. It’s almost like they have their own IT team, to give that touch.”
The quality and reliability of a small business’ website is crucial to its reputation, Mr Zaidi said.
“Obviously everybody needs a website nowadays and things are becoming even more technical - sites have to be responsive, they have to be compliant with the Google guidelines, they have to be fast,” he said.
“If your site is slow, it’s not going to rank into Google’s search results, because Google is focused on the user experience.
“According to research, it only takes seven seconds to make an impression about a website. If your website takes five seconds to load, you lose that interest.”
Data security is also becoming an increasing issue for businesses, he said.
“Websites are getting hacked, attacks are very common and people are losing a lot of business because of this,” Mr Zaidi said.
“You have to have very secure servers where your data is protected, your clients’ data is protected, your business integrity is protected. Once a business has been hacked it loses credibility.”
With UK Site, web hosting is not a one-off product, but instead “a set of services”, Mr Zaidi added.
UK Site became one of the Leeds Digital Hub’s earliest tenants last year.
The initiative, which is backed by Leeds Beckett University and The Yorkshire Post, offers flexible workspace to digital and creative businesses.
Mr Zaidi said being part of the business community within the Hub is “inspiring”. “It’s good to be among businesses that have the innovation to grow and develop technology,” he said.