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Noou is a web development agency in Wiltshire, UK., with over a decade worth of experience in building websites and digital solutions. Noou’s niche lies in the technology, pharma, property, healthcare and retail sectors. The services include web development, WordPress development, operational software, ecommerce solutions, maintenance and support, and auditing and consultation.
Cloudways: What’s your agency name, and where is your agency’s headquarters situated?
Ben: My agency is called Noou. It is located in Wiltshire, UK.
Cloudways: Tell us about yourself. What is your designation at the agency? What are your core responsibilities?
Ben: I’m the director of Noou. As an agency director who has worked with other agencies in the past (and wanted to continue supporting them) I positioned Noou for both Whitelabel and direct work. I manage all projects from beginning through end.
Cloudways: What services does your agency provide, and how do you solve your customer’s problem?
Ben: Our core offering is web development. However, we also provide bespoke development for hybrid apps, email marketing & distribution as well as consultation and project management. We work with around 10 other agencies within the UK and previously, within the USA to provide whitelabel services. Due to our past experiences, we know how tough it can be for successful agencies when you’re stretched thin or need a specific skill set. We work as a reliable partner for these agencies to ensure they don’t have to say “no” to their clients. Alongside our whitelabel work, we also work directly with other businesses, these are typically smaller, local businesses where we feel we can make a greater impact to their online presence. Whilst we do a lot of work within the Pharma industry, we also work with catering, fashion, art and tech businesses.
Cloudways: How did you first hear about Cloudways? Name one major problem that you were facing that made you switch to Cloudways. Something that was the tipping point, and how Cloudways fixed that for you.
Ben: Cloudways was suggested to me by a fellow web developer friend. We had several different hosting services on the go for different projects, ranging from shared cPanel hosting, self-managed VPS from Digital Ocean and a dedicated server whilst looking at expanding to co-location to streamline things. In the end, we established that we could migrate a lot of our sites to Cloudways, retain a sufficient level of control over the environment and ultimately lower our expenses without compromising on quality or reliability. It’s also been a fantastic tool during development phases as we can get sites online in 2 minutes.
Cloudways: Before Cloudways, which hosting solution did you use? Are you using any other hosting service currently? If “Yes” Why?
Ben: Prior to Cloudways we utilized a number of shared cPanel hosting solutions from a UK provider as well as a dedicated server and self-managed VPS from Digital Ocean. We have since scrapped the dedicated and the cPanel hosting but we do retain a small number of self-managed servers for specific projects as we need greater server level control.
Cloudways: What was your experience like with Cloudways when you first signed up? Please tell us about first impressions.
Ben: The whole signup process was remarkably easy and allowed me to test the platform without delay. There is quite a curve compared to cPanel/WHM when it comes to the dashboard but I soon got used to it and found it pretty easy to use and navigate. I moved the first production site to Cloudways within a week and the rest followed shortly after that once we were confident on the reliability and performance.
Cloudways: In your opinion, what sets us apart from other hosting providers? How has our in-built support for Php-based apps such as WordPress, Laravel, and Magento made matters easier for you?
Ben: Firstly, the ability to manage several servers in a single dashboard has made life much easier. We work with WordPress and our own custom developed PHP apps most so the built-in tool to install WordPress/WooCommerce is very helpful. Whilst we had this with cPanel it was much more clunky and involved way too many steps in comparison. Moreover, I often need to set up a blank installation for a client demonstration or to test something and having a site ready to go within a few minutes is invaluable. We don’t often require Laravel or Magento but it is nice to know the options are there for a quick and easy install.
Cloudways: How do you use Cloudways to solve your client’s problem(s)?
Ben: More often than not it goes a bit like this; the client is having issues with their site and asks us to take a look. The site is utilizing WordPress and they have a large number of plugins to do lots of different things. We work with the client to better optimize the site and we look at server performance at this stage. For one client in particular, they were having issues with their shared hosting struggling to cope with the peak in traffic due to marketing campaigns. We got the setup on Cloudways, evaluated their site over the course of several campaigns and found room for improvement on the site and also found a balanced server for cost and performance without downtime. The client was over the moon and no more sales were lost due to downtime.
Cloudways: How has Cloudways contributed to the success of your agency? Tell us about how Cloudways’ features align with your needs.
Ben: As we work with agencies/freelancers more than anything else, we typically work to tight deadlines and efficiency is everything. Getting a site online in a matter of minutes or even the migration tool (which is yet to fail me) to get a copy of the client’s site is all just so easy. Without Cloudways, we could achieve the same output, but we would certainly not be as efficient. The Cloudways API is something we’ve tested too and we’re excited to integrate this with our project management tool very soon to automate as much as possible making our lives even easier.
Cloudways: Out of five cloud providers available on Cloudways which one(s) do you prefer to use and why?
Ben: We use Digital Ocean exclusively. We have used them for a number of years prior to moving to Cloudways and still do for a number of projects. The reliability and infrastructure available gives us peace of mind and whilst I’m sure the others are great, I know DO very well and have never had a reason to consider other providers.
Cloudways: How do you resell Cloudways to your clients?
Ben: How we resell Cloudways to clients is very much client driven. Some clients like to remain in control of the billing aspect and we tend to be hands-off, others don’t want to worry about a single thing and as such we host them via our own Cloudways account as opposed to getting them setup on their own one. As we offer maintenance plans for our clients too, we include Cloudways hosting in all of our plans, the staging site tool saves us time and ensures nothing happens on the site untested.
Cloudways: How do you feel about being a part of the Cloudways Agency Partnership Program? What additional value does the program provides to you? Do you think this program is going to help your agency grow in the long run?
Ben: We’ve only been a partner for a little while but we’ve already seen clients’ confidence in Cloudways increase now we’re a partner. We’ve had enquiries specifically about Cloudways and moving their site to us/CW as a result of mentioning it in our marketing.
Cloudways: Do you think that by switching to Cloudways, you were able to free up resources at your end? If yes, how were you able to utilize those?
Ben: Without a doubt. The time/resources saved has gone into getting our clients’ projects turned around faster enabling them to move on to the next phases.
Cloudways: Thank you Ben for being with us and sharing your valuable insights on your journey with Cloudways.
Ben: Thank you Cloudways. It’s been a pleasure being with you.
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