H Grant Designs, LLC is a multi-faceted agency located in the US. It specializes in providing services in IT, web development, graphic designs, etc. In this Q&A with Howard Spaeth, we will get to know how Cloudways has made thier business operations smooth and more productive.
Farhan: Hey Howard, tell us a little bit about H Grant Designs. How and when did you start? I am also curious to know what H stands for in your agency name and what’s the story behind it?
Howard: I started the business in February of 2014. I was always interested in website design and was endorsed on LinkedIn for my skills. I took a leap of faith. The “H” stands for Howard. Grant is my middle name and when I was starting the business, I wasn’t sure of what name to use. My grandma always loved my middle name, so I said H Grant Designs sounds pretty good to me!
H Grant Designs focuses on bringing clients’ visions to life. Most of the time, our clients know what they want but they don’t know how to execute the vision. That is where we come into play; we help design, implement, and manage their website so they can focus on more of the day-to-day operations of their business.
Farhan: You have been in the digital business for more than 7 years, so it would be great if you share your experience with WordPress and WooCommerce, and what are the challenges that you have faced with running a WordPress/WooCommerce business?
Howard: I have done everything with WordPress. From developing websites to debugging issues and maintaining clients’ websites. With WooCommerce, I have built several shops and most recently I helped a client develop an online market for both pickup and delivery options. One of the many challenges with WordPress is making sure that all of the plugins are compatible. If there is a conflict, it takes time to investigate plugin by plugin until the culprit is known.
WooCommerce can limit customization, so research is required. Sometimes the solution is custom code or even custom code plugins.
The WordPress and WooCommerce communities are great and provide helpful resources. There are many online resources that have helped me resolve issues quickly.
Farhan: You have created more than 70 websites for your clients. Are you using Cloudways for all your web development projects and clients? (If you are then what’s the reason).
Howard: I’m currently hosting 90 percent of my websites on Cloudways. I have a few servers depending on client needs. I find that Cloudways speeds are so much better than any service I have used before. I am using Cloudways for development because it provides direct dev links which makes it easier to share access with clients.
Farhan: Where did you first hear about Cloudways and what were your expectations? What made you switch to Cloudways (describe your selection process in detail)?
Howard: I first heard about Cloudways via my local WordPress Group (WordPress Montclair). A very close friend also had a very positive experience with Cloudways. When I first looked at pricing and ease of setup, I switched on the spot. The ease of moving an existing site was superb. I have high expectations when it comes to speeds and site loading. As always, the Cloudways’ speed and support have continually impressed me.
Farhan: What was the biggest challenge you were facing prior to moving to Cloudways? What specifically you were looking for in your ideal host and How Cloudways fulfilled your desired requirements?
Howard: My biggest challenge with previous hosting companies was always site speed and support. After I moved to Cloudways, I was immediately impressed with both the support and the speed at which websites load. I moved a colleague from another host which immediately saved seven seconds in terms of load speed. Cloudways definitely fulfilled the needs of what I expect from a website host.
Farhan: What features make Cloudways stand out from the rest (list your favorite features that you find very useful)?
Howard: The most useful features for my needs are the ability to have different servers allocated for different reasons and the ability to scale up as needed without connecting with an agent. I have five servers right now and it was so simple to set up. I also like how FTP is using SFTP, which some shared hosting sites do not use. The ability to monitor the server’s usage is another useful tool for determining the peak traffic times.
Farhan: How long have you been with Cloudways and how is your experience so far? Would you recommend Cloudways to your customers?
Howard: I moved to Cloudways in April 2020 and continually love to work with it every day. If my clients do not want a direct hosting plan with my company, I set them up with Cloudways as they are one of the best hosting platforms that I work with. Cloudways helped me with a client’s website that was using a lot of resources and support was able to help me pinpoint the issue and how to correct it.
Farhan: In terms of a client and agency experience, is there a particular customer who faced a challenge that Cloudways helped to resolve?
Howard: Yes, absolutely. The client I mentioned earlier was using a shared hosting company with incredibly slow load times. We set them up on Cloudways and within minutes, I received an email of praise. The client was BLOWN away with the website speed.
Farhan: How has Cloudways helped you improve your productivity, site performance, and security? It would be great if you can share some pictures (stats, performance, team, etc.).
Howard: Cloudways has helped get websites established faster thanks to the ability to make a dev site live by applying a domain. Cloudways has also allowed me to make speedy edits to websites thanks to the fast page load time. The support team is phenomenal as well.