We’re happy to interview Tom Zsomborgi from Kinsta, the managed WordPress hosting service, as part of our series on WordPress SaaS founders: Weglot SaaSy.
Q#1: What is your background, what should our readers know about you?
I’m the CFO at Kinsta where we provide managed WordPress hosting for clients; ranging from small businesses, to agencies, and Fortune 500 companies. I’m also involved in our paid campaigns and content marketing efforts. As I can recall, my first experience with WordPress was in 2010 and I loved it from the very first moment. It was so easy to create your own self-hosted site, even without any special technical background.
Q#2: What’s your main activity within WordPress today?
I mainly connect with other WordPress business owners and work on building relationships. I love doing it and this is a great way to expand your network. Getting to know them, what they do, how they do it, challenges they are facing while growing their business, etc. We can help each other by sharing what has worked for us, what didn’t, and also explore cross promotional opportunities.
Q#3: Why did you choose a SaaS (subscription service) model? Did you change your model from your beginnings? and if so, why?
Kinsta has been based on the recurring revenue model since day one. We’ve chosen this model because revenue is predictable and most importantly you don’t need to find new customers each month. You can bill your existing customers as long as they’re on board. We wrote a very detailed 7,000+ word post on how we bootstrapped our startup to 7-figures in revenue.
In the post we even mention the pre-Kinsta days. We used to provide web design and web development services for SMBs and other clients. The problem was that we had to find new clients each month to maintain our revenue. The recurring model solved this financial issue and we couldn’t be more happy. If you’re about to launch your new business I’d strongly recommend you to implement this model.
Q#4: What’s the key metric you’re closely watching on a daily basis?
I’m not obsessed with any metrics, but I always know the number of our new daily signups. I don’t think anyone should watch their metrics on a daily basis, even if it’s just a quick glance, I bet you have better things to do. Grow your business by working on something that matters. Don’t get me wrong, it’s crucial to know your MRR, user churn, and revenue churn, but since they don’t change that fast, checking them on a weekly basis is completely fine. At Kinsta we use Baremetrics to track our most important business metrics.
Q#5: How do you handle support? And how important is it to you?
Support is top priority at Kinsta. All of our support team members are WordPress developers who create themes, plugins, or even contribute back to core. We’re not big fans of the typical level 1, 2, 3 support system. Our support engineers are trained to solve all kind of issues and they’re always ready to make specific recommendations on what should you do and how to solve it even when it’s out of our scope. In 95% of our cases, the ticket is solved by the same support engineer who originally started working on it. This saves our entire team time as they don’t have to involve someone else or a system administrator.
In general, web hosting is one of the most support intense industries. Whenever something goes wrong with a site, users first contact the host and ask for help, even if the issue is not server-side related (like a plugin or theme update that broke their site).
Due to the fact that we have customers from all over the world, we have to be very proactive and provide 24×7 support even during weekends and holidays. Whenever you contact us you’ll receive an answer within two minutes or less. We handle support via Intercom, which is a hybrid chat/ticket solution. It’s super easy to use, you can attach images, screenshots, documents or paste a few lines of codes. It works great and based on user feedback, our clients also love using it.
Q#6: What will be the next big moves for you within the WordPress ecosystem?
We have a very long list when it comes to our future plans. Kinsta also has a Spanish version, but we’ll soon be available in a lot more languages, allowing you to receive support in your native language. We’re also considering a concierge service for our clients, but it’s too early to talk about.
Q#7: What’s your favorite SaaS reference?
My #1 resource is the Product Habits weekly SaaS newsletter. It’s curated by Hiten Shah, founder of Crazyegg, Kissmetrics, and is delivered to your inbox every Monday. It’s about business, growth, marketing, sales, and products specifically focused around SaaS.
Another great source of new information is the GrowthHackers forum. They also have a weekly newsletter including the top stories of the week.
Q#8: What was your toughest challenge in your entrepreneurial journey?
Good question. I would say the first two years were very challenging while we were bootstrapping Kinsta. Back in the day, each of us were providing customer support, sales, managing billing, writing posts on our blog, etc.
Wearing many hats at work is challenging, however it has also benefits. You get an in-depth look at your business as a whole, from the first pre-sales question, to their first support ticket or a feature they suggest you build next. You have a lot of interaction with your customers which allows you to figure out what copy you need on your homepage, what your next knowledgebase article should be about, and the next feature you should be developing.
Q#9: Whom should we interview next & why?
You should interview Primoz Cigler CEO and Founder of Proteus Themes. The WordPress themes niche is already very saturated with thousands of companies and new ones entering the market every day. It’s really tough to stand out from the crowd and highlight your advantages. In the last few months they’ve implemented a lot of changes, such as moving from a “single sale” model to a subscription based business model.