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Weglot SaaSy: Interview with Nick La

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We’re happy to interview Nick La, CEO and co-founder of 
Themify, a premium WordPress theme company, as part of our series on WordPress SaaS founders: Weglot SaaSy. You can find Nick on Twitter.

Weglot is fully compatible with Themify themes. You can see it live on our demo site made with the Themify Ultra theme and translated with Weglot.

Thank you Nick for the great interview!

What is your background, what should our readers know about you?

Hello! I’m Nick, CEO and co-founder of Themify, a premium WordPress theme company that started around 2010. I actually went to school and graduated from a graphic design program, which then led me to explore different areas of design and potential career opportunities.

Back then, CSS was booming which inspired me to learn by myself about CSS and web design. I was able to use my illustration skills and apply it to web design, which is how I first began my blog, Web Designer Wall.

Since I had always been fascinated with art, graphic design, and designing in general, the blog found a lot of success from my design tips and tutorials. Shortly after, I realized I wanted to do something more challenging.

I dreamed of an interface that would allow users to design a beautiful site easily, and with the control placed in their hands. I soon co-founded Themify with the help of my business partner, Darcy Clarke. Since then, Themify has been quite successful as one of the first drag-and-drop WordPress builders at the time.

What’s your main activity within WordPress today?

With Themify, I still focus on designing themes, designing a better user interface, product research, development, and providing customer support. I’m always checking for new technology, new themes, plugins and features within the WordPress community in order to keep Themify current and continually provide the latest in technology.

This is really important for us so that we can keep providing the latest to our customers and keep up with the current trends. Enhancing product features, developing new products, and maintaining support allows us keep growing as a company.

My vision for the future is to build products with even better usability, allowing users to focus on creating designs faster than ever.

Why did you choose a SaaS model? Did you change your model from your beginnings?

I used to do some personal client work, and I’ve found that it wasn’t as challenging as producing a product that is used by mass users. When you code a project for a client, you only have to deal with the scope of that project, but when you code a software as a product, that’s used by the masses, it is extremely challenging because you have to account for so many variables.

These factors can include server configurations, plugins, user knowledge, and theme compatibility. I saw that I could alleviate issues for not just one client, but for thousands more at the same time, if I could create something that would make someone’s life easier.

In terms of the main subscription service, we haven’t changed much – we did make some price adjustments over the years to remain competitive to the rest of the industry however.

What’s the key metric you’re closely watching on a daily basis?

Usually I do check site traffic, email count, support ticket counts, and obviously revenue is important. This includes the number of requested refunds – this is especially important as it reflects our product quality and we try to make sure we have as little buyer’s remorse as possible.

How do you handle support? And how important is it to you?

We handle support with the vital help of our team of support experts. They are all based in various locations and time zones so that we can offer support 24-7 all over the world using both our support forum and support email. Support to our customers is extremely important and we pour a lot of resources into it – we want to make sure our customers are happy and have help when they need it.

We usually go beyond our support policy to ensure we can provide the best user experience (including custom CSS help, debugging user custom codes, and even helping with reinstalling WordPress, themes, or plugins for the users). Not all users come in one size – but luckily we have a great team to help resolve all matters. We have some really kind comments on our Themify Facebook page that say we’re doing great, and these words really encourage the team to keep going.

I personally monitor the support forum, and we use Slack to post messages within the team whenever there is an urgent or critical issue, to ensure we take care of things immediately. Communication within the team is super important.

What will be the next big move for you within the WordPress ecosystem?

I think Themify will slowly be moving toward the freemium model. For example, we recently released one of our core premium plugins, the Themify Builder for free. Some people asked why we would do such a thing and offer a premium product for free. The main reason is because we’re confident in our products and believe once learned, the user may like the Builder enough that they would consider signing up to use our extensions, such as the Builder Addons or any of our premium themes.

We’re also next working on a premium theme builder – that would allow users to build themes and templates for themselves without coding – including the header, sidebar, footer, and the post-type templates.

What’s your favorite SaaS reference?

Probably Trello, Dropbox, and GitHub. The Themify team use all three of these daily, and it really streamlines our workflow and productivity by helping us track tasks and manage projects.

What was your toughest challenge in your entrepreneurial journey?

I think it was finding the right team, and taking the right action at the right time. You may have a billion ideas, but if it’s not executed with the right team, then it won’t work. You may have an amazing product, but if it’s not coded properly, then it won’t scale – the product’s longevity won’t be successful. I found all three of these elements to be important for a company’s growth.

A lot of people may give up on their entrepreneurial dream because of hardships early on. The most challenging time was when my partner was needed in a different direction and had to leave after the launch of the company. I was then basically a one-man team doing everything.

Even without any coding knowledge, I tried to learn how to code and fix bugs in our products by myself. On top of the design work and CSS I was already responsible for, I had to work on customer support emails, administrative work, coding new products, writing blogs, providing support on our support forum, and researching new product ideas to keep our momentum going. This time was obviously extremely tough, but I didn’t give up and was able to survive through it.

After a few months of this, I was finally able to hire a developer and a support technician. My motto is just don’t give up. The main lesson I learned is to be persistent. The next challenge is always yet to come. But you can take each challenge one at a time.

Whom should we interview next & why?

I would recommend Darcy Clarke, my former business partner. He is a very talented developer and without him, I wouldn’t have been able to build Themify.

Thank you again Nick for the great interview!

About the author
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