Tom Zsomborgi Interview

Hello and welcome to another Themeisle interview! In this one, you’ll meet Tom Zsomborgi, co-founder of Kinsta – one of the most popular web hosting companies for WordPress.

Before hearing from our guest, make sure to check our previous interview with Carrie Dils, where we talked about WordPress, success, productivity, and more. If you’re currently seeking advice from professionals, go through our full collection of interviews with experts in their own fields.

If you are a long-time member of the WordPress community, Kinsta should ring a bell. They’re not only a well-known hosting provider in the WordPress space, but they also run a popular blog – Kinsta blog – that offers tons of advice on all topics WordPress.

Tom Zsomborgi – the co-founder of the company – is one of the brains behind Kinsta’s success.

Tom Zsomborgi interview at Themeisle

In this interview, you’ll learn how he analyzes the business model of his company and then implements it, plus how he’s building efficient marketing strategies that make Kinsta a powerful and loved product.

Tom also shares insights and practical advice from his daily work. Let’s hear it from him!

👉 By the way, check out our review of the Kinsta platform.

Tom Zsomborgi Interview – “One of the strongest sources of acquiring new customers is still by good old word of mouth”

When and how did you start working with WordPress? Is there an interesting story here?

Tom Zsomborgi:

Phew, it’s been a while!

My first interaction with WordPress was during my college years around 2008. One semester, we had an IT lecture, and the homework was to create a small business website with a few pages. I decided to build this website with WordPress; however, it was the WordPress.com version, not the self-hosted version.

My time was running out, and I delayed the project as much as I could (that’s how college works for many of us!) The process was relatively simple and fast — I was able to build the page in an afternoon, and it looked credible, with a few unique pages and illustrations.

I passed the exam, and since then, WordPress has been part of my everyday workflow.

After college, my co-founders at Kinsta and I were doing web design projects among SEO campaigns for small businesses. Aside from the rare Joomla site, everything was based on WordPress (the self-hosted .org version).

WordPress was booming around 2010, and it was clear to us that due to its uniqueness and ease of use, its adoption rate wasn’t going to slow down anytime soon.

That’s how, a few years later, Kinsta — a hosting solution for WordPress sites — was born.

What’s your technique for staying productive throughout the day?

Tom Zsomborgi:

First, I have a good coffee! I start my day with a list in front of me that contains the tasks that I need to complete and make some progress because they’re important and time-sensitive, and others’ work depends on them, so I cannot be the bottleneck. For me, it works — the technique of finishing these as soon as I can so afterwards I can shift my focus to different tasks.

For tasks that require high concentration, I usually turn off notifications all across the board — emails, Slack messages, social media, and my phone. Getting distracted all the time doesn’t help productivity.

But I need to tell you… there are days when my productivity is close to zero. Not many days, but sometimes it happens. I don’t know why — maybe the mood or the weather outside — and I just can’t focus on doing my job.

Luckily, I get through these quickly, and I’m back on track pretty fast. But I wanted to mention it as I think none of us is a superhero, and sometimes we need to take a day off — even in the middle of a week — to distract ourselves so that we can return refreshed to our desks.

That said, a long workday where I take a couple of longer breaks works well for me. Usually, I take a long walk outside with my family, or just go to the grocery store and do the shopping that’s needed.

How do you define “being successful”?

Tom Zsomborgi:

I have goals in both my personal life and my professional career. If I can achieve these objectives, I absolutely feel the need to look at myself as being successful.

In work, I appreciate both the small wins and the bigger achievements, and I define “success” as a process. Short-term wins — like reaching daily, weekly, and monthly goals — are absolutely successes to me. By viewing success as a process, I’m able to focus on the small accomplishments, and they keep me motivated, eventually leading to major achievements.

As a business owner, creating something that gets noticed and receiving feedback every day that your service makes others’ life easier and businesses thrive, and on top of that they’re happy to pay for it — that’s definitely exhausting the concept of success.

What does “a good day at work” mean to you?

Tom Zsomborgi:

It means completing the tasks on my checklist for the day. Besides that, I like to keep the number of meetings at an optimal level and not schedule unnecessary calls for any of our team members. We all know that “this could have been an email” feeling, and it makes perfect sense. It’s not just my time — it’s in our entire team’s interest to work together efficiently and get the job done.

A good day at work also means that after I turn off my laptop, I still have enough time to spend with my family.

Describe the WordPress community in one word.

Tom Zsomborgi:

That’s a tough call. Hard to describe in one word. There are so many good things about it, and each of these words would show a different facet of this awesome community.

I pick the word incredible.

What’s the no. 1 thing a new business entering the WordPress space should do?

Tom Zsomborgi:

Focus on building a strong brand, among a few other key elements like having a great product, being a customer-centric company, and working with other companies in the industry. But I think that building a strong brand from the ground up is the way to grow and overcome the competition. Users have strong preferences, and they prefer to buy from a trusted source; a name they recognize; a strong brand they can follow, engage with, and count on when needed.

Branding is a great way to differentiate yourself from everyone else. You can create your own brand and tone and truly stand out from the crowd. Why not start from day one?

What’s your favorite/must-have WordPress plugin and why?

Tom Zsomborgi:

Yoast is one of the plugins I always install and rely on. It’s a must-have plugin, and they make it easy to optimize your content for search visibility. Besides the great product — both the free and premium versions are feature-packed — I like and support their approach on pushing WordPress PHP versions always to the latest stable version. An up-to-date website can prevent users from so many headaches….

What do you think is the most efficient way to market a product at this moment?

Tom Zsomborgi:

I would put my vote down for SEO. While it’s getting harder and harder to receive organic search traffic due to the changes Google makes and due to the increasing competition, I still believe that SEO is the most effective way of driving constant traffic to your website. Once you have the traffic, it’s up to you how to convert these visitors into leads and customers. There isn’t another more cost-effective way of driving hundreds of thousands or millions of targeted visitors each month to a business website.

But I also would like to add that focusing and relying on a single channel is not enough in 2022. Email marketing done right is a money-printer for countless companies; for others, social media and an active community drive the best results, while for other niches ads and highly optimized campaigns work best.

When I get asked by other founders on the topic, I always suggest picking the top three best-performing acquisition channels and putting most of your resources there, but never neglect the others and never stop experimenting. You never know what’s going to be the next great source of new customers. Think of TikTok — three years ago it wasn’t known by most of us, and today it’s the world’s most visited website, with over a billion active users.

What do you do at Kinsta to build a community around your brand and keep people engaged?

Tom Zsomborgi:

First and foremost, we are a very customer-focused company. This is rare in the world of web hosting, where the churn-and-burn mentality is the default. That’s not the way we ever want to do business.

By providing an excellent customer experience, we lay the foundation of our brand. Customers leave positive reviews across the internet, tell this to their friends and business partners, post on social media, and so on. These customers have become fans of Kinsta — I can even say they are our ambassadors, and one of the best and strongest sources of acquiring new customers is still by good old word of mouth.

It took us 8 years to reach where we are today, and a big part of it was the human part of our business. As of today, we have a few dedicated teams, and while they have different functionalities, the end goal is to keep customers happy, engaged, and loyal. We have teams like account management, client success team, dedicated social media team, and design research to talk directly to clients and listen to their feedback.

Besides the above, we also create free tools for WordPress users — like DevKinsta, which is a 100% free local development tool. It has a community forum, where we have dedicated team members helping users to resolve any issues, for free. Today, the DevKinsta community is an important part of our brand.

What is driving you to keep doing what you’re doing? What’s your personal mission?

Tom Zsomborgi:

I always look into the future and toward the next milestone or achievement in front of me. In a competitive market and world, this inspires me, and thankfully the Kinsta team thinks the same.

Personally, I would like to keep working on a project that makes a difference and helps masses to build better businesses and save time and money by using a solution that focuses on easy yet powerful usability for all technical needs. As long as I can contribute to this project we call Kinsta, I’m happy to stay and work for a better online environment.

That sums up our Tom Zsomborgi interview. If you enjoyed it and want to learn more, please leave your comments in the section below. Also, if you have any ideas for who we should talk to next, feel free to share your suggestions with us!

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