Today is a milestone for us, and I’d like to invite you all for a trip down memory lane. According to my records, yesterday was the one year anniversary of the ZippyKid website and company name. I purchased the logo and domain name from Brandstack, on May 22nd 2010.
Technically, the company started at SXSW 2010, after listening to Dave McClure and Eric Ries at the lean startup smackdown, which was graciously hosted by the folks at Chargify. I realized that I was out of excuses, and the worst thing that would happen, was my suspicion that this idea of a WordPress hosting company would be proven false, even then, I’d be right.. so I made some calls.
The first name of the company was “PSD2Live”.. it was a play on PSD2HTML, I never understood why they didn’t just offer hosting the site after developing it, I still don’t, if you work for one of those companies and want to white label WordPress hosting now, please get in touch. Anyway, the name was cryptic, and didn’t really resonate with customers. Most of them wanted to know what a PSD was, even the ones who would email me the PSD from their designer had no idea what a PSD was. Secondly, there are just too many ways to spell “psd2live” the wrong way: psdtolive, psd2live, psdtwolive, psdtoolive.. etc.
Some customers had already mentioned how much faster their sites were loading after they left GoDaddy to go with us, quite a few of them used the word “zippy”, so I think the name was stuck in my head, alas, zippypress.com was taken already, so I was back to square one. Then, I was going through the weekly summary blog post from Brandstack, and I noticed “ZippyKid”..it made perfect sense. I negotiated the price, paid, and had control of the domain and the logo. So.. that’s why the name of the company is ZippyKid.
The next thing was, the phrase “managed wordpress hosting”, I wanted to show people how we were different from GoDaddy and other one click installs, having being a former Rackspace employee, and being big on customer service, I wanted to make it clear that I was building the “Rackspace of WordPress hosting”.. my lawyer/legal fee sense kicked in, and I knew I couldn’t use that before a team of lawyers descended upon me. So, I went the same route as Rackspace, with the term “Managed WordPress hosting”, I noticed Page.ly was already ranking for that term, and I figured since they’re bigger than me, this must be a term that converts well. Yay, I was right. Thanks to the help of my friends at Pear Analytics, I was able to lay the ground work to start showing up on page 1 for that phrase and some associated phrases very quickly (less than 30 days actually).
A little bit of SEO, a lot of happy customers, and word of mouth kept us growing in 2010. I hired Kai as a part time support tech while he was still finishing school, to help me keep up with the basic questions about WordPress, this allowed me to focus on marketing, and provisioning. So, people could find us now, and they’d get to the home page and wonder “what is managed wordpress hosting”.. when I tried to explain it, the terms “Fast, Secure, and Stable ” came to mind, it meant that we updated your WordPress core, and plugins, and we handled all the security need of the server better than the different shared hosting providers, as we only needed to specialize in WordPress installs.
All of this made us grow, in fact in the past 3 months, we’ve doubled our revenue month over month. I raised an angel round, and things are looking up. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the messaging and how it could be more effective. I came to the conclusion that telling people that we “automatically update your core and plugins” for you, is the reason you should host with us, is dumb.
In the words of Chris Rock, “What do you want a cookie? You’re supposed to you dumb m…. “.
The more I think about it, the more I realize, that any company that sells the fact that it “automatically updates the core of WordPress for you” is solving the wrong problem, you don’t hear GoDaddy talking about how they update PHP, Apache, and the Linux kernel on their boxes, or a restaurant telling you to eat there because they clean the dishes regularly. I’m not going to sell the fact that we do the things we should be doing as a reason to trust us with your business.
ZippyKid is a WordPress hosting company for businesses. Our customers are small businesses/enterprises that are self employed, all the way up to some multi national corporations with revenues in the hundreds of millions.
If you make money from your WordPress site, you need to host with us.
You won’t find a more dedicated team of WordPress professionals who are committed to helping your business grow, and stay online. My friend John decided to work with me, and this is what he had to say about the core team we have here.
“The sysadmin/scalability notions are great for other nerds, but what sets ZK apart for me is three employees and a founder who all come to work every day with the singular purpose of helping customers achieve their goals. How many companies do you know of that consist entirely and completely of people who give a shit? Yeah, some of us are socially awkward, but we are absolutely committed to finding out what the customer wants and delivering it. That’s different. (Saying it isn’t different, but doing it is.) And that’s what you do naturally, what ZippyKid is built on.”
I’m working with a designer from Brandstack Custom on a new look and feel for this website, we’ll be launching that very soon, stay tuned. Please also stay tuned for a birthday coupon and celebration news I’ll be sharing with you later today.