In This Episode, We Have The CEO OF 10web Tigran Nazaryan Which is a Semi-Controversial WordPress Hosting Company
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Johnathan Denwood: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic show its episode 595. We’ve got a great guest with us. We got Tigran Nazaryan and I’m sure I’ve butchered his name, but I’ve given it a good go. He’s the founder and CEO of 10web a new player in the WordPress only hosting space that has made a little bit of a splash so Tigran can you give us a, quick 10, the second intro about you and, 10web.
Tigran Nazaryan: Thank Jonathan thanks for the invitation I’m co-founder and CEO of 10web this is a platform for developers and agencies to build, optimize, and maintain websites in an easy and automatic way.
Johnathan Denwood: That’s great. And I’ve got my great co-host, Steven. Would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers Steven?
Steven Sauder: Yeah. Steven Sauder from zip fish.IO, we make WordPress fast by optimizing the code that runs on your site as well as the code that runs on the server.
Johnathan Denwood: That’s great. And it does a great job and, before we go into the main part of the interview, I just want to mention our major sponsor and that is, Castos If you’re looking to get into podcasting for yourself or for a client, you need a platform to host your audio files on and also has, effective RSS feeds, Castos provides that with a beautiful interface plus fantastic 24/7 support. I wasn’t happy with my, RS provider. I came across them. It was about half the price and a much better interface. I jumped ship. They were tremendous in helping me move almost over 500 audio files from my existing platform onto theirs. Their support was fantastic and I’ve just been delighted with them. We had a few chats, Matt Amadeus is their marketing manager and, he introduced me to the founder. We got on really well, and they do so much to become my major sponsor, which I’m delighted.
But like I say, if you’re looking to get into podcasting and you should be looking at say in 2021, you could do a [Inaudible 03:01] worse than having look at their platform. So let’s get on with the interview, so Tigran can you give us a brief history of 10web and how long has it been running and why did you decide to get into the WordPress web hosting space, which is pretty competitive area? Is it not?
Tigran Nazaryan: Yes, exactly, it’s quite competitive a wide ocean, with, big and small sharks there, but we wanted to enter that industry. Previously we run a company and we built a business around WordPress plugins. So we are not completely new in the industry since 2011 when we were creating WordPress plugins and themes. So we have some past experience in that, but, during the time we got a lot of insights about WordPress, about this community, about ways of creating websites with WordPress, and its specific features. And we thought about, what challenges there are for WordPress developers. So we thought about creating hosting, which is super-fast, which should not be like shared hosting. Although Shared hosting is cheap, it’s not so good.
I thought about building a great hosting, company and not only hosting because hosting is just one part of the experience, but also thought about the whole experience of building a website from a to Z. And that it’s quite- technically, not, not technical I would say it’s quite, not automated yet in our opinion because, like building the average WordPress website, it takes few weeks given for developer and company. I don’t mean that only the coding part, but the whole process from zero to a hundred percent. And after that, like optimizing all that stuff and publishing and keep putting the basis for its maintenance.
So we thought about building a platform that can help not only developers but also newcomers to the word press community, to help them to do all this very fast and in an effective way, take by making use of automation.
Johnathan Denwood: Oh fantastic over to you Steven.
Steven Sauder: I’ve been following 10web for a while. And just, and there are some really interesting features that you guys have that other, WordPress hosting companies don’t right. Okay. You were kind of talking about that a little bit. How, it’s not just speed, there’s a whole, A to Z sort of flow that developers go through or builders or whoever you are when you’re trying to create a WordPress site, whether it’s for yourself or for a client. And it seems like 10 web is really like looked at and tried to address each one of those things, right. From like the very first, like, like right on the main menu of your pages, like the AI builder. Right. And you can, conceptually like grab an existing site and import it into a WordPress site, which is amazing because I feel like there are so many people that are like, oh, I want my site that is built in whatever, maybe it’s hard-coded or whatever, and they want to make it a more of a CMS sort of system.
One thing that I noticed that I think is really interesting is that you guys seem pretty closely tied with Elementor, that’s something that I see, you know, across your pages. How did you make that decision, and why Elementor over all the other page builders? I feel like a lot of hosting companies fishes themselves with like, oh, we do everything like use whatever page builder you want, but you guys chose one and you stuck with it. Which I think is amazing and awesome. But how’d you make that choice and was it hard?
Tigran Nazaryan: Yeah that’s an important question because as you say, we created AI builder solution. This is one of the main tools we created for website building. The second one is now automated one-click migration to the platform, but for those who want to create a website from scratch, or let’s say for developers who want to create templates and a lot of them in short periods of time, this is the perfect solution by making use of the AI.
So what is it it’s, it has two components when I say AI builder I mean, AI assistant, which is a separate service and getting other the existing website or template on the input and converting it to Elementor and, build their plugin template from now? So this is the first part AI system. And the second part is the builder itself we chose elementary as it’s a free version, of course. And we added some premium features on top of it. So basically we have created an add-on or extension on top of Elementor. So when saying builder, we mean premium component plus Elementor free component. So why we chose Elementor? We could build the same solution for other builders as well, like, for beaver builder, oxygen, or, visual composer, or even for Gutenberg, but we prefer the Elementor because it is already, well-established, it’s growing super-fast more than 5 million active installs.
So, we think this is the most mature and the best tool among existing page builder solutions. Although we don’t say that it’s fundamentally much better than others, it’s just more popular and, is more popular. So that was a tough choice of course, for us. But on the other hand this solution our solution makes use or, is built for Elementor plus premium extension, AI builder. But for hosting, we don’t limit our customers, to any page builder plugins. So it’s free and, people can make use of any page builder, plugin, or virtually almost all plugins with our hosting without any significant limitations.
Steven Sauder: if the AI builder, especially like the website builder with AI assistance. How does that work? So you import your site and you go and crawl that, and then it actually imports into like an Elementor template sort of system, or is it like just static, HTML that’s now inside of WordPress.
Tigran Nazaryan: Okay. So, when, Elementor and other page builders have their own import-export systems. So for Elementor, it is a plain Json file for them every page. So as is the basic page existing website, recognizes its content in terms of widgets. So recognizes that this part is manual. This is a call-to-action widget. You only have a gallery, and here we have all sections containing all of them. so, and converts it to, this, widgets So basically converts to the template, which can be imported by Elementor and contains not only Elementor or free, widgets but also some premium widgets on top of it.
Steven Sauder: Cool. And so if somebody would do that, then there would be like a second process that they probably would have to go through and like clean up some of that stuff. Or is it like an exact one-to-one replica of their site that they use to import?
Tigran Nazaryan: It depends on the original website. Of course, it’s not perfect. And sometimes there is a need to make some significant changes, but sometimes just a little bit, like kind of few pixels here and there, and just change a couple of colors. But the whole point is that people don’t want to have exactly like the original website. They didn’t want to just improve that and make it as a basis to create their own templates. So it’s okay to customize the final output to the template after AI, but the important part is how much time do we spend on it. If we spent as much time as we would spend doing all this stuff from scratch, it’s not a good solution, but, in the case of AI builder, it works really well for landing pages, like typical landing pages containing even a lot of sections, long pages, it little worse with, functional pages, like news pages containing a lot of like small elements, or, e-commerce shops containing a list of products, et cetera, or it works not well in case of like the very custom type of functional pages, such as from simple forum page. It doesn’t really create a forum. It just creates, headers, and blocks with texts.
Steven Sauder: Yea
Tigran Nazaryan: but, most use cases for landing pages and this typical use case, cause people usually start building a website from landing page or from the homepage or, agencies and freelancers when they present their ideas to clients, they create several landing pages, not contact us pages. And yeah, so that’s the main use of the AI system.
Steven Sauder: Cool. That makes a lot of sense because you’re right. Like if you’re important and change systems, you’re probably going to want to make some edits anyways, and you’re already, I don’t know, hours down the road, just having somebody being able to import like image assets, basic colors, basic stuff, instead of, you know, copying and pasting back and forth, even if it’s not perfect, like you still save, you know, 10, 20, 50, however many hours, it would take you to go and download every single image and import it. That’s cool back to you, Jonathan,
Johnathan Denwood: That’s great. So, you promoted the company on AppSumo, but a few eyes were kind of raised. I wouldn’t say criticism that would be too strong, a word, but a few people have remarked I think Anthony Price, CEO of WP crafter remarked that, hosting companies that have promoted themselves on AppSumo, one of them has gone bust. And you decide to promote yourself on AppSumo, what made you decide to do that? And secondly, after doing it, what have learned from the process?
Tigran Nazaryan: Okay honestly, I don’t know what was the exact criticism point? there are a couple of things we think we could have done differently regarding the AppSumo campaign because we had a lifetime deal for ad builder since October month. And, we’ve been such a certain price and we didn’t have plans for AppSumo back then, but later it turned out that, it’s better to launch an AppSumo campaign. And, for some other reasons, we needed to drop the price for AppSumo customers. So that’s not so good for, our first customers who got a more expensive deal. And for most of them, for all those who apply to basically actually, partially refunded them or upgraded to a better deal. So I apologize. Because a large chunk of criticism was regarding that I think?
We didn’t have, any particular plan to offend them it just turns out that way yeah. It’s completely objective criticism. But for example, now we later dropped the separate pricing or a separate offer for AI builder, and we just kept, now we have only one pricing now with hosting plus the other together to make things simple. So pricing is very simple, basically per website, starting from $12 per website per month. And, if you have more websites, the price per website is somewhat cheaper.
(17:01 Yeah. I think we go for our break. And when we come back, we’ll be delving into Tigran’s experience of starting up a web hosting company with my co-host Steve we’ll be back in a few moments folks.
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Johnathan Denwood: We are coming back when you’re discussing, the setting up or web hosting company. Before we go into the second half, I want to talk about a webinar that I’m doing with Spencer Forum and that’s going to be on the second Friday of June. That’s Friday the 11th of June at 10:30 AM. And it’s going to be, part 3 of a series of free webinars that we have done. We did, episode two last week, where we show you how to use modern WordPress plugins to build an experience the equivalent or much better than something like click funnels and the possibilities of using WordPress in modern marketing automatization. In this third session, we’re going to be delving even more showing you the mechanics of doing this for clients or doing it for yourself.
You can join us totally free. All you have to do is go to the WP tonic website in the top navigation here’s a button that says webinar, you click it. You just have to give us your name and email. And we just send you a reminder, like a day before the webinar and a link where you can watch the webinar and also ask us questions. So that’s fantastic. So remember to join us on the 11th of June, and I think you’ll get a lot of value from it. So, as you said, you are based in Armenia. Obviously, Armenia has been in conflict with its next-door neighbor it got into the news a few months ago. So has that affected you or your company at all? What’s been going on in Armenia and with your neighbor?
Tigran Nazaryan: To some extent, it affected the company, but the general I would say that everything is okay and calm and we work now as usual during that conflicted time, a couple of guys from our team were drafted to the army.
Johnathan Denwood: So we all have to face when we run our own business, Tigran ups, and downs, but I’m actually having to deal with war, is a new one so apart from losing a couple of members of your staff, you’ve been able to adapt pretty well to the situation.
Tigran Nazaryan: Yeah. Yeah. We were able to work as normal as we can, but you can understand when, when there’s such a complicated situation like war, people are sometimes emotionally very down or, that we cannot work with the same efficiency, but, having a professional team, it helps to do the best in that situation. And that’s okay. We need to take into account circumstances and other circumstances related to COVID. It was a trigger for us to move most of the operations to remote work.
Now I’m working from my place and, I have 70 people at the company and usually, we have around 10, 15 people in the office, the rest are working from home. So we, again, face that challenge very well. And because all the critical processes in the company, were established before the COVID everything worked smoothly, we just, transferred to remote work.
Johnathan Denwood: Yeah. So what’s the tech scene like in Armenia and especially WordPress, what’s it like in the country? Is it growing the tech sector?
Tigran Nazaryan: yeah, tech is growing quite fast with around 20% annual growth and, the WordPress community itself, it’s small. And, most of the people in the community, are creating websites, they are working for a global market. So we also like from the beginning, from just found e-commerce company we thought about being a global company and having a small domestic market, it motivates to start global right from the beginning and end. That’s really cool.
Johnathan Denwood: I know the Armenian community, there’s a large community in North America. Did that help in any way in, getting started I would imagine you’ve got a satellite office in, I don’t know if you do or not, but, the Armenian community America helped at all, or hasn’t it been a factor at all?
Tigran Nazaryan: The yes, it helps
We have people there in the states because our own team is based in Armenia, but the company’s global company is registered in the United States in Delaware. So we have people there in the states who are helping us in some operations. And that help is really useful for us because it requires a lot of work. If you want to start a company in another country, you don’t know most, you need to, you need to have a constant presence there, but this is one channel. The second channel is that, there is a large interchange of experience, with, those guys who, have experience working in Silicon Valley companies. So it’s going back and forth and it’s really good to [Inaudible 25:46] our own ecosystem to be up to date and, to have a constant flow of ideas and experience from Silicon Valley to a welcome community.
Johnathan Denwood: Yeah. So over to you, Steven.
Steven Sauder: when you were first thinking about setting up 10web, well, first, how long has 10web been around?
Tigran Nazaryan: It’s been around for three years since October or July 2017.
Steven Sauder: When you were first thinking about launching 10web, did you have like the AI builder thought out and created and this Elementor stuff, and you know, all like your one-click migration, or did you just launch like, Hey, let’s just do hosting? And then you added those features on top.
Tigran Nazaryan: We have some features, back then coming from our previous experience of building plugins, for example, we built backup plugin before that, or, image optimization, plugin, and they’ve naturally turned them to services, part of the whole platform, but an essential part hosting we started working since 2017. We launched it’s better in 2019 and the AI, it started later, later, but yeah during these years we tried to see what should be the value of our product. Is it all the hosting, or it’s a bunch of, lot of tools, or there are some services that are essential and others are less important?
First. We thought all of them be equal hosting, optimization, backup, et cetera, but they are basically part of the hosting more or hosting related services the focus is, hosting focus Key component is our AI builder and, optimization.
Steven Sauder: When you launch 10web when you were trying to like, figure out how to compete in the marketplace was the idea to build a company that had this A, to Z sort of helping the developer along the way. And that was really like, what you were focused on, or did that come later as you were building more features into it?
Tigran Nazaryan: No we thought about A to Z from the beginning, but the way we implemented it changed because we thought from A to Z, it is paying equal attention to A to B, to C, to D, but it’s not that there is A, there is J N Z. There are more important parts. We need to spend more time on them, Polish them to perfect these components. And this is what is, the game-changer component.
Steven Sauder: How, how do you figure out which ones to pay more attention to because you have limited resources, how do you decide what to prioritize and what to deprioritize? I feel like that’s always a hard thing to do, at least for me,
Tigran Nazaryan: That’s the hardest part we spent three years on that because building one thing it’s challenging, but it’s straightforward. You know, if you know what you want to build, you build that the hard thing is to define what is the key component of your platform or your service in such business, which defines you, which, makes you different from the competitors, which adds some additional value that the market doesn’t have.
There are a lot of hosting companies in the market and some not-so-nice, not-so-good hosting providers, but there are quite good and very, I would say, top-level hosting companies. So what makes us different from them? We spend a lot of time thinking about that question. And we thought that the key point is automation and automation of experience, automation of the whole site-building process, and all the components related to hosting to creating that site to optimize it. And so the key component is not the feature, but experience automation.
Steven Sauder: Yeah. That’s, that’s a really good point Like at the end of the day, like when a customer is making a decision on who they want to go with and who do they trust so much of it goes to like those intangible experience kind of things. Like, what does it feel like? What are the buttons that you click? How does it all work and integrate together versus like a, oh, well, we do X, Y, Z, like these are the features, but at the end of the day, that that experience is so important, but it’s easy to lose sight of it, especially if you have like 10 different things going on at one time and trying to get all those to work together? That’s hard.
Johnathan Denwood: We need, we need to wrap up the podcast part, the show, hopefully, Tigran are you okay, staying on with us another 10, 15 minutes? Because I want to ask you about, your recent injection of freemium means your company. You say, oh, you are staying with us a bit longer.
so we’re going to wrap up the podcast part, the show. So Tigran, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and your company.
Tigran Nazaryan: How can people find more value?
Johnathan Denwood: About you and your company?
Tigran Nazaryan: Okay. So visit our website and we provide also a trial. So it’s, it’s better not to read about the platform, but just go and try. And if you have already a WordPress website there’s the last feature called one-click migration. Try that it, it helps to see, all the benefits of 10web platform compared to other hosting and how it works you just copy your website, create a copy of it on 10web hosting and you compare page speed, whether this is better or previous one better. And it’s up to you to decide so better to try to test.
Johnathan Denwood: That’s great. Steven, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what your company’s doing Steven?
Steven Sauder: Yea head overt to Zipfish.IO run a speed test. See how much faster we can make you upset.
Johnathan Denwood: Yeah. They helped us on the WP tonic site to become a bit of a speed demon the help was much appreciated. So we’re going to wrap up the podcast part of the show. Tigran has agreed to stay on. You can watch the bonus content and the whole interview on the WP tonic YouTube channel. We’ll be back next week with another fabulous guest. Another great discussion. We’ll see you soon folks bye.
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