This is the second part of our “How We Work” series, check part one here, where I interviewed TeslaThemes. This time we are looking at Bulgarian-based hosting company, Siteground who have started making a splash lately in the world of managed WordPress hosting.
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The story behind Siteground is actually pretty cool, it was founded in 2004 by a group of university friends, with a handful of people working from their uni dorm rooms and has grown to the point where today it has 120 employees and is still growing. Siteground claim to host over 250,000 domains and process 400 tickets, 150 phone calls and 300 chat requests per day. Impressive numbers for any company I’m sure you agree. Let’s take a look behind the scenes at their work – these interview questions are answered by their CEO, Tenko Nikolov.
Could you tell us a little about your company background & how you became involved with WordPress?
Actually SiteGround is a few months younger than WordPress – we will be celebrating our 10th anniversary in March this year. Right from the start the company’s vision was to provide more help to the customers than a standard host did at that time. This vision naturally led us to where we are now. With people using more and more WordPress, Joomla and other applications we started receiving more and more support requests related with them. Instead of giving answers like: “This is beyond the scope of our service”, we started to investigate all these new issues. Soon Joomla or WordPress manual installation were part of the interview process for each new support team member, and getting to know the most popular applications became part of our standard training. Over the years we added a lot of resources for WordPress like tutorials, free themes. We started to make special optimizations for WordPress on our servers, and we got more actively involved in the community by sponsoring and talking on WordCamps and even contributing back to the software.
Who were the founders and How many Staff do you employ now ?
The company was founded by 3 people, who at the time had recently graduated together from the university. They had this magical mix of business and technological background and interests and all the hopes and the urge of the young age to get the things started. Together with few more of their college mates they launched the first SiteGround website. Even now, we have quite many of the founding members still actively involved in the company: for example, our lead website developer and our marketing manager. And it is amazing to see the same spark in their eyes 10 years later!
Of course many other great people joined along the way too. We currently employ more than 120 people. Approximately half of the crew is dedicated to customer service. We also have an extremely advanced and efficient team of server software engineers, and a very talented and creative team of web developers, designers and marketing staff that takes care of our own website and the promotional efforts of the company.
Could you tell us a little about your Work premises ?
SiteGround has changed several premises as it grew and the current headquarters is definitely one of my favorite projects. You may be surprised that the office itself will be a project of the CEO of the company, but for me the place where I and the whole team work is very important. I believe that when people feel good and work in a comfortable, creative and fun environment, what they achieve is better. So I am quite happy to see how many great ideas are born around the pool table for example, or how people start the week much more relaxed after the Monday company-sponsored breakfast or how much easier is the communication among the teams just because of the way their rooms are arranged.
What does a typical day look like for you ?
In the morning, I usually go over the industry and other related news at home. Then I go to the office and walk around to say hi. I never go straight to my desk, as you will be surprised how much more things I learn and how much more fun it is to learn them by simple having a small talk with the people in the office, than just reading the reports in my mail. Then the rush of the day is started, long- term planning meetings, supervision of the technical projects going on, phone calls, occasionally presentation preparations for in-house or external events. But no matter how many things are going on together at the same time, there is always time for my personal mania – the tennis. We even have tennis court inbuilt in our largest conference hall, so I play a set every now and then! Getting back at home and being greeted by my 3-year-old son is my favorite end of the day.
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What are you plans (if any) to expand ?
We have several areas of interest where we plan to develop our company. The growth of SiteGround market share both on the WordPress hosting market, as well as on the shared hosting market as a whole is the most important aim. We have already started to target markets outside the United States and we definitely see a lot of opportunities there. Targeting other application users like Magento is another interesting direction. Also a noticeable upward trend in the use of our cloud services has been detected during the last year and we see room for growth there too.
Where do you see the future of WordPress Hosting?
Until just few years ago WordPress hosting was not perceived as something different than the general web hosting. Lately a whole niche market has emerged with many providers hosting exclusively WordPress websites. The future is inspiring as there are many bright people bringing in ideas. Many new things that can make the WordPress user’s life easier are being invented. We are well-prepared for this future as SiteGround’s main strength is in the innovation.