Back Office Exposed: ZippyKid

Written by Paul on June 3rd, 2010

A few weeks ago, I realized that this site was running slow. Really slow. On average, it took ~3 seconds for any page to load. It was killing my SEO juice and I noticed that I was starting to lose readers left and right. I called my friend Vid immediately and he pointed me to his new service, ZippyKid. The results speak for themselves: I saw a 300% performance improvement once he took over this site. So, I asked him to tell me a little more about how it all works.

What is ZippyKid?

ZippyKid is a boutique web hosting service that manages WordPress for you, so you can manage the content of your website.

How did you get started?

Over past 3 years, I’ve noticed an increase in clients asking me help with their WordPress sites. I wrestled with outdated plugins and insecure configurations for ~30 sites before I started to notice patterns. Being a programmer, I automated the things I could and looked for tools to help me manage everything else.

Tell us a little more about the tools you use on a daily basis.

It can vary, but this is what you’ll find me using on most days:

  • 15 inch macbook pro
  • iPhone
  • Omnifocus
  • Omnioutliner
  • Netbeans
  • Vim
  • Github

Can you tell us a little about your backoffice infrastructure?

Github/Git for version control, Rackspace Cloud for hosting, Chargify for billing and custom scripts to install/update WordPress across multiple servers. Here’s how the magic happens (click for a larger version):

What were some of the biggest mistakes you made in growing your business?

I waited 365 days way too long to launch the site. I kept thinking about all the things I thought I needed: a rock solid billing system, proper control panels, status monitoring, [insert 435820746254 other excuses here]. I should have started this a long time ago.

If someone wanted to start a business similar to yours, what advice would you give to them?

Don’t wait. If you’re honest with your customers, they’ll understand and help you. I’ve told my customers that it’s just me and one person to answer emails, this helps manage their expectations and mine. I don’t promise 24/7 support, I promise fast loading, secure, and reliable websites.

***

A couple things I noticed while talking to Vid:

  • He’s a smart guy and has managed to avoid over-engineering the product. For example, he’s using an off the shelf billing system to avoid having to build it in-house (which, traditionally, is a nightmare to build and maintain). Notice that most of the workflow steps are manual — he hasn’t invested time/money into building anything fancy just yet. Instead, he’s proving that the business is viable before investing too much into it.
  • Three words: Monthly Recurring Revenue. My favorite kind of business.
  • The service and/or the process isn’t groundbreaking or new, he’s simply using his expertise to make his consulting life a little easier.

You can find Vid at Third Party Code, check out ZippyKid, read other Back Office Exposed features and submit yourself for a Back Office Exposed feature.

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3 Responses to “Back Office Exposed: ZippyKid”

  • Matt

    Great post! Very, very interesting read. It was nice to get a really fast exposure to many of the tools and processes, and I like that it’s left up to the reader to explore those things further. A quick note — I think your ‘read other back office exposed features’ link is broken — one too many ‘blog’ directories in the URL. Look forward to reading more!

    — 06/03/10 at 4:52 pm

  • Paul Singh

    Thanks, Matt! (The link to the other posts has now been fixed as well.)

    — 06/03/10 at 4:55 pm

  • Rico

    Love the Back Office Exposed series! Hopefully there will be more of these. It’s great to read about tools, technology, and processes of other entrepreneurs.

    Maybe you can add a question about real numbers (i.e. revenue, margins, etc.)?

    — 06/18/10 at 1:57 pm

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