Kinsta Kingpin: Interview with Ben Pines

Updated on November 10, 2017

You can find Ben on LinkedIn or Twitter. This is our recent interview with him, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series.

Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?

In 2006, I started my marketing career as an in an SEO agency. It was the wild west era of SEO, back when all you had to do in order to get that sweet Google traffic was to build a content-rich website and linking back to client’s site. That’s exactly what I did. I actually managed to get the WordPress website which I built for the sole purpose of my client’s promotion high ranking. This was when I realized the potential of WordPress. I remember an argument with my boss, one of the top SEO figures in Israel, who claimed WordPress was a platform built only for blogs. In his view, it was not suited for other types of sites. I’m glad I stuck with my conviction to stick with WordPress.

I then went on to start my own business, which was managing several WordPress-based affiliate websites. I did this for 7 years, then started working as the CMO of Elementor Page Builder two years ago.

Elementor helps empower designers to speed up and improve their design workflow. 🙌 Click to Tweet

Q2: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?

Elementor’s vision has been to vastly improve the way users design their websites on WordPress. The biggest disadvantage of WordPress has always been in terms of design. We set forth to bring the most advanced design capabilities to WordPress, empowering designers to speed up and improve their design workflow. Designers no longer have to rely on developers, supporting them for every small change they need to make. They can utilize our live and visual editor to create any website they can imagine, at half the time it used to take them.

WordPress Elementor page builder plugin

WordPress Elementor page builder plugin

What we’re doing in WordPress these days is geared towards accomplishing our vision. In the short time since our launch, we managed to onboard hundreds of thousands of WordPress users. They all have chosen Elementor as their main design tool, and have been very supportive in their feedback. We plan to continue to improve and expand Elementor’s capabilities, for both Elementor’s free users as well as our paying customers. Apart from developing our page builder, We are working hard on delivering more high-quality video tutorials, supporting our growing community of Facebook (now with over 7,000 members) and communicating further through our blog, through WordPress-related blogs, as well as through attending WordCamps.

Q3: What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?

My one big challenge throughout my career has always been to know which action to make next, so as to have the biggest impact on the growth of the project I am working on. As a marketer, you constantly need to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty. This constant challenge diverges into specific questions you encounter on a daily basis:

  • How can I acquire a well-rounded marketing skillset, while being specialized in each one of them?
  • How can I best understand my audience and potential clients?
  • How can I use the current state of the project as a pedestal to further leverage growth?
  • How can I counteract the primary objection customers have against advertising, and gain the user’s trust?

When I started working on Elementor, each of these challenges and many others constantly came up. We were entering a market that was already populated by several well-established page builders. Our task was not only to onboard new clients but also to convince customers to migrate from their current page builders, the tools they were used to work with. Trust me, that’s no easy task. This has been a constant challenge, but this challenging factor is why I love marketing so much.

Q4: Has anything surprised you while coming up in the WordPress world?

I was sure I knew WordPress inside out, after using it on my own websites for so many years. After I started working on Elementor, I realized I really knew nothing about how the WordPress community really operated, and how to gain influence once inside. If you have a WordPress based business, getting properly integrated and established in the community is not as easy as you might think. It’s not just about attending WordCamps.

Unlike rather homogenous communities, like the marketing community or the design community, WordPressers are a varied bunch. From newbies, hard-core developers to bloggers, you have to make your product cater to a wide range of audiences, and you also need to understand to which persona the specific member you are communicating with belongs to, and adapt your language and communication skills accordingly. Add to this the fact that many WordPress communities are closed circuited, it makes introducing your new product even harder. Joining and participating in an existing community or starting a community of your own takes a lot of hard work, but as we’ve discovered, it’s a necessary step towards growing your WordPress based business.

I do have to stress the huge advantages of the WordPress community as well. We got tons of support from all sides of the equation, from Podcasters like Lee Jackson and Kim Doyal to developers like Josh Pollock, as well as all the early adopters that supported us from the first instance.

Q5: What does the future look like for you in the WordPress world?

At Elementor, we’re playing the long game, and our ambitions are high. In the future, you can expect Elementor to go past the page level and enter the entire WordPress website design level. This has already started with our Nav Menu release and can be expected to grow even further in the near future.

Q6: What do you look for in a WordPress host?

Apart from Elementor I also maintain my own website assets, so I have over 10 years experience dealing with hosting companies. These are the features I personally find the most important:

Frequent backups, HTTPS and HTTP/2 support, fastest server, security, FTP access, unlimited storage, expert support, servers located near my target audience / CDN in a variety of countries.

Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?

I used to be involved in Improv theatre, and plan to come back to it when my two children grow up a bit (ages 4 and 1, they are my main focus right now). I love great films (Lost in Translation), great TV-shows (Fargo season 3), great stand-up (Bill Burr) and great books (Artist and Margarite). My passion is writing, and I try to manage to write not only for the Elementor blog.

Q8: Whom should we interview next & why?

Vova Feldman, the founder of Freemius, introduced me to many figures in the WordPress community, so I am happy to pay back the favor. In this interview, we’ve discussed a lot about building a WordPress-related business, and I think no-one knows about this more than Vova, as his company helps WordPress businesses grow profits.

This article was written by Brian Jackson
Brian focuses on our inbound marketing efforts; everything from developing new online growth strategies, content creation, technical SEO, and outreach within the WordPress community. He has a huge passion for WordPress, has been using it for 8+ years, and even develops a couple premium plugins. Brian enjoys blogging, movies, bike rides, and flipping websites.

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  1. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Visualmodo WordPress Themes October 18, 2017 at 8:04 am

    Great product and interview, congratulations!

    1. Gravatar for this comment's author
      Shae | Designer + Blogger October 19, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Does VisualModo themes plan to implement using Elementor instead of VC?

      1. Gravatar for this comment's author
        Visualmodo WordPress Themes October 19, 2017 at 12:08 pm

        It’s on our check list to make our themes work with both

  2. Gravatar for this comment's author
    Air. November 6, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I wonder what is the future for Elementor, when Gutenberg will enter the stage? How do you prepare for these times? Do you worry about this?

    With kind Regards.

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