- Industry: Digital Marketing Agency
- Company size: 1-10.
Thanks to his previous entrepreneurial experience running a telecoms and ecommerce business, in 2017 Matt Tomkin brought to life Tao Digital Marketing, a B2B digital marketing agency based in Bolton, UK.
“Tao” is a Chinese word signifying the “way”, “path”, “route” or “road” which encapsulates the agency’s philosophy to help business people navigate their path towards growth, using search as a vehicle to do this.
Specifically, Tao was created with a keen focus on being a search marketing agency, supporting businesses to grow their online presence through SEO, PPC, lead generation, WordPress website design and development, Digital PR, and more.
As a “search first” agency, Matt and his team at Tao pride themselves on having website development in-house and ensure that all sites are built with the SEO fundamentals from the start (even if the client doesn’t continue with SEO services).
Read below our interview with Matt Tomkin, Director & Founder at Tao Digital Marketing.
Taking care of server-related and sysadmin maintenance tasks were quickly eroding some of our resources that should have been invested on improving client sites and, ultimately, our agency business.
“As we work predominantly with WordPress built websites, we used a VPS to run the sites. This became increasingly challenging and a laborious process that was just taking too much time and effort.
Ideally, we wanted to be able to streamline our process in-house, but also offer a better service to our clients. We were using a number of different applications to perform website backups, maintenance, and updates to client sites before they went live.
But we knew there were better ways to carry out these tasks.”
We realized we needed a performance-focused tech stack bundled with managed hosting services and tools, and unmatched support. When searching for a new hosting solution, Kinsta sat at the very top of our list.
“We’ve always been paying attention to the role of speed as a key advantage for sites. With the announcement of Core Web Vitals in late 2020, page loading speed became even more important and we knew it had never been so crucial to have a fast loading website for our clients.
That’s why site speed has been a major factor in any decision of a suitable hosting provider.
As we were on the hunt for a new hosting provider, we recognized that with constant updates of software, along with updates coming to PHP versions, we were either looking at an expensive upgrade or we simply had to search hard for the right solution.
With a bit of research online, in forums, and group chats, we got a list together of potential providers to test and look further into.
It became obvious to us that Kinsta was at the forefront of managed WordPress hosting providers in the market today. They had glowing reviews across their own platforms and via people that I had directly spoken to.”
Thanks to Kinsta, we can now concentrate on building the best WordPress sites, without worrying about the environment they sit in.
“A particular selling point was that everyone raved about the high level of customer service, for me this was critical. It is always a risk to switch providers, and our clients’ sites ultimately fall on my head, so knowing I had a quick and quality level of support made the decision much easier.
Initially, we tested three of our sites to see what the speed improvements would be and also the all-important customer service. Honestly, I have never come across a better customer service experience!
With regards to speed, it really did speak for itself. One of the WordPress sites we tested was Alloy Wheel Repair Services, it loads in 0.8 seconds.
During the testing period, we were able to see the full capabilities and features of Kinsta for ourselves. Those that were of particular use for us to streamline our processes include:
One-Click Staging Environment
We were previously relying on creating a subdomain for each site, completing a backup, and then migrating the files across, checking that the updates did not affect the websites, then either migrate the files back across or update everything again on the live site.
We know there are other ways and tools (more efficient ones) to do this to take out some of the leg work, but we didn’t have the capabilities in-house at that time which meant things took a long time to do.
Automated Nightly Back-Ups
Our previous hosting provider had nightly backups. Unfortunately for us, these were hard to access and we had to wait a number of hours (!) for the support company to take the backup apart, push the files into a private folder on the hosting server, and then allow us to go in and override the live site with those files.
With Kinsta now, being able to click a button now enables us to run this process so much faster if required.
Hands-off Technology and Software Upgrades
With the previous hosting, it was our job to complete the server updates, which sometimes would then cause small outages to all of the websites. Although it wasn’t the best way to proceed, it was fine oftentimes. But we still experienced a few occasions where the clients would have site pinging setup and they would receive a notification that the site was not responding. Obviously, these updates would be scheduled overnight but still, we would come into worried client emails.
With Kinsta we no longer have to think about this. All updates are just done for us. We can then just select to upgrade a site to the latest version of PHP as an example. Just means less headache and stress for us!
Based on site speed, features, and customer service, we made the decision to move all of our WordPress websites to Kinsta.
After we migrated every site to Kinsta, every single one improved in terms of page speed. And this is helping to increase search engine rankings too.
One of the websites that we recently migrated to Kinsta is The Insolvency Experts. This site was on a VPS server and was running at around 3.5 seconds Largest contentful paint. This was reduced to 1.2 seconds just by moving the site to Kinsta.
As you can see from the below GTMetrix report there’s still work to be done to make sure it’s ready for the new Core Web Vitals update, but the increase experienced just by moving to the Kinsta hosting platform is pretty amazing.
Moving forward, we can now concentrate on building the best WordPress sites, without the worry about the environment it sits in.”