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WordPress News | 11 January 2024

Kinsta re-brands and re-adopts its original position as a WordPress host

Kinsta's logo icon

Kinsta's new visual identity is bold, brave and has people talking. But the brand refresh is not the main story.

On 8 December Kinsta announced its new design on Twitter, attracting comments ranging from ‘atrocious’ to ‘stunning’. It’s certainly different, a quality that I highlighted in my own tweet:

Look at it with 3D glasses…

Seriously, I applaud them for not taking the easy/copy cutter SaaS-look-n-feel path. Which is what 99% of web hosts look like.

This design is different. Bold. Brave.

And a talking point.

Now, lets have a look at the ‘offending’ design…

Screenshot of Kinsta's new homepage

What are your first impressions? Care to share them in the comments below?

I’ve reached out to Kinsta with a couple of questions about the rebrand – I’ll update this article if I get a response.

Looking at the new design more closely, there are two elements that have triggered people’s reactions, good or bad: the new color palette, and the logo icon. They are using a different font too but I doubt most people will have noticed it.

The icon really stands out. It is a big departure from the crisp and somewhat minimalist representations of tech ideas – clouds, hardware, wires, etc… that we typically see in logos.

The website design is even more of an outlier now. We’re used to SaaS-blue, white space galore and the usual 3D vector images of people and tech. Instead, Kinsta presents us with colors that have never been juxtaposed: a hero block featuring a dark brown with a tinge of red background and electric-orange digital lava lamp bubbles. Love it or hate it, you will find it hard to forget.

The conversion rate will be the ultimate judge, as is for most Marketing exercises. If we see a toned down version in Q1 2024 we’ll know that this move didn’t work as well as they hoped for.

The real story: Kinsta is a WordPress host once again

Or, as they now say – The best home for modern WordPress sites.

In November 2022 Kinsta announced two new products: application and database hosting, ushering a “new era for Kinsta as a Cloud Platform, enabling developers and businesses to run powerful applications, websites, databases, and services with more flexibility than ever”. WordPress was dropped from the homepage’s main heading changing, effectively, the brand’s position from a WordPress-centric one to : The Best Cloud Hosting for Your Next Web Project.

Screenshot of Kinsta's homepage in November 2022

By presenting Managed WordPress Hosting as one of three products the message was reinforced that Kinsta is not just about WordPress anymore. This was a big deal that management must have thought about hard – to position Kinsta to appeal to a broader developer audience.

A couple of thoughts about this:

Strong SEO helps mitigate risks. Kinsta’s organic traffic is crazy-high. Their Managed WordPress Hosting page gets thousands of visits and that would not have changed much. Folk searching for WordPress hosting would continue to find Kinsta.

Kinsta felt the need to explore opportunities outside the WordPress ecosystem. This is easier said that done. It’s a lot of work and an expensive exercise too. And a bit of a gamble too – to assume that devs building websites and apps using other tools would embrace a brand so close to WordPress. Consider all the changes they would have had to do to their Marketing ops.  That said, the numbers must have made sense when projecting growth on a spreadsheet.

An yet, all the above changed with the re-brand. WordPress is the here again, but there is more.

The clever bit: everything is under one roof now

Introducing the Kinsta stack. Not an official product name but a great way to describe what Kinsta offers: WordPress + Whatever Other Product You Need.

I love the ‘Make use of the Kinsta stack’ section of their homepage. It does a great job describing the above and reminds me of how Zapier present their app-to-app integrations (for example, their WordPress – Google Sheet page).

Screenshot of the Kinsta Stack section of their hompage

Question: what other product do you think they will be adding to the mix in 2024?

Final thoughts – what can a WordPress product business learn from this?

Keep an eye out on their homepage. If it stays as is for months then you can assume that their Creative Director’s ideas were valid.

For a large WordPress hosting provider to change focus away from their core offering… only to return to it is significant. I certainly think that there are opportunities outside the ecosystem but it’s a hard play, particularly for a larger business.

The Kinsta Stack messaging and content is a well communicated piece of a well executed product. I’m not too familiar with MyKinsta but I suspect everything is nicely integrated.

Don’t be afraid to be bold.

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