Sonal Sinha, The founder of SKT Themes is with us today for an exclusive interview so without further ado, let’s hear it from the man himself.
WPJuicer: Hello Sonal, thank you for taking the time out for this interview. Before we start, how about you tell the readers about yourself?
Sonal: Hi everyone, my name is Sonal Sinha and most people know me by the name Shri (Shri Krishna Technologies being my company name).
I am a father of 2 beautiful kids (son and daughter) and live with my parents.
From figuring out whether to be in the medical profession or in engineering to getting a job after college. Or then opting for further studies doing MBA and then passing out at the worst time of the market during 2008 recession I had a pretty fair share of ups and downs in my life.
From being involved in client handling to marketing and sales for SEO campaigns I have done it all in companies before jump-starting my own company in 2010.
WPJuicer: You are the Founder of SKT Themes. Tell us something about your company? How do you manage your responsibilities? Can you share any of your interesting stories?
Sonal: I started my company in 2010 named Shri Krishna Technologies. We used to do a lot of corporate blog sites using WordPress. Back then in 2011-12 Woo Themes, Themeforest and Thesis were popular themes. However, lack of support and advanced features were the most common issues and people used to buy their themes and come to us with requests for customizations.
Hence in 2013, I decided to start SKT (short form of Shri Krishna Technologies) Themes.
WPJuicer: What was the biggest challenge in getting SKT Themes to market? What and how did you overcome development challenges?
Sonal: Initially we did SEO and I guess we overdid our SEO at one point where Google banned our site and removed it from SERPs. Hence, we had to change our domain from sktthemes.net to sktthemes.org
Initial challenges did include how to gain more market share with minimum SEO since overdoing also has its problems. Hence the launch of our free themes in the WordPress repository. We have around 80 themes listed in WordPress.org and over 5 plugins.
Our themes have been downloaded more than 300,000 times and we have around 50,000+ paid customers worldwide.
We have constantly kept on updating our themes from time to time. Initially, they were built on theme options framework, then on customizer panel, and now on page builder friendly framework. Updates keep on rolling from time to time every year and so does the redesign of outdated designs/themes.
WPJuicer: How much a good WordPress theme contributes to an overall business growth and performance?
Sonal: A website is like a resume of the business or a business card. It is the front end of how people perceive about your business. Hence a good website definitely contributes to branding, image building, sales, leads, and publicity as well. WordPress themes are the user design interface of the entire website which drives all the front-end design and how it appears on different devices. Having a great WordPress theme is a definite must.
WPJuicer: Gutenberg is already on its way. What other features would you like to see in WordPress Core?
Sonal: I would like Gutenberg to be updated separately as a plugin first and then added into the core because many times they break existing sites and it’s still a work in progress. However, it certainly looks promising and I am glad that as a theme developer we won’t have to make our themes compatible with so many page builders. I guess Gutenberg can take a cue from all the popular page builders and build something robust down the line with all features those builders have.
WPJuicer: What would you like to say for the WordPress community? How would you summarize the WordPress community in one word?
Sonal: WordPress community is very helpful. And most of the people I have met in WordCamps personally have been down to earth and curious about learning new things and also helpful about sharing their knowledge.
WPJuicer: Name five people who have inspired you the most?
Sonal: Steve Jobs for thinking out of the box. Mukesh Ambani for being the most successful businessman in India.
My parents for being my constant support and inspiring me to achieve more. My colleagues who honestly work and help me achieve my dreams.
WPJuicer: Who should we interview next, and why?
Sonal: Vishal Kothari of Tyche Softwares. This guy is creating wonderful WordPress WooCommerce plugins and his plugin store is very popular too.
WPJuicer: What do you look for in a managed WordPress host?
Sonal: Reliability, no to very less downtime, quick support whenever needed, upgrades on the fly like PHP upgrades, Server upgrades, etc.
WPJuicer: We have talked too much about your professional life. Let’s tell our readers about your hobbies and interests. What does Sonal do other than work?
Sonal: I am a foodie and an avid traveler. I love to eat food at new restaurants every now and then and at the end of every year travel to different places this one being the exception.
WPJuicer: Any other thoughts or things you wish to mention?
Sonal: I hope everyone has the best time of their lives in 2021. 2020 has been hard on everybody and I hope the bad times are behind us and good times are coming for each one of us.
Wishing everyone a very happy new year.