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WP Agencies

Behind the scenes of WordPress agencies in northern Europe
Simon-Dickson-2015-06-27

European agencies need to show their passion

Interview with Simon Dickson

My previous blog post from WordCamp Europe made Simon Dickson from Automattic to contact me. Simon is on the WordPress.com VIP team, leading business development in Europe, and he also would like to see more European agencies capable of doing larger-scale WordPress projects.

We talked with Simon quite a bit during the second day of WordCamp Europe. Simon has a good view of the WordPress agency market in the US and Europe, and he shared good insights about what makes a successful WordPress agency. Continue Reading

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Notes about the agency market in Europe

This project has been running for a year now. Not many interviews have been published even though lot of email has been written and interview sessions have been done. Few interviews are still waiting to get published, but to summarize: There isin’t that many bigger agencies for WordPress in Northern Europe – nor anywhere else in Europe for that matter.

Im writing this from Seville, Spain, where WordCamp Europe is being held. The big mass of participants seems to still come from small agencies that work with fairly small clients. Another big part of the community are those small agencies that build add-ons, themes and other services for those ‘man and dog’ -style of agencies. Continue Reading

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Oslo’s WordPress specialists: Dekode

The WordPress community in Norway is not very big yet, but it is growing steadily. I met Magne Ilsaas from the biggest WordPress agency in Norway. Currently Magne’s agency, Dekode, employs 18 people and has an annual revenue of 1.4 million euros (12.5 million NOK).

Dekode specializes in WordPress websites, but also works very closely with a Magento partner (Trollweb) delivering front-ends for large e-commerce websites. Dekode was very open with their numbers and pricing. Dekode’s annual revenue was a bit over 1 million euros (9.5 million NOK) in 2013. In 2014, Dekode’s revenue reached around 1.4 million euros (12.5 million NOK).

Dekode’s typical project price is around 25,000 to 50,000 euros with a typical hourly rate of 150 euros, but please note that the general price level is higher in Norway than in many other northern European countries. For example, a typical price for men’s haircut in Oslo can be between 60 and 70 euros. (See the Big Mac Index for more.)

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London’s WordPress specialists: Wholegrain Digital

My latest trip to London included a meeting with the owners of Wholegrain Digital, Tom and Vineeta.

We had a pretty long chat back in September about Wholegrain and UK market for WordPress. This article is an edited and condensed version of our conversation then. Some of the details have been updated in February 2015.

Wholegrain Digital is a team of true WordPress specialists that has been doing WordPress projects for years. As an agency they are somewhat technically focused, but don’t do any custom software development for clients. Their yearly revenue number is around £320,000 (€400,000) and their typical projects range from £5,000 to £20,000 (from €6,300 to €27,500).

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CEO of Aucor reveals the financial numbers of a small digital agency

The first agency interview is with a digital agency from Turku, Southern Finland. Aucor is a boutique WordPress agency working mostly for Finnish customers mainly based in the Helsinki area. The CEO of Aucor, Janne Jääskeläinen, promised I could reveal some statistics on the agency’s financials and also about their internal workflow. We also discussed the rise of WordPress from a simple blog system that now even challenges Drupal.

At present, Aucor employs seven people and last year clocked revenues of slightly less than €500,000. The core of Aucor’s operation continues to be quality and the creation of customised websites, which is why the classification of Aucor as a grown-up boutique digital agency seems the most appropriate. In many ways Aucor is between a small boutique agency and a more established digital agency—not quite the choice for bigger brands yet, but often too expensive for small projects. A challenging position, indeed.

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Tour of the North begins

WP Agencies is now alive and kicking. The goal is to interview and list the most active and interesting WordPress agencies in northern Europe. Timeline? One year? Two years? We’ll see. But already during the remainder of 2014 I will be visiting Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen and London, and I will interview interesting agencies from those cities.

The reason for this site is that I think WordPress is becoming the de facto CMS for smaller and midsize websites in the world. But the road looks quite bumpy. The availability and competencies of digital agencies using WordPress seem to be somewhat limited. Many people are building sites with WordPress, but where are the true specialists? Where are the larger agencies that could also handle bigger projects? Where are the most technically skilled WordPress agencies? Who are the best designers for high-profile WordPress sites? These are the questions I’m looking to answer.

The primary purpose of this blog is to give more visibility to those agencies in northern Europe that are truly focusing on WordPress. That is what this Tour of the North is about. I want to find more good partner choices for my clients—and for all the people searching for good web development partners in northern Europe.

PS. If you want to know more about who is behind this blog, read the About page.

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Criteria for being a safe choice for larger WordPress projects

This article outlines the criteria that I use in this blog to evaluate whether an agency can be listed as a “safe choice” for even bigger companies for building a large-scale website with WordPress.

The criteria are mainly based on dozens of discussions with my client companies that have evaluated different kinds of partners with our help (I’m referring to my company North Patrol). For example, revenues of one million euro seem to be a pretty typical limit for many larger companies (say companies that employ over 1,000 people). Big companies just don’t want to work with small companies that have small revenues and employ only a handful of people. In many cases this kind of thinking doesn’t make any sense, but I also often understand the reasoning of the people working for these companies.

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