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.

Besides, it’s also safer for the agencies to work with bigger companies when they have enough firepower on their side if something doesn’t go smoothly.

So here are the six most important criteria that I will be using in choosing the “safe choices” for even bigger projects:

  1. Agency specialises in WordPress projects. Meaning that they say this on their website, they have a big reference list of completed projects, they participate in WordCamps, they blog about WordPress, and the majority of their revenue comes directly from WordPress website design and development business.
  2. They have a minimum annual revenue of one million euro and they employ at least 10 persons who participate in delivering WordPress projects.
  3. They have participated in the development of the WordPress open source project or have created their own plugins and published them.
  4. The agency has both creative design capabilities and web development experience. They have a proven record of designing and building impressive web sites for their clients. Their most important references are not subcontracting work, but projects where they had the lead responsibility for both design and development.
  5. They can provide examples of completed projects and their final costs for the client. These individual numbers are not published, but this information is used to evaluate the typical project sizes of different agencies (including design and development).
  6. The agency has a record of also solving more challenging problems where WordPress has not been an ideal fit for certain functionalities (for example, extending WordPress with a framework or using a third-party tool).

Not every one of those items has to apply, but I think the general message is pretty clear. Safe choices are established companies that have already shown their capabilities and can be trusted to remain in business for years to come.

PS. The image for the article is a screenshot from Metronet agency website showing their personnel page. It is a good example of what kind of professional attitude bigger buyers are looking for. Buyers want to see a real company with an office and lots of professional people—again, whether it actually makes sense or not.

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