6 Top WordPress Designers Share Their Keys to Success

Running a successful WordPress agency is no easy task. The landscape changes quickly and what worked yesterday may not be the best practice today. As you will see, some things change, but many things will always stay the same.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing six of the most successful WordPress agencies in North America to understand what makes them great.

If you run an agency or are looking to hire a web design agency but aren’t sure what criteria to keep in mind, this article will be extremely helpful for you. Many of the agencies quoted here were found through a Clutch.co list.

During the interview I asked the agency owners three questions:

  • What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?
  • How do you make sure your customers are happy?
  • What makes your company special in the market?

Below are their responses followed by a summary of the key findings.

1. Joe Ardeeser

CEO of Jordan Crown

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

Joe is a big believer in personal development and constant learning as a leader.

“Read and learn from the high level leadership books in addition to industry specific books that keep your skills fresh.”

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

Joe talked a lot about managing customer expectations and strong communication as the key to keeping customers happy.

”Managing expectations and having clear terms and contracts.”

What makes Jordan Crown special in the market?

“Uber flexible WordPress sites that are easy to manage.”

 

2. Jay Eckert

Founder, Creative Director at Parachute Design Group Inc

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

Jay shared that “paying attention to the details and understanding the long term strategy and goals of your client” is key.

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

Jay talked about a recurring theme throughout this article which is the need for consistent communication with your customers.

“Ask them (if they are happy with the results) and consistently make them part of the process.”

What makes Parachute Design Group special in the market?

“Handcrafted websites. Our hands are on every single aspect of the website.”

 

3. Jeremy Durant

Business Principle at Bop Design

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

Jeremy gave some veteran advice. Be careful who you take on. Make sure to vet your customers and don’t take on too many, too fast.

“Being selective of the clients you take on. Use strong discernment and don’t grow too fast.”

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

Again the communication theme came up. Because many of Jeremy’s customers are concerned with lead generation in addition to web design, he shared that “regular reporting and lead attribution” keeps them happy.

What makes BOP Design special in the market?

“We exclusively work with B2B companies building their websites and generating inbound leads.”

 

4. Nat Rosasco

Principle of Olive Street Design LLC

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

Nat shared that human to human relationships and responsiveness are the keys to success with both clients and employees.

“In such a virtual industry, we like to put the human touch back into the web. We pick up the phone and talk to people so they get to know the people behind the agency, the brand culture behind the name.”

On the internal side of things, Nat offers flexible working hours and situations to meet the unique needs of his employees; from maternity leave and part-time work from home to all-staff dinners out, it’s a great way for the team to bond, grow, and have some fun.

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

Building on the communication and relationship theme, Nat shared that “we talk to all our clients regularly. Anyone who is local, we meet in person. By empowering my workers to act as true project managers, each designer, developer, or writer takes pride and ownership over their projects, and that has to start and end with sound client communication.”

What makes Olive Street Design special in the market?

“We see that so often, only the big players in their industry can afford the best services. We champion for all businesses, giving a boutique business the same opportunity and quality as a larger corporation. We deliver big agency quality at reasonable prices.” Nat shared that his agency doesn’t only work with the big budget projects but also with local businesses who want quality at a reasonable cost.

 

5. Darren Fox

President of Idea Marketing Group

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

“Hire smart people and give them a fun environment to work in. Allow for good work life balance. We do 35 hour work weeks with virtual Fridays so our team can work from home. We also offer 20 paid vacation days per year.”

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

“We communicate with our customers often. Also continuing our relationship beyond a website build into marketing. We want long term partnerships.”

What makes Idea Marketing Group special in the market?

“We focus on building long term relationships and quality work done by some of the best talent.”

 

6. Jason Schwartz

Owner, Managing Director of Bright Bright Great

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

Jason is a self-confessed process nerd. He is always watching both business operations and processes looking for ways to improve.

“New tools and products come out every week that making it easier for both our internal team and our partners to communicate. Always being open to test and potentially change our tools is important.”

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

“This is something that is really important to us. Happy customers mean both referrals and repeat projects. We put everything we have, heart and soul into all projects to push beyond what is expected. Clients are typically not designers, developers, UX specialists, so when I hear from them that we went beyond anything they could have dreamed up, that’s a win.

What makes Bright Bright Great special in the market?

“We have our own in-house type foundry called Avondale Type Co. (avondaletypeco.com). We can design and license unique typefaces to global brands.”

 

Let’s Sum It Up

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

Much of the advice given here has to do with the 3Ps: people, processes, and products.

  • People: Taking on the right clients and hiring talented team members.
  • Process: Having an efficient and effective process that you always look to improve.
  • Products: Providing great service and going the extra mile.

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

The big one here was no surprise, managing expectations, and frequent communication. Communicating prior to a working relationship, communicating during the fulfillment process, and communicating the results. Customers feel good when they know what is going on.

What makes your company special in the market?

Some differentiated based on the type of client they are working with (ie B2B) but most simply stated it was about doing quality work and building deep relationships.

This feeds into the point that you don’t always have to be unique as much as compelling. Producing beautiful work and providing top-notch customer service builds word of mouth business and long term relationships that compel your customers to stick with you over the long run, making your competition irrelevant.

I hope you found this article insightful. Leave a comment below with your biggest takeaway.

Anthony Tran

AccessWP lead marketing strategist. He also manages a web design company at Marketing Access Pass. He likes to sneak in a few games of Clash of Clans on his iPhone, and is a huge Game of Thrones fan.

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