The web design blog Vierityspalkki surveyed the WordPress experts in Finland last winter. The project collected information on the agencies, their services, competencies, specializations, and the significance of WordPress to business on the whole. This information was compiled to help clients more easily find their most suitable partner for their WordPress projects. The survey was financed by North Patrol.
North Patrol is a consulting firm specialized in the design of digital services and information systems. We shape ideas into a vision and service concept, find the best architectural and technological solutions, design a functional user experience, and compete to find the ideal partner for implementation work. We do not sell implementation projects, nor do we sell licenses; we are genuinely on the side of the customer.
A total of 52 agencies signed on by the deadline, with 41 selected to participate in the review. The selected agencies were divided into three categories: 1) specializing in WordPress (3 agencies), 2) safe and competent (9 agencies), and 3) small and agile challengers (29 agencies). This article presents the specialists and the safe-and-competent agencies, a total of 12 agencies. If you are interested, you can also browse the list of small and agile challengers (In Finnish only).
Those agencies were placed in the specialist category that were determined to have WordPress as a clearly significant part of their business and had no other significant business areas. In addition, selection in this category was influenced by their participation in the WordPress community, and their activity as spokespeople for WordPress in the business. The safe and competent category was filled with agencies that have clearly proved their competency and experience in the WordPress arena but cannot be said to be WordPress specialists.
The challenger list includes mainly digital agencies that have only recently switched to WordPress, as well as one-man/-woman firms. The challenger list is available in the results section of the original survey (in Finnish).
The review includes small agencies (revenue only a few hundred thousand euro, with 1–3 employees), mid-sized agencies (revenue around a million euro, employing around a dozen people), and larger agencies (revenue two million euro or more, with dozens of employees).
CATEGORY 1: Specialists The specialist agencies, for the purpose of this categorization, are safe, competent, and specialist. If you’re a client, you should expect more in-depth understanding and competency in WordPress than you would from a basic digital agency. Entry in this category was not influenced by the agency’s size or any single merit. Specialization is attitude, the courage to commit, and the pride to present your skills.
H1 (Helsinki / Tampere) H1 is one of Finland’s most heavily WordPress-specializing agencies at the moment. Several of its employees are acknowledged members of the WordPress community, and they actively blog about WordPress-related topics. For example, Daniel Koskinen is responsible for translating WordPress into Finnish. H1 is a fairly small digital agency in comparison with many of its competitors, yet they are highly experienced with a proven WordPress record.
Frantic (Helsinki) Frantic is one of Finland’s best-known digital agencies with one of the longest histories, having designed and implemented websites ever since the 1990s. Frantic-made sites are always characterized by visual excellence, yet never compromising usability. Frantic is one of the only agencies in this review that have a prominent designer profile. In the past few years, Frantic has begun to prefer WordPress as their CMS of choice. For large-scale implementations, Frantic often uses the Catalyst framework, but is undoubtedly one of the most vocal supporters of WordPress on the Finnish market. As far as its size goes, Frantic is one of the largest agencies in this review with its annual revenue exceeding €3 million.
Aucor (Turku) Aucor is a fairly small digital agency based in Turku, yet with a very active online presence. Aucor has been a spokesman for WordPress for a long time, and has created a large number of high quality online services using WordPress. Many of the active contributors to the WordPress community work at Aucor, and the firm’s passion for implementing quality websites places it above many other players in the field.
CATEGORY 2: The safe and competent agencies The safe and competent agencies are ones that have made a lot of WordPress websites but do not, for one reason or another, have WordPress as their core business, or use it for a major part of their business. Many of the firms in this category do good business and consistently publish high-end online services, but are not quite on a par with the specialist agencies in their attitude. Still, this list includes quality candidates for many a client’s shortlist.
Adian (formerly Arkimedia, Jyväskylä) Mikko Virenius is one of Finland’s WordPress pioneers. He used to be responsible for the platform’s translation into Finnish, and published articles on WordPress. Today, he runs his company Adian in Jyväskylä. Adian is in practice a one-man show, but merits a place in the safe and competent category because of Mikko’s exceptionally long involvement with WordPress.
Exove (Helsinki / Oulu) Exove is a heavyweight digital agency in Helsinki that mainly designs for Drupal. However, Exove has always worked with several content management systems, which is why they have in-depth experience in WordPress. In recent times, Exove has gained a WordPress reputation by arranging WordPress Café events.
Solid Angle (Helsinki) Solid Angle is a new, fairly small digital agency in Helsinki. Its size, however, has not prevented it from growing a reputation for implementing large-scale high-end WordPress sites.
Zeeland (Helsinki) The marketing communication giant Zeeland, in addition to its wide range of other services, also offers WordPress implementations, of which it has in fact already done a lot. Zeeland’s digital business unit works chiefly with Drupal, but has a good number of WordPress professionals. Especially if you want to buy marketing communication planning or other marketing implementation services at the same time, Zeeland may be a strong candidate.
Advertising agency Redland (Helsinki) Redland is also one of the ad agencies that have used WordPress for large, handsome websites. If you’re into ad agency culture, Redland is absolutely one of your top candidates when it comes to WordPress implementations.
Activeark JWT (Helsinki) Activeark JWT is one of Finland’s largest digital agencies that also has excellent web service implementation skills. WordPress isn’t Activeark’s most typical tool, but they have good experience. When you are attracted by the service palette of a big digital agency, Activeark is a good candidate for WordPress implementations.
Barabra (Helsinki) Barabra is known particularly as a subcontractor for ad agencies, but they have nothing against direct clients. Barabra stands out in the digital agency community through its specialization in implementations, in contrast with many agencies that emphasize their planning and design competencies and regard implementation skills as something of a “necessary evil”. Barabra is forthright in saying that implementations are an important part of their business, and WordPress is the CMS they use the most these days.
Into-Digital (Helsinki / Jyväskylä) Into-Digital, alongside Barabra and EAST, is one of those agencies that mainly serve advertising and marketing communication agencies. In their own words, Into-Digital uses WordPress for nine out of ten of their website projects, so they have a good deal of experience. The typical projects of subcontractor agencies are fairly small, but on the other hand, the number of projects is probably impressive as most of them are at least mid-sized operators in the digital agency business with their revenues exceeding one million euro. Into-Digital’s latest financial year approached two million.
Summary and comments: The supply of WordPress implementers has grown fast in Finland over the past few years. In particular, many small digital agencies and firms who used to build sites with their own CMSs have switched to using WordPress. Many ad agencies have also “come out of the closet” and now openly say they use WordPress for their website projects.
WordPress has recently come to be used also for large-scale sites, but for the most part, the projects will probably remain within the €2,000–8,000 bracket even in future. There are not so many larger WordPress experts in Finland, which means that from a big-brand point of view, WordPress is, unfortunately, still mainly the playground of small firms. The situation is not changing anytime soon because WordPress as a system is not even attempting to attract big projects but expressly wants to focus on conquering the world in the small site sector.
However, for those who need a limited-size website, WordPress is quite a candy store. The implementation partners in this review alone will provide even a demanding buyer an extremely wide range of choice. Seldom has the buyer seen so many good agencies to choose between. Enjoy your shopping!
Perttu Tolvanen is a web concept design and content management system expert.
Perttu consults with clients on project planning and defining requirements, and supports customers in selecting content management systems and implementation partners. His areas of specialisation include facilitating concept design workshops and selecting content management systems.
Perttu has ten years of experience with web and intranet projects, including serving as a project manager and consultant. Earlier in his career Perttu has worked in procurement and as a project manager at a large media company, a content management system consultant at a large IT company and an independent, neutral consultant at his own firm. He is also a well-known seminar speaker and blogger. Perttu is also the editor of Vierityspalkki.fi, a Finnish blog about the Finnish internet and its creators.
About North Patrol
We are a team of ten consultants, all of whom are experienced designers and technology experts. Every year we design and prepare over 50 different online services and information systems. Our customer satisfaction is very high (9.5 out of 10), and we have helped many customers transform their digital services.
We specialize in high-quality design and requirements specification of digital services. Our mission is to help customers succeed in their software project by creating the best possible foundation for implementation – whether it is an agile implementation done inhouse, a project done with a partner, or a publicly tendered project.
We don't sell coding or licenses
Many software companies recommend software solutions that they also implement themselves. We don’t do that. We don’t do software implementation projects or have partnerships with technology providers. Our perspective on the software market is broad, as it should be for our customers. Our goal is always to find the best possible software solution for our customer, whether it’s a custom-built solution, a SaaS service, an open-source platform, or a combination of these.
We are realistic and forward-thinking
We design digital service concepts, implementation methods and architectures that are sustainable and can be further developed. We place great importance on the feasibility of software solutions, the availability of good partners and the predictability of costs.
Psst, would you like to browse our site in Finnish? Most of our reports and expert articles are available only on our Finnish site.