Agency Chat is a weekly 30 minute show hosted by Greg Mount of Pasada MediaTom Auger from Art & Science, and Andy McIlwain that discusses trends and challenges relevant to digital agencies.

On the episode that aired September 14th, Mount and Auger discussed the Headway Themes situation and how integral communication is when it comes to running a digital business.

“You can do whatever you want as long as you can tell people what you’re doing,” Mount says.

“If Headway had come out early on and explained their situation, the decisions they were facing, and what they were planning, this may have reduced the friction.”

“It’s all about controlling the spin,” Auger responded. “Especially in the WordPress community, where people are extremely vocal and opinionated.”

“The thing is, issues come up. They always do. And they happen on a daily basis. But turtling on the subject is never the solution. You need to strategically approach it head-on.”

There is an inherit risk when relying on a third-party whether it’s a plugin, theme, or service. Greg and Tom discuss the balancing act between using a third-party solution versus developing one in-house.

The duo also talk about how important it is to perform critical research before choosing to establish a relationship with a theme or plugin, especially if it’s going to be used on many client sites.

One of my favorite parts of the show is the advice Auger gives to consultants and agencies who use a bevy of plugins or themes in projects.

“Don’t attempt to mask that from your customers,” he said. “Explain to clients that you’re going to leverage this plugin or theme and that you’re going to charge them a few extra dollars for licensing, customizations, integrations, and support.”

He goes on to suggest that consultants should be open about it and to save a signed document as proof of the agreement. This gives the agency more credibility if a plugin or theme on a client’s site starts to go downhill or disappears as the client is already aware of who’s at fault.

It’s an excellent episode that I encourage WordPress consultants, agencies, and those who have product based businesses to listen too.

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