Looking back, 2011 was a pretty good year – we had a royal wedding, the Iraq war ended, a new species of dolphin was discovered, and Game of Thrones premiered. It’s also the year that we founded Big Bite, and this May we’re celebrating our 10th year in business – an incredible achievement that we’re really proud of, and the perfect time for a little reflection.
From day one, we had a clear vision about the agency we wanted to be in the future – a place where genuine talent and fresh ideas matter more than career history or boardroom schmooze. We wanted to push the boundaries of the WordPress platform, showcase and support the brilliant minds we have in our region, and put our hometown of Middlesbrough firmly on the digital map. We knew that we couldn’t achieve our dream via shortcuts, and after a great deal of graft and a lot of hard lessons, we can definitely say it was worth it. The company we are today remains true to our founding values.
We’ve hit a lot of important milestones over the last decade, so to mark our anniversary, we wanted to highlight the things we’re most chuffed about from our story so far.
When we were starting out, WordPress wasn’t yet established as a platform for enterprise level organisations, but we saw its potential very early on and today it powers over 40% of the web. Over the years we’ve developed many new features to enrich WordPress for our clients and we’re often the first to market with new plugins, with the most recent example being the LiveBlog we developed for NYPost.
As a result of our pioneering work, in 2015 we were accredited as a WordPress VIP Gold Partner – this makes us one of just nine agencies in the world to have achieved this status, and the only agency in the UK. Fast forward to 2018, and Big Bite was also the first agency in the world to launch an enterprise level project using Gutenberg – a game-changing WordPress block editor that’s revolutionised the publishing experience.
We’ve also developed innovative apps for a number of high profile organisations, including an internal news and comms app for one of the largest global financial institutions and its 200,000+ employees around the world. In 2017, a soccer news app we developed, 11vs11, was crowned as the ‘Best Lifestyle, Sports, & Entertainment App’ at the European Digital Media Awards.
In addition we achieved ISO 27001 and ISO 9001 information security standards in 2019, which is a rare accolade in our industry, but crucial for delivering our services to the level of enterprises we do business with.
Okay so we haven’t taken over the world, but we have secured a pretty impressive client base of international brands. Not long after we set up, our work generated the interest of our first international clients including Netazine and Paperwheel, and in turn this helped us to boost our growth, hire more talent, and push forward the breadth, scale and quality of what we do.
We’ve since gone on to win contracts with many big names including Amnesty International – the world’s leading human rights organisation, Sourcing Journal – a global resource for the apparel and textile industry, and News Corp – a global publishing powerhouse responsible for The Times, The Sun and the The Wall Street Journal.
In 2020 we were appointed by Octopus Group – one of the UK’s fastest growing companies – to build a new multi-site network, and earlier this year we launched content hubs for Gumtree, the UK’s number one classified ads site. We’ve also recently launched the new Macworld site on behalf of IDG – the technology media, data and marketing services company whose content is trusted by millions of readers worldwide.
Back in 2011, the general consensus was that you had to move to a big tech hub if you wanted to build an agency with international reach, but we think of our community as our anchor, and that’s only become more important as we’ve grown. We stayed local and focused on developing a depth of talent right here in Teesside, and that gamble has paid off – throughout our first 10 years in business we’ve created an increasing number of jobs in the place we know and love, and last year we were able to relocate to a prime space in Albert North, Middlesbrough, giving us over 6,000sq ft of office space to house our growing team.
We’ve also been able to support local talent through collaborations, contracting, and by regularly hosting Refresh Teesside – a no-pressure networking event designed to bring together Teesside’s digital, creative and tech communities. Taking this support one step further, in 2020 we launched our in-house training academy to create employment opportunities for developers looking to improve their skill sets and advance their careers.
Our team also continues to collaborate on open source projects within the WordPress community, sharing our knowledge and expertise to improve web experiences across the world.
While many sectors have sadly struggled over the last year, the digital industry has gone from strength to strength and at Big Bite we’ve been fortunate enough to increase contract values with existing clients, take on new clients, and double our team size to cope with demand. We don’t take this for granted, and will continue to pay it forward while maintaining the high standards that have helped us to achieve our success to date.
We’re excited about what’s coming next, as our reputation is opening more doors for us as an enterprise WordPress agency. Our plan for the future is to keep doing what we do best, while sticking to our core values, and we’re looking forward to another incredible decade.