Four Tips for Creating a Successful Open-Source Web Agency

By Guest Author | open source | January 27, 2021

TYPO3 is a great content management system for many kinds of businesses. By understanding your clients’ needs, you can generate value for them with TYPO3’s unique feature set— which in turn will help you build a sustainable, open-source web agency.


the newly published The TYPO3 Guidebook: Understand and Use TYPO3 CMS contains a guide to help you do this. Here, we give you an overview of the four steps in the guidebook to get you started.

Creating a Business Around TYPO3 or any other open-source CMS

By the end of the guide, you will deepen your knowledge around the following topics:

— Learn which features are especially appealing to certain types of clients.
— Talking authoritatively about open source, TYPO3, and your business will help you gain more friends and allies in the business.
— When you commit to TYPO3 or an open-source CMS, your business philosophy itself might become an inbound marketing channel.

Here are four steps to sustainable business success with your open-source agency.

1. Select clients you can deliver value for

Before doing anything, you’ll need to decide on what types of clients to go after. Whether you pursue greenhorn businesses or more mature clients is up to you: they both have advantages and disadvantages.

Prioritize long-term relationships over fleeting encounters that pay well in the beginning but don’t generate revenue over a longer period.

Most important of all: you need to deliver real value. Make a list of clients you would consider approaching, and for each one, consider what value you can deliver specifically for them. This brings us to the next step.

2. Work out what features your market is looking for

We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to focus on delivering value for clients, which is why this step is crucial. Use your understanding to match the CMS’s features to particular clients and their needs.

There are specific sectors that favor TYPO3, for example, including the public sector, universities, and enterprises—especially those working internationally.

TYPO3 tends to match the needs of enterprise companies because of its multisite functionality. These clients have multiple domains, and sometimes even multiple brands, all of which can be maintained in a single instance using TYPO3’s multisite feature.

For companies with an international reach, TYPO3’s built-in multilingual capabilities deliver incredible value by solving the problems posed by different languages, regions, and time zones. The centralized model for site management and content maintenance makes supporting multiple languages fast, easy, and secure.

3. Get in the habit of talking about your open-source CMS with potential clients

This step digs deeper into the ways TYPO3 can help build your business, with support from an active and enthusiastic professional open source community, a strong feature set, thorough documentation, and proven case studies.

When you’re honest and build your business persona on positive examples, your clients will better understand your strengths. This makes them more likely to choose you and TYPO3 as the best fit for their needs—and for the right reasons. If your client is looking for reliability or a professional partner, for example, emphasize TYPO3’s predictability, scalability, and enterprise-readiness.

TYPO3’s developer community has created some unique solutions to common CMS problems over the years, with concepts like the hierarchical Page Tree, seamless translation handling, and an intuitive backend user experience. You have the opportunity to introduce your client to those solutions, in addition to a well-planned UX that is built to meet a wide variety of real-world business needs.

4. Use TYPO3 and open source to open doors

TYPO3 is built around an open-source community that values transparency and collaboration. Introducing TYPO3 and its values to your business can also open doors in your industry.

Being open is a strength that can set you apart, especially in a market where many competitors use closed-source software, proprietary technologies, or keep their cards close to their chest.

Share the work you do by blogging, presenting at conferences or events, or joining Meetup Groups or Slack communities—whatever feels most comfortable to you. Depending on where you live, there are many ways to impact, contribute, and shape the future of TYPO3, the open-source community in general, or your own industry.

This is just a taster of what you can learn from the guide in the TYPO3 Guidebook. It’s also just one of many topics available to curious marketers, agency owners, and developers. Check out the book for a thorough introduction to TYPO3 and start building your business today.

Mathias Bolt Lesniak is a certified TYPO3 CMS consultant, integrator, and editor. He’s been working as a developer since 2003 and every increasingly as a writer since 2010. Mathias has a passion for effective, structured web writing and clear communication. His writing know-how and presentation skills help him effectively communicate the knowledge he has gained in his years of software development and open source community experience. Mathias was also reelected to the TYPO3 Association Board in 2019 for a second term, where he is responsible for press- and community-communication.