Phone handling

Our standard greeting when answering the main phone line is:

“Hello/Hi Wholegrain Digital, [Your Name] speaking, how can I help you?”


Of course if a client with whom you already have a relationship is calling you directly, you can be a little more personal in your greeting.

With regards to general enquiries, we’ve put together some ‘what to say when’ scenarios that may be useful.

1. New Enquiry

Take as many details as possible and then speak to David, Amina, Tom or Vineeta (you can post the details in the phone-handling channel on Slack to reach everyone at once) and ask them to call back. Initial details to take:

  • What sort of business is it and what do they need (what are they aiming to achieve?)
  • Do they have a current website link we can look at, and/or other websites that inspire them?
  • Who is their website hosted with (if they have a current website)?
  • What sort of budget do they have and what’s their timeframe?
  • Contact details: name, number, email address.

Don’t commit to anything at this stage 😉

2. Ongoing project

Take down notes and pass the message on to the relevant Project Manager to get back to them. Be sure to check:

  • Who they would like to speak to
  • What the query is about (as it’s possible someone else may be able to help)
  • The website address/project name.

Say that you will pass the message on and we’ll get back to them as soon as possible but don’t say when.

3. Recruitment agencies

We often get calls from agencies who are trying to get us to advertise with them, or hire someone specific.

  • Turn down politely
  • Mark the phone number as spam (if you can, they often call from a private/withheld number though!)
  • If you have the number, share this in the phone-handling channel on Slack, so that everyone is aware.

4. Digital agencies

Occasionally we get agencies wanting to work with us on a partnership basis.

In most cases we would turn down any offer of partnership politely. In some exceptional cases, Tom and Vineeta may be interested so if unsure, take down the details and say we’ll pass them on and get back to them if we are interested.

Don’t commit to anything.

Example Calls


a – caller wants a new website built on Drupal
— sorry, we deal only with WordPress.

b – caller needs a plugin built for his website
— see #1, take details and say we will get back to them as soon as possible.

c – caller says their site is down
— check if that’s true
— ask where the site is hosted
— see #2, take details and say we’ll get back to them as soon as possible.

d – caller wants to sell us a year membership at the gym
— no thanks, we do yoga. 😉

e – caller wants us to hire one of their developers/designers
— no thanks, we don’t use agencies.

f – caller wants to add a page to his existing website (that we built)
— see #2, take details and say we’ll get back to them as soon as possible.

g – caller wants to buy the agency
— if the caller is Matt Mullenweg, take details and say we’ll get back with an estimate 😉
— for anyone else; “No thanks, Wholegrain Digital is priceless.” 🙂

h – caller wants 50 WordPress sites by the end of the month
— see #1, take details and say we will get back to them as soon as possible.

i – caller got an email from one of us
— see #1 or #2, take details and say we’ll get back to them as soon as possible.

j – caller wants to merge agencies with his SEO business
— no thanks, we don’t do partnerships.

k – caller wants a revamp of his website
— see #1, take details and say we will get back to them as soon as possible.

l – caller needs his site relaunched asap
— see #1, take details and say we will get back to them as soon as possible.

m – caller is a design agency that needs a WordPress agency to partner with to make websites
— see #1, take details and say we will get back to them as soon as possible.

Happy handling! 🙂

How to customize a theme

This article is for projects that are based on ready-made themes downloaded from ThemeForest or elsewhere.

How to start?

  1. Download the theme
  2. Install it in WP-Admin
  3. Activate it

What not to do

In most cases the theme you’ve just installed is not 100% ready for your client. Of course, you will add a lot of new content, format it, make several settings in wp-admin, install some plugins, etc.

But you’re most likely to have to modify the code of the theme itself. While our first idea can be to go to the wp-content/themes/[yourtheme] directory and start editing the PHP / CSS / JS files – if you want to do it in a future-proof way, please don’t do it. Instead, follow the guidelines below…

If you have to add only a few lines of CSS

It virtually means about <100 lines of CSS. It is a very small amount of customization and opening a Git repo and creating a child theme for it would be an overkill. In this case these plugins can be used for adding your extra lines of code:

For bigger amount customization it’s not a good solution, because it increases the non-cachable amount of data on your site.

If you need to make more customization

E.g. you have to modify / add a lot of CSS, change template PHP files, add new functions to functions.php, add new JavaScript code, then the solution is a Child Theme.

How to set up a Child theme?

The general instructions are in the Codex:

Is that all?

Not really. With this method you’ll only edit the files inside the Child theme, so it’s better not to touch the files inside the original (parent) theme. This way you leave the door open for updating the theme later when a new functionality or security fix is released by the theme creator.

On the other hand, the best way to track the versions of your project with git is to add both the parent and the child theme to the Git Repository (yes, the parent theme, too – because if something breaks because of the official theme update then you can revert back to the latest working version).

Can I switch from the Simple Custom CSS plugin to using a child theme?

Yes. But you’ll need to Cut / Paste all the custom CSS you’ve created in your plugin to the style.css of the child theme (copy/paste is not enough, because the plugin’s output is loaded after the child theme).

After that – if everything works fine in your browser – you can delete the plugin.

Our definition of success

It is important in business and in life to have a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and to regularly remind yourself of that.  Wholegrain Digital is not like most businesses in that we exist for reasons beyond simply making money.

This is our definition of success and mission statement, towards which strive:

We will have achieved success when we recognise that Wholegrain Digital is not a company, or a brand, but a team of unique and special people.  When we recognise that our clients too are not businesses, but also groups of unique individuals whose needs we aim to serve.

When we have found health and happiness as individuals within our team and are able to spread that health and happiness to each other, to our clients and to others that we impact.

When our team is supportive of every person as an equal yet unique individual, gives them the opportunity to flourish and helps them each to grow. When every person makes the team stronger as a whole.

When we do work that doesn’t just pay the bills and feed our mouths, but challenges us to think, to learn new skills and to become better people.  When we do work that at worst does not sacrifice our values and at best will make our hearts sing.

When we can achieve all of this not just temporarily, but sustainably in an ever changing world.