Does your WordPress development agency focus narrowly on new website builds? If so, you’re not alone. But beware — you could be missing out on an opportunity for easy revenue growth!
Of the new development agencies we work with at White Label Agency, many turn over an impressive volume of new projects. However, more than a third don’t provide their clients with many additional services. It might seem counterintuitive for an agency specializing in development to add services when order books are full. However, the case for adding maintenance services is strong:
- WordPress maintenance tasks take little time and effort when done properly and they can provide agencies with a substantial continued revenue flow.
- Poorly maintained sites lead to dissatisfied customers in the long run.
There’s an opportunity for agencies to place more emphasis on the importance of site maintenance. We commonly hear from agencies that have tried selling this service but have been met with weak interest and eventually dropped it. Low awareness surrounding maintenance means agencies need to be prepared to take a strong role in educating customers on what they stand to gain from maintenance, or what they stand to lose from neglecting it. With the right sales approach, this is a service that sells well. And customers that sign up will likely be more satisfied over the long term, leading to further opportunities for development work and other services.
There are two main components to website maintenance: technical maintenance and content maintenance. Technical maintenance involves checking that everything works smoothly, ensuring the website is responsive in different settings, and keeping all packages and dependencies updated and secure. Content maintenance, on the other hand, involves adding text or images to web pages, writing blog posts and updating content like adding team members or events. Agencies that do maintenance the best often package these two maintenance services together in one all encompassing package, maximizing monthly sales.
In this article, I will focus on the technical side of the WordPress site maintenance.
Sites go down. Broken code, unreliable plugins, update issues, server or hosting provider error, traffic spikes, expired domains…the list of potential causes is long. And if you’re one of those agencies which hasn’t signed your customers up to regular site maintenance, the risks are greater.
At White Label Agency, we create backups for all websites on our maintenance packages daily. Although for basic, low volume websites with few content updates, monthly updates can occasionally be sufficient. But play it smart and always make a backup right before updating WordPress core, plugins, or themes to a new version. This way, if there’s any conflict or error, you can roll back to the last working version.
You have a couple of options for backing up. Many managed WordPress hosts offer backup services right through their interface, making setup a breeze. If all your websites are hosted in one place, this could be a great choice. Otherwise, you can explore the various backup plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository.
You can read our previous blog for more information about performing backups.
Regular backups are one of the most important WordPress maintenance tasks, so make sure your agency has a structured plan for this.
Update WordPress core
Regularly updating the WordPress core is crucial for maintaining a healthy website. By checking the WP administrator dashboard for new releases and applying updates, you ensure that the site remains secure and optimized with the latest features and improvements.
However, before proceeding with any updates, as mentioned above, it is essential to perform a backup to safeguard your data in case of any unforeseen issues during the update process.
After updating, it’s always a good practice to run a thorough check of your website to ensure there are no compatibility errors with themes, plugins, or custom code. This helps to avoid any potential disruptions to your site’s functionality and user experience
For further reading, see our blog post on WordPress core updates.
Update themes and plugins
Just like the WordPress core, theme files can also have bugs or security vulnerabilities, making them susceptible to attacks, especially popular themes that malicious actors often target.
The process of updating themes is straightforward and can be done through the WordPress admin dashboard with just a few clicks. You can see the video below:
However, before proceeding with any updates, once again, we recommend performing a backup of your website.
By regularly updating your WordPress themes, you ensure that you have the latest security patches and bug fixes, reducing the risk of potential security breaches. Additionally, updated themes often come with performance improvements, enhancing your website’s overall functionality and user experience.
Keeping your WordPress plugins up to date is a crucial part of WordPress maintenance tasks. In fact, a staggering 93% of vulnerabilities in WordPress are caused by plugins. Outdated or poorly coded extensions can become easy targets for hackers, leading to potential brute force attacks, cross-site scripting, and SQL injections.
It’s essential to check for updates at least once a month to ensure you have the latest features and security patches. This can be a challenging task, as WordPress websites typically incorporate 10-30 plugins and it’s not uncommon to find sites with 50-100. Most of the commonly used plugins release updates on a regular basis and these need to be installed.
To stay ahead of any potential vulnerabilities, it’s highly recommended to monitor WordPress industry forums for known issues and take appropriate actions.
When asked about addressing the security threats, White Label Agency’s COO Bobby suggested this:
“Google Alerts is a great tool to set up in order to keep a pulse on any WordPress vulnerabilities that surface. Keyphrases such as “WordPress vulnerability” or “WordPress plugin security” will deliver email warnings if an article or discussion is trending around such a topic.
Here are the directions for setting up a Google Alert:
- Go to Google Alerts.
- In the box at the top, enter a topic you want to follow.
- To change your settings, click Show options. You can change:
– How often you get notifications
– The types of sites you’ll see
– Your language
– The part of the world you want info from
– How many results you want to see
- Click Create Alert.
You’ll get emails whenever matching WordPress maintenance search results are found.”
The last of the essential WordPress maintenance tasks is checking for any items that are no longer in use. Deactivated themes or plugins that serve no purpose can pose a potential risk to your site’s security.
By removing disused plugins, you keep your server clean and free from unnecessary clutter, reducing the chances of vulnerabilities that hackers might exploit. Additionally, cleaning out older themes and plugins can improve your website’s overall performance and speed, providing a better experience for your visitors. Here is the video of how to perform plugin maintenance.
Get maintenance services working for You!
If your digital marketing agency doesn’t presently offer maintenance services, you’re missing out! These services provide a reliable monthly revenue stream and, once established, they are usually easy and quick to provide. It might feel a tough sell to many customers, but our experience at White Label Agency is that many are receptive to purchasing maintenance services with sufficient education.
At White Label Agency we specialized in outsourcing WordPress services to digital agencies, including maintenance plans. Our reliable and cost-effective solutions can be added seamlessly to your agency’s service offerings, allowing you to maximize your margins while resting assured of the quality your clients are receiving.
If you are interested in partnering with us at White Label Agency, don’t hesitate to contact our sales team.