6 Steps to Building a WordPress Maintenance Business

By Stephen Altrogge

Pro Ebook group

Recurring revenue is the Shangri-La for business owners. Rather than scrapping and fighting and hunting for new clients, you have the same clients coming to you again, providing you with a steady stream of income. It takes away the stress of having to dig up new streams of revenue and allows you to start planning ahead.

But if you’re a WordPress designer or developer, you may be a bit perplexed about this whole “recurring revenue” thing. You make your money when clients need something new, like a website refresh for a site that looks like it was designed when MySpace was hot. You essentially have to wait for them to decide they want to change things. The whole idea of regular income feels like a mystery.

We’ve got some good news. Using the WordPress skills you already have, you can add WordPress maintenance to your business model. Building a WordPress maintenance business gives you the steady income you need while also allowing you to continue the development or design you’re already doing (if you desire).

In this article, we’re going to take a deep dive into the what, why, and how of building your own WordPress maintenance business. Buy the end, you’ll have a firm grasp on how to launch yours.

Step #1: Choose Which Services You’ll Offer

First, you’ll want to choose which services you’re going to offer clients. Before you can offer maintenance services to your clients, you need to know what you’re going to offer. The options here are numerous, including:

  • Website registration and hosting: They need to have this anyway, so why not incorporate this into the services you offer?
  • Security: You know what can happen when a site gets hacked. This is a huge problem that’s only going to get bigger.
  • Backups: Every site should be backed up on a regular basis. If something goes terribly wrong, the only way to restore it is from a backup.
  • Ongoing design and development tweaks to the site: Your clients will want things to be changed. You can offer these changes as part of a monthly package rather than needing to start a new project every time.
  • Content changes and creation. Some of your clients won’t be comfortable creating and uploading their own content. You can charge them to do so.
  • Social media management. Your clients probably know they need a social media presence but some may not know now to do it.

There are numerous other options you can offer, such as analytics, email marketing, online advertising, and consultation. Choose the services that will generate the most revenue while requiring the least additional work to what you’re already doing.

If you choose to offer only maintenance services, you have the option of partnering up with other designers and developers who aren’t interested in the maintenance side of things.

Step #2: Determine Your Pricing Model

The next step is to determine how much you’ll charge for your maintenance services. Before you can do this, there are several factors you need to take into consideration.

What are your monthly expenses? You must be able to cover your monthly and annual expenses, allow space for slow periods and client acquisition, as well as take into account your own margin. Don’t underestimate this or you’ll end up charging too little, which is difficult to back out of once you’ve offered it to clients.

How much does your competition charge? Evaluate your competition and then determine how you’ll stack up. Don’t necessarily try to offer the lowest price, especially if you’re offering superior services.

What service tiers will you offer? Creating several tiers of services at different price points allows you to take advantage of higher paying customers who want superior services while also offering a less expensive option to those with budget restrictions. Additionally, if you start a client at a lower tier you can slowly nudge them toward choosing more services.

As you negotiate with your clients, don’t let them determine the price. They probably don’t have a true understanding both of what you offer and what services like yours normally cost. Plus, there is always someone will to offer bad service at a lower price. Don’t engage in a race to the bottom.

Also, always ensure you plan for things going bad. You will encounter problems that take an inordinate amount of time, so factor those events into your price.

Step #3: Promote Your Services

Now that you’ve established what you’re going to offer and how much you’re going to charge, it’s time to start telling the world. The first step is to create a detailed “Services” page on your website. This is going to be the primary place you send potential clients who are interested in hiring you.

Here are some key things to consider when crafting your services page:

It’s all about the benefits. While you certainly want to describe the specific services you offer, you should spend far more time focusing on how your services will massively improve the lives of your customers. Remember, ultimately you’re selling peace of mind. Your backup, security, optimization, and other services allow the customer to know that everything will keep working smoothly. Paint a picture of the good life when discussing services you offer.

Set yourself apart. You need to be able to set yourself apart from your competitors, either through price, number of services, quality of service, attention to detail, or some other factor. Don’t be afraid to explicitly say why you’re a better choice.

Press in on the pain. Acknowledging specific customer pain points allows you to offer the solution to the pain. It shows customers that you have very pointed solutions to their difficult issues.

Make it easy to contact you. This should be obvious, but it’s neglected far too often. You want new clients, so don’t make it difficult to contact you. Put your contact form front and center.

Another simple way to advertise your services is to begin promoting them to your circles on social media. There’s a significant chance that at least one of your contacts will want or know someone who wants WordPress maintenance services.

Step #4: Explain The Importance Of Maintenance To Your Existing Clients

Unless your clients are particularly tech savvy, they’re probably not going to understand why they need someone to perform maintenance on their website. After all, this is a website we’re talking about, not a high performance car engine. They’re already paying you to create something nice for them, so why should they have to pay you to maintain it as well?

A big step in building a WordPress maintenance business is taking the time to explain to your clients why they need maintenance in the first place. Some simple talking points here include:

  • Site Optimization – Few things create problems like sites that aren’t optimized. If a site takes too long to load, visitors will leave quickly and Google can even penalize it, resulting in lower search rankings.
  • Peace of Mind – It’s highly likely that if your clients tried to change settings on the site, they would completely screw up the site. By entrusting all those functions to you, they ensure that their site continues functioning properly and that all necessary updates get made.
  • Your Expertise – Your clients don’t want to spend countless hours trying to figure out things you can handle in a matter of moments. You are offering expert services to them which will dramatically cut down on the amount of time they must spend on maintaining their website.

The arguments in favor of regular maintenance aren’t complicated or difficult to understand, but they’re probably not obvious to those who aren’t tech savvy. Patiently take the time to explain these things to them and help them see that this truly is a worthwhile investment.

There are some relatively ways to get existing clients into a maintenance contract.

  • Offer discounts for a limited time. Offering the first month, or several months at a discounted rate are a great way to entice customers to buy in to the idea of maintenance. Plus, once they see the value of what you offer, they’re more likely to stay on at the higher price. Just be very clear about when the price will increase and how much it will increase.
  • Include maintenance in project budgets. If you’re doing a design or development project, include a year of maintenance in the initial proposal. This takes care of the project support that most developers offer.
  • Offer a limited trial. Similar to above, offering a trial period of maintenance support in place of standard post-launch support is a simple ways to get customers in the maintenance mindset.

We don’t recommend free support for clients. They’ll latch on to that and be resistant to paying for maintenance services when the time comes.

Step #5: Select Your Tools

Once you’ve gotten some clients, you’ll need a set of tools to help you perform the maintenance tasks. Those tools should include:

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): A CRM system allows you to track your clients, as well as a variety of data associated with those clients. This can be done in a simple spreadsheet, although you may want to use something more sophisticated as your business grows.

Support System: You need to have a way to process help requests from clients, and that’s where a ticketing system comes into place.

Local Desktop Environment: When making changes to a site, you want to be able to test those changes before making them live. That happens in the local desktop environment. DesktopServer is built specifically for WordPress.

Reliable Editor: You’re going to need a full Integrated Development Environment to allow you to make changes to any code on the back end.

Browser Developer Tools: You’ll be using these for inspecting the sites you manage. Chrome and Firefox come with their own set of tools.

FTP: When uploading and download files to the sites, you’ll rely heavily on an FTP client.

Uptime Monitoring: Your clients can’t afford to have their sites go down, and this tool will allow you to monitor the uptime of those sites.

Security: No explanation needed. If one of your clients sites get hacked, you’ll need to act quickly to determine where the hack occurred and how to fix it.

Analytics: Google Analytics allows you to monitor key stats about who is visiting the site, where they’re coming from, etc.

Step #6: Demonstrate Your Value To Your Clients

To keep clients returning month after month, you’re going to want to show them the value of what you’re doing. A simple way to do this is to generate regular reports for them that show what you’ve done for them and how it has helped them. These reports can include:

  • Monthly traffic (include SEO generated traffic to show the value of your optimizations)
  • Top content (especially content you’ve created or promoted)
  • Security hacks thwarted
  • Mobile traffic as well as mobile optimizations you’ve made
  • Uptime reports (demonstrates your reliability)

These types of reports show your clients the value of the services you offer.

Conclusion: What Are You Waiting For?

Running a WordPress maintenance business isn’t all kittens and pots of gold at the end of rainbows. You will have support issues to handle and irate clients who don’t understand what you’re doing. Demonstrating patience, grace, and humanity in these scenarios allows you to handle these problems without burning bridges unnecessarily.

But in spite of these challenges, a maintenance business is an outstanding way to generate recurring revenue and get out of the typical feast or famine cycle that afflicts most freelancers. It also allows you to add additional value to clients and extend the length of business relationships.

Source: Site Point

This article was sponsored by GoDaddy. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make SitePoint possible.

How to Change Slider Height on Divi Theme

Today I’m going to give you a quick tip on how to change the height of the Divi slider module. You may have come into a situation when you created a Divi website with a slider and the size of your slider was just not right. It might be too low or too high. To modify this, just add the following code into the Divi custom CSS field (in your WP admin panel: Divi > Theme Options) or to your child theme’s style.css file:

.et_pb_slider, .et_pb_slider .et_pb_container {
height: 600px !important;
}
.et_pb_slider, .et_pb_slider .et_pb_slide {
max-height: 600px;
}

This code will take care of it. Change the “600px” values with your preferred slider height.

 

How to Change Divi Slider Height

 

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Are you looking for more Divi quick tips? Feel free to email me and let me know about what would you like me to write the next time. Also, don’t forget to opt-in for my email newsletter and I will notify you every time when I publish a new article on this blog.

 

Source: Divi Theme

How To Make Divi Blog Grid Posts The Same Height

I love Divi’s blog module, and I think that the grid layout is fantastic out-of-the-box. And with a little styling, the grid can look extremely flash and provide an awesome user experience to your visitors. If you haven’t checked out my Blog Grid tutorial then take a look here!

result

However, the Divi’s blog grid layout does have a limitation. When you have featured images of different sizes, and post titles/excerpts which are different lengths, it can cause the grid to look uneven – even with the ‘Equalize Column Heights’ option checked. For example:

blog grid heights

OCD NIGHTMARE. Fortunately, it only takes a short amount of CSS to fix this.

Click here for a live example of a blog grid with equalized heights.

Setting The Blog Grid Posts Heights

 

Firstly, let’s assume you’re using a single column layout with one Blog Module (below), set to a Grid layout.

grid2

 

Go to Blog Module Settings > Custom CSS and give the module the CSS Class “custom_blog”.

 

grid3

Update your page, and then head to Divi > Theme Options in your Dashboard.

 

Custom CSS

 

Add the following code to your Custom CSS box:


@media only screen and (min-width: 768px) {
.custom_blog .et_pb_post {
min-height: 580px;
max-height:580px;
}
}

 

(The media query is set so that the CSS kicks in on desktops only. The grid layout displays vertically on mobiles anyway, and setting min/max heights can look strange on mobile devices)

Experiment with the values, as these can differ depending on your excerpt lengths, title lengths, font sizes, etc.

Save, and then check your blog layout. Your blog grid should now have equal heights!

blog grid heights

Awesome! We have equal heights, and our Divi designer OCD can be calmed. Simples!

Source: Inline Creative

Changing the Divi Header Top Header Styles

The Divi Theme allows you to set a phone number and email address to be shown at the top of the header, as well as a number of social media icons. Here’s how to change the look of these top header text and icons.

Changing the Top Header Bar Font Size

You can adjust the font size of the icons with the following CSS:

#top-header #et-info-phone, 
#top-header #et-info-email, 
#top-header .et-social-icon a { 
    font-size:130% 
}

Note that the default font-size is 100% so anything bigger than this will increase the font size and anything smaller will decrease it.

Changing the Top Header Text and Icon Color

To change the color of the top header icons and text, you can use this CSS:

#top-header #et-info-phone, 
#top-header #et-info-phone a, 
#top-header #et-info-email, 
#top-header .et-social-icon a { 
	color: yellow !important; 
}

Changing the Top Header Hover Color

To change the hover color of the top header icons and text you can do:

#top-header #et-info-phone a:hover, 
#top-header #et-info a:hover span#et-info-email, 
#top-header .et-social-icon a:hover { 
	color: red !important; 
}

Changing the Top Header Bar Background Color

To change the background of the whole top header bar, you can use the following CSS:

#page-container #top-header { background-color: red !important; }

Source: Divi Booster

Increasing the WordPress Memory Limit

If your site is having memory limit issues, you may be able to adjust this yourself.  Make a simple change to either the wp-config.php, PHP.ini, or .htaccess file to increase the WordPress Memory Limit. I use the File Manager on the GoDaddy Hosting page to make the change.  You may need to use FTP if your host does not provide some sore of file editing capability.

To adjust it on your own, here are some things you can try:

1. Edit your wp-config.php file.

Add this to the very bottom, right before the line that says, “Happy Blogging”:

define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '256M');
WordPress memory can be different from the server – you need to set this regardless of server memory settings

http://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_wp-config.php#Increasing_memory_allocated_to_PHP

2. Edit your PHP.ini file.

If you have access to your PHP.ini file, change the line in PHP.ini
If your line shows 64M try 256M:

memory_limit = 256M ; Maximum amount of memory a script may consume (64MB)

3. Edit your .htaccess file.

If you don’t have access to PHP.ini try adding this to an .htaccess file:

php_value memory_limit 256M

4. If none of the above works then you would need to talk to your host about having them increase your memory limit.

 

 

Terrible Clients Explained With Pirates

AN EPIC VISUAL GUIDE TO THE WORST CLIENTS

You can’t blame your clients for not knowing that negative space is supposed to be empty, or that comic sans is an abomination.

But you can’t forgive them for assuming that your time is free. Here is our rundown of the worst offenders:

Source: toggl.com

Keygcco.com Website Goes Live

Keygcco.com, the website for Key General Contractors went live today.

Key General Contractors, an 8(a). MBE, DBE has been in operation since April 11, 2011. Key GC is located in Colorado Springs and is a full service company offering design/build, general contracting and construction management services. The principle members of the organization together have over 33 years of experience in the construction industry. Since its inception Key GC has used this experience and knowledge to deliver the highest quality projects at the best value possible for the Government. We believe that it is necessary for all parties involved in a project, from the owner to the subcontractor, to be kept informed. Having these strong lines of communication has helped us to achieve final products that ate delivered on time and within budget.

Key General Contractors has a long history of providing outstanding quality, using efficient construction methods, and maintaining exceptional professionalism in its workforce.  Key GC is a certified SBA 8(a) Contractor, and has certifications with the Rocky Mountain Minority Supply Development Council (RMMSDC) and the City and County of Denver – DBE.  Key has a strong track record of successful projects in construction management, new construction, historical, commercial and government renovations, tenant finish, built-to-suit, and sports/recreation development.  We service the Rocky Mountain region and surrounding states including Colorado, Wyoming, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nevada.

 

Growing Number of Businesses in U.S. Tied to Marijuana Industry

21,000-33,000 Business Supporting Marijuana Industry

Tens of thousands of businesses in the United States are tied to the cannabis sector in some fashion, underscoring the marijuana industry’s reach and scope.

An estimated 21,000-33,000 companies derive some or all of their revenue from the cannabis industry, according to the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook.

The estimate includes companies that handle the plant – retailers, infused products companies, wholesale growers and testing labs – in states where medical or recreational marijuana is legal, as well as ancillary firms that serve those businesses, such as consultants and technology providers.

It also includes businesses that work with ancillary companies and those that provide services and products directly to medical marijuana patients and recreational cannabis users, such as clinics where individuals can get recommendations for MMJ.

TJ-WEBS is currently supporting three marijuana related businesses with website support.  Goodtogreat.consulting is a Premier Cannabis Consulting Firm with a proven history of success.  303Seeds.com is your source for some of the world’s finest medical cannabis seeds.  And Greenhaus.com provides custom cultivation and retail products.  All three website have been in part or in whole worked on by TJ-WEBS.

Source: Marijuana Business Daily

Good To Great, A premier Cannabis Consulting firm

Good to Great

A Premier Cannabis Consulting Firm

A new website for Good To Great has just been released to the public.

Good to Great is a Premier Cannabis Consulting Firm with a proven history of success.  Together our team has over 30,000 hours of experience spanning all aspects of the cannabis industry.  Our consultants have proven expertise in cultivation, processing and retail.  Some of the services we offerer are assistance with the license procurement process, project management, work flow evaluation and standardization, employee hiring & training as well as strategic plant production & management.  In addition to providing intellectual consultation services; we offer financial modeling and Pro Formas for these fields, as well as detailed SOPs and Plans that cover the full spectrum from seed to sale including cultivation, curing, diversion, safety and security.

The website is was created using WordPress and the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes

Several plug-ins are being utilized for added functionality.  The Formidable plug-in is being used to create two forms to allow potential clients to contact Good To Great.  The Yoast SEO plug-in is being used to ensure that each page and blog post has the best potential for a high rank in the search engines.  And Google Analytics has been added to the new website in an effort to fine tune the website in an effort to increase the likely hood that potential clients have no trouble finding Good To Great.

The address for the website is http://goodtogreat.consulting

Divi Theme Social Icons

How To Add a Social Icon in Divi WordPress Theme From Elegant Themes

Divi WordPress Theme from Elegant Themes is probably the most advanced, yet most easy to use WordPress Themes available today. It lets you create any type of layout within minutes using its advanced page builder and theme options.

There are some things, like social icons, which cannot be changed from theme options. This is fine since most people will use standard social options like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and RSS, so that is no point bloating the theme with extra theme options.

But if you use want to add Divi Theme Social Icons Pinterest, Instagram, Linedin etc. in Divi WordPress theme, here’s the procedure.

• Here’s the list of codes for the social icons available in Divi style.css file.

.et-social-facebook a.icon:before { content: \e093; }
.et-social-twitter a.icon:before { content: \e094; }
.et-social-google-plus a.icon:before { content: \e096; }
.et-social-pinterest a.icon:before { content: \e095; }
.et-social-linkedin a.icon:before { content: \e09d; }
.et-social-tumblr a.icon:before { content: \e097; }
.et-social-instagram a.icon:before { content: \e09a; }
.et-social-skype a.icon:before { content: \e0a2; }
.et-social-flikr a.icon:before { content: \e0a6; }
.et-social-myspace a.icon:before { content: \e0a1; }
.et-social-dribbble a.icon:before { content: \e09b; }
.et-social-youtube a.icon:before { content: \e0a3; }
.et-social-vimeo a.icon:before { content: \e09c; }
.et-social-rss a.icon:before { content: \e09e; }

This list shows all the available social network icons in Divi theme.

• Now open the includes/social_icons.php file and find the code for social icons,

<ul class=”et-social-icons”>

<?php if ( ‘on’ === et_get_option( ‘divi_show_facebook_icon’, ‘on’ ) ) : ?>
<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-facebook”>
<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( et_get_option( ‘divi_facebook_url’, ‘#’ ) ); ?>” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘Facebook’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php if ( ‘on’ === et_get_option( ‘divi_show_twitter_icon’, ‘on’ ) ) : ?>
<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-twitter”>
<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( et_get_option( ‘divi_twitter_url’, ‘#’ ) ); ?>” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘Twitter’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php if ( ‘on’ === et_get_option( ‘divi_show_google_icon’, ‘on’ ) ) : ?>
<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-google-plus”>
<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( et_get_option( ‘divi_google_url’, ‘#’ ) ); ?>” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘Google’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>
<?php endif; ?>
<?php if ( ‘on’ === et_get_option( ‘divi_show_rss_icon’, ‘on’ ) ) : ?>
<?php
$et_rss_url = !== et_get_option( ‘divi_rss_url’ )
? et_get_option( ‘divi_rss_url’ )
: get_bloginfo( ‘comments_rss2_url’ );
?>
<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-rss”>
<a href=”<?php echo esc_url( $et_rss_url ); ?>” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘RSS’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>
<?php endif; ?>

</ul>

• To add a social icon, for example LinkedIn, add a code section like following, just before the closing </ul> in the social icons code above.

<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-linkedin”>
<a href=”http://in.linkedin.com/in/mayursomani‎” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘LinkedIn’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>

To add YouTube, you’ll add something like,

<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-youtube”>
<a href=”http://youtube.com/u/yourusername‎” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘YouTube’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>

To add a Pinterest icon, you’ll add,

<li class=”et-social-icon et-social-pinterest”>
<a href=”http://pinterest.com/yourusername‎” class=”icon”>
<span><?php esc_html_e( ‘Pinterest’, ‘Divi’ ); ?></span>
</a>
</li>

You see the pattern.

You can add any new network from the list posted above.

That’s it. You just added a new social icon to Divi WordPress Theme. You can also remove a social icon by simply removing its section from the includes/social_icons.php file.

 

Source: AgentWP