Offering WordPress maintenance services is a logical step for many web professionals. However, starting and managing this type of business isn’t necessarily easy. You need to determine which services to offer, if you should outsource any of them, and how to overcome the challenges you might face.
This is where our 2020 WordPress Maintenance Survey can help. The results highlight some of the biggest challenges faced when starting and running WordPress maintenance services. They also provide information about outsourcing.
We’ve asked hundreds of web professionals about the maintenance services they offer, the challenges they’ve encountered, and what role outsourcing plays in their businesses. Let’s take a look!
Offering maintenance services to clients
Offering maintenance services to clients can make your business more competitive. The majority of the participants in our 2020 WordPress Maintenance Survey offer such services in some shape or form. We reviewed which tasks they cover and how they structure their pricing tiers in a previous post.
However, we wanted to dive deeper into not only what these WordPress professionals do for their clients, but how they do it. To find out, we asked our 2,279 respondents about their outsourcing practices and the most common challenges they’ve encountered while working in the industry.
The biggest challenges faced when offering WordPress maintenance services
If you are considering offering WordPress maintenance services, there are many challenges you could face. Our survey respondents have overcome many of them, the most significant being showing the value of website maintenance to their clients:
Automating services is the second most prevalent challenge maintenance providers have had to work through.
Participants also cited showing the value of their services as the biggest challenge they are currently dealing with. However, marketing is the second most prevalent existing roadblock, while only 11.52 percent of respondents currently see automation as their biggest challenge:
When you first start a WordPress maintenance business, it can take time to figure out the best automation solution for you. However, once you have the right tools, it becomes much easier. For instance, ManageWP can help you schedule tasks such as updates and backups.
Marketing your services is an ongoing challenge for business owners in all industries. You can overcome this difficulty to an extent simply by offering solid services. Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the best ways to grow your client base. You might also want to consider Pay-Per-Click ads and guest posting.
Outsourcing maintenance services
Although you can automate many WordPress maintenance services, some of them require your dedicated time and attention. However, that doesn’t mean that web professionals with limited resources can’t jump into the maintenance industry. Outsourcing is a viable solution, and more common than you might guess.
The frequency of outsourcing
Outsourcing is fairly common among WordPress maintenance providers. 64 percent of our survey respondents have outsourced work before:
There are many reasons why respondents outsource work. The majority (62.25 percent) do so because they require expertise outside their skillsets. Others do not have enough time for a particular task (31.67 percent). A few respondents (7 percent) outsource their more boring responsibilities:
On the other hand, there are plenty of professionals who choose not to outsource at all. The primary reason for this is that they like to do everything on their own (54.21 percent). Some (18.07 percent) cannot find an outsourcing partner they trust while others (17.19 percent) find outsourcing too expensive. Only 10.53 percent say cannot find the right expertise:
Outsourcing is relatively common, but not the right choice for everyone. In short, keep an open mind but also take your own comfort level and the quality of your available outsourcing partners into consideration.
Factors to consider when choosing an outsourcing partner
Choosing the right outsourcing partner is important because their work is a reflection of your business. This is why the most important factor respondents consider when looking for a partner is a consistent quality of work:
While work quality is important, you also need to trust your partner(s). 50.51 percent of survey participants value this quality the most when outsourcing. Expertise is the third most important element respondents consider (44.13 percent), which is consistent with their reasons for outsourcing.
You might not consider hosting services part of WordPress maintenance, but many respondents offer it to their clients. Of those offering hosting, 43.86 percent maintain their own servers while 32.97 percent are resellers:
If you want to offer this service, you need to choose the right host to work with. Performance and support are the primary factors to consider according to our respondents. Both were cited as the main reasons for choosing a specific host to work with:
Reliability is a close second (41.88 percent) when it comes to the top reasons for choosing a host. Price is considered next, but only 37.24 percent of participants cited it as a reason for choosing their reseller hosting service.
3 key takeaways for those offering maintenance services
Offering WordPress maintenance services can make your business more competitive. However, our 2020 WordPress Maintenance Survey results highlight some factors to consider before diving in. There are three key takeaways to keep in mind.
1. There is a global customer base for WordPress maintenance services
Of the ManageWP customers who responded to our survey, 85 percent offer maintenance services. Based on collected responses, there is a large client base for these services across the world. The majority of participants have 6–20 clients and maintain as many websites.
While the customer base for these services is diverse, our respondents have greater success in Europe and North America. However, the majority of participants are based in similar locations. Geographic difference between service providers and clients is not a significant challenge.
According to our results, 81.39 percent of respondents communicate with clients primarily through email. This minimizes any issues with time zone differences. Only 3.72 percent meet clients in person and just 8.2 percent communicate via phone.
2. Marketing and showing value are the most common challenges you might face
When offering maintenance services, there are many challenges you’ll need to overcome. Showing the value of your services and marketing are the biggest current obstacles for our respondents. Demonstrating your value is an issue that will likely arise from the very start of your business. As your company grows, marketing becomes a larger concern.
Many respondents also claimed that automation was a significant challenge for them in the past. However, finding a system that suits your needs – such as ManageWP – can easily eliminate this hurdle from your path.
While these are the biggest WordPress maintenance challenges according to our respondents, there are others you’ll have to overcome. Expanding your skillset increases in importance as your business develops. Tiering your services effectively can also be tricky.
3. Outsourcing is a smart strategy
You do not have to do everything yourself when running a business. While it’s understandable that you might want to handle everything yourself, outsourcing can be a smart strategy. It’s one that 63 percent of our respondents use.
There are many reasons for outsourcing work, including not having time to complete certain tasks. The most common reason survey participants cited is needing expertise outside of their scope. While you can expand your skills, outsourcing can fill in gaps as well.
However, if you’re going to outsource, finding the right partner(s) is vital. The majority of survey participants look for consistency in work quality, trustworthiness, and expertise when considering whether to work with another professional to meet clients’ needs.
Providing WordPress maintenance services might be the best next step for your business. While there is a customer base available, there are many challenges you’ll need to overcome when you’re first getting started. This includes offering the right services, showing the value of your business, and marketing.
The results of our survey also show that outsourcing is an important part of WordPress maintenance services. You can hand off tasks that require skills you lack or that you don’t have time to complete. ManageWP users can benefit from automation features to take care of some tasks, too.
Do you have any questions about running a WordPress maintenance business? Let us know in the comments below!
Image credit: William Iven.