Kick Off Your WordPress Freelance Career With a Website Maintenance Service - ManageWP

Kick Off Your WordPress Freelance Career With a Website Maintenance Service

Welcome to the world of freelancing!

Whether you’ve quit your full-time job or are just looking to make a little extra dough with a new side-hustle, freelancing in the WordPress space can be a great way to establish yourself as a reliable webmaster.

 

Website Maintenance Service

 

There’s just one problem…

Most people start their WordPress freelancing careers by building websites.

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. In fact, there are many advantages to building a website from the ground-up.

The challenges come when you’re not actually getting paid. When your freelancing work consists of simply building websites for people, half of your time is spent searching for new projects, meeting new potential clients and treading water until you find your next gig.

Fortunately, there’s a better route to go when you start freelancing.

Instead of building websites from scratch, why not help people who already have a WordPress site maintain it?

You’ll Differentiate Yourself

Everybody under the sun builds WordPress websites. There are tens of thousands of small agencies around the world that are competing for the same clients as you.

And then there are your big hitters like WebDevStudios who build WordPress solutions for a premier clientele.

The best thing you can do in a crowded WordPress space is differentiate yourself. One way you can do this is to offer other services that people need like ongoing support, security, speed and maintenance. Lots of website owners hate updating plugins because it can cause conflicts and errors – why not learn the trade and develop a process to safely update plugins?

Website Maintenance Service

It’s Less of a Financial Roller Coaster

When your freelance work consists of building websites for different clients, too much of your time is spent looking for new projects (and not making money).

When you offer a maintenance service, your clients will pay you a monthly fee for your services. That means as long as you do excellent work, develop a solid maintenance plan and keep a hold of your client base, you’ll be making recurring revenue every month.

This means you’ll have more predictable income coming in the door and will be able to put your money to use more effectively.

Website Maintenance Service

Maintenance Is Easier to Sell

When you’re selling a client on a brand new website, it can be difficult to convince them to pay you thousands of dollars when you’re just starting out. Furthermore, the time from the initial meeting to finally starting a web project can be months if not longer.

Establishing yourself in the WordPress maintenance space can be a whole lot easier. Because the price point is a bit lower and they’re paying month-to-month, getting people to commit to a plan takes a lot less time and effort.

Website Maintenance Service

You Can Scale and Automate Maintenance

Building high-quality websites on a large scale is really hard to do. Believe me – it’s what I tried to do when I started off with WordPress.

But every customer wants something different! You have to spend so much time hashing out business goals, going through designs and making the exact changes that clients want.

By the end of the project, you’ve barely made any profit because you’ve spent so many hours handling client requests that your hourly rate has plummeted.

The beauty of a maintenance service is that the majority of it is automated. With the help of ManageWP, you’ve got a plug-and-play solution that will allow you to maintain tens, hundreds or thousands of WordPress websites from one dashboard.

The only real time you have to put towards your clients are:

Other than that, everything is automated and you’re notified if anything goes wrong!

Website Maintenance Service

It’s Less Of A Strain On Your Time

Now I don’t want to mislead you here. Everything good in this world takes time, patience and hard work. Doing WordPress maintenance instead of building new sites from scratch isn’t just a magic power that will allow you to make money while you sit back and relax.

Website Maintenance Service

That being said, one you have an efficient system in place, doing WordPress maintenance won’t take up too much of your time. You’ll be able to handle most of the ongoing support fairly easily which will free up a lot of time to fill as you please.

You want to dive back into that novel you haven’t had enough time for? Get your reading on.

There’s a 1pm baseball game on a Friday? I think I’ll go to that.

Take your dog on a nice afternoon stroll through the park? Don’t mind if I do.

Or you can do what I did and spend that time developing systems, incorporating a business, hiring people, managing a team and grow your freelancing into a real business.

It worked for me. It can certainly work for you!

Wrapping It Up

The most important thing to remember about any WordPress freelancing gig or business is that it’s main focus needs to be helping clients succeed. The driving force behind the growth of WordPress is it’s open-source community, which means at it’s core, WordPress is about helping others.

If you’re just focused on making money, you won’t last long. Get involved at your local WordPress Meetup, attend an upcoming WordCamp and be a real ally to the WordPress community and you’ll start to see your freelancing career or small business make headway!

 

Joe Howard

Hi! It means a lot to me that you wanted to know who wrote this. I'm the Head Buff at WP Buffs where we partner with design agencies, marketing firms and freelancers to help them offer WordPress maintenance plans of their own through our White-Label Partnership Program. Go ahead and check it out!

12 Comments

  1. Regina Floyd

    GREAT article. Thank you!! This is a great idea on how to be of more value to my customers.

    1. Joe Howard

      Thanks, Regina! Glad you found it helpful. I think building a business around recurring revenue is essential for scalability. And if you’re already building websites, it’s just another way to increase your revenue as well as build even stronger relationship with your clients.

      And we all know most of the business we wins stems from creating strong and trusting relationships :)

      Onward and upward, Regina!

  2. Juan

    Awesome post and thanks for sharing. I am thinking of using managewp.com to start helping small companies maintaing their website. I do have a silly question ? How can I determine if a site is wordpress or not ?

    Thanks again for an awesome post Joe.

    Jcolome

    1. Joe Howard

      Good question, Juan! There are a few ways to tell if a website is built on WordPress.

      1. Go to the URL website.com/wp-admin. If a login page pops up, it’s a WordPress site. It’s possible to change the /wp-admin login URL to something else, but usually you can find it here.
      2. Check the source code and do a Ctrl + F for “wp-content”. If it’s a WordPress site, this phrase will appear all over the source code!
      3. Use a tool like whatwpthemeisthat.com. It will tell you if the site is built on WordPress or not, and some other information about it like what plugins it uses, etc.

      Good luck with the maintenance business! We do offer a white-label partnership for people like you to help you get started, so feel free to check it out: https://www.wpbuffs.com/agency-freelancer-partnerships/

  3. TARA CLAEYS

    I like the ease of maintaining my client’s websites with ManageWP. However, I resist taking on websites that I have not built, as I am not as familiar with the theme, plugins and configuration of those. How do you get up to speed on these things with sites you maintain but did not build? Do you do an initial audit of the site to get the lay of the land?

    1. Joe Howard

      Good question, Tara! We have very detailed automated on-boarding instructions for all our new customers that specifically asks website owners if they’ve done any customizations that we need to be aware of and if they have any documentation from previous developers. I was just a guest on WPWaterCooler last week where we discussed these topics and the importance of passing off documentation to the next developers, but it doesn’t always happen: WP233 – Documentation for your WordPress Project

      We’ve had people sign up for plans with completely custom themes, no documentation and 70 outdated plugins. This is always going to be a risk in the maintenance business, but it’s not the norm.

      And yes – we also do a full audit of all plugins, theme files and core files to make sure everything is hunky dory.

      Safe updates from ManageWP also helps :)

      But for anybody trying to build a business maintaining WordPress sites, getting customers who’s websites you didn’t build is absolutely necessary; if you’re focused too much on building new sites, you won’t have time to make your maintenance business scalable! To handle sites you didn’t build, it requires a really tight and systematized approach to each new website you get your hands on. This process is a living thing and is always changing and improving, but it’s required so your team leaves no stone unturned when making changes to a new site.

  4. Scott

    Very interesting article…except I didn’t see any specifics about how much a freelancer can make with a WordPress maintenance service vs. building WordPress sites. And isn’t that the main point of the article?

    1. Joe

      Good point, Scott! Like most entrepreneurial ventures, how much you make is dependent on a lot of things. Your revenue depends on a lot of factors: how much you’re charging, what your margins are, what kind of market your targeting, how much time you’re dedicating to your maintenance work, how well you’re able to sell, what’s your customer lifetime value, how well does your website convert new visitors, etc.

      That being said, I started a business using this ideology and it’s worked out pretty well for me so far. It definitely hasn’t gone perfect, but the reoccurring revenue means the more customers I add, the more the company makes. I’m not making millions, but not many <1-yearold businesses are and the growth it's showing is exciting.

      If you want to read more about how my company is doing financially, give this a read: Going All-In On WP Buffs

      So I’d say financially (so far), it’s a win :)

    2. Nemanja Aleksic

      I’ll just add some more info on top of Joe’s great answer: while only you know how much you charge to build a website, this survey will give you an idea how much others charge for WordPress maintenance, and the scope of service.

      https://managewp.com/2016-wordpress-website-maintenance-survey

      1. Joe Howard

        Great study, Nemanja! This kind of research is really helpful to make sure you price yourself correctly.

        One thing I’ll add is that it’s important not to price yourself too low just to try to undersell your competition. You’ll attract more time-intensive customers and won’t end up having the financial resources to actually provide quality service to your clients, invest in building your business, pay yourself, etc. It’s much better to sell your services at a higher price and provide better services (IMO). That way you’re not only making more money, but able to provide a service that will bring people real value, meaning an increased customer lifetime value.

  5. Mr. Saint Calire

    Great article. It simply makes sense to maintain. In addition some where along the line you will get new offers to build a website from scratch. I do like the reminder that it’s not a sit and make money. We have to ensure that the customer is being helped by our service.

    1. Joe Howard

      Thanks, Saint!

      I agree. We get a lot of requests to build new websites through our existing customer base as well as people who find us, so offering maintenance is a way to get the best of both worlds! We’ve decided to focus solely on ongoing support and let our partners handle building new websites so that we can get really good at one thing, but to each their own :)

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Over 27,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!

Over 27,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!

Over 27,000 WordPress professionals are already using ManageWP

Add as many websites as you want for free, no credit card required. Sign up and start saving time!

Have questions? Get in touch!