Offering WordPress maintenance as a service can be a great business model.
Recurring revenue, predictable cash flow and, if you do it right, clients that remain clients for years.
But the reality is that it is a very competitive industry and it can be tricky convincing clients (non-techies) of the value of website maintenance.
Enter the white label model.
Done right, you can scale your business quickly and the good news is, there are 100s of agencies who outsource this kind of work.
Why do agencies outsource?
Here’s a few reasons why agencies outsource WordPress maintenance:
#1 They don’t have the expertise in house
Many agencies specialise in digital marketing and have only a small web development offering.
This means that although they do take on website project work, they usually:
- Outsource the dev to a freelancer
- Use it as a vehicle to get more digital marketing retainers
So when it comes to providing maintenance at scale, they just don’t have the setup or resources to do so.
That’s why they look to outsource it.
#2 They’re focused on larger revenue streams
Let’s face it, when you compare WordPress maintenance pricing (on the whole), to other digital services, the price tag is low.
Digital agencies generally don’t get to the size they are by only offering maintenance.
They have a good mix of services and usually push their higher ticket items such as:
- marketing strategy
- social media
- paid ads
- website projects
Because of this, their internal resources all go towards those services.
Maintenance is the bottom rung of the ladder.
They know it’s important but they also know they’ll make much more money by focusing on the bigger stuff.
In many cases, it makes sense for them to outsource the work and make a little markup on their side.
They make some profit and do no work – who doesn’t want that?
#3 They lack the systems and processes to maintain lots of sites at scale
As website maintenance is often not a priority for agencies, they don’t have the systems in place to manage lots of sites – their investment has gone elsewhere.
Instead of building their own, which would take a lot of time and require large investment, they look to outsource.
When they can outsource to a developer that uses a white label product like Glow, which makes them look even better to their clients, then the decision is even easier.
#4 It’s too much of a distraction
For those agencies that do currently provide website maintenance in house, it can be a disruption.
Picture the scene …
A developer is fully focused on a project build and then an email or phone call comes in from a client …
“Our contact form has stopped working”
Now that developer has to down tools on the project to tend to the client.
Research shows that following disruptions to work patterns like this, we need another 25 mins of time to fully re-focus on the work that we were broken off from.
25 mins + however long it takes to sort the client’s issue.
We know this could be 5mins.
Could be 2 hours as well.
These disruptions can be extremely costly for agencies, which is another reason they like to outsource.
The work is done for them.
Their devs can always be fully focused on their bigger project stuff.
What types of agencies outsource?
In my experience, agencies that outsource WordPress maintenance typically have between 5 and 20 members of staff.
Any larger than that and they tend to keep everything in house.
Agencies that outsource are usually full service marketing agencies, where WordPress maintenance sits at the bottom of their priorities.
They prefer their devs to be working only on building websites, rather than the ongoing maintenance of them.
Now that we know why agencies outsource WordPress maintenance and which types, let’s look at how you get started offering a white-label service.
How to get started
I consider there to be 3 key things you’ll need to make sure you have in place:
- Marketing strategy
If you’ve got these, you’re well on your way to building a white-label machine that’ll massively grow your business.
Let’s dive in …
You’ve got to have the right software in place.
Here’s a few that you’re going to need:
A WordPress management tool (with client comms)
When you’re managing lots of WordPress sites (the number will grow significantly when you start white-labelling for agencies), a management tool is essential.
You can perform tasks in bulk that save you literally hours of time and whatsmore, if it can be white labelled to your agency partner’s branding you’ll blow them away.
An important point about your WordPress management tool …
It must have some kind of support ticket system.
If it doesn’t, find one that does.
Handling support issues from clients is the most important part of delivering website maintenance as it’s the only aspect of the service that they can ‘see’ and understand.
If you’re delivering support via email, you’re making life unnecessarily difficult and white-labelling will require all kinds of crazy DNS stuff.
Support ticket system
If you insist on sticking with your WordPress management tool that doesn’t have a support ticket system built in, then at least ditch email and get one.
It makes so much sense.
You’ll want it to be easy for your agency partners to add another client.
Paying on invoice or a direct debit setup is just going to delay things.
Get yourself setup with a professional payment gateway like Stripe.
Yes they take a small fee but the time it saves you as you scale your operations is huge.
As you take on more maintenance clients, you will definitely need some cloud accounting software.
Ideally, this will link with either your WordPress management tool or payment gateway (preferably both) and automatically create invoices so that your P&L is always up to date.
Xero is an excellent choice. Quickbooks and Free Agent have solid offerings too.
If you’re offering 24/7 white label support, you’ll need some software to pay your overseas team.
Wise is a great app for this and we use it at Glow.
Creating processes is a vital element in being able to grow a WordPress maintenance business.
Document everything (and I mean everything) that’s involved in delivering the service.
You’ll onboard team members faster, they will make less mistakes and work will get completed faster.
Take a look at Notion as a starting point.
Agencies will rarely just sign up for your white label WordPress maintenance service without at least speaking with you first.
Back and forth emails for agreeing meeting dates should be a thing of this past when apps like Calendly exist.
It saves both parties lots of time and you can add some cool automation to make this feel super slick for your prospects
Being able to solve problems quickly with your team is a challenge when you’re not in the same physical location.
Email is a nightmare to track and so you’ll need something like Slack to communicate with one another internally.
Whereby and Zoom are also good options for quick video calls with your teammates too.
If you’re building a business that you want to run independently of you, then you’ll need to build a team.
However, gone are the days when this has to mean that you rent expensive offices and hire local talent, particularly in WordPress maintenance.
My advice – look overseas.
Offering 24/7 support is easier than it’s ever been and by doing this, you can also support agencies from other parts of the world.
Check out websites like Onlinejobs.ph for sourcing the right overseas talent.
When agencies are choosing who to outsource to, they’ll be asking questions about your team to check it’s not just you sitting in your bedroom!
They’ll want a professional setup that they can put their trust in.
It’s a big thing for agencies to let this kind of control go to another company.
Don’t let them down.
Invest in the right talent and offer 24/7 support.
#3 Marketing strategy
It should go without saying really but you’ve got to have a marketing strategy in place if you want to win more white label WordPress maintenance clients.
It’s far from the purpose (or my skill set) of this article to explain how to create a marketing strategy.
Having said that, here’s a few things I think you should bear in mind:
Make sure your website:
- looks amazing
- explains clearly how your white-label service works
- displays pricing
- has clear call to actions
- is full of social proof
You should be really active on social media too.
Not just creating regular content but also engaging with your targeting audience.
Finally, consider creating a pitch deck that you can present to agencies when you have your initial call with them.
This will add another layer of professionalism to your offering.
Being able to offer high quality white label WordPress maintenance allows you to scale much faster.
Often, if you’ve done a good job at getting one agency onboard, that could mean an extra 20, 30, 50 client websites under your management.
By offering this service, you’re solving a direct need that lots of agencies have.
Many of them don’t like offering maintenance.
It’s not a priority.
It’s a distraction.
They’re not setup to offer it at scale.
It doesn’t make them enough money.
Position yourself as an expert in WordPress maintenance and with the right software, people and marketing strategy, you’ll take your business to another level and create a recurring revenue dream.
Do you provide a white label WordPress maintenance service? I’d love to hear how you do it in the comments below and if you have anything else to add to my points in this article.