As a marketing firm (Pixelbrush Studios) we moved to Wp Engine and thought the days of constant client website issues were over. We were wrong, until we realized what was missing.
Don’t miss these WordPress website management solutions yourself.
Managing client websites doesn’t have to be problematic. In fact, managing client websites can be rewarding. It just takes the right system and people in place to make it work.
At one point our digital agency was managing over 200 websites without a plan or support strategy! Our setup had the bulk of our sites on a single VPS hosted with Hostgator. I would wake up every morning scared to check my email and find out what site was down, spammed, or littered with viagra links.
We were a growing agency but some days it felt like we were manufacturing more problems than we were solving.
With the pressure to find a solution we turned to Wp Engine. In fact we were early adopters and found some initial relief in the tools they offer developers and security of their servers. To this day, I’m a huge fan.
But our relief was short lived and it wasn’t long before we encountered problems. Clients weren’t calling about viagra links, but they were reporting errors, white screens, and other issues.
Why WordPress Managed Hosting can cause more problems?
It boils down to the fact that there are 4 core components of your clients’ websites but managed hosting companies only take care of 2.
To keep a website online, and running problem free 4 things have to be updated and compatible.
- WP Core
- WP Plugins
Keeping your server up date and secure is where managed hosting platforms like Wp Engine and Flywheel really shine. They have taken on the burden of keeping an optimized and secure server space for your client’s wordpress site easy to access and manage.
Additionally keeping WordPress core updated is also a promise kept by all managed hosting platforms. This is one way they can ensure a higher level of security since most spam issues are related to outdated core software.
But this feature can also be the source of a lot of problems. The reason is because most agencies power their clients websites with a host of plugins and themes. As soon as WP core updates these plugins should be updated as well to stay compliant. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can expect from your hosting company. As a result your WP core and plugins and themes get out of sync. Now your website has become a ticking time bomb for errors and incompatibility issues.
3 Solutions To Prevent Managed Hosting Issues And Make it Work For Your Agency
The pros of a WP managed hosting solution still far out weight the cons. And now that we’ve identified the culprit for the issues they can cause it’s a matter of building a system to handle it.
Build a Solid Notification System.
If you are managing more than a handful of sites, your not logging into them everyday. You don’t have to. The first thing we recommend is building a comprehensive notification system. We not only route notifications, but we categorize them and prioritize them as well. Now we get alerts in real time from everything from malicious or suspicious activity, to theme and plugin updates.
Monitor That System
Getting a thorough notification system isn’t worth much if no one is paying attention to it. Our notifications are monitored and managed with help desk software that keeps them ready to act on or archive when necessary. Most of the updates are managed through software but we recommend keeping a human eye on things.
Communicate and Charge for that system.
The biggest mistake we see agencies make (and we were guilty of it too before starting Eight Hats) is they don’t communicate the level of service they are providing and worse they don’t include a maintenance plan in their contracts. We’ve added routine reporting that gets sent to our clients so they can see the maintenance activity and we work with agencies to include clear maintenance service agreements.
Stop Putting out fires. Start making money.
If you run a digital agency and need to transform your client website management from problematic to completely profitable I’d like to invite you to give me a call or shoot me an email. I offer agency owners and managers a free 20 minute consultation to get clear on how to get from point A to point B.
Some of the things we’ll cover in the call are;
– Steps you can take now to eliminate maintenance related issues (and keep your staff from being interrupted).
– How to charge clients for maintenance and keep them happy to pay for it.
– Outline the key tools and resources you need to run your support service and keep it profitable.
Find out more about how Eight Hats can help you today!