Say goodbye to the days of working project to project, client to client. In this article, you’ll learn seven services you can implement for your own web design agency, and how to package and sell them as WordPress care packages or maintenance plans. When you set these up to earn recurring revenue, you’ll create a business that’s built to last and have clients that adore working with you. This article will help your agency get started, so you can launch right into the next phase of success!
- 7 ideas for services your agency can offer alongside web design
- Pricing examples to help you set your rates
- Advice for getting the most out of your WordPress host
- Next steps so you know exactly how to get started
Building a web design business has a bunch of great benefits. You get to exercise your creativity, work with lots of great clients, and take on a variety of projects. There’s one big downfall, however, that your agency has probably discovered.
When your business relies on booking new clients or projects, it’s hard to grow.
Best case scenario: You’ve booked as many clients as you can handle this month, but then your revenue becomes stagnant — it can’t really go up from there. Worst case scenario: You’re struggling to book enough clients each month, and when you’re living project to project, it’s even harder to achieve that next milestone. (Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!)
That’s why the most successful agencies add additional services to their business model that generate recurring revenue, aka money that comes in the door every single month from your existing clients.
This idea isn’t unique to web design agencies, but it does work particularly well, because you know that after you’re done building their website, your clients will have to manage it from month to month — and they likely don’t want to. That’s where those additional services fit in.
You may have heard this described as offering maintenance plans, reselling hosting packages, or simply selling additional client services. Regardless of what you choose to name ‘em (personally, we like “WordPress care packages!”), this model is exactly how you break out of the feast and famine of client work, and step into the next phase of success.
As promised, we’ll cover 7 services your agency should be selling (either on their own or included in a bundle) to help skyrocket your revenue. These are:
If a few of those services look familiar, they should! Here’s the real secret to this method: Your agency can (and should!) leverage the features of the providers you’re already using to build your client’s website. By doing this, you’re showcasing the total value of what your client receives by working with you, while offering additional services that won’t eat up (too many!) billable hours of your agency’s time.
Let’s get into the services, so you can start to see some examples! Afterward, we’ll talk about profit margins and how to actually implement these services.
When you offer hosting to your clients, you get to act like your own agency is the hosting provider (even though you’re working with an actual hosting company). You can do this with just about any type of hosting, but we’re going to focus on managed WordPress hosting because it requires the least amount of work for you with the best possible results for your clients. Here’s how it works.
You can buy hosting services in bulk at a discounted rate, and then resell that WordPress hosting to your own clients at whatever price you want. This allows you to bundle up your services in ways that’ll give the client everything they need, while also drastically increasing your bottom line.
For example, let’s say you’re working with a client who wants you to build them a brand new site and help them set up the hosting. Even though the hosting plan may only cost $25/month, you can resell it for $50/month (along with all the extra value your host partner and agency provide!) and pocket the extra change. You know your web design clients need hosting services for their website, so it’s a super easy and natural sell. Especially once you start to sell hosting to a multitude of clients, you’re going to start seeing a large increase in profits and some sweet recurring revenue in your bank account!
As long as you’re partnered with a quality hosting partner, SSL certificates most likely come free with your hosting plan. This makes it a great feature for your agency to sell, because it’s already included in what you’re offering — all you have to do is leverage it when explaining the value you provide to your clients each month!
SSL is also a very natural thing to sell to web design clients, even if your clients aren’t super familiar with it. As soon as you explain all the benefits (like security, SEO, and trust with web visitors), they’ll be totally onboard, and grateful that you offer it.
Even if you don’t “charge” extra for SSL, listing it as a line item in your monthly services will help your clients feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck (which they are!).
This one is all about selling your clients peace of mind, knowing that you’ll have backups of their website if anything ever breaks. Especially if you have clients who plan on managing site content themselves or being in wp-admin, this can be a very reassuring service to offer.
And like SSL, this is probably a service your hosting partner already takes care of for you, so it won’t actually take up any of your agency’s time to run or store the backups.
Again, it’s up to you if you charge specifically for this service or bundle it into a maintenance package of sorts. Either way, calling out backups as a feature will help your clients trust your agency and encourage them to opt-in to your monthly services.
Theme and plugin updates
You know there’s more to plugin updates than meets the eye, and an easy win for both you and your clients is to take this task off their plate and make it a monthly service. They won’t have to worry about it, and you’ll be able to plan your agency’s time accordingly instead of getting that emergency phone call that an update broke something on the site (and then trying to navigate how to bill for those hours spent fixing it).
This service does take a little strategy on your part, as it does require someone from your team to go into each client’s site and run the updates. We recommend batching them all to a single day (maybe the 1st of each month), or exploring some additional services you can leverage to outsource the work.
As your client uses their new website, they may make changes that affect performance. (Uploading lots of large image files, installing new untested plugins, etc.) A great way to keep their website fast and show value to them month after month is a quick performance audit to make sure things stay speedy.
One benefit of this service is that it leaves a little room for interpretation. You could offer a super simple performance check each month, or make it a detailed audit that includes analytics and a report back to the client. Obviously the time spent will differ also, so just make sure your agency’s puting in the appropriate amount of time for what you’re getting paid each month.
When you sell WordPress support as a monthly service from your agency, you’ll clear up a lot of confusion about how and when clients are allowed to contact you with questions regarding their site. Many agencies sell this one in terms of hours, such as four hours of support each month. By paying upfront, the client knows you’ll be available to help when they call, and you know you’ll get paid when they have questions. A win-win!
This also helps create a little buy-in from both parties, which will help you create that long-lasting relationship with a client. When they know they’ll be able to count on you for support questions in six months when something goes wrong, they’ll be more likely to partner with your agency in the first place.
SEO and content management
When you’re working with your clients, a lot of your conversations are probably centered around them growing their business or finding new customers. Of course, a well-architected and beautifully designed website helps them do just that! However, another option is to tap into other digital services your agency is probably familiar with, such as SEO or content management.
The key is any service that’s not a set-it-and-forget-it job, so really almost any aspect of marketing is fair game for your agency to offer as a monthly service! Again, just remember to keep track of who you’ve got on your team and how many hours they’ll be dedicating to these clients each month, as this service will take more time than some of the hosting-related options.