How To Start A WordPress Management Business In Less Than A Day

Posted on September 1, 2014 by in Tips & Tricks | 41 comments

How To Start A WordPress Management Business In Less Than A Day

I think the primary, underlying appeal to WordPress as a platform is its ability to empower its users. Everything else about it serves to prop up this one, all important function. It’s free, easy to use, has an enormous amount of free plugins and themes and of course an equally significant number of premium plugins and themes that, as a whole, create a highly motivated community dedicated to making just about anything possible with one simple platform.

Which means of course, that enterprising members of this community are able to quickly and easily start WordPress related businesses that benefit the rest of the community while also being sustained by it. A perfect example of this is how just about any WordPress user with a moderate understanding of the platform can create a WordPress Management/Maintenance business in less than a day–at a very reasonable cost.

 What is a WordPress Management (or Maintenance) Business?

At it’s most basic level a WordPress Management or Maintenance Business is a service in which the provider provides basic WordPress upkeep such as updating the WordPress core, themes, and plugins for their clients–generally at a recurring monthly rate. Most of these business that I have come across include all or a selection of the following services in addition to this very basic foundation:

  • WordPress Cloning & Migration
  • Compatibility Support (for plugins and themes)
  • Preventative Maintenance
  • Scheduled Backups
  • Site Security
  • Miscellaneous WordPress Support (via phone, email or ticketing system)
  • Custom WordPress Development
  • Media File Management
  • Uptime Monitoring
  • Performance Scans
  • Traffic Alerts
  • SEO Analysis
  • Analytics Reports
  • Content Management

How Does a WordPress Management Business Work?

As I mentioned above, a WordPress Management Business consists of providing a series of maintenance, support, and customization services at a recurring rate. Of course you can choose to offer one time services but by its nature, ongoing maintenance works best as a business model if the primary focus is on ongoing subscriptions to your services.

Worried about not being a verified “WordPress Expert” just yet? Well, if something falls outside of your proficiency level you can still get started by providing the services you are capable of while you train up on the knowledge and skills you’ll need to expand. This is a particularly good idea as the trend with WordPress continues to be that, while relatively simple, it is still evolving into a higher functioning content management system–even an app engine/online operating system–which by its very nature will need more and more specialized knowledge as future iterations are released. Of course that’s not to say that WordPress is becoming more difficult to use, per se, but only that as more becomes possible with WordPress specialists well versed in the wider variety of what is possible will continue to grow in value.

As far as the basic flow or function of your business, it will work something like this:

  • New clients in need of WordPress help will sign up for a management plan offered on your website. (Obviously you will want to make sure that they provide you with all of the appropriate login credentials that will allow you to access and maintain their WordPress website(s).)
  • Once they are signed up and a payment plan is in place you should give them access to your support system (see the “what you will need” section below) so that they can notify you of anything specific.
  • You should develop a standard set of on-boarding action steps taken from the time someone signs up to the point when they are fully part of your regular–hopefully automated–routine of multi-WordPress install updates/maintenance.
  • Process payments at the designated times.
  • Keep customers happy
  • Market your services any way you can in order to acquire new sign-ups
  • Watch your base of subscriptions grow 🙂

Here are a few examples of WordPress Management/Maintenance Businesses in action:

WP Site Care

wp-site-care

Services Offered:

  • 24/7 Security Monitoring
  • Daily Site Cloud Backups
  • WordPress Updates
  • Interactive Training
  • Realtime Activity Tracking
  • Stellar WordPress Support
  • And more by specific plan…

Pricing Plans:

  • $29/month
  • $79/month
  • $239/month

WPMaintainer

wp-maintain

Services Offered:

  • Update WordPress, Plugins & Themes
  • Backups
  • Malware Monitoring and Clean Up
  • WordPress Migration
  • Compatibility Support
  • Monthly WordPress Support
  • Discounted Development Costs

Pricing Plans:

  • $99/month

Maintainn

maintainn

Services Offered:

  • 24/7 Security Monitoring
  • Secure Off-Site Backups
  • WordPress Core Updates
  • Theme/Plugin Updates
  • WordPress Video Tutorials
  • Discounted add-on hours available
  • 30 Minutes Support/Month
  • And more with higher plans…

Pricing Plans:

  • $39/month
  • $99/month
  • $289/month
  • Custom

What You Need to Start Your Own WordPress Management Business Today

Ok so now that we have been over what a WordPress Management Business is, how it works and seen some existing examples in action let’s talk about what you need to get started and realistically how quickly you could launch your own. Using the tools I’ve listed below, I think it is more than reasonable that someone with a Working knowledge of WordPress, proficient in creating simple brand design, and possessing the proper motivation could get a functioning WordPress Management Business launched in a single day (or less). Obviously, it will most likely take you more time than that to acquire a full load of clients but the service itself (if modeled off of the services shown in this post) is straight forward and simply needs to be presented in a new “brand wrapper” to be re-sellable. Exciting, right?!

Let’s get into the tools you’ll need…

WordPress Website:

The first and possibly the most important thing you will need to launch your business is your own WordPress website where you can offer your services, accept payments and provide a point of contact for you clients. I think it’s a no brainer that you would want to use elegant themes’ very own Divi to set this site up. Obviously you can use whatever WordPress theme and accompanying plugins you would like in creating your site, but in my opinion Divi is perfect for this type of project. It even come stocked with landing/product page mockups that you can deploy with a single click!

Payment System:

You will of course need a way of accepting payments. Preferably one in which you can create subscriptions that bill your clients automatically. My recommendation for this is the free and easy to use Easy Digital Downloads by Pippin’s Plugins.

Support/Ticketing System:

If you want to stay on top of your customers needs it’s a good idea to have a real support/ticketing system in place. One of my favorites but by no means the only options (just google “ticketing or support systems” for more options) is Freshdesk.

Automation:

And finally, it’s a good idea to automate as much of the management/maintenance as possible. While everything you would be offering to do is possible to do manually (with no small amount of spreadsheet organization, no doubt) you are able to take on more clients and cut down on time per client significantly if you optimize/automate using a tool/service like ManageWP, WP Remote or any of the tools mentioned in our post How to Manage Multiple WordPress Websites Effectively.

In Conclusion

WordPress Management Businesses have been a solid business model for years now. With the tools and proper know-how almost anyone can start one. However, the key to success is without a doubt custom service. Those who are winning in this category are those who have combined good design (on their own website) with heavy automation and outstanding customer support.

The ideal customer for this type of business is someone who is new or uncomfortable with the upkeep and maintenance of WordPress websites. Or, someone who is simply too busy running their own business to want to keep tabs on these sort of ongoing tasks and would rather hire them out. With the continued growth of WordPress as a platform the need for new businesses in this category does not seem to be diminishing anytime soon. And of course the more helpful and original of a twist you put on your version of this idea the more likely you are to appeal to new users. Good luck!

What do you think about this simple WordPress business idea? Tell us in the comments!

41 Comments

  1. Wow Nathan! This is highly intuitive post, never suspect there’s a business in that area but now I’m cleared! Thanks and cheers.

  2. Great post. I have been torn between encouraging my clients to use WordPress because it is easy for them to learn to update and maintain on their own versus pushing the need to have a monthly maintenance program after the site is complete/launched.

    But I realize that many of my clients either don’t want to or don’t know how to update and maintain. I guess it’s time to be a little more informative about the necessity to update and maintain the website in the very beginning of the quoting process. Thanks for posting examples. I will have to take a look to see how they present the need for monthly maintenance without making WordPress intimidating to my client.

    Cheers!

    • nice article…i agree with geno… i am retired and do projects for friends and family, and i worry a little about doing custom sites because of concerns with updates, security, and backups …and the costs associated this, how much is necessary? For ‘real businesses’ i think a maintenance plan is a no brainer , but for ‘vanity’ websites and other small sites, it seems like overkill, but unfortunately necessary for custom sites. I am still trying to figure out what is the minimum maintenance needed for a custom site and still feel safe from hacking etc.

      • Have you looked at some of the packages available with ManageWP (mentioned in the automation section above)? Their prices are certainly affordable for vanity sites. There’s even a free package.

        I hear you though. It’s sort of like selling insurance. Many people don’t want to think about adding extra expense for something that “might” happen, and seem to have an “it won’t happen to me” kind of attitude. Until it happens, of course 🙂

  3. Nathan,

    This post is very timely for me as I am just in the process of creating a three tired plan to maintain client sites. As Geno mentioned in the previous comment, it is easy for clients to update and maintain their sites for the most part but many do not have any desire to do it. So while ease of use may be a good selling point initially, many clients eventually come back to me for support regardless. It only makes sense then to have a well thought out plan in place regarding support and management.

    I just checked out freshdesk and it looks pretty powerful, especially given the low price tag.

    Thanks for such a helpful and informative post.

    Adam

  4. I’m looking forward to reading this article, but I just wanted to alert you to something I noticed right off the bat: the first paragraph seems to be missing some content. It ends with “This means that as WordPress continues to evolve” but doesn’t finish the sentence. “As WordPress continues to evolve”… what happens? Looks like however that sentence or paragraph was supposed to end, some of it got deleted before you published the post.

    • And he talks about a “three TIRED plan” – will anyone buy a tired plan?

      • Not me! I’m tired enough without also having tired plans. 😉

    • Thanks for the letting us know.

  5. Wow, this is great. Really insightful! Thanks so much for sharing, it’s really appreciated. Hands down my favourite WP blog.

  6. This goes beyond the usual linkbait and is simply irresponsible misguidance.

    How much respect do we have for the realities of starting and running a business, let alone WordPress, if we commend starting a business in a day to “any user” with a “moderate understanding of the platform?” Suggesting WordPress is “stressful” is not exactly a great way to sell either.

    For anyone trying to start such a business, the most important things they need to do first are not mentioned here at all: legally incorporate and look carefully at liability concerns. What are you promising, and what are you risking if you fail to deliver? Are you going to outsource the work? How do you ensure security and quality results? What if your clients are hacked? What are your legal obligations and best practices? Spending some time on branding, marketing and a business plan wouldn’t hurt either — with all of it focused on setting customer expectations accurately to what you can honestly deliver.

    • I like the idea at the nucleus of this article, but I agre with Don in that it is an unfinished article. While the article need not give legal advice, it should at least touch on some of the issues that Don mentioned about liability and business continuity. Not only is this important for the operator of the business, but it is also important for the client, and in turn, the industry at large. Failing on these options creates a jungle situation for would-be new-website-owners who might rely on your continuing ability to provide and deliver on your promises and the expectations you create.

      Having said that, I think this service dovetails perfectly into a website design and deployment service. I used to do some website freelancing a some years ago but I was pretty naive about the demand for ongoing maintenance so I just quit building sites. The ideas here at least scratch the surface. People should know that WP is not highly regarded amoungst IT security experts. To me, that doesn’t mean don’t use WP, it means be aware of the risks, and mitigate them as much as you can. This awareness will have to extend to any website owners who buy into your maintenance services. It is your job to educate them in a responsible way and use legal documentation to minimize your exposure to litigation. Simply put, be transparent about it and don’t overreach your abilities when advertising “security maintenance” as part of your services. Website designers are generally not IT security experts.

      Also, any discussion about a new business should touch on a business plan which would include a marketing plan.

      Anyway, thanks for the article and the suggestions. Hope you appreciate our feedback.

      • Guys…nitpicking is why most people never get started.

        The whole “what if someone complains” mentality of Dan is just sad. Normal people get that a business has responsibilities to it’s clients; suggesting that everyone incorporate and, basically hire an attorney before trying something new is just freaking sad.

        You start from where you are. Not too many web-designers have the funds to “go corporate” before getting their first clients. To me, it sounds like Dan is one of those people who believes that we have to compete for a limited market and so sees discouraging others from entering the field is a good business defense. Terribly sad.

        This is not something for “web-designers” or “techno-dilettantes” – which seem to be 80% of the WP community. You need to have a higher level of tech knowledge to really pull this off.

        However, when you think of all the people who put up a site and then never update it, or don’t run backups and such, this is a godsend for them and you should be able to sell the hell out of this if you are around WP end users.

        For me, this was enough info to get my own site up over a weekend and, as Terrence suggested, it ties in well with my webdesign business.

        Good job and thanks for the ideas ET people.

  7. Hey Nathan,

    yeah your post is really helpful for a newbie Entrepreneur who wants to setup his Business Online with helping WordPress site . I’m also using wordpress It’s really awesome to run a blog and website.

    Thanks 🙂

  8. Hi Nathan,

    Thank you so much for writing very helpful article, who wanna start web business like me.

    Golam

  9. The article is also unfinished because there’s a big raw edit in the first paragraph where half a sentence is completely missing.

  10. I like the idea of this blog post… I think a better title would be: Startup Business Idea: WordPress Management or something of the sort, rather than the focus of starting it in one day…

    I guarantee you any business that you can start in one day is not going to be a true business. I have been in business for 20 years this year and have learned a lot of lessons… and now understand what a business is…

    This article addresses a core service that you can build a business around, but if you want to build this, you also need to take into account the building of the processes around the Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Finances, Leadership and HR parts of your business.

    People think that if you can charge people to do something that is a business, no… it needs more planning than that and needs to be scalable and structured to the point of someday you being able to sell the business. You can’t do that if YOU (the business owner) are at the core of services delivery.

    Love this stuff… 🙂
    Patrick Steil
    Proud business owner of ChurchBuzz.org (soon to be running on the WP platform!)

  11. Random question, sorry it’s off topic, do you guys create your own featured images on these pots? I only ask because I really like them. Thanks.

  12. While the intention for this article may be to shed light in a valid and good business opportunity within the WordPress marketplace, it falls short on explaining the complexities of offering this type of service. Take it from me, who has run a WordPress business for 8 years (since the early days). This is not something you can start in a day, let alone a week or month if you want to be in business for the long term.

    • Well said, Myra! To launch a business of this kind in a single day, especially when competing against established companies like WPCurve and WPSiteCare, would be impossible. Unless you had spent months carefully planning beforehand!

      • Why are you trying to compete with them?

        Start this in your local market and then see if it’s worth “going big”

  13. I agree that most WordPress site owners either do not want to manage it, don’t have time to do it, or really have no business doing it in the first place.

    BUT, I can tell you that opening up a WordPress site management business to clients for whom you did not build their site is a mistake for a beginner. A big mistake.

    Many WordPress sites are a total mess behind the scenes. Typically what we find is that the original designer used a set of plugins and made some code tweaks but did not create a log of what was done or why. Then the owner hires another developer (or multiples) and they add their stuff. Somebody suggests a new plugin that adds even more complexity and potential conflicts and before you know it – a total mess to manage and nobody knows how to deal with it, and nobody wants the blame if it goes down.

    Now, having said that, there are the exceptions out there who have a basic site with just the needed plugins and they are friendly and understanding. But, there aren’t many of them!

    I would also point out that the web hosting company can play a very significant role in troubleshooting. Point of fact – companies that use Nginx instead of Apache. Nginx setups are very different – no htaccess file, restrictions on plugins permitted, etc.

    Another component that can cause perceived issues if not handled right is the CDN and cache. CDN’s are not all the same. Caching plugins either.

    My point is that if you do not have a knack for and experience fixing WordPress, you do not need to be offering a service where it is presumed by the client that you do have those skills.

    Remember, if you break the site and do not have someone to call on to help you, you could be liable for lost revenue and other factors. If you use a management service like ManageWP, check with them first to see if they help you if the site breaks, and at what cost.

    I’ve been in the I.T. world for almost 30 years and have been building websites since there was a web. And I get the willies when I break a site, the client is calling, and I’ve got no answer yet.

    On the bright side, if you build a site for a client, you’ll likely be much better at managing it. Do several of those and get a feel for it. Take a course. See if you have the skill.

  14. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging entrepreneurship, but this statement borders on the ridiculous:

    “just about any WordPress user with a moderate understanding of the platform can create a WordPress Management/Maintenance business in less than a day”

    Mythology and storytelling indeed…

    I have a “moderate understanding” of the US Tax Code- I suppose I *could* sell my services as a tax advisor, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

    • I think what happens is people get comfortable with their own stuff and fall victim to the mindset that everybody’s is like theirs.

      I just would hate to see someone open their own WP management biz, have no guru they can call if needed, and then get sued. That would suck.

  15. I lead an Australian WordPress support business http://www.wpcopilot.com.au. I have to agree with other comments that starting this type of business in one day, with a “moderate” understanding of WordPress is very misleading.

    To be successful you need to have a team of WordPress experts available to answer tickets at different times of the day and weekends.

    To be profitable a high degree of automation is needed from ticketing and recurring payments, to clear procedures on upgrades, backups and client management.

    It is a very rewarding business to be in, but like anything takes hard work, dedication and expertise!

    Cheers
    Chris

  16. I agree with some of the comments above about starting this business in a day but I think the spirit in which this was written shouldn’t be taken literally. I am an app developer and a Joomla and WP developer. The more I work on these platforms the more I find out I don’t know. Things can get complex really fast and it took me more than a few days to figure out even how the templates on elegant themes worked and thats only on a high level.

    I do like this article as Its given me an idea to branch out a little but I think that its misleading in that you can do this overnight. I suggest that anyone considering this kind of business get conversant with the software and build a solid core competency of making these services work before jumping in with real clients and taking their money. Clients trust you to truly deliver and you will lose credibility fast if you screw them just once.

    However on the positive side for a competent WP developer this does give an added revenue source and I agree that most won’t want to maintain their site. I have been doing it for free up to this point. Thanks for the marketing ideas 🙂

  17. I agree with some of the comments above about starting this business in a day but I think the spirit in which this was written shouldn’t be taken literally. I am an app developer and a Joomla and WP developer. The more I work on these platforms the more I find out I don’t know. Things can get complex really fast and it took me more than a few days to figure out even how the templates on elegant themes worked and thats only on a high level.

    I do like this article as Its given me an idea to branch out a little but I think that its misleading in that you can do this overnight. I suggest that anyone considering this kind of business get conversant with the software and build a solid core competency of making these services work before jumping in with real clients and taking their money. Clients trust you to truly deliver and you will lose credibility fast if you screw them just once.

    However on the positive side for a competent WP developer this does give an added revenue source and I agree that most won’t want to maintain their site. I have been doing it for free up to this point. Thanks for the marketing ideas 🙂

  18. The article should be called “How to make a WordPress website in 1 day, on which you say that you provide WordPress management service”.

    Getting clients and keeping the clients is the real business!
    Everything else is just entrepreneurial masturbation!

  19. Great post.
    Hire Dedicated Part time, Full time wordpress developers, Hire Dedicated WordPress Plugin Developer and Programmer for wordpress theme/template or plugin/widget development.
    Thanks for sharing this post.

  20. My point is that if you do not have a knack for and experience fixing WordPress, you do not need to be offering a service where it is presumed by the client that you do have those skills.

  21. That’s interesting. Starting a wordpress management business is easy but to make it a successful one, you need to work hard.

  22. WordPress management business is not hard as i know..but the making it on the top of the competition is very tough..You have to know about seo and customization..By the way These tips are great for any newbie. Good article

  23. Hey Nathan,
    yeah your post is really helpful for a newbie Entrepreneur who wants to setup his Business Online with helping WordPress site . I’m also using wordpress It’s really awesome to run a blog and website.
    Thanks for sharing this cool post 🙂

  24. Hi,

    I think the title of the article should be changed according to the points covered

  25. i’m newbie in wordpress this article helpful me thanks for sharing

    • Nathan B. Weller

      Word of warning. If you are a complete newbie to WordPress I would not recommend starting a business like this. You will need to be knowledgable of certain key area in WordPress site setup and maintenance. The “quick start” I have advocated for in this article is for people who already have a solid working knowledge of WordPress, hosting, and maintenance (probably from lots of personal use or perhaps building websites for friends and family) and who are interested in monetizing their efforts.

  26. Hey Nathan,
    This is really nice post on how to start a wordpress management business in a day. I have learnt many new things from this post. Thanks for this wonderful post

  27. I don’t get it.

    Why “Easy Digital Downloads” for a services based business?

    Surely a better option is something like MemberPress Business Edition [http://bit.ly/GetMemberPress], or is there some other reason here I am not seeing?

  28. Nice post. I use sucuri for the malware cleaning and security monitoring and it does a pretty good job.

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