Do you know, acquiring a new client is five times costlier than retaining a current one? If you are not just a great developer but also a sharp business owner, then you must be wondering how to grow your business.
A smart way of dealing with cash flow uncertainties in web development is to offer website maintenance plans. This is a great way to add a cushion of regular and predictable income to your business.
How to increase sales in 3 steps
Websites are not a set-and-forget business purchase. To be effective, they need maintenance and updating. Here’s how to turn this need into recurring income for your business.
- Decide your offerings.
- Determine the pricing.
- Promote your maintenance services.
Follow these steps to start offering website maintenance services.
Steps to offering site maintenance plans
Although many of the tasks involved in regular website maintenance could be done by site owners, many are happy to pay a professional to handle this for them. Here are the steps to setting up a maintenance program.
In order to begin offering maintenance plans, it’s imperative that you understand the concept of SLA, uptime and resources needed for the same.
1. Decide your offerings
This is the first step towards your new business service. Before you dip your toe, check which services you would be comfortable offering. Here’s a list:
With WordPress as a management system, one needs to regularly update the theme and various plug-ins installed for customization, security and performance purposes. Other content management systems such as Drupal, Joomla, etc. have their own maintenance needs as well.
Security is a major concern when you have a new website on WordPress. According to a Sucuri study, the top three most-often infected CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla and Magento.
Being an open source, WordPress sites are the most popular targets for hacking. Any vulnerability in the core code or plug-ins can open the doors for hackers. Regular monitoring reduces the vulnerability of the site towards malicious attacks.
A website does not exist for the world if it does not rank for the keywords valuable for the business and shows up in Google search results. You can offer these services by taking care of the important technical SEO factors like page speed, mobile friendliness, domain authority, etc. that determines the rank of a website or page.
A steady flow of fresh content added to a website can elevate it in Google search rankings. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t have the time to create this content.
You can grab this opportunity by catching them before they go and find a content marketing agency. If you don’t want to create content yourself then you can also tie up with a reputed agency for a cut and offer this service to your clients.
You can also offer them hour-based services for handling technical glitches that you’re comfortable in debugging like issues with:
This is not an exhaustive list. You can add any service that you fully understand.
Editor’s note: GoDaddy Pro automates many of the tasks listed here, enabling you to offer them to clients without spending hours delivering these services.
2. Determine the pricing
Keep in mind, all the maintenance services that you would be offering can be handled by the client with some technical knowledge and supporting tools. The client may also question the benefits of maintenance services or even the pricing for such services.
But, understand this: you are not charging the client only for installing a plug-in or taking a backup. You are selling peace of mind that their website is being managed by a professional who has the expertise to handle any adverse situation.
For appropriately pricing your services, you should learn the standard rate of maintenance charged by software firms. It’s also a good idea to ask around among other web developers in order to benchmark pricing. Be sure to ask about pricing for various services types such as remote managed, on-site, off-site, managed services, etc.
Understand your expenses
You may need to buy some tools and subscriptions of online software, or even hire someone to handle the issues professionally. Make sure whatever you charge will cover all your costs.
Scan your competitors
Check out what services your competitors are offering and how are they clubbing them in a package. While you may offer some discounts initially, don’t indulge in a price war. Not just you will end up selling your services at a marginal profit, your services will be perceived as of lower value.
Therefore, decide your pricing judiciously.
3. Promote your maintenance services
Selling is a skill that you cannot live without as a business owner. Here’s what you need to efficiently close the deal:
Offer different packages
You can club a bunch of services and sell as different plans. Differentiate services based on time and expertise they demand. Package similar services together and price them accordingly.
Have something for everyone in a basic plan. While your budget-conscious customers can avail the basic plan, the high-paying customers will pay for more value.
Pitch site maintenance plans to your current clients and bundle your maintenance plans along with the website development services for the new ones.
Focus on the services page
Your services page is your sales page. From an enticing opening hook to references from satisfied customers, have it all on this page. A good sales page can convert a casual browser to a paying customer. Here’s how to write good sales copy.
Website maintenance services: A win-win
Website development is not a one-and-done service. Just like your car, it requires regular fixing and maintenance. For running the site smoothly, site admin must be:
- Updating the core, theme and plug-ins
- Validating markups
- Taking backups
- Maintaining regular security checks
- Monitoring site load times
- Applying the best SEO practices
And, this is certainly not the most comprehensive list of tasks that one needs to do on a regular basis.
Maintaining a website is like servicing your car yourself. Most often, business owners do not have the time or technical know-how of carrying out all the maintenance tasks for their site. That’s where they need you.
In the web development niche, it’s true that you cannot resell your service. There are meagre chances that the same client would need web development services again in the near future. However, by up-selling them your website maintenance services, you can easily increase the customer lifetime value (CLV) at the same cost and effort of customer acquisition.
Isn’t it a win-win?
Move up the value ladder with website maintenance
By providing more value to the customer, you build long relationships and at the same time financially securing yourself with a recurring income. So you can gain more profits from the same lead.
If you cater to a niche like doctors or gyms, you are more likely to attract similar clients and scale your business. So, it would be easier for you to understand the industry and provide more value with limited efforts.