One of the best ways to build recurring income for your web design business is by having a website maintenance plan. Building and running that plan however, is easier said than done.

For this episode, I’ve brought in my colleague and repeat guest, Stephanie Hudson, who has a lot of experience with running website maintenance plans month to month as the co-founder of, a whitelabel maintenance service.

In this interview, we talk about the ins and outs of website maintenance from the tools we use, to our update strategies and best practices, backups, security, optimization, reporting and much more.

If you want to learn how to build your own website maintenance plan or take it to the next level, I’d love to help guide you in my Website Maintenance Plan Course. If you prefer to not do the maintenance yourself, be sure to utilize Steph and to handle that for you!

P.S. Be sure to mention you heard about them from Josh Hall when you reach out to them!

In this episode:

03:07 – Greeting to Stephanie
05:25 – Need of Maintenance
09:50 – Tools for Maintenance
15:57 – Why it’s important
21:01 – Migrating
23:40 – When to update
28:42 – Caution on updates
36:12 – Categorize updates
39:41 – Security levels
44:49 – Costs of security
51:09 – Maintenance reports
58:22 – Keeping connected
1:01:12 – Recapping
1:02:10 – Stephanie’s thoughts

You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.

Connect with Stephanie:

Featured links mentioned:


Episode #075 Full Transcription

Episode Transcription

Josh 0:17
Hey, everybody, welcome into Episode 75. In this one, we’re going to be talking all about website maintenance plans. We’re going to be getting into the ins and outs and the nitty gritty of building and actually running technically, a website maintenance plan. You’ll also hear it referred to as a website care plan as well. And the reason I wanted to get into this is because we’ve talked a lot about website maintenance plans. In this podcast, most of you who have been listening for a while You know, I’m a big proponent of it was life changing for me, so I highly recommend you have your own website maintenance plan. However, for those of you who don’t want to do your own maintenance, for whatever reason, I do have the next best option for you, which is to partner with somebody who does that. And for this episode I brought in a close colleague of mine, Stephanie Hudson, you might recognize that name. She is a repeat guest on the podcast. She was one of my first guests back on episode 8, wanted to have her back to talk specifically about website maintenance, because she is the co founder of FocusWP, which is a white label, partner for doing website maintenance. So for those of you again, who don’t want to do the maintenance, you can hire Steph and her team at FocusWP and they will do the maintenance and you can white label it so you can mark it up to your clients. Because it’s super, super superduper important that your clients have their sites maintained, optimized, reported on backed up and all the good stuff that we’re going to cover in this episode. And we’ve recently talked about website maintenance. I had a buddy of mine on 49 Jake Kramer, we talked about hosting and selling website maintenance plan. So for this one, Steph, and I get into the ins and outs of actually running it. So we talk about all a lot about updates about how to update your sites, when to update them. We talked about reporting, security, and all the technical things in your actual website maintenance, that’s going to help you build your own plans, we get into the techie stuff and talk about the tools that we use as well. So I’m really excited to hear how this one helps you out. And for those of you who do want to do your own maintenance, I would love to help you with that I have a website maintenance plan course, it’s the first course I ever created. And I created it because I was so passionate about how I was able to build recurring income with our website maintenance plan and take care of our clients. And in that course I show you from point A to point B, how to create a plan of your own. And I show you the ins and outs of my website maintenance plan. And you’ll learn what’s worked for me so you can build yours or you can take it to the next level if you already have one go on. So if you’re interested in doing your own maintenance, join my course today. Check out the links in the show notes to get access to that. And then for those of you who don’t want to do your own maintenance, no worries, you can hire Steph and her company at FocusWP. And without further ado, let’s get into it.

Josh 3:07
Steph, welcome to the podcast. Great to have you on again. What’s good girl?

Stephanie 3:12
What is up Josh, I’m so happy to be here. It’s like old times.

Josh 3:17
It is like old times you were episode eight I think originally so. Yeah, that’s early on. Yeah, it’s it’s been over a year now. So really good to have you back. What’s funny is that episode we were gonna talk about maintenance plans. And then before we went live, we were talking about, like focusing on our strengths. And we were having such a good conversation. I was like, let’s just talk about this. It’s, it’s too good. So we talked about that, but I knew we were going to revisit maintenance plans and we are going to talk about maintenance plans. In this episode.

Stephanie 3:50
We’re full circle. we’re back where we started.

Josh 3:52
Full circle. Yep. Now I did recently talk with a colleague of ours, Jay Jay Kramer, about how to sell maintenance plans. But on this one, I figured you and I could focus on what we’ve learned with our maintenance plans and actually running them and empowering people to do the same. So before we dive in, do you want to let everyone know where you are? And then what you do exactly.

Stephanie 4:15
Oh, man, that’s a loaded question.

Josh 4:17
Try to keep in half an hour.

Stephanie 4:20
Yeah, okay, I’ll see what I can do. Yeah, I am Stephanie Hudson, I run FocusWP, which is a company that specializes in care plans, and we’re offering some other white label services as well. We try and help small agencies solopreneurs and freelancers to scale and grow their business. And you can find us on the web at and then over in our Facebook group as well, which is where we spend most of our time which is called focus on your biz.

Josh 4:50
Yeah, it’s a great Facebook group. I’ll link to that as well. And where are you based out for anyone who’s curious?

Stephanie 4:55
Oh, I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Josh 4:58
Beautiful. So let’s dive into it. Steph, let’s talk maintenance plans. I’d actually like to start out with the big just maybe briefly why you guys started focused WP Exactly. We talked a little bit about that in the first episode that you and I had, but I think has some good context as to what you guys do with your plan. I’d love to hear, like, What was the need? What What was the what was what was the why for starting focus WP?

Stephanie 5:25
Well, a few years ago, I think it was about three years ago, I was at a Word Camp, and I met Tom Jensen, who is a little he’s kind of quiet in the groups. He’s not loud mouth like me, but um, but he’s a really sharp guy. Yeah, he just, he just like keep tabs on things. Yeah. But he, um, so he, he and I connected and we had I actually went up to him, it’s we still joke about it right now. Because I was, I was there by myself. He was there by his himself I, a lot of the Divi people were there. We were actually at a dv meetup. And but I didn’t know anybody in person yet. And I went up to him. And I was like, would you like to be my conference, buddy? He was like, What? And I was like, I don’t want to walk around by myself. And he was like, all right. And it ended up being like a match made in heaven, because we would just buddy around together and like, I would run my mouth, and he would just be my sidekick and it was perfect. We both were so happy. So anyway, in between sessions, we would talk about different things in our businesses or agencies. So we each ran separately. And care plans were something that were sort of like, just people were just starting to talk about that more. You know, Christina Romero, at WPElevation was really getting the, like, she started, I don’t know if it was her who coined the term care plans. But it was like right around that time where that was really people were talking about it. And a lot of people were hating, maintenance, like, like, I think people still it’s such a polarizing thing, like people who like to build websites, they want to do it and then be done with it. People who design websites, you know, like, they don’t want to keep having to deal with the little nitty gritty updates that don’t require creativity, and it isn’t as fun for them. But I had built up a system in my business where I had staff that I had trained, I had done tons of research, I set up my whole system. I had like everything in place, I had staff that did it. And it was just super profitable for me, like I was making great money. And I didn’t even like I couldn’t understand why people didn’t like this. So anyhow, I was telling him about this, I was telling him how much I charge and how much like how little work it was. So then a week or so goes by, and he sends me a message like I just sent you an email, don’t freak out. And I’m like, okay, it’s a super long email. And it was a business plan. And he said, this should be a business like, this is a solution to people’s problems. And it’s profitable, like what better reason to start a business, you know, like, it’s, it’s a win win. So we put all the wheels in motion, and it’s it was a slow start, because we don’t have agencies and things like that. But now, we’re really rolling. And we’re adding on new services. And it’s so awesome to like, have like something where our clients will literally send me Facebook messages be like, Can I just tell you how much I love you. And I’m so grateful that you do what you do for me, and I don’t have to think about it. Like, that’s the best, right? Like, what’s better than that?

Josh 8:14
Well, the best service and the best product is a problem, or it’s a solution to a problem. So you said it, there are a lot of freelancers and agencies who don’t care for maintenance. And I understand that but I’m in the same boat as you I freakin love the mayor’s plan. I think what’s different about you and I as we like people, and we’re big on communication, and really making clients for life. And I think for the designer, the developer that just wants to design adjust, wants to develop but doesn’t want to worry about the ongoing customer stuff, then that’s where it’s a perfect fit for you guys, because you guys can handle the ongoing stuff. I liked it because I like the idea of just managing a lot of different clients and not having to be in that pressure cooker of sale sale sell sell all the time. So if I got one lead a month and landed it cool, I’ve got my maintenance plan to cover everything else, which leads to a lot more referrals. So yeah, that’s it’s interesting problem, though, because there are people who for whatever reason, just don’t care for it. And that’s okay. That’s the beautiful thing about web design. You do you whatever you want to do, by golly, do it. If you want to create your own maintenance plan, that’s my first course that I created. It’s open right now you can join that but if you don’t want to do maintenance, that’s when you call Steph but for the people who so for the people who do want to do maintenance, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about I guess the because I want to talk about tools I’d love to talk about updates and all that good stuff and reports and all that but let’s let’s start with the tools stuff. What are you guys using right now for all of your white label clients with FocusWP?

It’s a mix of like technology and human interaction. – Stephanie

Stephanie 9:50
ManageWP is our bread and butter that’s our that’s our go to that’s where that’s where the magic happens where that’s where we maintain all of our sites. And then that’s our point of access for our developers and things like that as well. I mean, manager up is so powerful. So all we have to do if there’s a site that needs some work done on it, for whatever reason, if it’s an upsell, or if it’s an issue or whatever, we can just assign a developer task we use click up for that, that’s another tool that we manage our projects with, we can assign a developer to it. And then all we have to do is tag that site in ManageWP with a certain tag, which gives that developer access to the site, they never need to see client credentials, they could just log right in and do it. We automate a lot of things like security checks, perform checks, like those kind of things. We have backups, of course, but we do not automate our updates. And we we have a there is visual regression in in manage WP, it’s kind of limited. But what that means basically is it will take a snapshot of your site before and after an update runs. And if it’s so much percentage different, it’ll rollback it, like won’t perform the update or whatever to rollback. Nice, you know, I’m talking about like we employed that. Yeah, it’s, it’s a, it’s not a fully developed feature yet. I don’t know. I mean, it only will check like the homepage or something. It’s not it’s not robust enough. But we have, even if it is, like, we still have human beings go in and check around the site. And you know, we have screenshots to compare like manual screenshots done. And just human eyes like this doesn’t look right. And we have a small team that we train, and they get to know our sites. So they they’re on those sites every single week, testing them. And so they know like, hey, this, this is different on the site of this shouldn’t work this way. So it adds like, it’s a mix of like technology and human interaction.

Josh 11:53
I think that’s the beauty about a good maintenance plan is it should be a mix of automation, but a human touch. It’s one reason I do love ManageWP, because you can automate a lot of stuff in there. I also love Like you said, the tagging system. And the cat, the way you can categorize sites is so cool, because you can, you can tag it for your reference for updates, and for backups and stuff like that. But you can also the team perspective is huge to be able to add certain developers or team members to a category that’s development sites or sites in development. And they don’t need like you said, they don’t need to get in the Lastpass or wherever you have the credentials. They could just have access to that and then they get access to the site. It’s so cool. Yeah. Um, we use managed WP as well. I’ve been using it since 2016. And

Stephanie 12:42
I think that’s when I started.

Josh 12:44
Yeah, cuz I started my plan in the summer of 2016. And so by the time I met you at that word camp in December of 2017, my plan was just over a year old. So I was still pretty, you know, I build it up quite a bit since then. And yeah, I’ve managed WP was kind of the rock. It was the dashboard for everything.

Stephanie 13:05
Is that that same Did I meet you at that same?

Josh 13:07
It was that same one?

Stephanie 13:07
That was a big one.

Josh 13:09
Yeah, yeah, it was. It was the first one I’d ever been to. I remember I met you Tom and everybody there. Yeah, so yeah.

Stephanie 13:15
That was a great that was like a big like, the people that I met at that wordcamp conference, which was three years ago now.

Josh 13:24
Yeah, I was 17 Yeah. Anyone who’s curious

Stephanie 13:28
It’s like connections that we still

Josh 13:29
Yes, go to a word camp. Go to word camp, go to a Divi meetup, do virtual ones now it’s so worth the investment of time. Because you never know what’s gonna happen is like, like starting focusWP.

Stephanie 13:41
You never know when you have a business plan and your email inbox.

Josh 13:45
So manage WP there I know there’s some other ones too that you can manage a lot of different sites so I’ll link to some.

Stephanie 13:50
Main WP is another big one that MainWP and InfiniteWP I don’t think infinite WP was around back then I remember doing extensive research on manage and vs main. They are both awesome. And I know some people use main and they have great success with it too. I at the time I went back and forth and back and forth and I basically flipped a coin and ended up with manageWP and I I’m happy. There are some other companies like BlogVault is a newer one on the scene as far as maintenance. And they’ve got more they’ve got a real strong focus on security and malware and protection of that and cleaning. There’s also the W PMU Dev. I don’t know it’s like the whole alphabet in there. Yeah, but it’s a suite of services. It’s not exactly the same level like managing may manage and MainWP to appeared like the main ones that you hear.

Josh 14:51
Yeah, cuz some of the other ones get into more like hosting like they’re almost like your provider whereas manage WP one reason I love it is it’s yours. Like you can customize it however you want to all of your websites to suit your plan. And you can do all type of white labeling options in there as well. I’d actually what are what are some of the components to the maintenance plan being that we’re in managed WP that you have found super important with? Is it the updates, monitoring backups? What are some of the components that you find most useful? Well, Steph, I’m I can’t hear you there.

Stephanie 15:32
Oh, sorry. I’m not sure I understand. Your Can you hear me?

Josh 15:36
Yeah, I gotcha. There we go.

Stephanie 15:38
Oh, sorry. Um, you mean like, what’s the most important part of

Josh 15:44
yet? Like, I guess? Yeah, that was kind of a bad question. What what are some of the aspects that you have found a really important in a maintenance plan? I guess that’s the question. Because this is important to really the clients like what’s, what are you doing every month?

Stephanie 15:57
What is hands down? Absolutely, most important thing is the backups. Like, undoubtedly, because it doesn’t matter what else you do. Even if you’re talking about like updating the core of WordPress, if you’re talking about updating a vulnerable plugin, whatever you’re up whatever else you’re doing, if you don’t have a backup in place, it’s not a good idea. You know, like everything could go wrong. So backups. Number one important thing, we typically for basic sites, we backup once a day, every day, sort of early morning, middle of the night, depending you know, kind of a thing. And then if it’s a site that is being updated regularly, so something that maybe has an active blog, where people are commenting, if it’s an email, I mean, e commerce site where there’s purchases being made all of those things, yes, super important to keep your backups, more frequent and managed, WP can go route, like, every minute, even I think it can run a backup, a lot of them, we do like every five minutes, if it’s the more advanced site, because if you figure, you’ve got an e commerce site, and people are selling products, and then a plugin update fails or break something and you’ve got a roll back, and you wrap the roll back till that morning, well, then you’ve lost all the customer data, you’ve lost their order, all of that stuff that was in the database is gone. So maybe you have an email about it or whatever, but it it wrecks your wrecks your records, wrecks your records for for your sales and things like that. So that’s what I would say is the backups are the most important thing

Josh 17:33
Let’s what’s let’s play devil’s advocate real quick. If I’m a client, and I say, Okay, well, what’s the difference stuff between your backups and the backups that iteground does, or a host.

Stephanie 17:45
Mine, you can actually get restored. It’s complicated to get your host to restore a backup. It’s, it’s not quick, it takes time. And it’s sometimes it costs money, depending on the host. I remember before all of this, I had relied on my host for for a backup and I had had something bad happen and they wanted like 75 bucks to restore one backup for me, and it was gonna take them like 24 to 36 hours. Yes,

Josh 18:16
I had that happen back in the day, too. Before I ever did maintenance. It was the same thing. I that’s my golden rule is never, ever, ever, ever, ever rely on a hosting company to do the backups or restore points. It’s not reliable, no matter what company.

Stephanie 18:32
No. If they do it, like you don’t have to turn it off, because it never ever hurts to have extra backups. Yes. So if someone like comes to us, and we’re going to take over their maintenance, that they they use, like updraft or another backup plugin, you know, we we go through when we take over maintenance of a site, we go through and do a little quick audit of the site and talk about like what should be removed or kept or blah, blah, blah. I will never advise somebody to remove an up a backup plug in because it’s just like it’s just more security. One is just more safety.

Josh 19:07
Yes, in the back of game. Two is one and one is none. So you always want to have different backups. And speaking of that, so there one difference we should point out for people who might not know about manage WP or backups in general, there is a difference between backups, which is like all of your files being backed up somewhere and a restore point. One reason I love manage WP is just like backups. You can set restore points every day if you want. That way if something happens to the site, you can go back to the previous day and just click Restore and it restores the site. Now it is really important to have a full backup though as well. And on that note Steph you guys backup to like Dropbox or drive or something where you have these backups stored externally.

Stephanie 19:54
Yeah, we sure do. And, and another thing like that kind of reminded me that if you go are doing backups yourself. Like, if you’re not using a tool like manageWP, which it’s entirely possible to maintain a site without using a maintenance tool like that, like you can do all of the different things yourself. You know, it’s not that difficult until you get up to a certain number of sites. But one of the things that I would also say is, if you are using a backup system, this is another trap that I fall into, this is what I like, I’ve made all the mistakes. So I could tell you, but back up your site, and then it crashes. Have you ever then gone like, Okay, I have a backup, how do I restore it? Like, sometimes it’s super difficult. And it’s like, there was a thing I had, and I needed to install a whole nother plugin to restore the backup. And I need to do all this, like technical coding things. And I was just like, Oh, my God, this is and it’s, it sounds silly to say, like, practice, like run a backup and restore it. And I don’t I don’t know if I’ve ever actually practiced it, because it feels really yeah, you could do it, do it.

Josh 21:01
I so that’s why I created my free tutorial on how to manually migrate a website, because you have to at least understand what is involved with a WordPress website, meaning that there’s the files, but there’s also the database that actually has all the page information. Because Yeah, I never had that happen with a backup. But I did have a couple times where it happened with a cloning like a cloning experience where I was like holding one site, I was cloning a dev site to a live site, and it broke the live site. And it just wasn’t it was broke. So I was like, Oh, I had nightmare experiences. Because I didn’t understand cPanel. And because I didn’t understand the the site, the files and database. So I’ve got resources for all that for everybody. So I’ll link that. But for

Stephanie 21:44
Yeah, and for those who don’t know, cuz cloning a site might sound like a totally different thing. But it’s actually very similar, very similar to restoring a backup, because what you’re doing is you’re like Josh said, it’s based on files, like images and text files, and CSS files, and all of that. And then the, the database, which stores all the words that are in each post, the titles and all of those other elements. So it’s these two elements. And basically, to restore a backup, you have to make sure all the files are there, and all the database elements are there. And so to clone a site, or to restore backup, or to do any of it, it’s moving those two chunks and making sure they’re in sync. And it’s the right

Josh 22:24
Then there’s a there’s a file, I talked about this in my cPanel course, the most important file is one called WP config. And that is just the little cue that says hey, align these files to this database. I tried to make him sound friendly. Because this the config files exe probably much more scary. But I remember early on I saw I was used to developing like HTML sites, and I moved all of my files to a WordPress site to the new site. And the site was broke. And I was like, What the heck, I moved all the files, why isn’t it working? I had no idea there was a database involved that had all the pages. So yeah, I don’t want to take us too far down this rabbit hole because I’ll do a separate episode explaining that. And I have my cPanel course for that fun stuff. But so backups huge. That’s a good idea and a good reference as to what’s different about our backups versus hosting backups and restore points. Another big aspect you touched on is update. So I’d love to talk about updates. Sure. I think we probably all understand it prefer even new web designers who are brand new, most everyone knows a website is just like any sort of software or app, it needs to be updated. Yeah, that’s why Netflix updates. That’s why your phone updates. That’s why anything that is a software has got to be updated. It’s important for us to relay that to clients now that the trick is when to do those updates and how to do those updates, particularly if you’re managing a lot of different sites because you set it stuff. You can absolutely manage sites without a tool like manage WP, but you’d have to log in every site, update all the plugins, do a manual backup then log into another site. And that’s what I was doing before I started my plan would mess it up. But yeah, on the on the front of updates. We talked about why it’s important. One reason I think you and I both love ManageWP is because it makes it really easy to update a lot of different plugins. But what’s your guy’s policy on that? d? You said you don’t automate those which totally agree on that? Do you do it one side at a time? Do you do it by plugin type? Do you do it by category of like simple brochure sites versus e commerce sites? What’s that look like for you guys?

Stephanie 24:28
We have a bit of a combination. One of the things that I that we train our team to look for? Well, there’s a few things. For starters, if you’ve ever looked at, Oh, for sure we do once a week by the way we update plugins, themes in core if necessary, once a week and we were running updates at the beginning of the week on Monday, but it was almost like people were active on their sites more on Monday. So we pushed it. So we typically do it a day or so later. To make sure that it’s not hitting into anybody’s work load.

Josh 25:03
Yes, well, I always recommend and what I learned to do is to do it midweek, like Wednesday or Thursday, because same thing Mondays people are very active generally on their site. Friday, you don’t want to do an update on 4pm on Friday and something go awry. And then you’re like crap, I’m not gonna be able to make it to dinner tonight. I can’t make it for drinks. I’m gonna start drinking in my office because I got to fix this site on a Friday night. Yeah,

Stephanie 25:25
Exactly. Yeah. So So that’s, that’s one thing is that is the when. And, you know, we have, we have a US team. And we have global clients. So the time of day, if you’re in Australia, you’re getting your updates around the middle of the night. So that’s no big deal. If you’re, you know, in Europe, it’s evening and here in the US, it’s probably early afternoon or so. So that’s basically when it happens for us. But so it is something to consider based on the type of clients that you have to and the next thing is the, the numbers. So this is something that’s really important, I think. So when you look at the numbers on a, I’m gonna look here I have my managed WP open, I’m gonna see what I’ve got here on a on a website, like what’s, uh, what’s a common kind of, Okay, so I have Gravity Forms, Gravity Forms on the sites are due for an update, Gravity Forms is at version 2.4. point one, one. All right, don’t freak out about the numbers. So the version that I’m at 2.4 point 20. So what it’s, it’s three separate sets of numbers, right? It’s the first one, then a dot second one dot third one. And the, the, the first number is the is the big number. And then they get less important as it goes down. So if that went from 2.4, point something, two, three, that would be considered a major update. And that means there’s bigger changes. And that’s something you really got to watch for 2.4 point 20 – 21 is going to be a small update. And that’s like, there’s already been 20, little fixes. So this is probably just one more little tiny thing that they’re fixing. So it’s not going to be something to really be too worried about. But if your form plugin, like Gravity Forms is making it from 2.4 to two, five or from to something to three, again, that’s where you want to like use extra caution. So that’s a little rule of thumb that can be helpful if you’re looking and you’re like Fingers crossed. Like I don’t know if this is gonna go bad.

Josh 27:27
Great point. Particularly it’s easy to forget those type of things for folks that are brand new to web design, because you might not think anything of it like this is even more important for themes nd WordPress itself. Like when Divi went from two point, you know, nine point 40 point, whatever, when it jumped to two when it jumped to 3.0. That’s when you know, that first number is a big one, because three just for everyone’s reference for Divi 3.0 is when the builder.

Stephanie 27:57
They did when we were Oh no, that was WordPress. Remember when WordPress did a major update while we were at wordcamp? Us? Oh, we were all at wordcamp. us.

Josh 28:07
I don’t remember, did it go to four was not this.

Stephanie 28:10
It wasn’t this year, but it was the one before I can’t, I don’t have a good head for numbers. But it was like we’re all there at a conference and all of our like phones are blowing out and everyone is freaking out. Oh, that’s because it was a major one, it wasn’t one of those small little. So they call them a point update. You know, like the little ones are more of a point update. But it was a major update. So that’s, that’s something that is like a really important tip to keep in mind. If you’re if you’re unsure about something, check the numbers and it shows like where you’re at. And what’s going to it’ll show you both of the numbers.

Josh 28:42
So what are some of the tips for caught using caution on that? Would it be to just clear some more time for those big updates to do the sites and to see if anything, you know, there’s any conflicts or problems? Would you say like, ideally in a perfect world, everyone would duplicate a site on like a testing server or a state server aging, sir. Yeah, those are big ones. Because that’s always and you can’t for an e commerce site. I recommend always billing for that, like having that a part of the plan, which is why running and managing an e commerce site, you should be charging more because there’s more work that’s involved with it. So yeah, like what if somebody…

Stephanie 29:17
We do that, you know, we, we have two different plans, you know, we have like a basic level. And then we have what we call an advanced site, which is basically for things like that, that require extra caution and testing, extra backup restore points, like all of those kind of things that just cost more money physically for storage space, it costs more time to do it all. So we do have two levels as well. And I recommend anybody do that. If it’s something that is a simple thing that only has a few plugins or something, no problem. But if you’re going to have to take extra caution like that. And so you have to sort of use your head. This is where I think being having human beings do this stuff rather than automatic is really important as well. So the reason that plugins are updated are usually there’s usually just a few reasons. One might be a bug fix, like something wasn’t quite working, right. And so it’s fixing it. Another one might be a vulnerability that is getting fixed like a security patch. So those are very important. And a third is the least crucial. And that’s added features. So if they’re just making new features to it, you know, so if we go back to our Gravity Forms example, if you’ve got something that maybe was a little wonky in like a styling form or something, and they’re updating it, that may not have been an issue for you. So it might not be a super important thing. If they’re adding a new feature, and it’s something you’ve been wanting, then that’s great, you know, if they’re adding a new type of field or a new conditional element or something, yeah, you’re gonna be eager to do that. But you may want to wait until it’s tested a little bit. And then if it’s a security patch, you always want to update that as soon as possible. And that’s great. That being said, that’s

Josh 31:03
Also I was just gonna say that’s a great point to relay to clients, to tell them like, this is why the updates are so important, because if there’s a vulnerability in Gravity Forms, if Gravity Forms gets hacked, it could affect all of your sites that use Gravity Forms, so you need to update it and patch it immediately.

Stephanie 31:19
Yeah, and the way that you can find that out is there are release notes. So if you’re in your, in your WordPress, plugins section of the database, you can click through to the plug in page, and it’ll show their their change, log or release notes, whatever they call it. And it will say, like, yeah, we tweak the color scheme of this section of the whatever. And you can be like, Okay, well, who cares? Like I don’t need, you know, you can just make your own decision if that’s important to you or not, if it says this is a patch, like a security patch, then you want to make sure you run an update. Now that’s on a form plugin, like Gravity Forms or whatever that’s, you know, that’s where you’ve got clients and customers coming to your site directly. interfacing that. So that’s a huge important element of your website. If you’ve got something like, I’m looking for another one on here, that’s got like, let’s see, I’ve got Okay, like smush is another one smoosh or shortpixel, or image fi those image optimizing ones. If added, like, there’s not a lot that’s going to change there. And there’s not a lot that’s going to impact your, your visitor to your site. So you may view those as a different level of importance. Because it’s, you know, that’s an important thing to keep your site running fast. But once your images are optimized, like, unless you’re going to be like, adding a ton more images to your site tomorrow, that may or may not be a priority. And so you know, there’s just a lot to take into consideration as far as the technology involved.

Josh 32:54
That’s great, though, I feel like, you know, yeah, I feel like you outline the update stuff perfectly. It was the the time when to do it, which is generally at least once a week, which we talked about kind of midweek, that way you don’t do it right when everyone’s active on the site, but you don’t do it right before the weekend starts. You have the different levels of priority with the updates as far as some of the plugins that you know, are going to make a big difference, like WooCommerce. All those updates need to be taken a lot more carefully. And seriously, then smash that Yeah, it’s a plugin that right? Rarely, very rarely is it going to break your site, and it’s not going to change much your images are already optimized, if you used it. I liked that you talked about the different types of updates and why you wouldn’t need to do those was as far as being like a vulnerability fix or an update. All good stuff to rate a client. So yeah, that makes total sense. And I think that’s great stuff. As far as updates. I’d like to transition now to security and monitoring.

Stephanie 33:50
Could I could I add one more thing only updates? Shush. Absolutely. One other thing that we’ve seen in very real world scenarios are, we might go through all of those steps, we might tick all of those boxes, and decide that it’s worth updating the plugin, and we might update it, go and check the site and it broke something. So now we have that’s connected to the updates. And now we’re faced with a dilemma. So what do we do in for focus, WP will our policy is that if something one of our client sites breaks from updates, we’ll spend up to an hour trying to fix it. Like we’ll troubleshoot the issue and we’ll fix it. And if we can’t fix it, then we’ll go back to the site owner, the client agency and and advise them now recently, we had an issue with I think was Caldera forms on one of my clients sites that was not playing well with the current theme that she was using. And so what we did because it was a big update, and it was new, and we figured they would be coming out with more fixes. Our advice to her was, don’t hire, don’t spend money on development, trying to fix something. Let’s just go back. Let’s rollbacks. It wasn’t a security patch. Let’s just let the developers figure it out and solve the problem. And in a week, we try it again, it’s so didn’t work. Another week later, we tried it again, and everything was fine. So without wasting money, or time or whatever, we could just use a little bit of logic and understand that the developers, there’s just a bug, and they’re gonna get they got to it, they found it and it was fixed. So that’s another point.

Josh 35:25
Yeah, that no, I love that you mentioned that. Because Yeah, you can just keep an eye because sometimes you don’t need to spend your own time trying to troubleshooting when the developer is going to fix it in the next version. So just hold off until the next version, if you can, that’s

Stephanie 35:37
When you go and make a hack. If you make like a little hack fix of some, like throwing some code in somewhere, and then they fix it themselves, then you just never know what happens down the road. Good.

Josh 35:49
And do you? Do you do the updates? Last point on the updates? Do you do them by like category or by different sites like, because generally we’ll all update like all Gravity Forms. Generally, if it’s just a little, you know, minor dot dot update. But like a WooCommerce sites will generally do those like one at a time. What does that look like for you?

Stephanie 36:12
Well, similar. So some of the things that are just like like your smush kind of things, those we can just bulk update, and no big deal. But because we do the visual checks of all the sites, frequently, I think most of the time the team goes through like a per site or per client basis. And we’ll like go and run the updates on a site and then go check it and make sure it’s good. Because if you’re updating 50, or 60 sites, or something like that, and you run through all these updates, it takes so much time to go through and check them that by the time you got to like site number 52. If it’s broken, like it’s already been broken, and live, yeah, I half an hour, 45 minutes. So it’s better to just go incrementally per site. For our workflow. Anyway,

Josh 36:57
I learned to do types of sites to like I would do one update all the plugins, WordPress, Divi, everything on one like brochure type site, as long as everything looked good. If other sites are using the same plugins and themes generally, then it’s you’re good. Same thing with WooCommerce. If this woo site looked good on this one, and all the other plugins that we use are looking good, then you’re usually good to update the other. So you don’t have to painstakingly go through every one. That’s also a good lesson really quick and sticking with your same set of tools that you know, and you’re comfortable with. Because if you’re updating that’s a little different for you guys, because you’re working with, you know, your white label, type of update, white little maintenance plan. But for us, every site is Debbie, except for a couple older sites, every site uses Gravity Forms, every site uses the same plugins we generally have. So it makes it a lot easier. So at any, at any point, try to at least I’m just telling everyone listening, try to reduce your tools. So you don’t have 30 different themes. 10 different contact form plugins, you know, it could get a little tricky when you’re mixing a lot of different cans together.

Stephanie 38:02
So it’s funny, actually, the Divi chat episode that we’re recording later today is about what plugins like to use a consistent set of plugins. So by the time you’re listening to us here, that that a podcast episode already be in the can, so you have to go back and check that out. Our favorite, our favorite plugins that we use on almost every Divi site. So that’s, that’s a good thing. And we offer with focus of up in order to kind of like help that a little bit, we offer a selection of premium plugins, like Gravity Forms, shortpixel, things like that we offer those premium versions included in maintenance. And that’s just a little incentive for people. It’s, um, they’re nice to have, they’re trustworthy. And then that gives us you know, a smaller stack of different plugins that if people want to take advantage of that, that we’d have to, you know, don’t have to worry about as many

Josh 38:53
Yes, perfect, I’ll link that in the show notes, since this will be live by then. So Oh, we’ve covered two really important areas, backups, updates, there’s there’s really four main areas that I’ve found in maintenance, which is backups, updates, security, and then I was gonna say, like reporting or any type of analytics, so we’ll call reporting number four. So let’s dive into security and monitoring. The thing with manage WP is that it is not a security platform, you can do security checks, and you can do monitoring. But it’s not a preventative of well, I shouldn’t say that because updating a plugin is a form of security. So updates kind of blend in with security. But what are you guys doing on the security front? Because I have my own thoughts on security. But I’d like to hear what you guys do first, before I share what we do.

Stephanie 39:40
Well, yeah, we basically go with the Manage ship up level, which is we will keep tabs on it and it will flag So for example, if a plugin does have a vulnerability, then it will get flagged and the reason that that is useful and that that’s why Have the automated manager VP checks that you can enable. And that is important because sometimes if you’ve got a site that you know where an update is coming out, and it’s a security update, like we were talking about, you know that, but if you’ve got plugins in there that aren’t being updated anymore, like they’ve been abandoned by their developer, then there are vulnerabilities that become exposed. And, and you’re not really alerted to that if they’re just sitting innocently in your plugin page, you know, so sometimes, and that just happened recently with a form one of the plugins that puts Divi contact forms into the database. Because you know, the Divi contact form doesn’t automatically save information in the database, it just sends you an email, but there are a couple plugins people have developed to do that to save stuff. And one of those plugins was abandoned, it hadn’t been updated in a few years, and there was a vulnerability exposed where people could actually hack into your database through a loophole in that plugin. And so that was a perfect thing that the security checks are able to flag us on. Now, if you get some really malicious code, if you get hacked, or if another site on your server becomes vulnerable, you know, if you’ve got shared hosting and, and your site gets affected, you know, we’ll notice some things, we’ll get some alerts to vulnerabilities. But again, like you said, it’s not it’s not real, like rock hard security platform. That’s the that’s a smaller feature. It’s not the main feature. So but if we do then we bring in other tools. Okay, yeah.

Josh 41:37
So what Yeah, what are those other tools because I have an agency account for security. Now, what’s interesting is I used to have a lot of sites on security, which the difference between that and manage the VP was security was strictly security, it was the firewall, it was almost like a force field around the site, it would like block bad bots and stuff like that. The only problem with that is it was extremely expensive. It was 10 bucks a site, my agency, I don’t know if it’s any different now. But it was 10 bucks. So I was paying hundreds of dollars a month for secure, secure, which it was still profitable, because I was charging 6075 bucks a month for the plan, but it would still eat into the profit a little bit. So what I learned to do was I eventually narrowed down the sights on security to e commerce in ones that were really important with like the data that was coming in. And then I found as long as the site was on good hosting, that’s number one. As long as the site had was was built well and had decent passwords, and was being updated. That was usually fine. I never had a problem with sites getting hacked. It there’s, there’s still it’s ideal to have a firewall, which that should definitely be an upsell for somebody plan or on a higher tier plan. But generally good hosting good passwords, keeping stuff updated, you’re going to be fine. But there are some other tools as well. I know wordfence is one that I haven’t used Personally, I feel like it’s a little bloated from what I’ve experienced. But yeah, what are some of the tools that you guys for the security that you guys have?

Stephanie 43:08
I’ve used word fret wordfence a lot the free version. It does do it does do its job. I mean, it alerts you, if like if I have one complaint about WordPress is that it alerts me too much like I start to go work. I say WordPress, I’m at wordfence. I go like wordfence blind because it sends like so many emails, like urgent, you have to update this plugin. And it’s like, something that’s so not important. And so it just like wears me out, which is bad. But we also use I themes, security, we have a developer license, that that’s another one of those premium plugins, it’s included. Because it’s, we just we don’t want our customers to have to go through that. Like it’s terrible. Tom just had an example. Just the past couple weeks, he had one of his huge clients that has like a mega site. It’s a multi language site and all the multilingual and all this stuff. And somehow they got hacked. And it was a nightmare. But security came to the rescue. We he signed up for a security, you know, clean it for a year and keep it clean. And and it was it was worth it to the client. And he handled all of that. And that’s just, you know, that’s sometimes it happens. I mean, it doesn’t happen very often. And as long as like you’re saying if you do all the preventative stuff. You don’t run into that very often. But again, it Yes,

Josh 44:27
I only had one breach on my plan. And it was a site that was on bad hosting. And this guy had a ton of other sites that were never updated. So he only hired us for one. And now is the issue another site got hacked and it was like no matter what we did, that site got hit as well. So we went the security route. Same thing I I eventually just added that site onto my agency plan. And I ate the cost on that because it was 10 bucks but we cleaned it and that is the big thing for everyone’s reference. You can restore a backup from like the day before, a couple days before for the hack. However, usually if a if a breach gets into the server, it’s still on the server. Even if you restore the site, there may be other files that have that breach. So it’s not always 100%, that’s going to clean it. And if you do that, you want to make sure you change your passwords to the site near in your log into the server and everything. So that’s a big one

Stephanie 45:19
How to handle a hacked site is a whole nother.

Josh 45:22
And that’s true. That’s a good one. I’ll put that on the list here. Because what to do with websites has really hacked it is a complicated thing. You need to have somebody else do it. Generally there’s there’s no, there’s no way to easily just like log in and find the bad file and remove it because it’s generally spread. It’s like a virus. Yeah, I

Stephanie 45:39
Mean, there’s some scans, you can do. Yeah, their scans, you can do I have done it manually before, it isn’t easy. And that was with a more minor infection. If you’ve got something that’s major, it’s like a systemic virus. It’s like a cancer that needs cut out by a surgeon, not left with a pair of tweezers, like a splinter you know that, yeah, I would compare the two.

Josh 45:59
That’s a great point. Because there are different versions of a hack. There’s because I’ve done the same thing where I had a minor hack. And all I did was restore a backup and then just make sure all the files were cleared. And then I did a scan, I managed them up and it was clear, then change of passwords, and we’re good. Now there were some were like, the website got hacked. And then their email was on the server as well. And their email got hit. And it was like everything all at once. And there was no use is like, ouch, you can’t put a bandaid on

Stephanie 46:28
Call Secury and say, take my money.

Josh 46:30
Take my money. Yours, dude. It’s worth it. Yeah, so. So I just want to do for the client the difference? Yeah.

Stephanie 46:37
And the client that Tom was dealing with, you know that the example there, they had a ton of ads running, they’re spending thousands and thousands of dollars every month running ads to get people land on their site. And that’s where they’re getting leads, and you can’t, you don’t pay for all those ads to send people to a Viagra page, like you just don’t like that’s such a waste of your money. And then they had to turn off their ads. So they’re losing their lead, you know, like, it was a huge problem. So it depends on the site. But that’s why again, sometimes you just can’t help it. I mean, obviously, he had that site, protected as best he could but but you do, you do want to like take as many preventative measures as you can.

Josh 47:16
And I will say if if you’re running a maintenance plan, and it does happen, if you happen to have a hack, I always just ate the cost. I never felt right about charging a client. Additionally, while they’re paying for the maintenance plan, but there was that bonus, what you could do. And what I did for a while was the firewall was an additional option, like they could purchase that for 20 bucks a month, that would cover them if that were the case, luckily, I only had that one issue. The other hack sites I experienced were sites that I designed. But then the client never went with the plan. And they got hacked eventually, which was a great upsell. But that is

Stephanie 47:51
They get their triple your triple rate for fixing it because they did it.

Josh 47:55
Yeah, and it wasn’t out of spite or meanness it was out, I look to let you guys know, you know, like, I’m gonna fix this, I need to drop what I’m doing right now, which means that all the projects I’m working on are gonna have to be pushed aside, if I’m going to do this, within 24 hours, it’s gonna, it’s gonna cost you so.

Stephanie 48:11
So we handle it a little differently. We don’t, I won’t eat the cost for that. I mean, if I have a very loyal customer thinks, you know, there’s always scenarios, but our policy is that we will do our best to keep your site secure. And we will advise you so we go through and like, Oh, great. When we signed somebody up, we’ll go through and we’ll clean out extra admin users, I’ll do a double check on password security, like all of those kind of things, like we’ll run through and do basic checks on everything. And then I’ll set like, we’re just straight up just very clear with them. Like, we’ve put all this in place, we are willing to put security in there, we’re willing to do all these different elements for you. But like if some crazy malicious Russian Hacker gets to your server like that, it just isn’t our fault. Like that’s not, you know, it’s it’s the hackers fault. It’s not, you know, so we’ll do our best but if something is like, you know, the, like an act of God, kind of a What do they call it like different disasters where they hit that level where like insurance companies like sorry, that’s Yeah,

Josh 49:16
and there are sort of, yes,

Stephanie 49:19
That’s how you can help people run their business and stuff and how your, what your relationship is with your clients and all of that. But ours is basically like, educate, do the best that we can and then and take care of people like we’re not jerks, and we’re not nickel and diming either, like we’re taking good care of our customers so that when something like that, if it were to happen, it doesn’t like blow their mind that we’re like, going to charge them for it because we’re also going to be there to help them implement it.

Josh 49:44
Yeah, you’re Yeah, you’re helping you’re the guide. Yeah, it is. It’s a good reminder that what you call your plan is very important. I always called mine maintenance and security because that’s what it was. The security part was an aspect of mine with security. However, if you just want to do maintenance and care just do that. And then you could say monitoring because you can do monitoring through manage WP, which is great, it monitors your site gives you a daily check in, it’ll say sites clean. And if there’s a flag or something, you can address that. But just heads up for everyone, there really is kind of a difference between maintenance or care. And then the added aspect of security. But

Stephanie 50:21
I just again, I think it’s so important to just like to communicate, even if you’re not a lawyer or something like that, put some verbiage in your general contract or the description of what you’re offering that says, what your you know, like, we’ve talked about a couple of our little caveats. Like if your login, if you break something, Woody, what happens, then, what is the client entitled to? Or if this happens, you know, like, what, what responsibility is on us and what responsibility is on them? And, you know, it’s just, sometimes we don’t want to think about that. We just want to think about everything working great, but right, it’s, it’s gonna have something’s gonna happen. It’s the Internet, and it’s 2020. Something’s definitely gonna happen.

Josh 51:03
It’s not if it’s when Yep, for sure. Right.

Stephanie 51:06
So just aware and prepare your clients. Yeah.

Josh 51:09
Well done. Well done. Well, let’s wrap up with the final kind of section here of reporting. Because there’s a lot of different ways to go about this too. And there’s different levels of reports, and there’s honestly, some clients are going to be very active on their site, they’re going to want a more detailed report, they, because managers, they’ll be up for everyone’s reference, I love the reporting feature, you can do automated reports, or I know for a long time, my wife once a week, would just or once a month, excuse me would do the reports. And it would take about an hour, hour and a half. And she would do them manually. But you can automate that as well. Now, I did have templates that she would follow and see what just going through each report to make sure it was working and look good, and then send it off to the client. But there’s basic stats there shows what you did, you know how the site’s performing and everything. But some people need a little more, or they might want access to their Google Analytics. So it might require like a more detailed report. You can also do SEO in Ms. WP, you can set up SEO keywords and see how they’re tracking. So it’s a really robust platform very limited. Yeah, it is limited. It’s limited for the SEO, but there’s a lot of good, like reporting features where you can make it as simple as you want. Yeah. So what do you guys do? As far as three reporting? What’s your? Do you do that monthly? What’s your policy? And what’s your first detail on that?

Stephanie 52:26
Yeah, reports are all included. It doesn’t matter what sections you want or don’t want. Whenever someone signs up for a care plan, we’re white label, so we’re not working with the website, or we’re working with agency or Freelancer who’s caring for that client. So we communicate with them, we get the agency’s logo and their colors. And so we do like a branded cover for the report that’s branded for them. And, and then we can we give them an option to check which section I’d like to include, because I’m managed to repeat it, it’s just tick boxes, do you want to include your updates, you want to include security, do you wanna include this, this, this this. And, and for the most part, it’s like, we set it and forget it, then we have a template set up the first time. And then the first set of updates each month, gets a report. So Oh, you know, like on the first Tuesday of the month, or whatever it is, is report day. And so everyone gets their report the same day. And so some clients, you know, they get several reports sent to them, because it’s for all their clients, then they can scan through them and send them on to their clients. And so you know, if they want to include SEO, that’s really like, there’s, that’s not super automated, they would have to provide us with a list of the keywords, but then it’s just a matter of dumping it into a text box and manager up and manager up checks, like how you compare to those keywords or how you’re ranking. So it’s limited, but it’s easy to set up. And then you know, if there’s a WooCommerce element, they want that included or not, you know, we have a couple sites that are have WooCommerce. But it’s for a catalog. It’s not really purchasing, they’re not token payments. So the WooCommerce stats always showed zero and it was point, you know, cuz nobody’s buying anything. Yeah. So you know, there’s little things like that. And then, once in a blue moon, a client will call me and say like, or message me and say, Would you mind taking that, like, there’s always something that doesn’t look good? Like, maybe there’ll be an issue with their traffic for that week or something gone wrong or something. It’s just like, would you mind taking that off? Or just changing the date range? It’s like, Yeah, sure. You know, like, every once in a while, we’ll do stuff like that. But for the most part we have, we have no, and I’m shocked at how many people open their reports and read them it will like send me a note back like I thought people would just like chopped off, you know, like, it’s

Josh 54:44
The one thing I talked about my courses. It’s the best way to stay front in mind every week because clients will often forget about their web designer, if the web designer isn’t on their side every month and it’s no fault of anyone there. It’s just think of it Put yourself in your clients shoes if you hired a web designer to build a site, and then the web designer disappeared afterwards. That’s it. They might forget about you. So the best way to stay a friend of mine, it’s a really good way to do offsale.

Stephanie 55:10
You do it every week?

Josh 55:11
Well, I do want some reports every week. We do monthly. Yeah, our VA Kam does that now. Yeah. I didn’t mean to say once a week. Yeah, it’s once a month. And the only difference one thing I really liked about managed WP is we have a lot of clients that have multiple sites. So we would just would mess up up, you can set up a report for multiple sites so they can get their two sites in one report, which is really cool.

Stephanie 55:34
Now, you guys, we don’t really use it.

Josh 55:37
Sorry, sorry. Sorry, Steph. I think our connections a little wonky right now. I know. One thing I know, right? We should be good. We’re like, we’re web designers. We have good connection. You live in North Carolina. I’m in Ohio. What the heck’s going on? By golly, oh, shoot, what was I gonna say? Oh, hold on, hold on. Wait a minute. Oh, my gosh, the thought is in the front of my mind.

Stephanie 56:00
Yeah, think about reports. Okay.

Josh 56:03
Got it. Who got it? What? What about? Nice, now I’m gonna lose it again. What about advanced reports? Does anyone ever say like, or like a e commerce site? That’s like, man, we really want to see like our analytics, like really in depth? Do you guys ever do anything? Or do your white label clients? Do you know if they do like advanced reporting with a different third party software or anything like that?

Stephanie 56:26
We don’t have anybody asked us for that. So we have, like, I’ll connect to, if you if you want to add me as a an admin or whatever it’s called on your analytics, that we can connect the Google Analytics for your report, which is no problem. And that shows basic stats, like, again, it’s a it’s a simple stat. But if something like because these are our customers or agency customers, it’s that’s not they’re not typically asking us for that that would come from the client to the agency that’s servicing them. That’s where they would go to, I think, for that. So thankfully, we’re not not on the hook for that one. Because Google Analytics reports are complicated.

Josh 57:11
That’s true. Yeah, it is. Anyway, to me, I feel for my clients, we have every site and Google Analytics. And the reason I love manage WP is you just connect your Google Analytics account, right, and then you can just assign which site that should go to people who did want a more advanced look into their pageviews, bounce rate and all that stuff, what I would do is I would just give them access to the Google Analytics for their site, and then I would just send them to my training video that I have on my client resources page, that walks them through how to view their traffic. And then there we go, and it makes me look awesome. And it was a great way to go. So that’s just my tip on that for for upsales.

Stephanie 57:49
Some SEO.

Josh 57:50
Sell them some SEO baby. Yeah. But you said it, it’s a great way to stay front of mind. And, and it just it shows them like what you did, even if you have some automated updates and stuff. They don’t need to know that. It just looks like all stuff in our team.

Stephanie 58:03
We’re still taking care of him. Yeah. I mean, we don’t have anything I made it anyway. But yeah, it just lets them know that they’re it’s just gives them peace of mind, to let them know that Everything’s under control are getting all green lights all the way down the page. There is something else I’ve been, we’re just about to implement for that front of mind and all of that. And that’s for our agency customers, that is every quarter, we’re going to send out an email to each of our customers where they can schedule a a half hour session with me to go through and just review their sites and talk about things because that’s one of the things I’ve found is like, if you go look at a site, like I’ll be like, Oh, hey, you have this going on? Did you know you could do this too, like there’s this new thing? Or, hey, I found a better way to optimize this or your page speeds are a little low? Do you want to run an optimization, like there’s so many little things, you know, these are websites or living breathing organisms at this point, like there’s constantly improvements and enhancements that can be made. And that’s a great way for, for me at my company at focus to upsell to my customers, but then those agency customers can take that back to their clients and deliver value to them and say, like, we’re on top of this, we’re proactively providing you with ways to improve your website and do all this stuff. So it’s, again one of those like, triple win scenarios, which are my favorite.

Josh 59:21
I would encourage everyone to do that do like a quarterly round, you know, check in with your clients and then offer like a quick catch up. And, you know, it’s a great way to get a lot more work. Because they’ll often be like,

Stephanie 59:33
You will make more money. Yes, almost every time.

Josh 59:36
Here’s a here’s a mind blowing thought that took me years to realize, if you reach out to your clients more often, they will pay you more money. There it is. Like, it’s just I just didn’t reach out. I didn’t reach out to my clients. I just was like, I just didn’t feel like making that much money until I got serious about circling back around my clients. So hopefully everyone

Stephanie 59:56
But like, sometimes you can sometimes you can reach out and say like, Hey, I was thinking You should do this. And that’s one way. But if you just check in half the time, they’ll be like, hey, yeah, you know what I was just wondering about? Like, you could just say hi. And they’ll be like, I was thinking about doing this. Do you know how to do that? You can be like, sure.

Josh 1:00:11
Yes there’s three.

Stephanie 1:00:13
So it’s not like you don’t even have to have like a big sales pitch even just.

Josh 1:00:17
Yes, exactly. Yeah, you can do it. You could check in to share an idea, which would lead often lead to something you could review their analytics or ask the green room, their analytics to see like, oh, that might spark an idea. Or like you just said, you can just ask them any questions. Hey, how’s it going? Do you have anything you want to change? Those are three big upsells right there that will make so much more money for everybody. Listen to this. Unbelievable.

Stephanie 1:00:42
Yeah, it really will circle back around. Yeah.

Josh 1:00:45
Oh, all the wrap up the point of reporting. So So this has been great stuff. So we talked about a lot as far as the in depth nature of plans. We talked about the tools, we use the four biggies, backups being crucial, the difference between our backups versus hosting backups, and restore points. We talked about some unfun stuff for the backups with, with where you know how the files are structured, and what’s in a WordPress website, which, again, I’ll link to some resources on that.

Stephanie 1:01:10
Depends on who you ask, I think it’s fun.

Josh 1:01:12
True. Oh, yes, I asked. I get me in a database, I don’t sweat anymore and a database. Right? I’m good. But that’s because I made my cPanel course for anyone who doesn’t want to sweat getting into a database. So we talked about that updates, when to do the updates, how to do the updates, which ones to take more cautiously, you made some great points with like the dots of updates and stuff like that. So that was great. Talked about difference between security in care, and then also monitoring and all that good stuff. And then in reporting. So those are really the biggest elements of maintenance plan. I’d love to wrap up by just asking you if you had a final thought for somebody, considering, you know, maintenance, because again, some people are gonna want to do it themselves. Some people want to hire you. But I guess for let’s do two final thoughts, what would be your final thought for somebody who wants to do it themself. And then what would be a final thought for somebody who doesn’t want to do it and why you might be a good partner for them.

Stephanie 1:02:10
I almost think like the same applies to either really like it, if you’re on the fence, like this is recurring revenue for your web business. Like that’s the holy grail of this industry of any industry, it’s so tough to find sources of recurring revenue. And this is one that is not that hard really, to implement. So if you are if you’re into the technical stuff, and you like it, and you have this time, and the schedule, and the lifestyle, whatever that allows you to do it, take Josh’s course, learn how to do it, and go, like just start selling care plans and making money if you’re not the one like we keep our prices so low that I guarantee you, you’ll still make money, like you can charge more than double what we charge for to do them white label. And so I mean, it’s like Either way, it’s a it’s a no lose, because you’re gonna make money you’re gonna get that recurring revenue and, and you’re gonna have option opportunities to upsell your clients. So like, it’s just a no brainer, really is.

Josh 1:03:14
Totally agree well said stuff. Well, where can people go to find out more about you and what you guys are doing with focus WP?

Stephanie 1:03:22
Well, we do have some new things coming out that I’m excited about. And we have set up a special page for your listeners. So you can go to Hall, which is a little tricky to say, focusWP/Josh Hall. And we’ve got a fun little discount on there for anybody who is thinking about signing up for care plans, or some of our other services that we’re about to offer and any of your listeners who are existing caravan, customers can get a little discount cuz I don’t like playing that game like beautiful only discovering new people. Because I know a lot of your customers, your clients have gone and taken your class and come see us and I don’t want to ship them out either. So

Josh 1:04:07
You know, I’m big on not being a cable company, meaning you give your best deals, clients, not just the new ones. I love it. You’re you’re you’re my kind of person Steph. And then you guys have some Do you want to announce the development stuff that you like the deg?

So how do you make more money without working more? That’s called scale. – Stephanie

Stephanie 1:04:21
Sure. So one of the things that we’ve been trying to do is to help agencies and freelancers and solopreneurs will try to help everybody scale their businesses. And this can be so tough whenever you’re hitting that ceiling of working full tilt as much as you possibly can and not making enough money. So how do you make more money without working more like if you can’t that’s called scale. So adding monthly recurring revenue by white labeling your care plans is a great way to do that because it takes almost zero extra work and you get more money, but we’re also offering now some subscription to your own development team. So you can subscribe for as little as Three hours a month or on up. And this is actually. So with focusWP we don’t one of the things you didn’t we didn’t really get into in our care plans today is making changes to client sites like changing their text or their images or adding blog posts and stuff. And some people like to offer that we don’t offer that at focus. But what we do is now we have this provision where you can subscribe to developers and you can then pass that on to your clients. So you can offer so however many hours or whatever, you know, an hour of updates a month or something like that, then you just subscribe to our development team. And you don’t have to do it, you so it’s again, this is how you scale your business you outsource and, and make money off of other people’s work. So well. Another thing we’re offering.

Josh 1:05:44
I was gonna say that’s another episode we can do. We’ll talk about upsells and scaling in and around maintenance. Yeah, that’s a great hot topic, for sure.

Stephanie 1:05:52
So anyway, thanks so much, Josh. This is a blast. It always is. Who knows? Maybe I’ll Divi chat one of these days. Yes, yes,

Josh 1:05:59
I know. You’re gonna be starting out here. Pretty soon. I’m dying to get back on more like we talked about before went live. It’s just Divi chat goes live at 5pm. Eastern, which is just the worst time for me with a two year old and 11 month old. So

Stephanie 1:06:12
Diner time.

Josh 1:06:13
But yeah, well, I’m going to try to do it at least once a month. So look for me on the schedule here soon.

Stephanie 1:06:18
Yeah. And then I’ll see you in the Circle.

Josh 1:06:21
Yes, yes. My membership. Actually, by the time this comes out, I think my membership will probably be open to family members. So yeah, I’ll link that I’ve got we went over a lot of tools and links. I’ll make sure everything’s linked in the show.

Stephanie 1:06:32
So much stuff I know.

Josh 1:06:33
Yes. So we’ve

Stephanie 1:06:35
Poor Kam’s got her work cut out for her today.

Josh 1:06:37
Her fingers are gonna be aching after all these links, so we’ll have a good one on this one. But Steph, thanks so much, and they gotta run so we’ll talk soon.

Stephanie 1:06:45
Thanks, Josh. See you later, everybody.

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"As a new web designer, I understood the power of recurring income and knew I needed to be able to offer a maintenance plan. Even with all the research I’d done on my own, I was struggling to put all the pieces together. Josh laid it all out beautifully in a step-by-step process that’s easy to follow and implement.

Now my maintenance plan is right on target. Not only has it paid for itself but it pays for itself each and every month. It was the perfect investment for my business. Thank you Josh for putting this together and teaching it in a way that anyone could follow!"

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