One of the best ways to grow the income of your freelance web design business is to offer monthly website maintenance packages. You get monthly recurring income (what we like to call “mailbox money“) and your clients get peace of mind that their website has a watchful caretaker.
With monthly maintenance packages, you get:
- More consistent income
- More predictable work
- Maintain relationships for additional work and referrals
Ideas for What to Include in Your Monthly Maintenance Packages
There are a ton of website maintenance needs that you could add to your service offerings. Many of these could even be handled weekly or daily, but be included with your monthly maintenance packages.
Here are a few ideas for what to include in your monthly website maintenance packages and some recommendations for the tools to make it happen:
- Backup Services – Use BackupBuddy to schedule weekly or daily automated backups. Use BackupBuddy Stash to store those backups safely and remotely.
- Website Security – Use iThemes Security to set up important security measures for WordPress like brute force protection, enforcing strong passwords, two-factor authentication, file change detection and more.
- Malware Scanning – Use iThemes Security’s scheduled malware scanning feature to schedule daily malware scans.
- Hack Repair – Offer website cleanups in the event of a breach.
- Updates (for WordPress Core, Themes and Plugins) – Use iThemes Sync to easily update all of your client sites from one convenient dashboard.
- Uptime and Performance Monitoring – Sync Pro offers uptime monitoring with instant notifications if a site goes down and also tracks global response times based on real data from actual visits.
- SEO Services – Offer monthly SEO audits that include keyword optimizations for new blog posts and pages. Use a plugin like WordPress SEO or All-in-One SEO to add important meta data to important pages.
- Content Production/Blogging – Offer to keep your client’s content fresh with new weekly blog posts. If you’re not a writer, consider sub-contracting with a freelance copywriter or ghost writer.
- Social Media – Manage postings to social media and comments. Sync Pro includes the ability to automatically post new WordPress posts to Twitter.
- On-call Support/Concierge Services – For an additional fee, you could also offer on-call support or concierge services so that clients could contact you immediately if they have an issue with their site.
- Traffic/Analytics Reports – Generate reports for traffic, unique visitors, page views, incoming keyword searches and more. iThemes Sync Pro includes a user-friendly analytics report with key metrics based on your Google Analytics data.
- Web Hosting – Invest in a good VPS at a reliable web host that knows WordPress
Make the Billing/Payment Process Easier: How to Automatically Send Online Invoices to Clients
One of the biggest hurdles in providing monthly maintenance plans is the whole billing/payment collection process. If you’re doing project-oriented billing, invoices may have to be issued at different times along the project timeline. But with monthly services, you need a reliable and consistent way to send invoices without you having to prepare each one, export it to PDF, print it off, mail it or email it to the client.
With iThemes Exchange and the Invoices Add-on, you can automate the whole recurring invoices process—directly from your freelance website.
How to Set up Recurring Invoices for your Clients
1. To get started, you’ll need to install the free iThemes Exchange plugin (if you haven’t already).
2. Next, you’ll need to set up your basic ecommerce settings within the Exchange plugin, such as selecting a payment gateway add-on to process online payments from your site. The Stripe Add-on is free for Exchange, as is PayPal Basic (included as a core add-on). For more information on setting up your payment gateways, check out these video tutorials: Setting up Stripe with Exchange and Setting up PayPal Standard Basic.
3. Install the Invoices Add-on for Exchange. After activation, you’ll see a new product type in the Exchange menu: Invoices. Here’s a video walk-through of using the Invoices Add-on.
4. Click Add Invoice. You’ll now see the Invoice Editor screen where you can add your invoice details, such as the client’s information, email address, billing address, etc.
5. Once you’ve added your client’s details, you can add more information to the invoice, such as the invoice description (like the specifics on your monthly maintenance package), whether or not to send the invoice automatically when published, and the terms of the invoice (due on receipt, 7 days from receipt, etc.)
6. This is the important setting: Enable Auto-Invoicing. In this section of the Invoice Editor, check the box next to Enable Auto-Invoicing. From the drop-down, you can select to send this client a new copy of this invoice every ____ day(s), week(s), month(s), year(s).
You can also select to send email automatically when invoice is automatically published. Enabling this setting will take care of email clients with their invoice at your scheduled interval, so it’s super handy.
7. Once you publish your invoice, you’ll see the custom client link to the invoice (seen below) If you selected to automatically email the client, they’ll receive an email (you can customize this email in the Exchange > Add-ons > Invoices > Settings page) with this link.
From this custom invoice link sent via email, your client will be able to pay their invoice online.
That’s it! Easy automated monthly invoices for your monthly website maintenance packages.
Once the invoice is paid, you’ll see the payment details from the Exchange > Payments page.
Hover over the order # to see the Payment Details option. From here, you can see the Payment Details page.
More Resources on Offering Monthly WordPress Website Maintenance Packages to Your Freelance Clients
- [Free Ebook] How Selling WordPress Maintenance Can Save Your Freelance Business
- Want to Grow Your Business This Year? Think Recurring Revenue
- Business Blueprint: How to Sell iThemes Products and Services to Your Clients
- Selling Monthly WordPress Retainer Packages with iThemes
Get The Tools You Need to Offer Monthly Maintenance Packages
- iThemes Sync
- iThemes Security
- iThemes Exchange
- The Invoices Add-on for Exchange
- The WordPress Web Designer’s Toolkit – Get all our themes, plugins and training in one value-packed bundle plus 10+ Sync Pro sites.
Kristen has been writing tutorials to help WordPress users since 2011. As marketing director here at iThemes, she’s dedicated to helping you find the best ways to build, manage, and maintain effective WordPress websites. Kristen also enjoys journaling (check out her side project, The Transformation Year!), hiking and camping, step aerobics, cooking, and daily adventures with her family, hoping to live a more present life.