Using your WordPress skills and knowledge to build recurring revenue streams is a potentially life-changing process that can lead you toward more long-term success than you have ever dreamed.
In this article, we’ll dive into all of the reasons why identifying recurring revenue sources is the best move for the future success of your WordPress business or agency. Then, we’ll look at 12 real-life ideas that will help inspire you into a recurring revenue model that fits you and your business.
Let’s take a look.
Traditionally, most WordPress website owners and designers have counted on one-time jobs to build their businesses and revenue streams. The problem is that this type of business model requires that you be in a constant search for new clients. Because of this, more WordPress-related businesses are looking for ways to build recurring revenue that supplements or replaces their one-off services.
Why Developing Recurring Revenue Streams Are Key To WordPress Success
As a WordPress business owner or website development firm, you have a lot more responsibility than most other freelancers. Beyond thinking about your own success and income, you may also need to:
- Pay for business overhead costs
- Pay employees or other short-term contractors
- Handle all of your expenses and costs of equipment
And while services that are project-based, such as web development or building apps, definitely have some benefits, they do have a few major downsides.
One of the most obvious drawbacks to working on project-based jobs is the constant issue of trying to retain clients. These types of one-and-done assignments don’t do much to generate long-term income while requiring that you spend a lot of time (and money) on trying to source future work.
Recent studies have shown that it will cost about five times more, in terms of time and money, to find a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Other research tells us that businesses with high retention rates are able to increase profits anywhere from 25 – 95%.
As you can clearly see, by providing services that create recurring revenue rather than counting on one-off projects, you can immediately start bolstering your business’s success.
At the same time, it will also help you manage your finances more effectively because a more steady flow of income makes it much simpler to predict how to cover future expenses.
12 Powerful Ways to Create Recurring Revenue Streams for Your WordPress Business
When you decide to create a recurring revenue model for your business, don’t feel like you’ll need to quit doing all of your client design and development work. In fact, it’s preferable that you build your recurring revenue model while continuing to do the revenue-generating activities that brought you this far.
Here are the top 12 ways you can start building new revenue streams for your WordPress business.
1. Offer WordPress Clients Maintenance Packages
As you already know, managing a site built on WordPress brings a lot of responsibilities. After you turn a completed project over to a client, they’ll need to regularly:
- Run updates
- Create backups
- Monitor the security of their site
Because of this, a lot of site owners prefer to hire an agency to maintain their WordPress site for them. This is why creating WordPress maintenance packages is such a lucrative recurring revenue idea.
What’s best is that, as a WordPress professional, you can automate a lot of the WordPress maintenance tasks related to backups, plugins, and security.
For example, you can run BackupBuddy and iThemes Security Pro on as many of your clients’ sites as you like, as long as you have the unlimited site license for each of these powerful plugins.
Another option is to look at partnering with another site maintenance firm that provides white-label services for WordPress. While it’ll be your job to bring in new clients when you partner with a maintenance firm they will provide the ongoing services that you promise to your clients.
This type of white-label partnership allows you to brand maintenance packages under your brand’s umbrella. In other words, you’ll get the credit for the work that’s done while also ensuring that you’ll have plenty of time for other daily responsibilities.
It’ll just take a little planning and pricing upcharges to offset what the outsourcing will cost you.
2. Create a WordPress Membership Site
Membership sites have become more popular than ever. In fact, you’re probably a member of at least one membership site yourself.
And this is a recurring revenue business model that you can begin capitalizing on right now.
What are you most passionate about? What knowledge do you have that people need to know? Do you have a way of entertaining people just by showing your personality?
What value can you provide to a group of people that will be willing to pay a nominal monthly or yearly membership fee in order to have access to your exclusive content?
Membership sites are one of the absolute best ways to build recurring revenue. And building a membership site on WordPress isn’t difficult at all. All you need to do is add the Restrict Content Pro WordPress plugin to an existing WordPress site, and you’re in business.
Start looking at some existing membership sites in your niche, and get inspired to start your own.
It could be the best business decision you’ve ever made.
3. Launch a Reseller Hosting Service
Every website in existence runs on a server. Because of this, site hosting can be a great source of recurring revenue.
To begin, however, you’ll need to get the right equipment for the job. And this can be a bit of a large investment, while is a barrier to entry for a lot of WordPress professionals.
If you’re not in a position to purchase and maintain your own servers, consider entering a reseller hosting partnership with an existing provider rather than buying your own equipment. Several of the top WordPress hosts, including LiquidWeb, offer this potentially-lucrative opportunity.
Running a reseller hosting account will involve you working directly with the provider to sell hosting plans to your clients. Your chosen host will handle server upkeep for a fee, while you keep a percentage of profits.
This idea leaves you with a lot of time to look into other recurring revenue streams (the membership site idea!) as well.
4. User Support
WordPress only provides user support through its user-driven forums. And a lot of people need more personal assistance when they become WordPress site owners.
When you offer to assist clients in troubleshooting errors, you’ll immediately secure more stable long-term work for your business.
To launch this type of service, you’ll need to have a team of WordPress-savvy people at your disposal to help answer inquiries that come in. And the biggest challenge with this idea is how to compete with larger providers that offer 24/7 services.
The best solution is to outsource as much of the work as you can. There are a couple of different options to do this with, including:
- WP Care Market
If you prefer to keep everything under your roof, however, you could consider employing the assistance of a chatbot. Granted, these won’t be able to assist clients with complicated issues, but they are a simple way to automate your support for common technical issues and errors.
Keep in mind that if you’re able to walk clients through to a technical solution in less than five steps, a chatbot can often deliver identical information.
Several different platforms exist that help you create chatbots to add to your WordPress website, including Drift.
Another good option is Intercom, with which you’ll be able to scale across multiple languages and time zones. They’ll also give you a team inbox to help streamline workflow and productivity.
5. Turnkey Websites
This recurring revenue business combines reseller hosting and maintenance packages with niche themes that help you quickly produce completed websites. And it relies a lot on the model called WaaS (Website as a Service).
With a few simple searches, you’ll find a lot of info about setting up a turnkey website business. You can even access technical manuals and blueprints from some of the big players in this niche.
For now, just know that a WaaS option means that you build WordPress sites based on templates for niche audiences. However, rather than handing off themes and instructions, you’ll be managing the hosting, updates, and site security on your own. All you clients need to do is “turn the key” and start using their site.
What’s best, they’ll be able to do all of the content management and customizations they’d like, but won’t need to be concerned with anything beyond that.
6. Graphic Design
The way a website is presented to users visually creates a lasting impact. Because of this, solid graphic design is an incredibly valuable resource.
Another idea for creating recurring revenue for your WordPress business is providing clients with graphic design services. Whether you already have a skilled graphic designer on staff, or you can outsource these services to a subcontractor such as Deer Designer, your clients will get a lot of benefit from this.
Your biggest responsibility will be handling the back-and-forth communication between your clients and the designers, which leaves your clients free to focus on running the rest of their business.
By delivering professional site design elements to your clients that match their website vision, you’ll earn more revenue and gain more clients.
7. Workshops and Online Courses
Experience, expertise, and knowledge are incredibly marketable commodities that you already have. To generate new revenue streams, consider offering your expertise and knowledge to clients by holding regular:
- Online classes
This is a great idea to incorporate into your membership site, discussed in point one.
But there are several other ways to package and offer clients valuable online classes.
Spend some time looking into the different learning management systems and plugins that are designed for WordPress. One example is LearnDash, which is a plugin that’ll help you create classes and workshops on your site that clients pay to access.
By using this tool, you’ll be able to create learning scenarios that adapt to each of your clients.
You’ll also want to use one of the many add-ons for eCommerce platforms that provide simple and efficient options for payment processing.
8. Consulting and Web Audit Services
An additional service avenue to look into is providing an entire catalog of client options, including web audit services. This is another recurring revenue idea that you can partner with third-party services to make happen.
One of these services is My Web Audit.
When you use services like this as a standard part of your offerings, you’ll have the power to audit client sites on issues such as legal considerations and overall UX (user experience). Then, with the detailed reports you’ll be providing your clients, you’ll immediately stand out from your competition.
9. Search Engine Optimization Services For Recurring Revenue
As you already know, there are many different factors that influence how a website is served up in SERPs (search engine results pages). And doing SEO the right way is time-consuming and overwhelming to a lot of your clients.
When you decide to take on this responsibility for your clients, you open yourself up to an additional revenue stream.
SEO is constantly evolving. Because of this, you’ll be able to count on SEO services to provide constant recurring revenue for you and your business.
Consider creating some tiered packages that each include different SEO services. This will allow clients with smaller budgets to still take advantage, while those with larger budgets can invest in your advanced services.
Powerful tools like SEMrush will help you streamline these duties so you have plenty of time to complete all of your other projects.
10. Managing Social Media Accounts for Clients
In today’s business world, social media is one of the biggest players in brand marketing strategies. And every social media account requires a steady supply of high-quality content, as well as people who respond to followers’ comments and handle maintenance tasks.
Because of these reasons, social media management is a constant need that many of your clients struggle with. If you and your team aren’t able to take on this type of task on your own, you may be able to outsource it. But if you can, it’s important to look into an account management platform such as CoSchedule.
CoSchedule is a platform that helps you schedule, plan, and automate all content for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, and LinkedIn.
You’ll also get organization features that help you plan marketing strategies, such as email newsletters and blog posts.
The tool is really helpful if you want to provide your clients with original, engaging content on their social media accounts.
11. Create 100% Original Content for Your Clients
Every website needs good content. Content is what:
- Attracts site users
- Provides key information about a website and brand
- Helps promote affiliate links
- And a lot more
Never underestimate the value of content.
New, fresh posts are always needed, and creating content offers you a solid opportunity to generate recurring revenue.
Consider writing long-form content like articles and blogs for your clients. You can also craft marketing emails or web copy, and create engaging videos.
When it comes to content creation, the sky’s the limit. What you decide to create will ultimately depend on the skills you and your team possess, and the equipment you have to use.
It is, however, quite difficult to outsource content creation and still make a solid revenue stream. You also can’t automate the process.
Content creation is a great way to generate recurring revenue and is best if done in-house.
12. Create and Sell WordPress Plugins
A lot of WordPress plugin developers have been leaving the one-time-sale model and turning to SaaS (software as a service). Instead of customers paying a flat rate for a specialized plugin, they can now pay a subscription fee for a downloadable plugin, along with ongoing support and updates.
This idea often involves using a tiered pricing model that provides added features to the clients who pay more for the plugin. And a lot of developers have found that this strategy is exponentially more profitable than offering plugins at a flat rate.
Creating a Recurring Revenue Stream For Your WordPress Business
When it comes to your WordPress business, it’s imperative that you find new ways to generate non-traditional revenue.
Rather than spending your money and time hunting for your next one-off client, why not invest in an idea that can pay you forward for years to come?
You can build and design websites for clients that are one and done, or you can create a pathway for recurring revenue. One path will require the constant fuel of new clients. The other pathway will allow you to work with existing clients for months and years to come.
Let Security Help Secure Your Recurring Revenue
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Each week, the team at iThemes team publishes new WordPress tutorials and resources, including the Weekly WordPress Vulnerability Report. Since 2008, iThemes has been dedicated to helping you build, maintain, and secure WordPress sites for yourself or for clients. Our mission? Make People’s Lives Awesome.