Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. In today’s lesson, let’s discuss the primary feature of your Website Maintenance Plan: The Maintenance! The Management of a website. How do you manage your clients’ websites?! Aside from hosting, this is the meat of your services. Like a landscaper who keeps a lawn tidy. A property manager who keeps a house in good shape. A webmaster ensures a website is in its best shape: Live and functional. Let’s consider 7 facets of management: software updates, uptime monitoring, change detection, analytics tracking, search console, local listings and website support. Most of these include a particular free service that I’ve vetted and used for several years. Let’s jump in!
Software Updates! WordPress itself, its themes and plugins all need regular updating. Here’s what that looks like Every few days you’ll find something to update on a WordPress website. That might sound easy if you just have 1 website, but what about when you have 10? 20? 100’s? How do you possibly keep up with all those updates?! What do you think? Well, there is a fantastic free service I’d love to introduce you to: ManageWP. I love this software so much, so let’s look at this immediately!
PAUSE: At this point, please pause the video and sign up for your ManageWP account. Connect your own website.
Uptime Monitoring — So what’s the point of a website if goes offline? So let’s say a website does go offline, you try to pull it up, and it’s blank? Or won’t load? What do you do? Well, you fix whatever the problem is, but more importantly… how long was it down? If you aren’t actively monitoring your websites, it could’ve been down for days… or weeks! If it’s an eCommerce website, imagine the sales that would be lost! So how do you monitor your websites? Is it practical to manually check all your clients’ sites every day? And if you use a service to do this for you, isn’t that expensive? No! In fact, I use a free service! Let’s look!
PAUSE: At this point, please pause the video and sign up for your Uptime Robot account. Add your website as your 1st monitor.
Change Detection — This one is closely related to uptime monitoring, but fundamentally different. Let me explain this by example: Let’s say you pull up your website, and it’s been replaced by this. Did the website go down? How would you answer? See, the website is broken, but Uptime Robot is going to show it as ONLINE. That’s why you need both uptime monitoring AND change detection. Fortunately, there’s another free service that handles this with ease. Let’s look!
PAUSE: At this point, please pause the video and sign up for your Follow That Page account. Add your website as your 1st monitor.
Analytics Tracking — So how do you know how well a website is performing… if you can’t track it? How would you know if a fitness program is working… if you couldn’t track your progress? Likewise, when a website is launched, you need to measure and monitor its efficiency. How do you do that?? Through Analytics! Analytics software tracks the visitors that come to your site, lets you know where they came from, how long they stayed, if they’re on a mobile device, and much, much more. What do you do with this data? Well, what if you knew a majority of your visitors left your website without looking around? Or most of your traffic comes from mobile devices? Or your most popular page hasn’t been updated in years? Analytics data empowers you to make decisions to optimize your website. So how do we install Analytics? Is it free? Let’s see!
DEMONSTRATE Google Analytics, especially the automated REPORTS feature.
PAUSE: At this point, please pause the video and sign up for your free Google Analytics account. Add your website as your 1st property.
Search Console — We’ve discussed Google Search Console a few times, particularly for SEO, and it’s a free tool I certainly recommend for your Website Maintenance Plan. Search Console will email you when there’s a problem, and you can diagnose it. As a webmaster, it’s your responsibility to keep the site running problem-free. You’re being paid to do that. You can also include data from the Performance section if you choose to send a monthly or quarterly SEO report. That will list the top performing keywords and rankings. Google Search Console is completely free, so go ahead and include it with your repertoire of website maintenance tools.
PAUSE: At this point, please pause the video and connect your website to Google Search Console.
Local Listings — Another thing you can help manage for your clients is their Google My Business listing. Whenever something changes, like store hours or a phone number, your client may ask you to update their listing. You can grant them access, teach them to update it themselves, but for the most part, managing their listing can be a part of your Website Maintenance Plan. That way, instead of fooling with it themselves, they can just shoot you a text and consider it done.
Website Support — One of the most important things you’ll provide for your customers is simply support. Someone to call when things go wrong, when they need to make changes, or update their website. Web designers have a bad reputation for being unresponsive or taking over a week for even the simplest requests. I’ve heard plenty of these complaints. So be available! By email, call, text, video conference, whatever your client prefers. Get to know your clients and how best they communicate. The quicker you respond, the better. A rapid response will endear you to your clients better than anything else, and that’s what they’ll brag about to others.
So let’s recap. In this lesson, we learned:
You can manage your websites, including the WordPress, plugin and theme updates through ManageWP.