| Apr 18, 2023 | | 10 min read

A comprehensive guide to offering managed website services to small business prospects


Today, every business from the small mom-and-pop down the street to a larger, established operation has a website that requires regular maintenance and management. Adding managed website services to your portfolio of digital solutions is a great way to become a more valuable partner to your small business clients and prospects, generate more recurring revenue, and create opportunities for upselling.

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If you’re ready to get into the managed website services game, this guide is for you. We’ll go over everything that should be included in your website management and maintenance packages, best practices for offering these services to local businesses, and some tips for how to do it all at scale. With the right process and tools, you can sell managed web services to a long list of clients without the need for costly hiring or outsourcing to unreliable third parties. Read on, and we’ll show you how it’s done.

Key components of offering managed website services

Website management services can refer to everything from basic managed WordPress web hosting to a more robust package of services that include hosting, content creation, and more. It’s up to you to determine what your agency hosting solution will include in its managed website services. However, the more of these components you include, the less incentive you give your clients to shop around with competitors who offer more.

Website hosting and maintenance

Website hosting and maintenance is at the center of managed website services, as it involves managing technical aspects, configuring and optimizing hosting for performance, and ensuring it supports clients' scalability needs.

SMB websites require high levels of website uptime, excellent hosting security, and effortless scaling to grow without interrupting their business operations. By handling their website hosting as a web hosting business, you take care of these needs while letting them focus on the day-to-day of running their business.

Website hosting is a part of general website maintenance, which also includes the ongoing process of updating and managing a site to ensure that it remains functional, secure, and current. The complexity of maintenance tasks depends on the needs of each client and variables like the number of plugins and traffic volume.

Security and backup solutions

Providing website security measures and managing backups for clients protects their websites from cyber threats and data loss. Proactive security measures include firewalls, malware scanning, installation of SSL certificates, and setting up automated daily backups. Here’s how each of these protect a website:

  • Firewalls act as a barrier between the website and the internet, preventing unauthorized access and blocking malicious traffic.
  • Malware scanning involves regularly scanning the website for malware, viruses, and other malicious code that may have been installed.
  • SSL certificates encrypt any data that is passed between a website and the browsers that access it, such as passwords and credit card data.
  • Daily backups ensure that in the event that something goes wrong with a website, a recent version of it can be swiftly restored.

Together, these measures can prevent costly and reputation-damaging data breaches and ensure that if anything does go wrong, disruption to the business can be minimized.

Software and plugin updates

WordPress website management services include regular updates of the WordPress version, theme, and plugins. These updates are important for two reasons. Firstly, they ensure the website continues to perform as it should. Letting some plugins become out of date and result in incompatibilities between them and other, newer plugins and themes, impacting the functionality of a site. Support is also generally available for the most recent version of a software or plugin, so keeping everything current will make it easier to get technical assistance if needed.

Secondly, out-of-date plugins and themes are a common source of website vulnerabilities, which can be exploited by malicious actors and expose your clients to cyberattacks. Keeping everything up-to-date can prevent this potentially costly and reputation-damaging situation.

Content creation and management

High-quality content engages audiences and helps websites perform better in their desired search engine results pages (SERPs). Managed website services can include content creation services like content writing and editing, and content management services such as content planning and seach engine optimization of existing content.

Content creation can be bundled with other SEO services to maximize its impact. For example, you can create packages that include SEO services like keyword research, on-page SEO, and link building, as well as managed website services like blog research and writing. Together, these will give your clients the best chance of being discovered through organic search.

Performance optimization

Performance optimization includes improving website speed, user experience (UX), and on-page and technical aspects of SEO. A faster website that offers better UX not only keeps visitors from bouncing, but it also directly impacts SEO rankings.

As part of your performance optimization services, you can include tasks like:

  • Optimizing images and videos to reduce file size and loading times
  • Using only necessary plugins
  • Compressing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files
  • Implementing caching to reduce server load
  • Using a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver website content from a distributed network of servers
  • Creating responsive designs that ensure the website displays correctly on all browsers devices

These ongoing optimizations can keep a site running smoothly and quickly in between major redesigns.

Analytics and reporting

Tracking website performance, user behavior, and conversion rates can help businesses make data-informed decisions to improve their websites and boost revenue. By providing clients with regular analytics reports, you can identify areas for improvement and open up productive conversations about other services you might be able to offer, like web design or SEO.

Best practices for offering managed website services

Standing out against competitors who also offer small business website packages comes down to making it easy for clients to choose you by presenting clear packages, offering excellent service, and having the right tools to deliver every time. Let’s take a closer look at how you can do just that.

Developing a comprehensive service package

It’s up to you what to include in your web management services packages. However, it’s worth considering the benefits of offering a robust package that addresses all your clients’ managed web services needs. Including all the services outlined above will you give the most control of the performance of your client sites, ensuring they see impressive results.

Setting clear expectations with clients

Setting clear expectations with clients helps you avoid misunderstandings, foster trust, and ultimately increase their satisfaction with your services. An effective way of doing this by creating a Statement of Work (SOW) for each new client. This document outlines the scope, objectives, timeline, deliverables, price, and other relevant details of your contract. This way, you have a document you can both return to make sure you’re on track.

For example, for a managed website services SOW, you might outline your regular tasks and deliverables such as monthly website performance reports, regular content updates, and regular plugin updates.

Providing excellent customer support

Website issues such as prolonged downtime can meaningfully impact your clients’ bottom line by reducing conversions. If you offer WordPress management services or any kind of small business website management, providing top-notch customer support will make your agency stand out from competitors: clients will have peace of mind they’ll get speedy assistance if anything goes wrong with their sites.

Using a website solution like Website Pro that includes access to white-label experts who can work on your behalf, including to deliver 24/7 customer support, means that you can guarantee excellent service without needing to hire in-house.

Offering flexible pricing options

Your clients may have different needs and budgets, so having a variety of pricing tiers can help you offer something for everyone, maximizing your revenue.

Your pricing tiers can vary based on the services included, the frequency with which services are delivered, or the complexity of the services. For example, a website that doesn’t collect client credit card information won’t have the same security needs as one that hosts hundreds of transactions per day. For some clients, reselling website solutions at a markup will be appropriate, while others will want fully managed services.

Investing in the right tools and resources

The right tools make it possible to deliver managed website services at scale, enabling you to grow your business without eroding your profit margins.

Vendasta’s Website Pro includes powerful solutions designed with agencies in mind. For example, the Website Admin Dashboard enables you to make WordPress version, theme, and plugin updates for all your client websites from a single location. This means you don’t have to log in and out of each site to make these important updates, saving time and ensuring no updates fall through the cracks.

Tips for managing multiple client websites

One of the biggest challenges agencies face as they grow is maintaining the same level of service with which they built their reputations. It can also be difficult to retain the same profit margin, since more resources are required to serve more customers. These tips will help you scale while avoiding these common pain points.

Prioritizing tasks and delegating responsibilities

Organization is the key to success when delivering managed website services to multiple clients. Prioritizing the most pressing work rather than wasting time on less essential tasks can go a long way in keeping customers satisfied. One way to do this is by using a tool like the Website Admin Dashboard, which can be used to filter client websites by those which require updates.

Delegating work to other team members, or to white-label experts working under your agency’s banner, can also help you take work off your plate so you can be confident everything gets done.

Using project management and collaboration tools

Using an internal project management tool can help your team be more productive and collaborative, while taking unnecessary stress out of managing multiple client websites.

Being able to see all of your in-progress managed website services clients at a glance can also help you spot deadlines and deliverables before they become overdue. If you choose a project management tool with in-app team and client messaging, you can also streamline your communications instead of having to jump back and forth between your email inbox and your project management interface.

Maintaining open communication with clients

Transparency can help set your agency apart and give clients the confidence that you are delivering on the managed website services you promised. Schedule regular check ins with your clients, whether it’s a weekly email update summarizing your work or a periodic phone call. You should also make sure your clients know they can contact your agency any time if they have questions or concerns.

Streamlining processes and workflows

If you can avoid reinventing the wheel with each new client, you’ll make your job much easier. Establishing an onboarding system, SOW template, and a standard procedure for completing managed website services reduces repeated work and allows more time for delivering valuable services.

Frequently asked questions

What is typically included in managed website services?

Managed website services typically includes website hosting, maintenance, security, software and plugin updates, content creation and management, performance optimization, and analytics and reporting. These services are designed to help businesses manage their website effectively and ensure that it remains secure, current, and optimized for performance and a positive user experience. Managed website services may vary in scope and pricing depending on the provider and the specific needs of the business.

What is the difference between managed website services and website hosting?

Website hosting is often included in managed website services. Manage website service include a high level of support, while website hosting alone may not come with any additional support for the client. Website hosting includes a server environment for a website, but the website owner is responsible for managing the website and ensuring that it is secure, updated, and optimized. By contrast, website managed services provide a more comprehensive solution that includes website hosting, maintenance, security, content management, performance optimization, and other services. The service provider manages these tasks on behalf of the website owner, allowing them to focus on their core business activities.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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