In order to start a WordPress support business, you need to think out-of-the-box. It’s an industry that’s still not crowded but it’s also not the easiest nut to crack.
Almost all of the credible developers only focus on providing WordPress development services and acquiring web design clients. So, launching a WordPress support business is not that as challenging.
That said, it is also not a stupid, simple business that anybody can launch and start making 6-figures in a month. There are some technical processes that you need to sort before you make your first dollar.
In this article, I am going to walk you through the complete process of launching a powerful WordPress support business.
Excited? Let’s start!
Step #1: Building your website.
This is perhaps the most important step.
You are managing WordPress websites and if you don’t have a business website, you will only be limited to your local clients.
Even the local prospects will want to look at your online presence to see if you are a good fit for their company.
So, get your business website before even pitching your services to the prospects.
Building a website starts with a powerful server.
You don’t need a dedicated server at this point but starting with shared hosting is also not a good idea.
I would recommend using a self-managed Virtual Private Server or a managed WordPress hosting.
I host all of my websites on Cloudways as it gives you the power to choose your server location, server company and customize the server according to your requirements. Coming at ~$10/mo for the least powerful configuration, it is not exactly the cheapest option but it’s worth the money.
Cloudways comes with awesome customer support, backups, and Git integration which will come in handy when debugging, updating, and upgrading resources on your website.
Furthermore, you can also Cloudways to host your client’s websites. For just $10/mo, you will able to host up to 20 clients with Cloudways without compromising on the performance and speed of the website.
Now that you are done with the server, it’s time to build your WordPress website.
Building your WordPress website
You can either use a premium WordPress theme or build a custom WordPress theme from scratch.
If you are in the business of solving WordPress issues, building a custom theme for your website will help you in the long run as it gives you much more control over future updates and patches.
But, if you are in a hurry to launch a business and can’t wait for a month or two to get the custom theme built, you can go ahead and get a premium theme from Themeforest.net and set up your website within a few hours.
Setting up WooCommerce to accept premium subscriptions
I know there are many other options but I still prefer WooCommerce as it is the most reliable e-commerce plugin for WordPress.
It supports user-registrations, multiple payment gateway integrations, etc.
WooCommerce is free and you can install it via your plugin installation dashboard.
If you don’t want to use a fully-fledged e-commerce plugin, you can also use Easy Digital Downloads.
Regardless of which e-commerce plugin you decide to go with, you need to ask yourself these three questions:
- Will your e-commerce plugin support thousands of user-registration?
- Can it support the monthly subscription module?
- It is easy to modify settings?
- Will you be able to extend the plugin’s functionality with custom coding?
If your choice manages to pull all of the above-mentioned tasks, you can move on to the next step.
Step #2: Setting up recurring and one-time payments.
Now, it’s time for your recurring payments and one-time payment setup. Now, WooCommerce — or any other e-commerce plugin — comes packed with the one-time payment module.
You order a product or a service and pay for it.
But, with a WordPress support business, you need both one-time payments and monthly recurring subscription module.
Unfortunately, at the time of writing this blog post, WooCommerce doesn’t offer such support out of the box.
You will have to purchase a premium plugin from WooThemes called WooCommerce Subscriptions.
You will have to pay a hefty price of $199.00 for 1 year of support and updates. This may sound unwise to invest this much amount in the early days of setting up your website but it is not a good practice to pursue the cheaper route in the beginning. You will be stuck with broken workarounds and technical difficulties.
Cons of not using a recurring subscription module:
- You will have to send payment requests every month manually. You might end up hiring someone to handle this later down the line when your business grows.
- Your customers might have to sign up each time you request a new payment.
- It will look unprofessional and counter-intuitive to your customers.
Selecting the right payment gateway for your recurring subscription
I would strongly recommend you to sign up for a Stripe.com account as it is hands-down the most powerful yet user-friendly payment gateway for entrepreneurs and any WordPress support business.
Especially for people who charge automatic payment on a monthly basis, Stripe offers the simplest process of setting everything up.
With PayPal, you may have to deal with the customer support and send emails to get this feature activated but with Stripe, you don’t have to do anything. It comes pre-activated and readily available by default.
Just insert your Stripe APIs and you will be good to go.
Furthermore, if you don’t want to accept payments on your website, you can also use a button provided by Stripe to redirect payments to the Stripe page.
The biggest problem when dealing with payment gateways is the availability.
PayPal and Stripe aren’t available everywhere. In some places, they have limited features and in some places, people can’t signup at all.
So, you need to have at least 2 payment gateways to accept customers from almost all the countries.
In this case, I would recommend the combination of PayPal and Stripe.
Step #3: User-registration and managing customer profiles.
This is not as complicated as you’d think.
You don’t need a complex SASS platform to run a WordPress support business. You also don’t need a powerful membership platform.
With WooCommerce, you will be able to get:
- Full name
- Email address
- Full Address
- Phone Number
With a few tweaks, you will be able to add a few more fields to your WooCommerce checkout page and retrieve information such as:
- Website URL
- Average Monthly Visitors
- Number of plugins installed
- and more..
You need all the above information to make sure that your customers don’t end up asking support for multiple websites with just one plan. This has happened to me on multiple occasion.
The customers can login to their profiles and cancel, upgrade or troubleshoot.
Since, you are not planning on including a ticketing system inside the website, you don’t need to worry about integrating anything inside WordPress.
Step #4: Setting up your sales team and offering a limited time discount for the first month.
If you have a small budget to spend on sales and discovery calls, and you are already getting hundreds of inquiries every day about your services, it is a good idea to invest in a sales team or an experienced sales professional.
A trained sales professional will have much more experience in selling your services to your clients. Especially, when you are working with inbound customers, having an experienced individual to deal with your prospects is vital to boost your client acquisition targets.
But, no sales team will be competent if not guided properly.
You will have to give them a small training and walk them through the whole process of signing up for your services, features that are offered in any said plan, and how the troubleshooting process works.
How to avoid some red flag clients
Clients will always want to crack a deal with you. Mostly because they don’t understand your business or the type of services that you offer.
Setting up a questionnaire that your salesperson can use to interview clients when scheduling discovery calls with them will save you a lot of refund requests in the future.
The biggest downside to running such a business is that you will have to deal with bad clients as you are offering user-registration on your website and disabling it will have a negative impact on your revenue.
Step #5: Setting up support packages with different features.
This one is optional but having different support packages for different types of clients is a good strategy. You can categorize customers into two different sections; bloggers/business website owners and e-commerce clients.
Also, a regular WordPress websites doesn’t demand much as compared to e-commerce portals.
So, offering different pricing will help you in making more money without exhausting your human resource.
Additionally, you can also structure a couple of support packages to offer add-on services such as:
- Security scans
- Development hours
- Product uploads
- Site optimization
- and more..
Step #6: Putting together a team of talented and dedicated WordPress developers.
Please note that you need WordPress experts who deal with WordPress bugs and troubles on a regular basis.
In the beginning, you will not need many developers and experts. So, you can start out by hiring one virtual employee and then gradually hire more employees.
If you are not a fan of hiring locally, you can hire people from UpWork and/or Freelancer. These two platforms are very reliable as you can check their status and customer ratings.
Since you are offering a support service, it is important to be active 24/7. So, make sure to hire people from different time zones to keep your business running seamlessly.
Step #7: Managing clients and handling the communication.
The most labor intensive process in running a WordPress support business is having to deal with customers and managing them.
On one hand, you will have customers who will not even contact you for months, you keep their websites updated and they will happily pay you, and on the other hand, you will have clients who will submit requests on a daily basis.
I used to categorize these clients into groups which helped me in solving their issues and problems without spending hours of assigning and micro-managing my developers.
If you are offering unlimited bug fixes, putting some level of restrictions to reduce the workload on your team will help in keeping the whole operation smooth.
How to accept support requests and deal with after-sales support
There are many custom support and ticketing solutions today. Here’s a list of reliable and stable cloud-based ticketing platform for your WordPress support business:
You can set up your account with one of these paid platforms and start accepting support tickets from customers. The best part about using such a platform is having the ability to assign tickets directly to your teammates which will help in reducing the overall troubleshooting time.
An alternative option to this would be a simple customer support form restricted to only signed in users in your website.
But, I don’t recommend this solution. It will help a lot in automating repetitive tasks in the future if you are using a separate platform that offers a lot more integrations without having the need to touch the code.
Step #8: Automating micro-tasks with free and premium WordPress tools.
Manual processes such as updating WordPress core, plugins, and themes which would otherwise exhaust your workforce are some of the many tasks that you can automate without facing any problems.
If you don’t use a plugin or a service to manage all these website together, you will have to manually log into your customers WordPress websites and update themes and plugins manually. This may sound doable today but it will become a headache if you manage to acquire 2000+ customers.
Imagine logging into 2000 websites and updating each of them manually.
Start using WordPress management plugins such as:
Although there are other options but I haven’t used any of them and the above-mentioned two perform well without any glitches.
Step #9: Finding some clients to sustain this business.
Building credibility online takes a lot of time. But, you can’t wait that long as you are already bleeding cash on your server and team.
So, how do you get some clients in the first few months of launching your WordPress support business?
The short answer — Word of mouth promotions.
I know it may sound a bit too generic but that’s the only option left if you are just starting out and don’t have a budget or time to invest of paid advertisements and social media marketing.
You can start answering people’s questions on forums such as:
Groups and online communities are still considered a viable source of prospects. Many brands still use forum engagement to boost their online visibility.
Do some research on Google and find a few hyperactive Facebook groups, Quora questions that you can answer and marketing forums that you can join.
Launching a blog answering questions and teaching people will also attract some organic traffic to your website. Plus, launching a blog to drive qualified traffic to your website is the best marketing strategy.
It’s free traffic and most of the users will end up signing up for your services.
Step #10: Using inbound marketing to acquire qualified clients.
Converting prospects into paying clients by showing them how you could solve their problems is known as inbound marketing. You convert clients by educating them about your services, troubleshooting process, and industry knowledge.
Unlike your traditional directionless blog posts and social media content, inbound marketing focuses on a specific niche.
For example, if you are looking for a solution to your WordPress image gallery and you find a tutorial that shows you how to troubleshoot this problem, you are more likely to spend money as you can relate to the problem and it shows you that they have successfully solved the problem that you are struggling with now.
That’s exactly the reason why we visit some websites such as Amazon and E-Bay for our shopping needs. These online stores removes the commuting and hassle out of the equation making the shopping a ridiculously simple chore.
How do you do inbound marketing?
You need to start a blog as soon as possible and publish niche content on a daily basis.
People don’t recommend publishing articles on a daily basis but let me tell you one thing, “if you are not grinding hard enough, you will not succeed.”
It’s not like you are publishing content to get some fancy award from a jury of decorated writers and authors. You write for that regular Joe who is looking for a solution to a specific problem.
In the initial days of launching your WordPress support business, you will have enough time to write at least one article every day. The articles don’t have to be super-in-depth or lengthy but it needs to offer a solution to a problem.
Even better, you can gather a bunch of questions or troubles and pump out a mega-post that covers all of these troubles in a single article. This way, you target multiple keywords and increase your article’s visibility on Google.
Include a good mix of different type of content when running a business blog.
I post one of these every day on my blogs:
- List articles/Top ten articles
- How to tutorials
- Response posts with the best solution possible
I agree that blogging is not the quickest way to acquire some clients but in the long run, blogging will help you in driving very expensive, qualified traffic to your website without spending a single dollar on paid advertisement.
So, start blogging.
Reach out to web design agencies and WordPress developers
Web design agencies and freelancers usually don’t have time to offer after-sales developer support to their clients.
They are always in search for an ideal tech support team that they can rely on.
You can reach out to these web design agencies and see if they are looking for a hand.
If they are, schedule a Skype call and present them with a proposal with all the features that you are willing to offer.
If you are a legitimate business and have a few articles in your blog, agencies will give you a try.
But, it is not easy to convert using cold emails.
So, start with cold calling and visit a few web design agencies in your area that are doing remarkably well.
Step #11: Dealing with refunds.
No matter who you are and no matter how much of an expert you are at solving WordPress problems, you will have to deal with refunds.
That’s the saddest part of being an entrepreneur.
Fortunately, Stripe and PayPal provides you with ample options of issuing refunds with just one-click.
If you are offering a 30-day trial period, please make sure that you interview the client before signing them up. There are some people who will sign up, ask you to solve a bunch of problems, and end up asking for a refund within a week.
Mitigate the problem to avoid refunds. Payment processors and gateways may limit or disable your account if you issue too many refunds.
How to avoid refunds?
I wish there were a magically formula, but there isn’t.
But, you can reduce the chances by:
- Carefully creating packages.
- Being punctual and prompt.
- Offering the best possible service in the market.
- Interviewing customers and qualifying them before registration.
If none of the above worked, it means that they just want a refund and there’s nothing you could do to retain this client.
In such a case, you can ask for the reason and advice from the client for future reference.
Step #12: Dodging shady deals and clients before they even sign up.
I have had my shares of dodgy customers. They will ask you to solve millions of problems and threaten you with a refund and a poor rating on Yelp.
You can easily avoid such clients by scheduling discovery calls before giving them an account. I understand that having such a step in the starting days may seem a bit too much and in most cases, if you are desperate for some clients, you can skip this step and deal with the problems at a later stage when you can.
But if you are already making some money and want to optimize your structure, it is best to have a discovery call and no direct signup for white-label clients.
Step #13: White-labeling your services to design agencies and web developers.
White-labeling is where the real money is.
When you provide customer support on behalf of someone else or a third-party company, it’s called a white-label service.
In simple words, you get the money, they get the credit.
Webdesign agencies love this kind of partnership as they no longer have to worry about support and technical assistants. Instead of hiring people in-house which usually cost more than $30k/mo, they can source this over to you.
Before you do start doing White-labeling, please make sure that:
- You don’t give them too many features like unlimited fixes, hourly backups and dedicated customer support executive in the most affordable plan.
- Offer discounts but don’t compromise of the features or the quality of the service.
- Never promise something that’s not mentioned in your website’s packages section. It will look unprofessional and there is a reason why you have a pricing page on your website.
- Don’t promise if your team cannot deliver. Even better, leave the talking to someone who’s familiar with the service or ask them to put together a list of features that you can support.
Do’s and Don’ts of running a support business
Running a business is a challenge in itself. But, when you run a business solving real-time problems, you cannot afford silly mistakes. Here’s a list of Do’s and Don’ts that will save you a lot of money and time when dealing with common and rare issues:
Always be on time
Never be late for meeting and apologize — if for some reason — you don’t show up for the meetings.
Nobody likes to wait.
Create backups before touching any file or a piece of code
Some people try solving problems on a live server. This puts your client’s website in danger. If something goes wrong, you will break the website and disrupt the uptime.
So, as a rule of thumb, create a full backup of the website and store it in your local server.
Send daily updates and check up reports
If you don’t send any reports, your clients will assume that you are charging them for not doing anything and that they don’t need a WordPress support business at all.
Conduct daily backups, security scans and performance check ups. Earlier in this article, I had mentioned a few plugins that you can use to automate these tasks. Use them and create automatic backups.
Compile a PDF document with this information and email them to the client every day.
This way, they don’t need to get an update and you will be able to keep a record of your team’s activity on their website.
Over to you
Building websites or making money by doing SEO for companies sound intriguing but it also comes with a lot of manual labour and uncertainty.
WordPress support business can help you make money without actually doing a lot of manual labor considering the fact that most people encounter the same number of issues when working with WordPress.
If you offer top-notch service, you will make a decent recurring income and score a lot of clients without even doing any marketing.
Are you ready to start your very own WordPress support business?
Drop your thoughts on this process and also share with me your deepest concern with this business modal.