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Use Our Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) Template to Improve WordPress Care Plan Performance

May 20, 2020

Managing multiple retainer agreements can quickly get complicated. Find out how to streamline website maintenance processes and get better results!

Use our SOP Template to Improve WP Care Plan Performance.

Click here to Download PDF

Who is it for: WordPress development team, WordPress leadership team
Prepared by: Ronik, Darshan

Outcomes:

  • Ensure WordPress sites of our clients are managed effectively.
  • Speed, performance, and functionality of the website is great.
  • The same process to follow in every WP website update.
  • Reduce the time it takes to update the WP version, plugins, check speed, and check on backups.
  • Keep clients in the loop about website updates and actions needed from their end.

Critical Steps:

  1. If any time of doing this task, it seems like this entire task will take more than 2 hours, stop and report it to the project manager with clear reason first so PM can then can report to the client.
  2. Always work on updating the staging website first.
  3. Check to see if we have a recent back-up of the website. If not, take a new backup.
  4. Check if there is any custom work done on the site with the project manager and client that can get affected by the update.
  5. Review all website pages once and possibly keep them open in a separate browser.
  6. Update WordPress to the latest version.
  7. Update theme. Check if a child theme was created for the site. In that case, update the parent theme.

Click here to Download PDF

In the past, we’ve talked about how website retainer agreements help agencies improve cash flow while meeting their customers’ maintenance needs. In the world of WordPress, these agreements are commonly called WP Care Plans.

We’ve attached a monthly maintenance template describing all of the steps we take when fulfilling WP care plans for our clients at the bottom of this article. Feel free to use it to create your own customized monthly maintenance plan.

We’ve done this for a simple reason – while it’s easy to see the value of a WordPress retainer agreement, fulfilling one is not always so simple. Maybe you won’t run into problems with your first maintenance agreement, but those tasks add up over time. Managing a few dozen websites quickly becomes a formidable challenge.

Agencies that approach their website retainer agreements on an ad-hoc, case-by-case basis are asking for complications down the line. As with many aspects of running a digital agency successfully, establishing and following clear processes is key.

In this case, all of your website retainer processes will live in a single set of documents: your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Taking the time to create a set of SOPs for your WordPress retainer agreements will reduce errors and improve productivity across the board.

How to Create Comprehensive SOPs for WordPress Care Plans

While every client is unique, and their website’s needs will necessarily reflect their overall business strategy, there are several parts of your maintenance procedures that will remain the same among all of your clients.

Starting with an SOP template, communicating it to your client, and adding unique, client-specified responsibilities from there is the best way to ensure nothing gets left out.

Use our WordPress Website Monthly Maintenance Template for your WordPress care plans.

Use our SOP Template to Improve WP Care Plan Performance.

Click here to Download PDF

Who is it for: WordPress development team, WordPress leadership team
Prepared by: Ronik, Darshan

Outcomes:

  • Ensure WordPress sites of our clients are managed effectively.
  • Speed, performance, and functionality of the website is great.
  • The same process to follow in every WP website update.
  • Reduce the time it takes to update the WP version, plugins, check speed, and check on backups.
  • Keep clients in the loop about website updates and actions needed from their end.

Critical Steps:

  1. If any time of doing this task, it seems like this entire task will take more than 2 hours, stop and report it to the project manager with clear reason first so PM can then can report to the client.
  2. Always work on updating the staging website first.
  3. Check to see if we have a recent back-up of the website. If not, take a new backup.
  4. Check if there is any custom work done on the site with the project manager and client that can get affected by the update.
  5. Review all website pages once and possibly keep them open in a separate browser.
  6. Update WordPress to the latest version.
  7. Update theme. Check if a child theme was created for the site. In that case, update the parent theme.

Click here to Download PDF

Some of the elements that your retainer agreement will need to include are:

  • Specified Outcomes. You should always start the SOP with a description of the outcomes it attempts to achieve. If your client disputes any of the changes or updates you make, you will point here to defend your decision.
  • A Timing Clause. You won’t be able to manage multiple websites effectively without being able to stick to a timed schedule. Any task that takes significantly longer than expected should be communicated back to the client before work begins.
  • Organized Backups. Having easily accessible backups is vital. Making a backup of the website in its current state should happen before any changes are made. Sometimes, it’s impossible to tell how a specific update might impact website stability. Make sure you can reverse any mistakes that might happen before you start changing things.
  • A Customization Check. It’s a good idea to check if the website contains any custom coding before downloading any updates. Being able to find out whether an update will impact custom work is one of the most valuable parts of the retainer agreement.
  • A Plugin Check. Having an excess of plugins will increase page loading times. Performing a monthly check to make sure every plugin is in use and still represents the most efficient way to achieve whatever it does helps ensure site speed remains optimal.
  • Organized Updates. Keeping everything up-to-date and running is one of the main purposes of website retainer agreements. Establish a specific order for updating your client’s websites that allows you to troubleshoot things that may go wrong in an effective way. We recommend updating WordPress first, then the theme, then every plugin.
  • Logical Structuring. Some steps will be simple checkboxes, some will be Yes/No propositions, while others will be more complex. Use “if/then” statements to standardize how your agency will respond to the most common issues. (i.e. If Google Speed Insights says website speed is below 80, then verify caching, configuration…)

Develop Multiple SOPs to Handle Different Client Needs

Broadly organizing your websites into different categories will help you develop customizable SOP templates for most of your clients. If you have clients that span multiple industries, you can make your life easier by arranging industry-specific steps in your SOP.

For instance, an e-commerce website is going to need different monthly maintenance steps than a membership-based news platform. Some of these differences are going to be technical, while others will be more industry-specific. You may need to spell out how your retainer agreement is going to meet both technical and commercial needs in parallel.

Feel free to use our WordPress Monthly Maintenance Template to start your own set of SOPs and begin stabilizing cash flow while serving your client’s urgent maintenance needs.

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ronik patel

After building my web agency JD Softtech in both Boston and Ahmedabad, India, I wanted to find a way to help other agencies.

So we took our team of highly qualified website developers and web designers and launched UnlimitedWP, a white-label WordPress partner for growing agencies.

If you’re frustrated by how much time working in WordPress takes, consider UnlimitedWP.com.

For one low monthly fee, you can create and assign an unlimited number of tasks to our team of WordPress experts—with a typical turnaround time of 24–48 hours.

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