Interview: Rob Dobson from WPMaintenance.Love

An offshoot of the extensive WordPress and digital marketing work that Rob already does for clients around the world

Rob originally built websites. But not being much of a designer, he moved into digital marketing. He still finds himself building websites for smaller digital marketing clients an eventually this started to be solely using WordPress.

After finding out that several digital marketing clients of his used WordPress websites and wanted them optimised both for speed and SEO, the WordPress maintenance business grew naturally. Soon Rob was managing the websites themselves. He then moved them all to a 3rd party maintenance platform and pushed the maintenance side as a separate offering. Today Rob runs over 50 sites and has a designer and developer on hand. Since WPMaintenance.Love is a small company, digital marketing, and website maintenance are usually done by Rob himself.

Rob Dobson

Rob Dobson

Why should WordPress users choose your company over competitors? Name something your company does better or in a unique way.

Mainly price. I offer a complete package for only £29 a month. But also for a lot of customers, it comes down to the digital marketing offering too. They understand WordPress needs maintaining. But it’s the additional services that in the end, they are attracted to. For smaller businesses, it is a complete package. And the personal nature of the business. Clients like to know the person who is taking care of ultimately, their prize asset.

Is there a tutorial or a video you would recommend to beginners who want to start doing WordPress maintenance on their own?

Not really. If you are thinking of starting a WordPress maintenance business, then you shouldn’t need one. And if you are a business, for £29 a month, your time would be far better spent on another part of the business. We’re here to take that headache away for very little cost.

What was the hardest WordPress issue you had to solve?

WordPress itself isn’t particularly hard. It is a pretty solid piece of software. Sometimes major plugin updates can cause headaches. But we always test things first rather than rushing into a major update, especially if it’s a visual builder plugin a site uses or something like WooCommerce or WPML.

What was the highest number of installed plugins a client had?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen more than 35. Though that number is high enough. Whenever we bring a client on-board reducing the number of plugins is always part of the process. There’s very often plugins that aren’t even used any more as well several backend plugins that aren’t utilised. We like to install our own security and caching favourites too. So we rarely don’t reduce the number of plugins that a site uses.

If you could recommend just one plugin to your clients, what plugin would that be?

Even though my SEO head wants to say the Yoast SEO plugin, I’m going to go with Wordfence. Unless you’re on a host like WP Engine (that doesn’t let you use it as they have their own security) it’s an absolute must.

Do you use ManageWP, InfiniteWP, MainWP or any similar tool on all your clients’ sites; or do you maybe have a tool of your own? What CRM do you use to handle payments and generally manage clients?

We use ManageWP. In fact, the business was started on the back of ManageWP. We had several design, development, and digital marketing clients on it and so decided to provide WordPress maintenance as a standalone offering. The WordPress maintenance has become our lead generation effort for SEO and digital marketing clients. We use Easy Digital Downloads for the packages and Stripe for payments.

Is there a hosting company that you don’t work with, i.e., if a client has a site with them you won’t work with that client? Is there maybe a hosting company you recommend on a regular basis?

I generally won’t refuse to work with a client because of a hosting company. But I will advise any client that uses shared hosting to make the switch to something a little more robust. If they are spending £29+ a month on a WordPress support plan, then they should be willing to pay at least £15 a month for a decent host. I like FlyWheel and WP Engine, though a little more expensive than some of the others. SiteGround is very cost-effective. All three provide staging functionality which is very useful. But I must say I am also a big fan of DreamHost VPS. They are excellent and start at $15 a month.

How did you learn WordPress and become a maintenance expert?

By using WordPress for many years. Plus, the internet has a wealth of resources and the WordPress community itself is incredible. But nothing beats working with a piece of software again and again in real life situations to hone your skills. You can read and study until you’re blue in the face, but guaranteed, day one on a live site you will come across something that you haven’t covered.

How/where do you promote your services and find new clients?

We don’t do too much active promotion for WPMaintenace.Love. Clients find us through search, or word of mouth, or Twitter and Facebook. And we’re always bringing clients on-board from the digital marketing side of the business. Everything kind of sits very well together – the design, development, maintenance, and digital marketing.

Do you think the industry and your business will still be operational in about 2 years?

Without a doubt. The WordPress ecosystem is growing, and the number of sites on the internet that use WordPress is at something like 25%. Unfortunately, that popularity brings its downsides in that WordPress sites become more prone to attack. A WordPress site is no longer a set and forget deal, if it ever was. But with the right support, you really have nothing to worry about. Touch wood, we’ve never had a site that we maintain be hacked. With a decent host and a few preventative measures in place, the chances of it happening are reduced massively. For the client, the piece of mind that brings is invaluable.

This interview is a part of the WordPress maintenance companies interview series featuring interviews with 20+ experts from leading WordPress maintenance companies.

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Published on October 15, 2017 by Ivan. Filed under: , .

Ivan still remembers creating his first website during a summer while he was in elementary school. Since then, web development became his passion, and now he loves to work and write about WordPress. He also enjoys sports and really loves chocolate.

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