How do you grow the lifetime value of each of your clients without simply charging more for the same amount of work?
If you want to grow your web design business, you need to be thinking about how you can offer more value to your clients, and at the same time, increase revenue.
This will put less financial pressure on you and your business, as well as giving you the ability to expand and tap into even more growth opportunities.
In this post, I’m going to share a bunch of revenue generation strategies you can use for your web development & design clients.
Some will be add-ons for existing services that will increase the value of each sale, others will be additional services which will have the bonus of bringing in a more diverse range of clients.
Then there will be recurring revenue streams that will offer an extra revenue stream – ideal for both new and existing customers.
And the best part is that some of these services can be entirely outsourced through white label services. I’ll include recommendations for each revenue stream below.
Let’s get started:
1. Web hosting
Offering any sort of web development or web design services is always easier when you have full control of the server.
While this is a more difficult sell for those with existing web sites, adding web hosting to your service offering will make your job easier and give you a new recurring revenue stream.
How to offer web hosting services:
A popular option is to use reseller hosting. This allows you to host a large number of client sites, create and manage email accounts, monitor server performance and handle billing for your customers – all in one.
20i’s reseller hosting is a good example.
An alternative option that is better from a customer perspective would be to have your client sign up with a web host you recommend so they have their own account.
You could monetize using a partner/link link and charge a maintenance fee on a monthly basis. Billing would need to be handled separately if you do things this way.
If you build websites on WordPress and are looking for a good host to recommend, check out our list of managed WordPress web hosts.
2. Ongoing website maintenance
This is a common upsell to offer but if you’re not offering it, it would be worth doing.
Clients are busy. They need to be spending time growing their business rather than worrying about technical issues.
This is where you come in. Offering ongoing website maintenance is a great to give your clients peace of mind.
Exactly what you include here depends on your business and your clients, but for a general WordPress website, this could include:
- Malware scanning & removal
- Backup management
- WordPress updates
How to offer ongoing website maintenance:
There are a few different ways to offer maintenance plans.
If you want maximum control and nobody else taking a cut of your revenue, you could offer this service yourself.
However, I would recommend that you use a service such as BlogVault to take care of the heavy lifting.
BlogVault allows me to backup websites without negatively impacting performance, keep plugins, themes & core updated, block hackers and scan for malware.
It also handles malware clean up and includes white labelling of their connector plugin.
Alternatively, you could opt to outsource this entirely to a dedicated WordPress maintenance company. Particularly, one which offers some sort of affiliate program.
3. Niche website services
Web design is just the beginning.
There are a number of related services you can offer that would provide significant value to your clients.
I’m talking about services designed around very specific end goals such as security audits, technical SEO audits, and performance optimization.
You could offer these services as upsells for your core web design offering, but it would be worth offering them as standalone services as well. That way, they could generate leads for your web design work as well.
In fact, there are plenty of web developers that make a good living by just offering one hyper specific service such as performance optimization.
4. Installation & customization of specific WordPress plugins
Continuing on from the previous strategy, you could niche down further by offering the installation & customization of specific WordPress plugins.
For example, you could offer installation and customization of an LMS plugin such as LearnDash or LifterLMS.
You could do this with any other WordPress plugin. From booking calendar plugins like Amelia to performance plugins such as WP Rocket. The more popular and more time consuming to configure, the better.
You can take this a step further and build dedicated landing pages for each specific service. Optimize them for relevant buyer-intent keywords and you’ve got yourself another way to generate leads for your business.
And, you should be thinking about how these types of offerings could feed your other services.
For example, clients that hire you to build an online booking system of e-learning platform would be great candidates for ongoing website maintenance. You could also offer limited discounts for web design work to clients who take your website maintenance service for 6+ months. The opportunities are endless.
(H/T to Glen Long for suggesting the installation of e-learning plugins as an extra revenue stream).
5. Conversion rate optimization
Conversion rate optimization, or CRO requires a very specialized skill set.
The objective is simple – help your customers earn more money.
If you’re considering this option, I would highly recommend taking a course to better understand how CRO works and how it can fit into your existing offering.
How to offer conversion rate optimization services:
If you have experience in CRO, then you could simply incorporate some basic CRO into your web design offering. And think of it as a value added extra.
This would generally require implementing best practice advice. Anything more than that requires substantial testing based on real traffic, or the use of an AI driven tool such as Attention Insight.
Alternatively, you could offer CRO as a standalone service where you optimize specific pages within your client’s sales funnel. This will get them the best return for their money.
You’d either need to learn CRO to offer this, outsource the work to a specialised agency and white label the service to your clients or refer clients to an agency for a commission.
6. Content strategy + ongoing content creation
Plenty of businesses would benefit from a content strategy and ongoing content creation.
But most don’t have the in-house expertise to get the job done right.
How to offer ongoing content creation services:
Typically, you would offer a one off content strategy to pull together a plan which would meet the client’s objectives. This would likely include basic keyword research (we’ll discuss SEO in more detail later).
Then agree on a regular number of articles to publish for the client each month.
So how can you deliver this? A good approach would be to hire a VA with a content marketing background. They can handle the content strategy + planning. Depending on their availability, use a content fulfilment platform such as WriterAccess to handle all of the writing, then your VA can add the content into the clients CMS ready for publication.
7. Ongoing monitoring and reporting
Reportings are an easy subscription based service to add to your roster of services. Partly because they’re so damn easy to do!
The web is full of SaaS apps that can handle reporting & monitoring for various elements of your client’s marketing.
But what type of reporting should you offer? You could offer some sort of standardized report based on top-level marketing KPI’s. Things like traffic, rankings for priority keywords, competitor rankings, social media engagement, etc.
Or you could offer dedicated reports for specific KPI’s, and allow clients to choose what they want in their reports.
How to offer monitoring and reporting services:
Alternatively, consider a dedicated tool for marketing reports such as Raven Tools.
That said, you’d get the best value for money by going for SE Ranking because you’d also get a powerful tool for keyword research, competitor research, and more.
8. SEO and link building
Offering SEO services is like working on shifting sands that can at any point, become quick sand. Strange analogy, sure, but it’s entirely accurate.
Regardless, most clients will have no idea how SEO works and it’s one of the best ways to acquire buyer intent traffic.
The SEO landscape is pretty diverse and there are plenty of smaller parts of SEO that you could offer. These could include:
- SEO strategy
- Keyword research
- Competitor research
- Technical SEO
- On-page SEO
- Local SEO
- Content promotion
- Blogger outreach
- Infographic marketing
How to offer SEO and link building services:
Take a look at every facet of a solid SEO strategy and break each area down into one off tasks and ongoing tasks. Then, consider building out an initial “SEO set up” service and an “on-going SEO” service.
You could offer either or both.
A dedicated link building service would be worth considering as well. If you don’t have link building experience, it would be best to outsource this to an agency-friendly link building service such as UK Linkology.
9. Ongoing graphic design
There will be some form of graphic design related work involved in the websites you build but you could offer graphic design as an ongoing service.
For example, your clients may need:
- Blog post images
- Social media images
- Branding such as letterheads
- Image manipulation
And there are likely plenty more options as well.
How to offer graphic design services:
If you have a background in graphic design this will be an easy way to expand your service offering.
However, if you don’t have a team it can be incredibly difficult to scale this type of service.
Alternatively, you could use an outsource graphic design company such as Design Pickle or hire a freelance graphic designer.
10. Email marketing and transactional emails
Email marketing is another upsell opportunity but there is another type of email service you can provide as well. They’re quite different so I’ll explain how.
If someone opts in to receive email updates, downloads a resource in exchange for their email address or joins an email newsletter – these types of emails are considered marketing emails.
The other type is transactional emails. These are the emails that are required because of a purchase you made or an account you signed up for. These are emails recipients can’t unsubscribe from.
Both are important and have different use cases.
How to offer transactional and email marketing services:
Generally, transactional emails will require a one-off set up and nothing else will be needed unless the client wants changes.
You could incorporate this into your web design fee as an upsell or offer it as a standalone option for new clients.
The exact tool you use will depend on the needs of the clients but Sendgrid is a good starting point in most cases.
So, what about email marketing?
This can be divided up into an initial set up fee and an ongoing implementation/maintenance subscription.
An email marketing service will be needed. Ideally the client should have their own account for this, then you can get everything set up, etc.
The exact tool you need will depend on your clients needs, but a good starting point would be our comparison of email marketing services.
11. Social media marketing
Some clients may want to manage social media entirely in house. Others? Not so much.
While it’s essential for most businesses to at least have some form of active social media presence, how much of a difference it makes to revenue varies across businesses.
So, for some clients, it’ll be something they just need to get off their plate so they can focus on other things.
How to offer social media marketing services:
When building a website for a client who doesn’t have a social media presence – a basic social media starter package can work well.
This would consist of signing up for accounts, customizing them, adding a bit of content and generally making them look presentable.
After that? That’s when a subscription with tiered plans comes into play. This could be as basic as scheduling new content or a combination of managing responses, new content & reporting.
One option would be to outsource the work to a company that offers white label social media services such as 99social.
But, you’ll be able to offer a service more tailored to the needs of your clients by handling this work yourself or by hiring a VA and training them up.
You will, however, need the right tool to streamline the process. I’m a big fan of Sendible. The tool helps you source content to share, schedule that content across multiple social networks, reply to all comments in a single inbox and handle reporting. They also offer white labelling.
If you didn’t want to offer any content creation services, you could simply offer a management service layer where you check client accounts via Sendible’s social inbox and assign any updates that require a response from your client.
From a business perspective, this would give clients more breathing room and save them time. Empowering them to focus more on growth-centric tasks.
If you want to scale your business, becoming a one stop shop for other website related services is a great way to make it happen.
Not only will you increase the average lifetime value of each client, you’ll make yourself more critical to the operation of their business, so you’ll keep that client for longer.
And if you keep on scaling, you’ll be able to start hiring and turn your freelance business into a digital agency. Scaling a business is faster and easier with a team.
Regardless of whether or not that’s an avenue you’d like to go down, incorporating a few of these ideas into your service offering will have a significant impact on your business.