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One of the best things I found was a book, actually. It's called Content Machine by Dan Norris, one of the founders of WP Curve. The main goal of the book is to drive traffic to your site by writing engaging content.
But since he used WP Curve as an example in his book, I was able to take a lot of the tips offered and apply them to running my own business. Today I'd like to share with the readers of ManageWP some of the tools we use at FixRunner that help us save time, make our lives easier, and keep our customers happy.
1. Manage WP
We use a lot of important tools in our business, but ManageWP is definitely at the top of the list. Before joining ManageWP we were using all kinds of solutions which ended up being a waste of time. We often had issues and I was always worried that the backups weren't done properly. When I joined ManageWP I was looking for a reliable service that would back up my clients' websites.
After I started using the service, I immediately understood that this software would take my business to the next level - and it really is. We use a lot of tools built into ManageWP but if I had to highlight the 3 most important ones I would say these are these:
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- Mass updates
- Customer reports
Backups are very reliable and hardly ever fail, mass updates save us a lot of time by updating our clients' website with one click, and reports keep our clients up to date with everything we do. do this automatically on their websites. That way, even when a customer doesn't open a ticket with us, the report reminds them of our constant work and involvement with their websites.
2. Doctor of time
We use this great software called Time Doctor to track the time we use to work on websites and the time our developers work online. In our business model, we don't sell unlimited support, we sell our hours. Most customers stay within the support hours we sell them monthly. But with Time Doctor, we can see if a client is using more time than what they paid for.
We always give our customers more support time than they paid out of courtesy, but this tool helps us make sure that no one is abusing the service. We also use Time Doctor to monitor the time developers spend working online. Some of our developers work remotely from different countries, some in our Belgrade office as well. Time Doctor allows us to track how much time the developers worked each day and what they did during that time. The software also has a lot of cool features like taking screenshots of the developer's browser, showing how much time the developer spent on each ticket, which websites they visited, and more.
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Now, I understand that something like this can overload a developer, but I don't really see any other way to monitor time. Having said that, I must note that we rarely look at these stats and when we do, it's only if we feel like something isn't making sense. Time Doctor also keeps track of the overtime worked by the developers, which ensures fairness all around. It's a great tool to work with, even when your developers are on the job.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with Zendesk, but for those who aren't, let me give you a quick rundown. Zendesk helps us manage all communications with our current members and new customers. It helps us monitor the response time to new tickets, it sends an automatic satisfactory check for each ticket, and much more. One thing that I have found to be very valuable is the ability to follow up with the client to make sure they are happy with the results. This has allowed us to maintain a high and satisfactory standard. Our team is growing rapidly and I don't see all the tickets that go into our system, but I can see if they are not satisfied. This then gives us a second chance to do everything we can to make sure our customers are happy, which is one of the most important things in this business.
4. Live chat
This is an important tool for both our current members and our new customers. When a new customer is looking for "WordPress support," they're usually looking for someone to help them right away. I can say that most of our current members started with live chat. Being available and offering fast service is one of the keys to success in this business! As for our current members, some of them have to explain complex issues to a live agent and the live chat is much easier than opening a ticket. According to customer feedback, we can see this is something that makes them happy, so we use chat for sales et also for customer support. I know there are a lot of live chat tools out there, but after trying a few in the past, I really believe LiveChat, Inc is the best around.
I know there are a lot of tools for screen sharing with customers, but the one we use and love the most is UberConference. You can talk while sharing the screen and share files with a customer at the same time. You can easily open a free account and create your own unique URL which you can send to your customers and they can easily join the call by just entering their name without having to create an account. It's super easy and a real lifeline!
6. Staging website
We host FixRunner on WP Engine. With each account, we can create transferable facilities. Since WP Engine limits the number of live installs on each account, we found the portable install to be very useful as you can move an unlimited number of websites to a staging environment. We use it a lot. For example, sometimes we run into a problem on a customer website and it's more complicated than a regular fix you can do on the live website. The type of fix that takes more work and can break the website while we work. Things like disabling plugins and themes, doing customizations, and other things we don't want to do on a live website. In these cases, we clone the website to WP Engine using the WP Engine cloning plugin. There are many companies that provide staging facilities, but we just found this one to be very user friendly. You can even use the amazing ManageWP cloning tool if you want.
Always looking to improve
As a growing business, we are learning new things all the time. In the list above, I have shared the agency tools that are most important to us and help us run our business as efficiently as possible. But if you have any recommendations on tools that make your life easier when working on client websites, I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.
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