Interview with Brad Morrison from GoWP, with Nathan Wrigley
I got into building WordPress websites because I like building websites. Now that is a breathtaking insight I know! But it’s important to think about this for a minute. I have no metrics on this, but I know for certain that I spend quite a but of my week just patching up and maintaining websites that I’ve already built.
Go back a few years and the idea of website care plans was not all that widespread. Now however it’s all the rage and I’d be surprised if most of you listening to this podcast did not have some kind of offering in this regard.
You exchange some predefined set of services in exchange for a monthly fee. That could be WordPress hosting, plugin / theme / WordPress Core updates, email hosting, general tweaks to the website. You know how this works. You get paid and you hope that the client never calls because then your care plan is really profitable. But what if the client does call, a lot? What if they burden you with lots of little tasks. What if you just don’t enjoy this side of the business and would rather spend your time pitching for, and building, the next WordPress website?
Well if that’s you then you really need to listen to the WP Builds Podcast today because we have Brad Morrison on from GoWP.
The purpose of GoWP is simple, and I will quote from their website:
GoWP is the complete solution to outsourcing your agency’s tedious or low-value work. Our expert engineers and developers work as an extension of your team. Whether it’s WordPress maintenance, a 24/7 team for content edits, or page builds — we’ve got you covered.GoWP website
They have built a business upon helping WordPress agencies who don’t want to worry about support and instead want to build their agency and more and more websites.
Clearly, if you think that you’re care plans are working out for you then you might think that there’s nothing in this episode for you, but hold on there, perhaps Brad can change your mind.
Have you really looked at what it costs to suppory clients? Have you added up the time that it takes to field their emails and phone calls. The effort that it takes to allocate that work to someone on the team. The backwards and forwards because you’ve not 100% nailed down your offering! Perhaps it’s not as lucrative as you’d have hoped. Perhaps you’re close to breaking even on your care plans, or (let it not be so) even losing money each month!
In the podcast Brad explains about what GoWP is, who it’s for and what they will do for you.
Here’s their main points in a short bullet list:
- White label services for WordPress agencies (your clients will never know that it’s not you), they’ll submit and email and GoWP will get on with it and let both you and your client know when it’s done!
- Available 24/7 to answer the needs of your clients – I don’t know about you, but there’s no way that I can rival this myself!
- Unlimited amounts of <30 minute content edits.
- Plugin updates with a visual validation to check that all is still working as expected.
- Security monitoring and Malware cleanup so that you can reliably inform your clients that hacks are going to be taken care of. This involves WordPress hardening, daily scans, Malware scans and Firewall protection.
- Backups incase some needs to be rolled back. Off site, 90 days history, just in case!
All of this comes wrapped up the in the GoWP dashboard which is hub that allows you to have oversight of your entire agencies websites and their current status.
I know what comes next, you’re going to say, yes this all sounds great, but what does it cost? Well that’s easy, look at the GoWP pricing page…
$29 per site per month for maintainance
$79 per site per month for the addional option to have content edit
If that were not enough they have a new offering which is nothing to do with maintainance. It’s called GoWP Page Builds, and it’s also quite cool.
This is for those of you who want to run an agency but don’t want to actually build them. As it’s not really the prime topic of the podcast I’m going to just touch on it here. But GoWP Page Builds will allow you to hand off the WordPress website builds to GoWP, so you literally don’t have to do anything! It’s priced accordingly, but you’ll get two hours a day of dev time for an unlimited amount of websites, daily reports showing progress nd much more.
If you’re really good at sales and have no issues with filling up and executing your sales pipeline, this could be an interesting proposition. You’ll be able to sell websites and know that other professionals can build them for you!
Anyway, it was great chatting to Brad, and if you’ve liked what you’ve heard please comment below or head over to the WP Builds Facebook Group and comment there.
Mentioned in this episode:
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Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host s David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 189. Entitled. Let us take care of your WordPress websites so that you can keep building them. It was published on Thursday, the 23rd of July, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley and just a few bits and pieces before we begin. If that's all right, I'm encouraging people to share WP Builds at the moment.
I'm finding it to be enormously gratifying when people do actually share the podcast, you can do that in any which way you like, you know, on Facebook or Twitter. If you do go on Twitter, we have. Add a WP Builds or hashtag WP Builds, that would be most helpful. But another primary way that I'm suggesting is if you use a podcast player and there's a review system in there.
So for example, Apple podcasts, please make use of that. Any reviews that we get on Apple podcasts do seem to make a substantial difference. And so I'd really appreciate that very much. Indeed head over to WP Builds.com over there. You'll find a menu at the top and possibly the first thing to look at is the subscribe link on that page.
You'll be able to sign up to our newsletters. We've got two, one for deals and one for content that we produce, there's also options to find our YouTube channel. Find our Facebook group of over 2,600, very friendly. WordPress's it's a very, very, very polite and friendly group. And there's also options to download the podcast onto your favorite podcast player.
Another page I mentioned is WP Builds.com forward slash deals. That is a searchable filterable list of WordPress deals, significant amounts off WordPress products that could be themes. Hostings plugins, that kind of thing. And they're there 365 days of the year. So if you're in the market, definitely make sure to check that out before you buy anything.
Another thing to mention is that each and every week we produce a podcast, you're listening to it. Now we also have the weekly WordPress news, which comes out on a Monday and also on a Monday, we have a live version of the news, and you can find that in our Facebook group, which is WP Builds.com forward slash Facebook.
Or you can find it on our live page, which is WP Builds.com forward slash live. It's at 2:00 PM UK time, and I'm always joined by two or three, very friendly people in the WordPress space. And it's just a very nice live chat and you can comment and make your voice heard. So that's every Monday at 2:00 PM UK time.
Another thing that I'm doing at the moment is I'm chatting with Sabrina's. I've done, we've got this project it's called zero to 10,000 installs for our WordPress plugin. It's a novice's take on what it takes to launch a WordPress plugin. There's all sorts of information about other areas, but there's, doesn't seem to be much content out there about how to actually get your plugin noticed what you could do to make sure that you have a.
Good chance at the start when you launch your plugin. So join us. That's 2:00 PM UK time, and that's on a Tuesday again at forward slash live or in our Facebook group and come and join in the conversation. We'd be very, very delighted to have you, especially if you're thinking about launching a plugin or in fact, if you've launched a plugin, you could teach us something because we're coming at this from a point of view of ignorance.
We're learning on the job. If you like. The final thing I'll say before we start the podcast properties, head over to WP Builds.com forward slash advertise. If you have a plugin or indeed any WordPress products, and you would like to get that in front of a WordPress specific audience, we can help you out with that.
And a company that's done that is AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers rows, really anything. The best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor.
Check it out at absplittest.com. Okie dokie today, as I said, right at the start, we have Brad Morrison on from go WP, go to all new P as a company, which will take away the burden of having to maintain your WordPress websites. Perhaps you've got care plans, perhaps they're very profitable in which case this might not be for you, but it may be upon further investigation that you look at your care plans and realize you're actually sinking loads of valuable time into the.
Boring tasks. The things that really are probably not a great interest to you. I'm suspecting, you got into this to build WordPress sites, not necessarily to spend time updating things and sorting out plugin conflicts and all of that sort of stuff. So go WP we'll deal with all of that. Brad is on the podcast today to explain how the service works, what it will entitle you to, what it won't entitle you to how much it costs.
And also there is something quite new that they've brought out since we recorded this. They've got a new service called page builds and for a flat monthly fee that actually take away the burden of building the pages themselves. So there's an awful lot of content in here. So I hope that you enjoy it.
Hello there. Thank you for getting to the interview. Part of the WP Builds podcast. Nice to have you around today. I'm joined all the way from the USA, but I don't know where in the USA is. Brad Morrison. Hello.
Brad Morrison: [00:05:26] Hey, Nathan. Thanks for having me. I am in Atlanta, Georgia.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:30] Okay. I know where Atlanta Georgia is. I want strove through it in the same year that happier the Olympics.
No, they have the Olympic games and I drove through about two months before the Olympic games. So it was like a building site.
Brad Morrison: [00:05:45] Gotcha. Yeah. Yeah. Really the Olympics really changed this area. so it's, notorious now, for, there was a lot of growth, but definitely traffic. so drunk driving through is.
Sometimes a challenge. So, you should have won an award for that. It can be, it can be tough trying at times, especially rush hour. Well, thank
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:04] you. Thank you for that. Brad is on because he ha well, I'm going to say he's the founder. Is that the con can we just establish, is that right? Are you a founder?
One of many founders, the founder.
Brad Morrison: [00:06:16] Yeah, I am. I'm the founder. of course we have a great team that we've all kind of help, help build this together. But, we, we essentially ran a web agency for 10 years and then about five and a half years ago, we transitioned to go WP, but, But yeah, I'm listed as the founder and the chief happiness officers
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:34] who I like
Brad Morrison: [00:06:35] it.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:37] so the URL that you need to be looking at as this podcast goes on is gowp.com. So it's just, as you would imagine, four letters go wp.com. Hey, how hard was that URL to get?
Brad Morrison: [00:06:50] It was definitely a premium bike. It wasn't, it wasn't something that was just available, but, it, it wasn't. Expensive as I thought it would be.
so it, it, it worked out, but yeah, it did. And it was a pretty, pretty painless process for acquiring a, a premium domain.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:07:04] Okay, nice. Now, if you go to go wp.com and look at the page, you're immediately going to understand what. It is that we're talking about this podcast is squarely aimed at people who run WordPress businesses and have, let's say multiple clients.
I mean, I presume that you could use go WP services if it was just you. But I think their, their offering is tailored very much for people who have multiple clients, right. And frankly don't want to suffer the burden of updating, maintaining, supporting. They want to offload that responsibility to somebody else for a monthly or annual fee.
So the, the, the strap line is white label, WordPress maintenance, support, maintenance, and support, I should say. So my first question, proper question, I suppose, Brad is, yeah. W why would anybody want to offload maintenance and support? Yeah,
Brad Morrison: [00:07:58] it's a, that's a great question. And there are so many tools that are out there that, allow you to do maintenance kind of on your own.
at least to a certain level. what we offer is we kind of, we offer scalability. we offer the chance for an agency owner to kind of exchange what is important, but lower value work. So that they can focus on higher value project where higher value lead generation work, higher value, partnership, work, like the things that they want to do that make a huge impact to the growth of their agency.
we have a team set up to take on the maintenance to take on, the content edits and support of the WordPress site, after it's built. And so it, the fulfillment. When you, when you outsource the fulfillment of that lower value work, you can really scale it up and you can do it kind of on a per unit or per site cost, as opposed to having to invest in, you know, an in house team or even a contractor that may juggle priorities.
not in the way that you as the agency owner want them to juggle priorities, but you can kind of do it with a very. Dependable quality team that can grow with you kind of on a per site basis.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:08] Yeah. It's one of the things that has cropped up. It feels to me actually, five years, the amount of time that you've been in business, it feels to me like that's roughly the amount of time that I've been banging on about things like website care plans and things like that, you know?
that's become a thing part of the package now. Yeah. we're often we're often educated. Should we say that a website care plans are a good thing and looking after the, the, the support and maintenance of your own clients is a, is a profitable thing. And I suppose there is some truth in that, but. The, the sad truth is as well it's it might be profitable until the tragic moment where something goes horrifically wrong, and you are then forced into this horrendous situation where you're scrambling around for a solution that you don't know, you, you don't basically, you don't have the understanding of how to achieve it or something.
You know, a plugin has broken and maybe a debt. Damage the site in an irreparable way, or somebody hacked it, or what have you, is that kind of like the sweet spot? Is that where you're stepping in your, you know, it's going to cost us some money, but you fully own everything that goes on with that site, from the moment we start paying you.
Brad Morrison: [00:10:19] Yeah, it is. And it's the, I think one thing that really helps with that is do as, and I don't think a lot of. Tools and services that are out there do enough proactively. And that's something that we've tried to address is what can we take on proactively so that you don't run into those situations. And, and, and you can do that with automation and with tools and with, with, with good people.
And so like with our maintenance. Plan, you know, we, we have the visual validator tool where we do visual regression testing when plugin updates are made so that we know before you or your client does. So it limit the risk of something going sideways, is, is, a great way to handle that. And I do think.
I think in the WordPress maintenance space, it's evolving very quickly and the hosting providers are, tend to be leading that. And then there are a handful of companies like ours that, that are doing this either for business owners or for agencies and trying to push that and develop tools to do that even better.
because that that's inherently, the challenge with WordPress is it's this collection of, you know, WordPress core and then a lot of third party code. and those developers didn't talk to each other when they built their, their plugins. Right. And so, it's kind of a crap shoot sometimes if this is when something's updated, if it's gonna work well with the other collection of third party code that you're using on the site.
so that's something we're very, very much focused on is. Keeping the agency owner out of that position where, where they have to scramble to get the site back in working order. And, not only save face with a customer, but retain the customer, which is, a lot of times something that we don't even account for in the cost of maintenances, you know, maintenance can cause you to lose, monthly recurring payment and customer.
Right, which is huge. So,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:12:08] yeah. you mentioned, and I think, I think it's kind of one of the coolest things that I, that I've noticed about your platform is this, visual validator tool. I think it would be worth spending a little bit of time on that because I, I really, I just think it's. So clever. it takes, now I'm going to explain it and then you're going to tell me everything that I said that was wrong.
it takes, I'm guessing a continual or possibly snapshots prior to the update, firing. So you as the website, you know, the person that built the website or the, the person that owns the, the website, the client, if you like. You don't have anything to do with this. It's updated on your behalf by go WP.
They take a snapshot of some screens to see what they look like pixel by pixel. Then they'll perform the updates and assuming the updates have worked correctly, they'll take another screenshot and with some clever jiggery pokery they will determine if pixel by pixel everything looks just as it did. At the end as it did at the beginning.
And if not, you then fire up some kind of maintenance ticket before we even know anything's happening.
Brad Morrison: [00:13:17] That's perfect. Nathan, that's you, you got it. That's it. So, yeah, we, our, you know, the tool comes through, we run it right now, Monday through Friday. it during a set time, because we want to, we do want to make sure, like the maintenance team knows, like this is when this is happening during this, you know, three or four hour block of time.
and so that we have people available to just jump in immediately and resolve issues that, that, that happen when there is a visual problem, but that that's what the tool does. The tool comes through and we take, right now, 20 different screenshots, of, of each website. And then we apply the plugin updates.
we're also, theme updates, automated, theme updates is something that we're actually piloting right now. that's a little bit trickier because a lot, some themes are very outdated for one thing, and that's going to have a huge visual impact on the site. but, there are themes that can be updated, within the admin panel and have.
Updated licenses. And it's something that we can do. So we are including theme updates and that as well. So plugin updates and theme updates. we, we basically apply those updates and then we do the after screenshot on those same 20 pages, it's visually compared, and then we immediately get a notification if there is a visual change on the site.
And then that's when the human touch comes in and this, this is kind of something that's, I guess, different. What we do, if you're comparing, you know, what we do with, with tools that are out there, there are tools that can provide a visual regression on some level. There's some hosting providers that do that.
I think one difference is we have always been a service. so some tools we build ourselves, some tools we leverage, if we think there are other tools that are available, that, that do even a better job than something that we can build. And, we may take advantage of that, but it's really the people.
That are, that are, it's a service where we're proactively, having the human touch to make sure everything's okay. And, and so we're notified we jump in immediately, and look, and we, the roll, the plugin back, or we apply a patch. but in either case, we'll get the site back in working order and we'll let the agency owner know what happened.
And, and so it's kind of a, again, Proactive. We're taking care of it. It's not, Oh, here's a problem. You need to go look into it. That's not what it is. It's us getting the site back in working order. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:38] yeah, it's a, it's such a nifty idea. I really like it. under the, like you said, the, the. The pH the resistance, the icing on the cake of that one is the, is the end of it, the human interaction.
But I mean, it's, it's all very well being notified that there's something wrong. That's lovely. I mean, it's useful, but, but then to actually notice that somebody then fixed the problem is even better. So yeah. Is there any sort of tolerance on that picture? So the snapshot that you create at the beginning and the Snapchat you create at the end?
I mean, yeah. I mean, is it working on a literal pixel by pixel level? So as an example, probably ridiculous example, let's say that on a button somehow, the, the padding. Got increased by a pixel or two pixels or whatever it on its border. Is that enough to trigger this kind of thing? Or is it literally bits are missing there's entire columns missing or rows missing or whatever?
Brad Morrison: [00:16:33] Yeah, there is a threshold that we set on our side. I don't even know right now off the top of my head, what that percentage is set to. And we've, it's something that we even kind of play around with based on false positives. And we have things built into it, like there's CSS, exclusions and things, so that if there are, things that rotate or change, we can kind of say, okay, exclude that area because we know it's going to be art.
There's a high likelihood of it being different on the after screenshot. so we kind of finesse that, and look at things on a site by site basis over time. so, but yeah, the threshold there is the percentage would always say if it's 99.7%, at the same, right, then we would get that notification.
And it would say that that's the percentage. It may not trigger the all out, you know, warning. Hey, Something is wrong with the site. If it's below us, if it's below a certain threshold, but there, there is a threshold that we set. Wow. Yeah. One thing about this too, is we actually have a dashboard plugin that sits in the admin panel of each website that we're maintaining and that it, which is white labeled as well for the agency, but all of the screenshots.
So there's a log of every plugin update that we're doing, and it has a link to each screenshot for each day. Right. So. The end client or the agency can dig in and basically look at the before and afters as well. it's for accountability, but it's also just so that, you know, the end client can see, Hey, this is what's being done and even have a better appreciation for what it, what it means to do maintenance, which is sometimes something that, is, is tough to convey.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:13] Yeah. Yeah. I like that. It's just like a custom post type or something with a list of fields inside the WordPress admin. And, is it possible, are there permissions to, let's say, for example, you, you don't want your clients looking at those images. You can you switch them off on a per, per roll
Brad Morrison: [00:18:30] basis?
You can, but not through our plugin, I would recommend another solution in order to hide certain things. But
Nathan Wrigley: [00:18:37] yeah, that's fair enough. That's okay. You were talking about the, the fact that you're an engineer's, are triggering the updates on a certain schedule in order to obviously have somebody sitting in a seat at the time that the updates go out now, let's say for example, that I am on Australian.
as opposed to somebody in your, in your part of the world, who is North American, do you have these updates triggered at different times? Can I, for example, specify. Okay. I live in New Zealand. I would, I would daily like to be awake when those, those updates are happening, just so that I can be on the phone or be available.
I'm in Europe. I mean, North America, wherever I might be.
Brad Morrison: [00:19:16] That's definitely on the roadmap. It's not something we do right now. So right now, if you're going to do it, we start about seven or 8:00 AM on, our time, Monday through Friday. So it would definitely be overnight. And then at the end, towards the end of the day, for European customers, Australia, it would be overnight.
West coast, it's still kind of overnight. Right. And, and then, but yeah, for East coast it's it's during our mornings, is when that happens, but that is something that is on the roadmap. We've had active discussions about that and, and it's, it's something that we'll get to.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:48] Okay. Well, I mean, it makes perfect sense.
It, you know, as a business, in order to, in order to get this going, you need to be, Doing those updates at the time that suits you because the whole intention is that I don't ever actually, you know, need to interact with this stuff anyway, but I'm just interested to know if, if that was, that was a feature, it seems like a nice idea.
At some point in the future, moving on to some of the other things that are sort of bundled into this, I am going to talk. I've just so that, you know, what's coming. we'll talk about the security and the backups that you do. And, and also the, the sort of the dashboard that you provide that people might be interested in knowing about, and also the, the limitations or the, the, the possibilities in terms of white labeling.
But let's go back to first one that I mentioned security, so I can, well understand that. If I ran go WP, I would want to have things in place in order to protect all of those websites. Because obviously if things start going wrong on the thousands of sites that you're, you're managing, so nightmare for you.
So you, you have a whole suite of things going on in terms of, well, broadly speaking, let's just call it internet security, that it would be important for us to know about. So do you want to just run through the things that, the measures that you've implemented to try and protect the sites? Yeah.
Brad Morrison: [00:20:59] Sure. And it might be good also to mention that we are hosting agnostic.
So, you know, our, our sites, you know, we have customers that host on their own hosting environments. We have some that hosts, you know, WP engine and Kenston flywheel and SiteGround and cloud weighs and on and on you, if they're go daddy, if there's a hosting provider, odds, are we. Support a site or maintain a site is on that.
And so, there is sometimes some redundancy or overlap in the, I guess, general type of service, right? So, WP engine for example, is going to have their things that they do for security. they're going to have their backups that they run. Right. But we also do that and we're doing that in a different way and in a different place.
And, and so, the same with the visual regression and random testing, visual validator tool, are hosting providers that. Provide some of that, in a limited way, but again, we do that across any, any hosting provider. so for security and, and I would say the best you can never have, like, you know, as far as security goes, having that done multiple ways is a good thing.
Right? And, and, and having WP engine is going to have a vested interest in making sure their platform is secure as well. And, and so in any hosting provider is. and so with backups, the same thing that you can never really have too many backups. there haven't been plenty of times we've had to, it may start with the quick restore of, of like a kin store WP engine.
And, if, if that's, for some reason not working, or it's, it's not, not the, the backup that we need, then we can revert. That too. We can go down to the next level, which is, you know, the offsite backups that we have and we can restore from there. so you, you having redundancy is a good thing, for security, this is really where, you know, I believe there are for backups insecurity.
I think that's a good, a good approach. A good way to talk about this because it's really the same service. We actually leverage blog vault for backups now. Yeah. Now here for security. we've, we've tested and used, some other tools for years, actually about a year and a half ago, we switched over to blog vault in mouth care, and I think their solution is phenomenal.
I love AUC shut and the team, at blog vault, they, they keep improving, the last. Even the last couple of months, they have put out so many improvements and updates to, their, their service or their tool. And it's just phenomenal. And so we include, we include that, bundle that in with our service.
And so, you kind kinda got the plugin based like firewall. You've got the, daily security scans, the cleanup. And then if we have to jump in and manually do a cleanup or figure out what's going on, then our team is available to do that. Right. So that's how we handle security.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:41] Yeah. and the backups you mentioned were, offsite, I guess, in.
In the sense that you'll, you'll scrape them somewhere. I don't know if they're stored in the, in the directory of the installation itself or if they just socked up and put somewhere, but, do you, do you keep them for like a certain period of time, like a month or seven days or.
Brad Morrison: [00:24:01] Yeah, we have 90 days of offsite backups, and again, through, through blog vault, which is, which is awesome.
And one, one feature that I, that I like, that is included with their tool is that you can create a staging site from a backup. Yeah. And so, so you could pool, you know, a backup from 10 days ago and spin up a staging site again. Works great for us since we're hosting agnostic, a lot of our customers may have one click staging, but a lot don't.
And so this kind of creates common ground, for us to dig into issues. If we have to carry it to staging, we can say, Hey, let's, let's do it from, from yesterday's backup. Spin it up and see what's going on or create a bit quick backup right now and spin up staging from that, which is really cool.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:24:47] Okay.
How often are you doing things like your, your backups? I know that you, I think you said it was a daily backup, but just, just to be sure. but also things like the scans. Are you trying to do this mostly on a 24 hour period? Do we have any control over that? And can we increase decrease, as we see fit.
So for example, if I'm a, if I'm a blogger. Producing one blog post today. Very useful to have a backup every day. But if it's a, a site that, I don't know, a brochure site, which changes very, very infrequently. Can I ramp that down a little bit as well?
Brad Morrison: [00:25:15] Or. w we do it daily and we do offer the real time backups that blog vault offers as well again for like fits on how to use C commerce site where restoring the yesterday's backup.
Is it going to cut it? using real time, backups would be the way to go, but yeah, it's, it's it's daily scans and daily backups. Daily scans, obviously ongoing, but the backups go back for 90 days. So
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:39] I guess if you go to blog fall or Malka, you can sort of see the, you know, the deep integrations that they've got for themselves, which is quite nice.
And where do you, where do you actually keep your, your backups? Are they, are they held in like a data center, like Google cloud or Amazon and AWS or something
Brad Morrison: [00:25:54] like that? Yeah, it's AWS. It's through the blind vault service. Okay.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:58] Right. Okay, great. Okay. So let's, let's talk about what it would feel like if I was to actually go and go to go WP and look at the pricing, which we'll come to towards the end.
And I figured figure actually, you know what? This is, this is for me. this is just what I need. I want to get rid of that burden. What do I do? aside from signing up, how do I actually get this on my client websites? Is there a process that I've got to go through? can not be automated from the go WP backend?
What, what what's involved? Yeah.
Brad Morrison: [00:26:30] Good. Great question. Yeah. And, it's, you know, that, that is a, it's something that we continually try to make easier and, and revamp the process. It's a little different than just buying a widget, right? You're, you're buying, it's a service and it's a service where you have to share credentials and you have to, you know, you're giving access to your client's side.
And so yeah, the way this works is, you essentially go to our website, you have become a partner. then that gives you access to our client portal. So it's just a quick free sign up to the client portal. And then when you're ready to add a site, you can do it on a site by site basis. So there's an order, new services tab, essentially within the client portal.
So you log into your account order new services, and then you click, I want to add a maintenance plan. And so on then in the secure portal, there is a place for you to enter the domain of the site. And then we're going to ask for the credentials. So we have to, we need WordPress admin credentials. We need.
FTP credentials. So we have a handful of fields that are there, that, that give us the information that we need in order to activate the site. so, that is submitted and then our team, and we also have a place, you know, there are many sites that have modified, plugins or modified themes and not done the WordPress way that it, that had been done incorrectly.
And it's because a lot of times they've inherited the site. I mean, it's not the fault of the agency owner. It's just, the site has kind of been passed around a few times. And, three years ago when it was built, they couldn't find a better way to. Create a quoting engine. So they modified a plug in directly.
And so if that plugin is updated, then it's going to override all of that customization. So we have in the field a place where you can tell us that information, if there's anything specific to the site, that that, you know, is going to be a problem. Then we have a way, and it's actually in our dashboard plugin, where you've been on down the road, you were, the client could log in and exclude a plugin from our updates.
so, so there's a, there's a place to put some of that information in the form. And then you basically just place the order. Our team gets it. And then we make a backup. We bring all plugins up to date. We connect it to our visual validator tool. We connected to blog vault and the ongoing, backups and security scans.
And then we send you a note that says, Hey, you know, we've got this moving forward. So this is what we're taking care of. Here's where you can view what we're doing. We can set up the ongoing reports to go to their client, to your, your client. and so it's just taken care of. And, and so. you, you could then add it's, you know?
Yes. Like for pricing, we do volume discounts, but you can add those over time. And so, you could just say, Hey, I've got three more sites to add, log in and add those three sites and then we take care of it. Right,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:29:08] right. I'm just trying to get it clear in my head if I, so let's say that a brand new never used your service before and I'm coming and I'm bringing over 10 sites.
So that sounds like a reasonable number. I'm gonna, so you there's, there's areas in the, the dashboard for me to enter, admin username and password and, SFTP, FTP. What have you, credentials do I then kind of. Leave it up to you or is there a button to click or do I have to go to those child sites?
I'm going to call them and install the sort of dependency plugin, or kind of leave that to you. And is, is the FTP details in order that the platform can do things or is that simply so that your maintenance staff can do things with those credentials?
Brad Morrison: [00:29:54] Yeah, it's, it's a little bit of both. So you don't have to do anything once you give us that info as the agency owner, we take care of everything.
so, and then we would let you know that, Hey, it's been, it's been activated, the FTP credentials are for connecting to the tool. For example, for the restoration, if we have to restore back up, we need SFTP info to do that. but then we also, we don't really want to make any, even a content change on a website.
Without having the ability to, to, to go back and, you know, re roll back something that we do. If we save something locally or whatever. So we don't, we don't really want to, to touch a website without having the FTP credentials, also a WordPress app. And it's not enough.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:34] Okay. So the process is basically done entirely by you.
All I have to do is log in, set up my, my, my business name or what have you with you decide on the amount of sites I want to do. Find those details locked away in multiple bits of paper or stashed on the walls, or hopefully something more secure, like last pass or something like that, and just hand them over and you'll do it.
And. I'm just intrigued. Cause it sounds like a very, a very human in human resource, intensive business that you've got here. But presumably some of that stuff that you've just described is automated. You know, the, the FTP details will be plugged in on your end and it'll reach out to that website and, and install whatever it needs to install automatically.
Brad Morrison: [00:31:18] Yeah. Yeah. There's definitely some automation in place for that. We've got the activation process we've got down and, you know, there are times when a customer brings on 50 a hundred sites and, you know, we may have to divide that over a couple of days to get that, that up and running. So, but that's usually the only time we run into that.
And then the ongoing that's the, that's the most labor intensive is the activations of those, because it's also a time where a lot of societies. You know, maybe they've been elected and we're always going to do a manual review when we bring those plugins up to date initially. so we're going to go and dig into the site and make sure, okay, this doesn't look right.
This isn't the way. And so we may have to roll something back because it's been two years since this was updated on the side. so, yeah, so that, that process is definitely more labor intensive, but ongoing. We have a lot of automation in place and smart automation. that can, that where we can, you know, we can proactively, be notified.
if there's a problem, we need the human touch. So that's
Nathan Wrigley: [00:32:22] nice. in, in many ways it feels like the kind of service that I would now, please don't take this the wrong way. I hope this comes out in the right way. It kind of feels like the sort of service that I, I would. I would, I would love to subscribe to, and then kind of forget about if you know what I mean.
you know, you just sort of want to know that these guys go WP. They've got my back. I just want to let you get on with it. however, The dashboard that you present, does it enable you to interact? Should you wish, you know, if you want to be the, the, the custodian of the data and, and, and examine exactly what's going on, you have got this dashboard, which, upon current reading, the website's demonstrating sort of three areas it's showing.
The, the history I presume of plugins and updates, it's showing the, the backups and how many of those have gone along and any security things that have happened as well. I'm wondering if you would talk that through with us, but also is any of this data, do you put any kind of like little reports together that we can send to clients?
Or is this just okay. Just make it available to the clients in the WordPress admin and they can see all this stuff for themselves.
Brad Morrison: [00:33:28] Yeah. So yes we do. so yeah, you'll see that real time in the, in the dashboard plugin. but we do set up monthly reports that can go directly to your clients that have it really nice in a pretty format that says, you know, these are all the updates we made last month.
backup security. these are how many, bad dads tried to, log into your site. And so, you know, we give that report, performance, uptime monitoring, all of that. Yes, we send, in a PDF format, but for the dashboard plugin, that's kind of a real time log of those three areas, updates, backup, security.
but we also have some other functionality built into the, to the dashboard plugin. So there is a settings area. like under the updates where you can, you know, I mentioned that we take screenshots of 20 different pages. so imagine the scenario where we're just randomly pulling 20 pages, we may pick tag pages, author pages.
Pages that are lower value. They're not, they're not the ones that, you know, the homepage and all of your service pages. Right? So, so we have an area that, that, where you can actually specify the URLs that are included in the visual regression testing. so you could just literally paste the URLs on top of each other.
And those are the ones that will take screenshots. as we, as we make plugin updates, you can also exclude certain plugins, pages. So you can say. I don't want this page included because it's a tag page or it's a, it's something that seems to have problems at times, but it's not important to me.
So we don't want that to take up one of the 20 slots. by default we do the homepage, a random, page, a random posts, a random tag page. We do. And so that's kinda how we do it, that you can X out those and literally stack in what you put in what you want to. The other area, which I think is really cool is there is.
so, and, and by the way, that is plugin aware for two plugins. So for like woo commerce and the events calendar, it will actually automatically include like the events, archive page and then an event. Detailed page. And if it is commerce, it'll include the shot page. And, you know, there's a number of pages that it will automatically include.
and we're going to be building that out to more plugins. Again, we kind of have a good repository of information on not only what breaks, but what plugins people are using across a lot of different sites. but the. The other functionality that's in there is if there is a plugin that's been directly modified or it always breaks when the blood say, Hey, you know, Wu commerce, or, you know, I'm not to pick on WooCommerce, but this plugin, when it's updated, it always seems to break the side.
Maybe it's a problem with the theme. There's just an issue. And so we don't want that included even in the visual validator updates. There is a place for you to say, I don't want this included, let's do this manually, you know, once a month or we'll let you know when you can update this, but you can basically exclude it from our, our, our daily visual validator updates.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:36:22] So, yeah. I'm just wondering what the dashboard do I have the capacity to sort of interact with the, with the stuff that's shown on the dashboard. So for example, in the case of the backups, it's, it's listing all the backups and what have you. And, and times that they were taken and so on and so forth, do I, do I have access to those?
Could I, for example, download them? Should I, I mean, the whole service that you provide, I guess the idea is that you don't need to, but can you.
Brad Morrison: [00:36:47] Yeah. So in the dashboard, we're a bit limited in what is exposed to us by blog vault for backups specifically. And so that again, on the roadmap, we've had those discussions and that will happen.
what we can give you is we can set you up as a collaborator though, so that you do have access to do that directly in Blackville.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:37:04] Okay, so, okay. So we're kind of, we're kind of at the point now where we've worked out, what it is that you, you do, we've worked out what it is that you're capable of doing and what have you, you know, should, should you sign up?
But I think the one thing which intrigues me most of all about this, the bit that I like the best is the white labeling option that you provide because a lot of people would be very nervous to kind of represent their brand. We're going to build this wonderful website where we can do all of this.
Amazing stuff, this great WordPress technology to build what you've got and then kind of feel that they were, sort of selling themselves a bit short. Should they then say, and we're going to go to this third party service to, to do all this updating and what have you, cause it just feels a bit weird.
So you've got the white label option and it is that like from, from head to toe white label, everything, no trace of go WP at all.
Brad Morrison: [00:37:59] Yes, that is correct. And we, we there's really two different types of white labeling. So, you know, we've talked about the maintenance side. So the maintenance dashboard does this plugin that is installed.
There is a hidden tab where the agency can go in and make that their own by default. It's just very generic maintenance. And so it says maintenance dashboard and, you know, there is, there is weird to go. WP is not exposed in any way, but there's a place for you to go and add your logo. This maintenance dashboard becomes your, the agencies maintenance dashboard that the client can see.
so there's, there's white labeling built into that. And then we have the white label, email workflow. so the white label email workflow is primarily used when someone is not. Just on a maintenance plan. They're also on the maintenance and support or content edits plan as well. So for example, you, as the agency owner has a client, Bob and Bob, is updating their website.
They know how to go in and add a blog post, but that's not the best use of their time. install, configure, plugins, troubleshoot something, whatever it is. you can do that, but again, that's not the best use of your time. So, this is where you would set up, you know, [email protected]
And then that would be forwarded to a mailbox that we have created on our side and our help desk system. so that when Bob emails you about adding a blog post, it comes directly to your mailbox. On our side, our 24 17 would kind of jump on that. And, and they would respond back to Bob and say, Hey, Bob, your blog post has been added.
And that would go back out through your support at your agency, email address.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:40] Interesting. Do you take in those emails, do you take on any of the branding within the actual email itself? So for example, do you, do you customize the footer of the replies that come from your staff or is it just like a plain text email with.
Brad Morrison: [00:39:55] Yeah, you can customize that so it can include your signature. You can specify the signature and then, you also, yeah, the, the auto reply. And so like the auto reply, when a ticket has been submitted or a task or request has been submitted, we can customize what. Your client receives back so that it takes on your tongue.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:13] Fantastic. That's great. The, one of the things that I was interested and I, I presume from everything that you've said, that this is not yet a feature, but I wondered if it ever would become a feature. A lot of the companies that use these days have for let's go for the biggest, the gorilla in the room would be Intercom.
they have the sort of chat widget embedded. I was just wondering if that was something that you were looking at it for, you know, broadening it, instead of just being email, if at some point in the future you were, you were going to do a chat support, white labeled. I don't know how that would work, even that would be really complicated.
Brad Morrison: [00:40:46] And even with phone, we don't have a great way to white label that, so. Agencies have access to call us. but, they're in clients right now. I don't have a good way to white label that. So we don't, w the real time, real time support is, is, is different. that's, that's a little bit harder to implement.
it's, you've really, managing the resources, managing the, the great staff that we have and being able to make sure everyone is kind of. you know, fully utilized and, and able to take the time to provide the best support they can. we kind of have it, this there's a difference in customer support and technical support or WordPress support that we're providing.
so we do have like a drift widget on our site. If there are account issues, For the agency. but even if a client was asking us to add a blog post, or asking, even in some cases a question, we kind of have to research that very rarely, is it going to be something that we're just going to have a quick response that we can deliver over, over chat?
it's something that we kind of need to dig into and get back to them on. So yeah. We haven't done that because it's, it's not, it's, it's more, you know, it's, it's a technical support service, as opposed to that takes time, as opposed to just a kind of quick hit customer service. But it is something that we have talked about we've even had, we've had, bigger companies, like, like hosting providers and, and others saying, Hey, I'd like your resources to be available for, you know, our support staff.
And so we've even explored that. And we may come up with some solutions for that. I mean, we've got to. A fantastic team. And there's a lot of different ways. We could leverage that to help people. And that's what we want to do, but we have, we have to do it. one, one thing that I love and I have to put in a plug for Lucas cardiac, our he's, our, director of maintenance.
And he and I have worked together for 10 years and he really leads all of the dev side of what we do. And, something that he's really good about is, you know, is this scalable, you know, we don't want to do something that might help one agency one time, but then as we try to do it for other agency, it causes problems for them, their clients.
And, and so, so we're very careful before we roll out stuff like that, but it's definitely something we've talked about.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:43:02] Yeah. I was just wondering if this sort of strange boundary between some kind of, so let's say for example, that I set up [email protected] and I configure it in such a way that you guys are the recipients of that email address.
Is there a way that I can, how to describe this filter emails that are, that are, egressing towards you and in some way, Like keep something to myself. So as an example, you know, just some kind of quirky email that comes from a client, which is really not a support request. It has no bearing on anything.
And it essentially, it just requires some kind of personal reply. No, we don't do that. Or whatever. In other words, the content of the, the reply to that email is only known by me. You would not know the answer to it because it's yeah. So is there a way to kind of get involved in that email exchange in some way?
Brad Morrison: [00:43:53] Yeah, it's another fantastic question. And it's something that comes up a good bit. so again, there are really two ways to handle that. The first is. We can filter things for you. so, you know, if you're using, if you're sending support, to us, our team can take on what we take on and we will never go back to your client and say, Hey, you sent us something that's out of scope.
We would always forward that to you, the agency owner, and say, Hey, Nathan, your client asks us about, you know, SEO strategy and that's not something we do. When I follow up with them. And so that that's a very common workflow is that agencies send everything to us. We take on what we can. And so we're, we're the screen for them, so that they don't have to spend their time filtering out email messages.
They just get the items that they need to work on. And again, it's all that, let us take the lower value work so you can focus on the higher value. And so that's. That's one way to handle it. we do have some agencies that have, you know, 10 account managers and each of those account managers handles, you know, five or six clients each.
And what they want is they want everything to go to the account manager. And then the account manager kind of filters that out. I'm going to leverage the in house team or, or maybe I'm going to do this myself, but these things I'm going to send to go to VP and that they sent it that way. And we have had a few, it can be tricky to get our help desk system, to work with other help desk systems.
But it's something that I'm always happy to look at and see if there's a. Automated way we can get that as well. So that, you know, if you're using like a team work desk, you can say, all right, well, this is something for this developer, but this task goes to go to a VP and you can send it that way. so that that's an option as well.
and then one other way is within the client portal that I mentioned, where you can order new services, there is there's actually a support tickets area where you can see all of the tickets that have been submitted by your clients. Nice. So you can jump in there as the agency owner, if you need to.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:45:53] Oh, perfect.
I just think that's everything about that answer was exactly what I would have wanted to have heard. in other words, it is the process could simply be you get everything. You filter out what you, you know, the terms and conditions that you've got, in terms of what you'll provide, I presume a very clear upon signup and then you'll just push the stuff that you can't get involved with.
PR SEO is a great example, back at me and I can then deal with those things. That's perfect. Right? so the, the. The $10,000 question probably not is pricing. as with all these things, you know, there's gotta be a price involved. So I'm wondering, I'm going now to go wp.com forward slash pricing. And on there, you'll see a whole bunch of things.
I immediately, I can see that there are two different, different features or sorry, different plans. There's the maintenance plan, labeled at 29. Dollars per month as of the time of recording. And then there's the maintenance and unlimited content at its plan at $79. And you can see the usual thing, a pricing table with a few things knocked off the cheaper plan, but you know, you can look at that for yourself.
Are there other options above and beyond those? For example, if I was a big hitter, a huge agency, can I bring my custom, pricing to bear on you?
Brad Morrison: [00:47:11] Yeah. So we, we actually do volume discounts based on the quantity of sites that you add. And so yes, we have customers with over 500 sites. And so, we have customers with five sites and so we can kind of work with anyone wherever, wherever you are, the more sites you add on a subscription, the more, the, the lower, the price per right.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:47:32] okay. this is great. I mean, what a lovely product, the sort of thing that makes you well, like sleep better at night. Is there anything that you disallow on your platform? So for example, have there ever been situations where my, my chief things that I'm thinking about other, are there any plugins which you just say no, With just not getting involved with that one.
It has a history of being diabolically, on the, you know, it just goes wrong all the time.
Brad Morrison: [00:47:57] I could probably name some. Yes, but we actually, we, we. We will take that pain on so
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:03] rarely. Okay.
Brad Morrison: [00:48:04] We don't, we don't disallow. I can't think of a plugin. We disallow. I will say, multi-site is maintenance for multi-site can be an issue.
so, providing content edits for multi-site is usually not a problem. Each sub site would need a subscription, but maintenance can be a problem because in some cases, Us providing maintenance, even if we're doing, you know, if we're doing a plugin troubleshooting, during waking hours, right? When a lot of people are on sites, you may have.
That if we're deactivating a plugin or where we're temporarily to check something out, we don't want that to impact hundreds or thousands of sites across the multisite network. so multisite right now for maintenance, we don't provide. but we will do content edits on that. other than that, there have been some, one or two hosting providers that have very locked down workflows.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:48:59] This is my next question. Yeah. Yeah.
Brad Morrison: [00:49:01] And, the good news is we have we're piloting right now. a way around that, where. we kind of, you know, I I'll throw out like pantheons, dev, test, production workflow that they have, and then they have the multi dev environments. we're actually testing a workflow now that that will work on that.
And so I think that should clear up. Any of the hosting providers? I can't, I can't think of another hosting provider now that we would not be able to support. but, but for the most part, we're doing our maintenance and we're doing our content that it's in the live environment. and, and, but again, if there's some, some like, a unique workflow required, we probably have a way to address that.
so I wouldn't let the hosting provider be, and be a barrier.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:49:47] So it is basically whatever you've got, however old it is, whatever state it's in, bring it, and we will work with it, which is a really nice my cell phone. yeah. Yeah, I think, I think that's probably everything that I was going to ask.
I can't think of anything else at the moment. Oh no, there is one final thing and it's not really a question. It's more of a, more of an opinion from you. One of the, one of the things that people I'm sure will be. Very concerned about because they always are. When they, when they're taken on a service like yours is longevity, stability.
You know, you don't want to go to a company and give them all of the maintenance of all of your WordPress websites. I'm fearing that two years from now that company will disappear. You've obviously been at it for five years and whilst I don't want to know numbers or anything like that. Are you, are you bullish about, go WPS future?
Brad Morrison: [00:50:42] absolutely. Yeah. We've, we've been growing at a pretty healthy clip every year. And. this year we'll, we'll grow at a very healthy club. I imagine we'll bring on, possibly as many as 10 plus staff over the course of this year. we've got, we've got, we're going to be, kind of expanding some of the offerings that we do to help agencies even more.
so even things that. Not necessarily directly related to maintenance and support, but still things that agencies are spending money on and need help with and, and have challenges with, in the course of their everyday life. And, and so, I don't know that I've ever been more bullish about, about the life of the company.
And that being said, you know, we, we had an agency for 10 years and so this go WP came out of, a lot of the challenges and needs that we had as, as an agency. I mean, so that's since 2004, who've been doing this and, and Lucas and I have been doing it together for 10, 10 plus years now. And so, yeah, we're, we're, we're here for the long haul and that's.
there are a lot of services out there, especially direct to site owners that say, Hey, bring us your WordPress site. And we'll just, and there are a lot of fly by night companies and unfortunately, and, and it's, it's true in SEO and it's true. And it can be true in hosting even like, but we see it a lot.
There's, there's kind of a low barrier to entry to say that you're a WordPress maintenance or support service and use a tool and, and go out and do it. That is a. definitely something that should be evaluated very carefully when choosing to work with someone. but, but yeah, we're, we're here for the long haul and, and interested in the, longer working relationship.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:52:17] good to hear. final thing, obviously, if you go to go wp.com, we've mentioned that URL already, but, if you have any other URL resource, Twitter handle, anything that you want to mention, the floor is yours.
Brad Morrison: [00:52:30] Oh, great. Yes. so Twitter, go WP support. and then we have a Facebook group. something that we've found is that.
Most of the agencies that are very successful with our service and tend to be successful just as an agency are, are ones that have niched down to a particular industry or a type of customer that they focus on. And so we are building a community out around that. So you can find us on Facebook. I'm at the niche agency, owners community.
so just do a search on that go WP niche, agency owners, community. You don't have to be a current customer to join that, but the goal there is to help agency owners niche down originally, but also, continue building a successful niche, agency. so we'll have lots of resources and people in that group, to bounce around ideas and, and help you.
so, and then we'll be spinning up the, the podcast related to that, very soon. So, but yeah, Twitter go WP support. And then on Facebook, the niche agency owners group,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:32] and always, as I said, go to go to ldp.com, just basically to find out anything about what it is that go WP do. Thank you so much for giving me lots of your time today.
I really appreciate it.
Brad Morrison: [00:53:44] You for having me on the, on the podcast, Nathan, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:53:48] Well, I hope that you enjoyed that. It was very enjoyable chatting to Brad about go WP. They do offer a really amazing service. I think it's just such an interesting area and it seems to be a bit of a growth area.
So if you are worrying about your WordPress care plans and you think to yourself, this is not really something that I wish to be too involved in. I'd rather pay somebody to do it. You can click on the link in the show notes and go and check out all about go WP, what they can offer and how they can help you out.
The WP Builds podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? The new AB split test plugin for WordPress. We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything.
The best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress blog editor. Go check it out and get a free [email protected] Okay. Like I said, at the start of the podcast, we'll be back here next Thursday for a podcast. This time it'll be a debate between David Wamsley and I, but Monday 7:00 AM UK time.
You don't have to listen to it then, because it will be on your podcast player if you subscribe, but that'll be the WordPress weekly news. If you want the live version, that's 2:00 PM UK time and also 2:00 PM on a Tuesday. That will be the live version of Sabrina. And I trying to go from zero to 10,000 installs.
Right. The only thing I need to do now is fade in some cheesy music and say, have a good week. Bye bye. For now. .