Upgrade customer sites

In this blog post I am going to teach you our 3-part framework, for generating recurring revenue from old customer websites, without selling hosting or maintenance.

There’s no doubt that recurring revenue is the holy grail for most WordPress businesses. To generate regular, repeat income from multiple sources is the surest way to grow your business and remain profitable.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with hosting and maintenance packages. In fact much of our successes as an agency was built on delivering high quality support, care, maintenance and hosting plans. But, what if your customers don’t want that? Or if you’ve already sold maintenance and hosting plans, where do you go from there?

In this blog post I’m going to outline our 3 favourite recurring revenue services that you can apply to all WordPress websites. The best part? You can even use this on old and previous WordPress websites, and they add massive value to your customer’s businesses.

Recurring revenue

Many WordPress businesses shy away from recurring revenue, believing it’s tricky or complicated to get a customer to pay every month for a service. If we want to generate recurring revenue from a customer, we must continue to add massive value to both their business and their WordPress site, in order to justify a monthly payment.

Subscription and recurring revenue models are expected now. If anything, your customers are looking for those low-cost more frequent expenses, as it eases their cash flow. The trick to generating recurring revenue from a customer, is to make sure that you are delivering more than they are paying.

Even customers who only paid once for their website, and the website is live, can be convinced to move over to a subscription model. They just need to know that they are getting something in exchange that will add value for the money they’re paying.

You can pay monthly for coffee deliveries, business coaching, videogame platforms, unlimited music streaming and more. If you are delivering massive value to the customer, they’ll be happy to pay monthly for your services.

It’s not just care plans…

Many WordPress businesses believe that maintenance and hosting is their only recurring revenue option. As I mentioned, while I love the maintenance and support option to add to your business. It’s not the only subscription model that you have available.

There is also a massive misconception that customers don’t want to pay per month.

Zig Ziglar was a sales and marketing genius. Whenever anyone challenged him on subscription and recurring revenue products, he asked the question “do you deserve to make one profit for every problem you solve for a customer?”

Of course everyone agreed, To which he replied “do you believe that if you solve 2 problems and get 2 benefits, then you deserve to be paid 2 profits?”

Again everyone nods their head in agreement. To which Zig asks one final question “if you solve a problem for a customer every single day and deliver them a benefit every day, do you deserve to make a profit from every single day?”

This way of thinking means that if you are consistently delivering your customers benefits and values everyday all day, then you absolutely deserve to be rewarded for it every single day. While a website might be a fantastic platform and getting results for your customers, you can increase those results and be rewarded further in kind.

Plugins do all the work

WordPress plugins have become so specific and niche now you can find a plugin for every single platform to increase almost every single conversion.There is so much opportunity to WordPress businesses to install, setup and run these plugins, to increase specific conversions.

Simply by focusing on a specific conversion that you want increase for a customer, you can begin to justify a monthly cost and grow your recurring revenue base.

We can save customer’s money

On top of all that, you can actually save your customers money by moving them away from expensive platforms and software that suggest they are the only option. Without naming any names there are conversion, landing page, content and funnel platforms out there that insist you must use their platforms if you want to increase any kind of conversions.

The truth is, that a WordPress website and a few plugins is just as capable of generating massive returns for a customer. And if you can install a plugin, you’re just as able to set it up and charge for it.

Marketing funnels

My name is Mike Killen and I’m the founder of Sell Your Service. I coach businesses on how to sell marketing funnels to their clients and maximise their income potential.

When I first started my WordPress business, I really struggled to find customers. Everyone thought I was too expensive and I couldn’t really differentiate myself in the market. Which is why I started offering “upgrades” to customers that already had WordPress websites and, I was even able to approach businesses that weren’t customers, who already had WordPress sites.

As soon as I started increasing 2 or 3 key conversions on their site, they saw me as massively valuable and asked me to work on larger projects while providing me with a regular income. I want to share my 5 most popular recurring revenue upgrade services, that you can sell to your customers.

How to generate recurring revenue from your old customer WordPress sites (without hosting and maintenance)


Opt in forms and email list growth

In my opinion this is the easiest, fastest and simplest upgrade you can add to any WordPress website. You’re going to help a business convert their traffic and visitors, into long-time email subscribers.

All online businesses know they need to have an email list. While sales might happen on the website, nurturing and marketing is taken care of in the email list. The saying goes “you sell them in the email and close them on the website”.

Almost all page builders such as Divi, Elementor and Beaver Builder have inbuilt subscriber and optin modules. However there are also plenty of 3rd party modules, which are much more sophisticated. My personal favourite being OptinMonster.

The key to selling recurring revenue products, is not to focus on what you will deliver every month, but what the customer will receive every month.

When talking to your customers you need to explain to them that they’ll increase their email list, on automation, from every visitor to the website.

  • A growing list of people who have expressed an interest in your products
  • Larger audiences for product launches and marketing
  • The ability to sell products automation

Get your customer to imagine their business when a percentage of their visitors and traffic are automatically converted into long-term email subscribers. They can then record where they signed up and the types of content and topics that they’re interested in. You can then send them targeted and relevant content to nurture them, before converting them to a topic specific product.

You only have to charge $59 – $100 per month to deliver automated list growth, and often starting a nurturing or sales campaign.

This is an opportunity for your customers to offer free content such as lead magnets, content upgrades etc. This means giving something to the subscriber in exchange for their email address, like a cheat sheet, discount code or template.

Setting up the options is relatively easy, but the addition of new optin forms, checking that data is parsed correctly and linking to an email platform absolutely warrants and justifies a monthly cost.

Content creation

“But Mike I’m not a content writer!”

I totally understand your hesitation, but just hear me out. The world is not short of content writers. It’s never been more valuable or accepted to simply write a free blog article online, for a living. If I’d have told my careers guidance counsellor that 20 years ago, he’d have told me to be more realistic.

Regular content on a website is the absolute key to driving more traffic. It obviously helps with organic traffic via social and search, but it has also been shown to increase performance on paid adverts too.

If you’re driving paid traffic via PPC or social ads to new blog content, you will massively increase the number of visitors to your website. Frankly the investment of $1000 – $10,000+ per month for regular content on your website is well worth the investment.

Most businesses know that they need to be producing more content. However they either don’t prioritise it for their uncomfortable writing. If you can step in and offer them a new blog post every single week, they’ll drive massive value to both their customers and their visitors. They will also grow their organic traffic exponentially over time.

Services such as speedlancer.com allow you to hire freelancers to write blog posts, from scratch, including research and links.

If you can work out a deal with a local content writer always use a freelancing service like speed on to.com, you can offer the service to your clients and take a cut by putting a margin on top.

500 word blog posts can go anywhere from $80-$5000 depending on the topic, author and purpose of the post. For most businesses a $200 blog post per week is well within their budget, and allows you enough to spend on a decent copywriter per post.

If you can create a template or content strategy for the blog posts, you can add further value by reducing the research time and focusing more on the content creation side.

Publishing and sharing

What if every new blog post, video or product offer had an automatic sharing and publishing schedule? What if your customers knew that every time they had published something new, it would reach a large audience without any more effort on their behalf?

One of the key phrases to remember while creating a recurring revenue product is “faster, easier and more automation”. This means you can get a result for a customer faster, easier for them and all with less work on their behalf.

Let’s say for example that they have regular blog content being published to the site. By using tools like Zapier, Advanced Custom Fields and ActiveCampaign, you can build out automation that both reduce the work needed to publish content and increase the number of eyeballs on that content.

There are 3 stages to sharing and promoting content. Timing, platform and message.

Services such as MissingLettr will automatically create social campaigns, from new blog posts. If you can set up these kinds of automations, you can help promote your customers content to their various social platforms, over a period of time.

Or similar to our content creators, you can find social media freelancers to write up and schedule new social media co-pays, review blog post. I don’t want to get into the depths of which social platforms are best to share on. But, you can’t go wrong with Facebook and Twitter, even if they are a professional service.

If we can ask our customers “how would it feel if every new blog post was pushed out to as many people as possible? And you got as many eyeballs on it is possible all on automation?” They’re unlikely to be disappointed.

There’s nothing more disheartening than working on a great piece of content, only to have no one read it. The key to getting people to read it however, is sharing to the right platforms at the right time.

Twitter’s content has a lifespan of about 20 minutes, you will need to share it multiple times in the first and 2nd day. The first 48 hours being the most critical. You could then set the automation to post a few times a day to the same Twitter channel for a few weeks.

Facebook’s content has a longer shelf life, but only just. 1 to 2 days maximum, but slightly longer if you’re posting it to a private group, when posting to a private group obviously your reach is less, but the length of time people will see it, will be slightly longer.

Again if you can set  automation to the frequency of the posting, you have a very strong social traffic program.

Finally, make sure to send their email newsletter list the link to the blog post the day after its published. Use the social platforms to drive initial traffic, and then email automation to catch those that didn’t see the social post. Finally use a weekly newsletter to round up the content and send again.

The 3rd part of the equation is the offer. This is the text, copy or creative that is used to promote the content. Again you can use services such as speedlancer.com or peopleperhour.com to write up a message offer, but sometimes I like to just keep things simple using the title, maybe the opening paragraph and a few variations on words such as “new post”, “I’ve just written about…” or “check this out”.

You could budget anywhere from $100 a month to $5000 a month+ depending on the depth of the promotion campaign. Simply using an automation service such as MissingLettr and a virtual assistant could completely automate your customers social promotion for content, as well as provide you a great recurring revenue product.

What if I’m not a marketer?

I understand that a lot of WordPress businesses might shy away from these kind of services, thinking that they aren’t marketers. I totally understand what you’re saying and a lot of WordPress businesses I’ve spoken to have said the same thing. But what we found is that we are not calling ourselves marketers, with serving our customers.

You don’t even have to know how to do any of these things, it’s the knowledge that you’re providing a regular repeated service and adding value to their websites and businessed every single month, in order to justify recurring revenue in exchange.

If you can understand the key conversions that you can help customers with, and drive up their traffic, email lists and sales, then they’ll be happy to pay you every single month. If you were to take $200 from the customer and use $140 on outsourcing and virtual staff, that still leaves you with $60 profit per month, per customer without any work on your behalf.

Our favourite part

The product that made the biggest difference to our business, was the opt in form. We first ran a workshop to create lead magnets and offers, that we could exchange for an email address. When we ran those workshops with customers, we charged a one-off fee of $1000 to sit down with them and brainstorm ideas for a day.

We found more often than not that they already had plenty of content to be able to give away. We just needed to offer that content to website visitors and traffic, in order to grow their email list. In some cases, the opt in form only needed to be applied to a few blog posts, and a generic one across the site, before we were able to capture hundreds of leads a week.

We were also demonstrating to the customer that they had people clearly interested in their services, but who needed more persuasion before buying.


At its core, growing subscription and recurring revenue for your business is about providing massive value to the customer every single month in return. Start by capitalising on the traffic they are already attracting and build opt in forms for their website.

When you’re beginning to capture a certain percentage of their current traffic, it then becomes a question of increasing traffic to their website. The easiest method for that is by increasing the quality and quantity of the content, that is published on the website. You don’t have to write it, you just have to find someone who can and take a cut.

Finally, help convert their wider audience and social traffic, using social promotion and automated publishing.

Mike Killen on LinkedinMike Killen on TwitterMike Killen on Wordpress
Mike Killen
Mike is the world’s #1 sales coach for funnel builders. He’s the author of From Single To Scale and loves to help WordPress businesses build and sell marketing funnels to their customers.