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3 recurring revenue streams you can add to web design proposals

Adding subscription services to your web design quotes is a low-risk way of adding ongoing income, with very little extra work on your part.

You’re already sending quotations for new website projects. Adding subscription services shows the potential client that you will not just disappear when the website launches.

Instead of raising your rates and encouraging the feast or famine cycle – look at adding at least one subscription-based service to each new quotation.

Every new recurring payment that comes in takes you away from trading money for time. It adds leverage to your business and helps you say no to those secret projects. 🧐 You know, the ones you take on just to pay the bills but don’t want to tell anyone about them.

The Master Recurring Revenue Toolkit is a step-by-step guide on formulating, pricing and selling recurring services. It includes a 30-page guidebook, a revenue tracker and real world examples of services already bought by clients.

Below are 3 subscription services that are great for combining with a web design project quote.

1) Hosting

Every website needs hosting. If clients are not paying you, they’re paying someone else.

There are three different hosting services I recommend for web designers. They are based on your technical knowledge and comfort level with managing and editing servers.

Done for you

  • 🤔Tech knowledge: Low
  • 💰Profit: Low – Medium

Many hosting services have agency or white label offerings. They take care of the server setup, security, optimisation and will even fix a site if it gets hacked. Flywheel, WP Engine and Kinsta are good options right now.

Done with you

  • 🤔Tech knowledge: Medium
  • 💰Profit: Medium – High

This is a hybrid model. You get the benefits of a custom server but technical help from experts. Companies like GridPane allow you to buy hosting for a third party. Then the GridPane service jumps in and configures your server to run at peak performance, plus added security.

Done by you

  • 🤔Tech knowledge: High
  • 💰Profit: High

Self-managed VPS or cloud service. Margins can be significant, but you are responsible for everything. AWS and Google Cloud will sell you server space for pennies. You need to handle all setup, software, security, updates.

2) Website Care Plans

WordPress now powers over 40% of the web. That size makes it a constant target for hackers and malware.

How a website looks is different to how it is built and performs. You may visit a site and it looks fine, but other site visitors could be redirected to offensive websites, asked for credit card details, see pop ups, or have their information stolen.

Essential website care plan features:


Off-site backups are a must-have for any care plan. These are the failsafe should anything goes wrong with the site during an update or if it is attacked.

Automated backups are offered by some hosting providers. There are also a lot of dedicated backup services like BlogVault and JetPack.

Software updates

Software updates typically provide: security/bug fixes, performance improvements and new functionality. For your care plan, the security and bug fixes are most important. Updates quiet often include fixes that close security loopholes that hackers could exploit.

Security scanning

Scanning a client site for malware, threats and vulnerabilities is a proactive way to stay ahead of security issues. You can automated security scanning with services like iThemes Security, Sucuri.

Sucuri even offer a hack repair service included with their plan. This means if your clients website gets hack, Sucuri will jump in and find the issue and get them back online. For non technical creatives, this can work like extended tech support for you should the worse happen.

3) Software licences

How to choose the right software

Premium plugins and software may require monthly or yearly renewals (those companies see the benefits of recurring revenue too 🤔). When a licence expires it may mean the software no longer functions, or you no longer receive software updates.

From the clients point-of-view, they may not know what software is required to make their website achieve its goals.

Quiet often, people will say they want a really fast website. You may have already done a ton of research and testing to know the best plugins to create a faster website. You know how the system should be configured to work with the clients hosting and website setup.

Your subscription offering will save the client all that time and effort. They also get the reassurance that what they’re paying for is fit for their needs.

When paying for software licenses yourself, always:

  • Invoice the client before you buy software on a subscription.
  • Invoice your client 2 months before you have to pay any software renewals. Don’t make the mistake of paying for software, and then your client cancels their renewal with you.
  • Check if software sellers provide bulk discounts, agency plans or white label. This allows you to increase your profit as your subscriptions grow. To offset the initial cost of bulk plans, reach out to existing clients and offer them a year one discount if they subscribe for the year in advance.

Look at a typical website you build. Now think about what would make that website better. How could you make it faster, safer, more engaging. Now look for existing plugins and services that can provide this.

I developed the Master Recurring Revenue Toolkit as a step-by-step guide on formulating, pricing and selling recurring services. It includes behind the scenes insights on how I created real services that I’ve sold to clients. 

Take-away tips

Different clients need different services. I recommend creating a tiered pricing structure for most subscription services.

You can mix and match services to create new offerings. E.G. Add web hosting to a care plan package.

Provide a discount on year one for anyone who signs up as part of a new website project. This is one of the most effective ways to add subscribers.

Don’t include hours of your time. Move away from money for time and towards services that scale as you gain more customers.

Start small and add 1-2 subscriptions to your next web design proposal.

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