Published April 17, 2024

Adding Value to Your WordPress Maintenance Plans with Automated Testing

In the ever-evolving world of web development, WordPress remains a dominant platform due to its flexibility, user-friendliness, and robust features. However, maintaining WordPress client websites can be rather involved, especially as the number of clients grows. For agencies, providing top-notch maintenance and care plans is crucial not only for maintaining clients but also for generating recurring income each month. One powerful way to enhance these plans is by incorporating automated testing into the mix. This blog post will dive into how WordPress agencies can use automated testing to add significant value to their WordPress maintenance and care plans and making their maintenance plans stand out from a crowded marketplace.

The Importance of Maintenance and Care Plans for WordPress

Before getting into automated testing, it’s important to understand the role of maintenance and care plans in WordPress development agencies. These plans typically include:

  • Regular Updates: Ensuring WordPress core, themes, and plugins are up to date.
  • Security Monitoring: Implementing and monitoring security measures to protect the website.
  • Backup Solutions: Regularly backing up the website to prevent data loss.
  • Performance Optimization: Keeping the website running smoothly and efficiently.
  • Content Management: Updating and managing website content as needed.
  • Technical Support: Providing assistance for any technical issues that arise.

These services are important for keeping clients’ websites secure, up-to-date, and performing optimally. By offering comprehensive maintenance and care plans, agencies can establish ongoing relationships with clients, providing continuous value and generating steady, recurring income each month.

The Challenges of Manual Testing

Manual testing has been the traditional method for ensuring a WordPress website’s functionality and performance. While it has its benefits, manual testing also presents several challenges:

  • Time-Consuming: Manually checking every aspect of a website can take a significant amount of time, especially for larger sites.
  • Inconsistency: Human error can lead to inconsistencies in testing results, missing critical issues that may impact website performance or security.
  • Scalability: As the number of clients grows, managing manual testing for each becomes increasingly difficult.
  • Repetitive Tasks: Many testing tasks are repetitive and mundane, leading to potential oversight and decreased efficiency.

Given these challenges, automated testing emerges as a better alternative in most cases, providing a more efficient, consistent, and scalable solution for WordPress maintenance and care.

What is Automated Testing?

Automated testing involves using software tools to perform tests on a website automatically. These tools can simulate user interactions, check functionalities, and identify issues without human intervention. Automated testing can be divided into various types:

  • Unit Testing: Testing individual components of the website to ensure they work correctly.
  • Integration Testing: Ensuring that different components of the website work together as expected.
  • Functional Testing: Checking that the website’s features work as intended.
  • Performance Testing: Assessing how the website performs under various conditions, including load testing.
  • Security Testing: Identifying potential security vulnerabilities.

Automated testing tools can run these tests repeatedly, providing detailed reports and insights, making it easier to identify and fix issues promptly.

How Automated Testing Adds Value to Agency Care Plans

Integrating automated testing into maintenance and care plans offers numerous benefits for both the agency and the client. Here’s how automated testing can add significant value:

1. Consistency and Reliability

Automated testing ensures that tests are performed consistently and reliably. Unlike manual testing, which is prone to human error or straight up procrastination, automated tests follow predefined scripts, reducing the likelihood of missing critical issues. This reliability ensures that clients’ websites are thoroughly checked routinely, providing peace of mind that their online presence is secure and functional.

2. Time Efficiency

Automated tests run much faster than manual tests. What might take hours or even days for a human to test can be done in minutes with automation. This efficiency allows agencies to allocate their resources more effectively, focusing on higher-value tasks such as marketing strategies, WordPress development and client engagement.

3. Scalability

As agencies take on more clients, the ability to scale their services becomes crucial. Automated testing enables agencies to manage multiple websites simultaneously, ensuring each site receives the necessary attention without overwhelming the team. This scalability is key to handling growth and maintaining high service standards.

4. Comprehensive Testing

Automated testing tools can cover a wide range of scenarios and conditions that might be overlooked in manual testing. From simulating multiple user interactions to load testing, automated tools provide a comprehensive assessment of the website’s performance, functionality, and security.

5. Proactive Issue Identification

Automated testing allows for continuous monitoring and testing of websites. This proactive approach means issues can be identified and addressed before they impact the client’s website, reducing downtime and enhancing the user experience.

6. Detailed Reporting

Automated testing tools generate detailed reports, providing insights into the website’s performance and any issues detected. These reports can be shared with clients to demonstrate the value of the maintenance and care plan, highlighting the proactive measures taken to ensure their website’s optimal performance and keep the client ‘sticky’.

Implementing Automated Testing in WordPress Maintenance Plans

To effectively integrate automated testing into your agency’s maintenance and care plans, follow these steps:

1. Choose the Right Tools

Selecting the right automated testing tools is important. Here are a few popular options:

  • CheckView: Our own solution – built specifically for WordPress, CheckView offers a user-friendly interface that manages the challenges of using automated testing with WordPress.
  • Selenium: A free, open-source tool that supports multiple programming languages and is widely used for browser automation. It tends to be great for developers, not so much for WordPress owners or agencies who don’t have the time or skill.
  • Ghost Inspector: Provides automated browser testing with a focus on ease of use at a higher price point. This is a great choice for even beginners, but since it isn’t built for WordPress specifically, it still require manual configuration.
  • WP Test: A plugin designed for WordPress, simplifying the setup of automated tests.

Evaluate the features, ease of use, cost and integration capabilities of each tool to determine the best fit for your agency and clients.

2. Set Up Testing Environments

Create separate environments for development, staging, and production. This setup allows you to test changes and updates in a controlled environment before deploying them to the live site. Automated tests can be run in these environments to ensure everything works correctly without impacting the live site.

3. Define Testing Scenarios

Identify the key areas and scenarios that need testing. This may include:

  • Core Functionality: Ensuring that all core features of the website work as intended.
  • Form Submissions: Checking that forms submit correctly and data is processed as expected.
  • E-commerce Transactions: Verifying that the checkout process works smoothly.
  • User Interactions: Simulating user interactions to check for any issues.
  • Performance Metrics: Assessing load times, server response times, and overall performance.

Creating comprehensive testing scenarios ensures that all critical aspects of the website are covered.

4. Automate Regular Testing

Set up automated tests to run regularly, such as daily or weekly. This continuous testing approach ensures that any new issues are promptly identified and addressed. Depending on the platform, automated tests can also be triggered by specific events, such as after updates or changes are made to the site or can be run at a scheduled time each day or week.

5. Monitor and Report

Use the detailed reports generated by automated testing tools to monitor the website’s health. Share these reports with clients to keep them informed about the status of their website and the proactive measures being taken. Transparent reporting helps build trust and demonstrates the value of the maintenance and care plan and helps separate your agency from others.

Communicating Value to Your Agency Clients

For agencies, effectively communicating the value of automated testing to clients is crucial for justifying the investment and increasing recurring income. Here are some strategies to convey this value:

1. Educate Clients

Explain the benefits of automated testing in simple terms. Highlight how it ensures their website remains functional, secure, and optimized without requiring extensive manual intervention.

2. Showcase Success Stories

Share case studies and success stories of how automated testing has helped other clients. Real-world examples can illustrate the tangible benefits and positive outcomes of integrating automated testing into maintenance plans such as finding bugs within minutes instead of days or hours, saving the client thousands in potentially lost leads or sales revenue.

3. Provide Regular Updates

Keep clients informed with regular updates and reports. Show them the results of automated tests, including any issues identified and resolved. This transparency builds trust and reinforces the proactive approach taken by the agency.

4. Offer Tiered Plans

Consider offering tiered maintenance and care plans with varying levels of automated testing. Clients can choose a plan that best suits their needs and budget, with the option to upgrade as their requirements evolve.

5. Highlight Cost Savings

Emphasize how automated testing can save clients money in the long run. By identifying and addressing issues early, clients can avoid costly downtime and potential revenue loss due to website problems.

Wrapping Up

Automated testing is a game-changer for WordPress agencies looking to enhance their maintenance and care plans. By incorporating automated testing, agencies can provide consistent, reliable, and comprehensive services that add significant value for clients. This not only improves client satisfaction but also increases recurring income by demonstrating the proactive measures taken to ensure website health and performance.