How I use GoDaddy Pro to manage WordPress websites

One handy dashboard for managing many websites.

Editor’s note: Tara Claeys runs DesignTLC, a web design & development agency specializing in websites for schools, camps, enrichment programs and nonprofits. Tara is a member of our GoDaddy Pro partner program.

I remember the early days of my WordPress website business, when I had just a couple of clients. At that time, keeping their plugins updated and websites backed up was easy.

As my business grew, it became harder to keep up with maintaining multiple WordPress websites, keeping track of updates and making sure I had reliable backups of every site, as well as monitoring them for uptime and functionality.

I discovered ManageWP, the system that powers the GoDaddy Pro Sites dashboard, over 5 years ago.

This system has allowed my business to grow to over 70 clients whose websites my agency maintains regularly. While plugin updates are the primary focus of maintenance within WordPress, GoDaddy Pro does much, much more.

Once connected to each website, GoDaddy Pro Sites gathers critical information about their setup. We use Sites to help us perform a number of important tasks, all from one dashboard, for multiple websites.

The features we rely on the most include:

Overview screen

The Overview screen shows missing WordPress core, plugin, theme and translation updates for the sites we manage.

We can access all of our client website details in one place. We can see at a glance which plugins need updating, and which websites need updates. It is easy to check the status of updates on all of our websites easily and quickly.

Running bulk updates in GoDaddy Pro Sites

Safe Updates

Safe Updates helps us efficiently care for all the WordPress websites that we manage.

Sometimes WordPress plugin updates have bugs, and sometimes they fix bugs or security vulnerabilities. So, it is very important to keep plugins updated, and to make sure the updates don’t break an existing website. Safe Updates creates a site backup before making an update,checks to make sure the site still works after the updates,and does a before-and-after screenshot of the site for you to review. This makes it easy to roll back changes if the site breaks after an update. Safe Updates will even roll updates back automatically if it detects the site has gone down.

Sites

The Sites screen lets us see all our WordPress sites, and the plugins running on each or multiple websites, in one place.

On the Sites screen we can see all of the websites connected to GoDaddy Pro Sites. We can search for a plugin and see which sites have it installed. There is a “Tag” feature which allows us to color code/tag websites for where they are hosted, what kind of maintenance plan they are on, and other details. Within each individual website section is a History feature. This has proved very useful for us to troubleshoot issues on websites, and quickly determine if the issue is likely related to a recent plugin or theme update.

Each website can also have a client assigned, which is especially useful if the client uses GoDaddy products like domains or hosting.

Backups

GoDaddy Pro Sites can be configured to take scheduled backups and on-demand backups.

Scheduled backups can be done as frequently as hourly, or less frequently: daily, weekly, or monthly. Even if the websites are not hosted at GoDaddy, these backups are made and stored on GoDaddy Pro Sites’ Amazon S3 servers. You can also choose to have them stored on your own external servers. Backups are kept for 90 days, which is longer than many hosting companies keep backups. We have relied on these backups a number of times, like when backups were not available from the web host, or to pull a copy of a site to run on our local environment. There is also a restore feature which will attempt to restore a backup on a live site.

We have peace of mind that our clients websites are backed up regularly, so that vital website content is not lost.

We use Link Monitor to provide a better service to our clients by easily monitoring, identifying and fixing broken links.

The Link Monitor tool checks websites for broken links. It will alert us in the Overview screen of the GoDaddy Pro Sites dashboard that some links are broken, and will show where the link is and what is broken. This is important because broken links cause a negative user experience, and they can also harm SEO.

Security & Uptime Monitor

We use Security & Uptime Monitor to stay on top of security risks, minimize vulnerabilities, and quickly fix downtime issues.

Sometimes plugins have security flaws and are removed from the WordPress repository indefinitely, or until the flaw gets fixed. Issues like this can create a security risk. GoDaddy Pro Sites monitors our connected sites and alerts us when a website fails a security check, and tells us what the issue is.

In addition, GoDaddy Pro Sites monitors our websites to make sure they are “up” or live. Websites can go down for many reasons. There are a lot of other services that monitor website uptime, but it is nice to have this feature in GoDaddy Pro Sites, where we are already monitoring other elements of our WordPress sites.

We can provide a better service to our clients by staying on top of security risks and further minimize any vulnerabilities on our client’s websites. In addition, we can be alerted when a website is down, allowing us to notify our client and/or troubleshoot the reason why the website is down.

Client Reports

Client Reports remind our customers that we work on their website “behind the scenes” and provide a valuable service.

One of our favorite “bonus” features of GoDaddy Pro Sites is the Client Reports. Since our clients pay us to maintain their websites, it is helpful to send them a report showing them what we are doing for their website in return for their trust and their payment. Our clients get a detailed report every month, listing all the updates we have done on their website, uptime report as well as an update on other features such as security, SEO and Broken Links. We can schedule when the reports should go out, and we can brand them with our own logo and intro page.

White Label

White labeling shows our clients that we are a professional business providing a professional service.

As an agency, it is a nice feature to be able to white label the GoDaddy Pro Sites plugin within our client websites. This means that the plugin is not called “GoDaddy Pro” or “ManageWP” in our client’s WordPress plugin list. We can name it whatever we want. If our client looks at their plugins and sees “Design TLC”, they will know this is something from us that they can trust.

…and other cool stuff, too.

On some select clients who have hired us for SEO, we can use GoDaddy Pro Sites to monitor the keyword performance of their websites. While we use other SEO tools for this as well, it is useful to have it in the GoDaddy Pro Sites dashboard. We anticipate making more use of this tool in the future, since it is so easy to add into an already full-featured website maintenance system.

Editor’s note: GoDaddy Pro Sites lets web designers & developers manage all their clients’ WordPress sites from a single dashboard. Try it for yourself by joining our free GoDaddy Pro partner program.