StagingPilot’s mission is to bring artificial intelligence backed by humans who care. We’re happy to say that Pixel Jar has been able to add 20 hours to their billable work week.

Billable Work Week: Adding 20 hours — A Case Study with Pixel Jar

You know the saying: time is money and money is time. When it comes to running your WordPress agency, anything that you can automate will help you focus on what’s important: website builds and client management. Your billable hours matter.

Pixel Jar is an Orange County-based, Custom WordPress Solutions provider. Though they seem to be  a small team, they take advantage of the agility to handle projects for clients of all sizes. We recently reached out to this brilliant team to discover how StagingPilot has improved their workflow.

StagingPilot’s mission is to bring artificial intelligence backed by humans who care. We’re happy to say that Pixel Jar has been able to add 20 hours to their billable work week.

Tell Us About Your Goals

We specialize in creating front and back-end integrations with all of our clients’ business tools. We approach their WordPress website as a hub for managing the digital arm of their business. This allows them to centralize their workflows, so they can be more efficient with their time. Ultimately, we evaluate our success based on the measurable increase in our clients’ goals.

Do you know how many hours you were spending on maintenance and verification for your clients?

Prior to working with Staging Pilot, we managed our ongoing maintenance clients by dividing the updates, testing, and deployment tasks among our team. We had weekly recurring reminder tasks set up in our project management platform that we manually tracked and integrated into our daily workflow as time allowed.

Because we use git for version control, we made sure to create individual commits for each core, theme, and plugin update. We even incorporated WP-CLI to speed up the update process. Generally speaking, the update, commit, and deployment process took us about 30 minutes per client. Once the updates were deployed, we would manually test the front-end and back-end of the site for errors. Depending on the amount of content, the number of specific templates, and custom functionality, this process could take hours.

What was the main workflow obstacle that lead you to choose StagingPilot?

We found, as many agencies do, that providing ongoing maintenance services was not only useful to our clients, but equally as useful to us. Having an up-to-date WordPress installation helps to keep our clients’ websites secure, performant, and bug-free.

When our clients’ come back to us to add more features to their website, having up-to-date software allows us to jump right in. Because StagingPilot integrates with WPEngine and git for version control, this means that we use the same configuration for nearly every project. And when we have that one-off client who’s hosted elsewhere, StagingPilot is set up for that too.

How did you hear about our service?

During LoopConf 2018, a WordPress conference for hard-core developers, I had dinner with a few friends and we were discussing common challenges of WordPress shops. Tony Perez of Sucuri & GoDaddy was at that dinner and had been in conversations with Nathan Tyler about StagingPilot. Let’s just say that Tony’s endorsement was pretty convincing.

What were the noticeable results after implementing StagingPilot into your workflow and business?

Initially, we were skeptical. Could we really trust an automated system to provide the same level of quality and detail that our team was and save our clients’ money at the same time? Before we trusted StagingPilot with our clients’ sites, we decided to put our Services and Commercial Plugins sites on the line first.

After closely monitoring the service with weekly updates for a month without issue, we put the pedal to the metal and turned on daily updates. After watching the updates for another month we found the service to be rock solid.

After using StagingPilot for almost a year, we find ourselves keeping sites updated more regularly and having fewer outages because of human error. As of this writing, we’ve deployed more than 90 updates to 7 websites and returned more than 20 hours to our billable work week.

We know Otto doesn’t take vacations, but where would you send him if you could?

In case Otto ever needed to recharge his batteries, we’d send him to Lake Michigan where he’d be sure to find other robots that would look up to him.

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