What Web Design Agency Features Do You Want to See in Watchful?

Published by Steve Burge on

Here are at Watchful, we help our customers maintain far over 40,000 sites. Many of those sites are managed by agencies who do maintenance work.

Most agencies do project work for their clients, but that can be a rollercoaster. One month you have more projects than you can handle and the next month you have none.

Succesful agencies also do maintenance work for their clients. This is a vital way to generate recurring revenue and run a healthy agency business. With Watchful you can offer professional maintenance plans and deliver white-label reports to show your clients the value of your work.

Do you run a web design agency? We want to talk with you and hear how we can make you life easier!

Current Watchful features for agencies

If you’re a web design agency, you’ll already find a ton of useful features here at Watchful including:

New Watchful ideas for agencies

We’re getting ready to build new features for web design agencies. Here are some of our current plans:

  • Better reports, including the option to automatically send reports to clients (whitelabel). 
  • Improved Single-Sign-On options.
  • Allow multiple users to access your dashboard with different permssion levels.

We’d love to hear your feature requests. How can Watchful make it maintenance work easier for you?

Here’s are three ways you can send ideas:

  1. Talk with our CEO. Yes, Vic Drover, our CEO, will jump on the phone with you. If you want something done, there’s nothing better than talking directly to the boss. Send us an email and we’ll set up a time to chat.
  2. Email: Click here to send us an email with your ideas.
  3. Comment: Leave a comment below this blog post.

Open your free Watchful account

Watchful is a free website dashboard for digital agencies. Open your account today and learn how much time you’ll save managing your site backups, updates, and security with Watchful. No credit card is required and there is no long-term commitment.

Categories: News


Mediaversal · October 25, 2019 at 9:12 AM

I manage about 20 sites, and yes there are a few things that would make things easier.

1 – The GEO update that needs to be applied about once a month only appears to be accessible via the backend and going to the Akkeba Admin app… would be great if that could be managed through Watchful.

2 – I have configured Akeeba Backup to auto backup a site when I apply a Joomla update. However, it seems that if I apply it from Watchful, this doesn’t run. So, I have to either run the backup for each site in Watchful first, then use your update system to apply the Joomla updates… or as it turns out, I just login to each site and make the updates there.

3 – To that same end, it could come in handy to have the ability to Backup ALL the sites I manage through Watchful with a single click, or via multiple selection.

4 – The same is true for running the Virus checker… I rarely do this since it is cumbersome, on a site by site basis, at least the Backups run automatically based on a schedule I setup in Watchful Thus an automated security scan would be fantastic.

5 – I wish there was a way to reformat the emails that are sent and organize them by Domain, instead of having each item on a separate line with no Domain headings. In other words, those notification emails can be difficult to read.

6 – Finally, since Watchful monitors sites, it would be helpful to have a on demand report that shows all of the installed extension/components on each domain, and to that end all of the domains a specific extension/component is installed on.

Thank you for a great product and useful service.
Regards, Wesley

    Vic Drover · October 25, 2019 at 12:26 PM

    Great feedback. I’m going to think a little about those and see wha makes sense. We’re rebuilding our logging and reporting tool, so that’s a good time to tackle those notification emails also.

Andre Eilertsen · October 10, 2019 at 6:03 PM

Would love to be able to send email directly to customers and maybe a logo in the rapport. I am also missing when i feks update some plugin i have to do from the joomla admin feks easyblog and some other i dont get it in the log.

Another thing is a way to clear the cache with the regular labs clear cache plugin after updating.

Alexis Priddy · October 8, 2019 at 10:32 AM

Just to echo some of the ones I saw above that we would really like:
– Automatic plugin updates on plugins we seem ‘safe’ to automatically update
– Ability to push updates to offline sites
– Automatic report sending (email or Dropbox)
– Google search console or Google Analytics integration into reports

    Vic Drover · October 8, 2019 at 12:31 PM

    We do have Google Analytics in reports currently, but i’m thinking about some improvements in that: https://watchful.net/faqs/insights/how-do-i-generate-reports-for-my-clients

      MATT SCHWARTZ · October 8, 2019 at 2:47 PM

      We would love to be able to set GA date by client. For example, some clients could have snapshot of a near real-time report while others only have access to weekly or monthly reports (like the one now). Also if the API could output the GA data instead of just a PDF, that would be fantastic.

Ralf · October 8, 2019 at 9:58 AM

+1 for automatic remote backups, like ManageWP. They do daily backups (for WP only, unfortunately) at $1.60/month. I wouldn’t mind if yours cost a bit more. Would be super convenient. Setting this up manually for a site with Akeeba I find quite a pain …

    Ralf · October 8, 2019 at 10:02 AM

    Actually, if Watchful helped setting up Akeeba remote backups in some way, that could solve the issue. For example by storing backup server data and other Akeeba settings, or by letting me transfer profile settings from one site to others … Something like that.

      Vic Drover · October 8, 2019 at 12:28 PM

      Cool idea Ralf! transferring settings the way you might export a profile manually from one site and import to another.

Colleen · October 4, 2019 at 11:27 AM

HI there –

Love things as they are…Love the above suggestions.

I would ask about integrating Google Search Console in some way in to reports or notices or just even a link in the site listing (Connect to Search Console).

Also, in reports, a way to view the reports before having to save them in a PDF would be great. Many times I need to see what I have done to a website for a month – and just need to quickly see what I did in the way of tasks of updates, scans etc…. Saving a PDF every time slows things down a bit.

And finally, it would be awesome to integrate Malware Scans into the logs. This suggestion and the one previous is an effort to be able to have a snapshot of what I have done to a website any given time period. Something like a “work log” or Completed Work. For me, it’s a great way to quickly see I have done all the maintenance for the month and if I could kick out a report of what was actually done (not notices) then I can attach to invoices.

Thanks again,

    Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 11:33 AM

    I love these Colleen. Our dev team has been hearing a lot about reports from me lately. That preview idea is brilliant. Might be a little further out, but i like it. Stay tuned!

      Colleen · October 4, 2019 at 11:36 AM

      Thank you – I would be LOST without Watchful!

        Vic Drover · October 8, 2019 at 12:27 PM

        The team was thrilled to see this comment. THANK-YOU!

Matt · October 4, 2019 at 9:31 AM

Hi Vic! Thanks for asking from your customers. A few things we would love in order:

– Automatic plugin updates on plugins we seem ‘safe’ to automatically update
– Watchful Remote Backups using Watchful servers with one-click restores. While Akeeba and All in One are great, a turnkey remote backup solution like those offered with some other maintenance platform providers would reduce our own workload.
– Copy / clone sites for staging purposes. WPEngine / SG have great staging options, but with SG removing their Joomla staging tools, it would be great if Watchful could do this, similar to InfinitiWP
– Image Optimization Service integration. Again we can do this at the application level, but it would be easier if it auto applied to new sites we add and integrate to ImageRecycle or another API service.
– Broken Link Checker that checks automatically and has a set place on the dashboard if broken links are found.
– Database Optimization daily optimization

Overall, we love Watchful’s agnostic approach with both Joomla / WP as well as the robust API which we make calls to for our own reporting and dashboard, but the features above would help round out Watchful against other options in the market. Thanks again for listening.

    Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Hi Matt. I love most if not all of those ideas. My concern is the costs. Turnkey backups are great, but expensive. The same for restorations. There is a reason many of these features are associated with hosting companies as they control the whole infrastructure. And if you’re willing to pay for these things, why not just grab your own server and do that (would probably be cheaper). So, what’s your per-site cost tolerance? Also, we’d love to have a longer chat about this. I’ll reach out to you on email.

      Matt · October 4, 2019 at 10:53 AM

      Hi Vic, that all makes sense – figured it would be a costly and probably asking too much without a large increase in per site costs. Perhaps focusing on the automatic updates along with investing in a way to ensure updates didn’t break the site (visual checks, etc.) would be the largest game changer for us without a large infrastructure cost. Similar to WPEngine’s Smart Updates manager. Yes, feel free to reach out – would love to chat with you.

        Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 11:26 AM

        The visual check is interesting. Functionality is of course also very important (maybe more so). Simple example: many brochure sites have a contact form as their main/only lead generating page. What if an update breaks the submit button, but the visuals are the same? I’ve been researching and thinking about that a lot.

          Matt · October 4, 2019 at 11:29 AM

          Yes, it isn’t foolproof, but today, we don’t check the contact form after every update either, we just visually click through the pages and look for any major issues. I think most small agency can only do this much as well. So a visual tool would be acceptable for most I believe. Basically, it would balance the risk of running updates and breaking the site vs. waiting to run updates until we have dedicated staff able to look at the updates. Again, if we could do it per plugin, that would be best. So Admin Tools might run automatically, but K2 might not since it is much riskier.

            Vic Drover · October 8, 2019 at 12:26 PM

            Agreed. I wonder though what interest there is in some basic post-update functionality testing.

Dom Cassone · October 4, 2019 at 9:05 AM

I like some of the previous suggestions especially from Sebastien. Your competitor, myJoomla.guru offers extensive site audit and hacked site repair. They seem to be (or at least were) the gold standard for Joomla site management. I would suggest that you build an even better product!

    Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 10:24 AM

    Thanks Dom. We’re focused on building business tools currently. There are lots of good security companies out there, MyJoomla included. I think many Watchers who want to get down in the weeds RE:security use other tools as well. That said, we have some plans on revamping our audits and security offerings, but they are a little further out.

      Dom Cassone · October 4, 2019 at 10:36 AM

      Thanks for the reply Vic. I respectively disagree. If I can get a tool that does all the updates, protects my sites, can do extensive audits, and secure my site all for a reasonable price, why wouldn’t I go there?

        Dom Cassone · October 4, 2019 at 10:38 AM

        To continue, I can use the features I want and not the others. But good to know they are there when I do need them to clean up a hacked site

          Steve Burge · October 4, 2019 at 10:52 AM

          Thanks Dom. I think we can sum it up this way: Watchful is a business tool. MyJoomla is a security tool.

          I’ll be honest and say that we won’t try to 100% duplicate what MyJoomla does. They have their security niche and do a great job. Here at Watchful, our goal is broader: to provide a complete set of tools for agencies.

          Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 10:52 AM

          For sure Dom. We will all have our own preferences. I can tell you that Watchful is not trying to be everything to everyone.

          Dom Cassone · October 4, 2019 at 11:03 AM

          Thanks Vic,

          I don’t want each of us to spend all day going back and forth….I’ll just close saying that I used MyJoomla for a long time as both a security tool AND a business tool to keep my sites up to date. At some point I moved to Watchful and have been happy here…just miss some of the security aspects of MyJoomla.

          Keep up the great work!

            Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 11:28 AM

            Thanks for the follow up Dom. Best of luck in your work!

    Django · October 25, 2019 at 9:01 AM

    I also use Watchful, but I install RSFirewall on all my Joomla sites. Anyway, extensions specialized in security, and installed inside each site, will do much more than just an additional function in extensions like Watchful.
    So I think a basic security check is enough in Watchful, … for me.

      Vic Drover · October 25, 2019 at 9:10 AM

      You make a good point: agencies each have their own preferences and tools. How do we build a tool that remains flexible for a broad share of the market.

Anna Robinson · October 4, 2019 at 8:28 AM

Better reports, including the option to automatically send reports to clients (whitelabel).

Very good idea! I was thinking if it would be possible to automatically name the report files with something like “domain_yyyymmdd”. That would be awesome.

    Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 8:36 AM

    Nice idea! What report frequency makes sense. Monthly seems like the obvious choice. What do you think?

      Anna Robinson · October 4, 2019 at 8:48 AM

      Yes, monthly. I provide a report directly after the end of each month and I name the report file “domain_yyyymmdd” (the date being the last day of the report and last day of the month).
      I don’t send the report via email but save them to a Dropbox folder and provide the link to my my client. I do it like this since I have a prepaid “punch card system” for my clients. So I provide them with a single link via email to their own “punch card” with x amount of prepaid 30 minute time slots. In their “punch card” they will also have access to dropbox links for Watchful logs. So one of the main purposes of this system is website maintenance but they can also use it for other small tasks.

        Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 10:22 AM

        Our current reports let u generate a report based on tags, so a series of domains could be included. I’ll give some thought to the report title and PDF filename generated.

          Anna Robinson · October 4, 2019 at 10:30 AM

          I generate each report by “site” since I want one report per domain/client. Then I download and give name to the file manually. If I could get rid of the naming step it would save me a lot of time for sure.

Robert Ainslie · October 4, 2019 at 7:50 AM

Generally, I love Watchful and find it brilliant for keeping all sites up to date. Has been a major shift in keeping all sites secure. Not much I would add to it functionally.
However, I would suggest the pricing structure for the number of sites. I’ve got 60 sites that I look after, so I’ve got one subscription for 50 and on another subscription for 25. To get them all in one place would need to upgrade to 100 sites. A slightly better structure would solve this.

    Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 8:02 AM

    Thanks Robert. This has probably been our most common request. I’m happy to say that we have some new purchasing options coming soon that will be highly flexible. Stay tuned!

    Sebastien · October 4, 2019 at 8:06 AM

    Thanks for all your recent effort, it is really nice to see such dedication!
    Regarding updates:
    +1 for more granular pricing options.
    Also; as stated in another post: +1 multiple user and +1 especially for automated sending of whitelabeled/personalised (with our logo) reports to end customer.
    – Automatic updated (without intervention from us) for chosen extensions/components would be good.
    – Maybe an automatically launched backup of the site before any “big” update? (core updates, specified extensions…) – so that if the update breaks anything, one can roll back
    – warnings if the php version and such is too old
    – regular updates of your top lists, maybe by categories (most installed template, e-commerce tool, cck…
    (really interesting btw)

    Again, thanks for your great work and keep it running! 🙂

      Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 8:14 AM

      Thanks Sebastian! That’s a great roadmap. You might be on to something there 🙂

        Sebastien · October 4, 2019 at 8:16 AM

        Let me know if you need further inspiration 🙂 (or tester, would be glad to help)

          Vic Drover · October 4, 2019 at 8:35 AM

          Sounds good!

            Sebastien · October 5, 2019 at 4:29 AM

            one more thing, i don’t know if it’s already possible, but when the i have sites that are offline (i mean in turned offline in the joomla configuration) updates won’t install trough watchful.li. That would be good if that would work. (or maybe i’m missing something?)

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