How to Idiot-Proof PBN Managment

how-to-idiot-proof-pbn-managementWe are at the point in our business where we are buying up expired domains like crazy and rebuilding them for our personal PBN that we own. We built the first couple of websites on our own when we realized that while it didn’t take that long, we really didn’t want to do it ourselves! We would rather be the masterminds of this entire operation as our hours are limited and outsource everything possible.

I put up a posting on oDesk, had a few VAs I was interested in trying out, and was ready to put them to work. However, there were a few details to work out such as:

  • How do I tell them all what we want without spending too much of my own time?
  • How do I quickly and easily give them access to the sites they need to work on without exposing our entire PBN?
  • How do we quickly revoke access to a website or multiple websites without having to change all of the credentials of dozens of PBN sites?
  • How do we idiot-proof editing for those that may touch something in the dashboard that they aren’t supposed to?

First off, a big thanks to Daryl at Lion Zeal for introducing us this solution. It works wonderfully, and we’re just getting started!

We will be adding to this post in the future so feel free to bookmark it or sign up to receive notifications so you can get updates on this post.

Step 1: Download MainWP

Before you do anything, do yourself a favor and download MainWP. It’s free… but the cool extensions that make it all work are not bahahah! It’s worth it though, and one extension really does the magic!

MainWP is a free WordPress management plugin. With one login you can access a master dashboard that includes every site that you own. Once logged in and everything is set up, you no longer need credentials for all of the other sites.

There are two MainWP plugins: MainWP Dashboard and MainWP Child. The MainWP Dashboard you only install once and they recommend you do it on a fresh WordPress install. We have ours on a failure affiliate site right now but you can also put it on a subdomain of your site.

Add MainWP Child on every PBN site you’d like to access through the MainWP dashboard. Instructions are fairly straightforward how to do this. I also recommend creating a unique security code for each PBN site.

Here is what a screenshot looks like:

mainwp-site-example

What can you do from within the MainWP dashboard? Lots!

Really, the plugin makes for easy management of posts, pages, plugins, themes and backups. We haven’t fully taken advantage of this yet, but it will be nice when the day comes.

For example, if you have a VA that you would ONLY like to publish posts and pages they can do so from within the dashboard. This means they aren’t going to mess with anything they aren’t supposed to or accidentally delete something. All they need to do is create a post and then select which to submit it to as seen in the screenshot below.

mainwp-post-example

Install MainWP Team Control

The MainWP Team Control Extension allows you to create a team and arrange management tasks among your team members. With a few clicks you can create custom roles and set custom privileges to created roles.

Here is an example of custom roles that can be created.

mainwp-roles

You can set this up in different ways. You may have a strict “content creator” role for a person that strictly publishes new content. Right now, each VA has their own role with custom permissions. We don’t have any straight content writers at the moment, so each VA at this point has a more liberal permission set.

The great thing about MainWP Team Control is that you can give each VA access to different sites. We give our VAs access to sites they are currently building but then we can revoke access when they are done, and they don’t need access to sites they are not working on. Below is a screenshot of the permissions you can set for each role or VA.

mainwp-permissions

This setup is easy to get the hang of and has made setting up new VAs a breeze. All we do is create a new user for them, create a new role, assign them the sites that they need access to, and they’re good to go.

Step 3: Master Instruction Spreadsheet

The next thing I’ve created to make hiring and managing VAs a breeze is creating a master instruction spreadsheet. I quickly got tired of explaining to each VA roughly how to build a PBN site. While we don’t want our PBNs low quality, we also don’t need a VA spending 15 hours building out a PBN site.

Our master instruction spreadsheet has an overview of the goals of each PBN site. We explain what content it needs such as the theme, logo, types of pages, posts, sidebar content, etc.

Get access to our master instruction spreadsheet below!

The idea behind this sheet is that you have ONE sheet that you link to in each VA’s task list. When you get a new VA, or are interviewing a new VA, simply send them the link and see if they understand what to do. If they do, rock and roll! If not, they may require too much training and you may want to move on.

Also, you may find that a lot of VAs have the same questions about building PBN sites and if you don’t feel the solution is to get a new VA, maybe answer common questions within this spreadsheet.

Step 4: Create individual task lists for VAs

There are different ways to actually delegate the work and assign tasks to VAs, but right now, we create task lists for each VA. In this task list they will find their login credentials to our site that hosts the MainWP dashboard. They will also find information about the sites they will be working on such as:

Blog URL: Give them the URL of the blog so they know what to look for in the MainWP dashboard.

Persona: Give them the persona of the site so that they have a good idea of what type of blog to build and what type of information to include.

Other information: Anything else the VA needs to know about the blog. Sometimes there is a particular URL that needs to be rebuilt because it has high trust flow, page authority, etc. I am fighting the urge to micro-manage and do things for the VAs or give them too much information, so if I give in and create a logo or something for the blog, I will put this here :-) I will also sometimes decide that they should try to build the page similar to what’s in Wayback Machine, so I will drop a link to that here.

Get access to both our individual VA task sheet and our master instruction spreadsheet below.

We probably won’t have individual spreadsheets for every VA in the future as we will probably migrate our VAs over to our project management system. This does work wonderfully for the time being, however. You can even set due dates for different tasks in your spreadsheet and also a place for them to indicate whether the task is not yet started, in progress, or complete.

In Summary

This is the best solution we have found so far to hiring VAs and more importantly, we are growing our business like crazy and this should be easy to scale. This is just one of the systems we have built to manage our PBN. If you’re interested in the other systems we are building to grow a large PBN, let us know and we’d be happy to share!

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6 thoughts on “How to Idiot-Proof PBN Managment

    • MainWP is what I use, and actually it doesn’t leave a footprint. If you’re really paranoid, you can rename the main wp plugins directory on all your sites so the will return a 404 if anyone goes fishing for which plugins you have installed. But this is more for script kitties. Google doesn’t go snooping for which plugins you have installed.

      Everything else on MainWP uses wordpress xml api, so it doesn’t leave a footprint.

      Great post Alyssa! Even if you don’t hire a VA, MainWP is a huge timesaver.

      • Agreed! Even for managing your PBN yourself, MainWP is a huge time saver :-) Yea… we don’t get overly paranoid, just try to follow reasonable best practices.

  1. So my question is- with the spreadsheet, the task list etc, how long does it usually take a VA to get this done AND how much are you paying them?
    Thanks! Valerie

    • Hi Valerie… you’re probably long past this blog post by now but thought I’d respond anyways. Poor settings on our spam filter caused us to miss a lot of comments :-)

      In this post VAs were getting the sites done in somewhere around 8 hours I believe (maybe a little less…). Writing articles was taking a long time. Now, excluding blog posts, we have the VAs down to 2-4 hours for a basic PBN build out and we are paying them $6-$10 / hour. There are VAs that will obviously work for less, but this time around we are paying a little higher per hour in hopes of finding someone qualified enough to get the job done right the first time with fluent English and it seems to be working well.

  2. Hi Alyssa,
    thanks for sharing this post.

    Instead of a VA, do you have anything against using places like fiverr or sourcemarket place for creating sites?

    thx
    Mick

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