10 Common Website Maintenance Costs
When it comes to websites, prevention is always better than cure. A faulty website not only costs you more money to repair, but can also damage your image and goodwill. This is why you need to invest in the maintenance of your website. But how exactly do you imagine that? Well, you need to know what kind of maintenance your website needs. Different websites require different degrees and types of maintainers.
Not all websites require the same type and level of care. A small hobby website does not need as much maintenance as a large commercial website or even a small business website. Here are the website categories you need and their estimated monthly cost. Domain name registration (www.yourwebsite.com) is a separate cost that is incurred no matter the type of website and is discussed further below.
So, let’s get started. Below is a list of the most common types of website costs operators will see.
For the hobbyist and personal website owner domain hosting is the only price you need for these types of websites, because we usually do everything ourselves.
- The cost is estimated at $3 to $32 per month.
Business website w/out eCommerce functionality
- Depending on the size of your business you can expect to pay between $100 and $225 per month for domain hosting, security monitoring, updates and security patches and content updates.
Business website w/ eCommerce functionality
- Depending on the size of the online store you can expect to pay between $450 and $6,000+ per month for domain hosting, security monitoring, up-time monitoring, updates and security patches, analytics, content and product updates.
Multi-site and Corporate. These websites tend to be large and very complex with many one-of-a-kind, customized features. They will require the most maintenance compared to other categories of websites, and they are also the ones with the highest volume of traffic.
- You can expect to pay between $5000 and $9500 per month for a multi-site or corporate website for domain(s) hosting, security monitoring, up-time monitoring, updates and security patches, analytics, on-demand service and support, redundant back-ups.
A Breakdown of the 10 Website Costs
The aforementioned maintenance costs are the absolute minimum required for websites in the listed categories. Here’s a breakdown of these costs to help you understand their purpose and why they might be needed.
1. Domain Registration
How much you pay each year for a domain name (www.yourwebsite.com) to the domain registrar depends on who you register with, but usually cost $8 to $22 per year. However, the popularity of your domain name could drive the cost up exponentially.
A website and all it’s data are stored on dedicated computers called servers and are owned by companies known as hosts. Different hosting plans offer different features for your website. The category and size of the website also determine the level of hosting you need. A small personal or blog website doesn’t require much in the way of server requirements so costs can range from $3 (introductory price for first service subscription) to $20 per month. Larger websites or websites with a large volume of visitor traffic require greater resources on their hosting plans and prices can range from $25 to $50 per month. Websites that have eCommerce or online store services require the most in the way of server resources and have the biggest cost incurred and can be anywhere between $50 to over $500 per month.
3. Email Services
Your hosting provider generally includes email services for at least one mail box and many offer unlimited mail boxes with your custom domain name ([email protected]). This is the most convenient email service, however, may not be the best. If you change hosting companies you cannot simply transfer your emails so many utilize third-party email providers and those costs can range from $4 to $15 per month
4. Website Content
Updated content is key to ranking your website at the top of search engine result pages. No body knows your business better than you do, but sometimes you just don’t have the time to update your website content. Many good website design companies have copywriters on staff that can provide great content with just a few suggestions from you. Perhaps it’s as simple as updating your business hours or contact information. Maybe you’ve written an article that you want posted on your blog page. Prices for this service generally range between $.10 to $.20 per word. You may not need to update content every month, but it’s a good idea to keep things fresh!
5. Design Updates
Speaking of fresh. You also want to update the look and feel of your website to keep visitors coming back. Or perhaps you’ve got some new photos or graphics for your website that need added. Sure, you can do some of this yourself, however, what if you accidentally mess something up? This could cost a lot of money in getting it fixed as well as possibly lost revenue because your website went down. The cost to have your website updated, depending on the amount of work required, can set you back $0 to $500. Generally, you wouldn’t redesign your website every month so you could break this cost down as the number of times per year you update your website by 12 months to give you your monthly cost of this service.
6. Back-end Updates
Perhaps one of the most important aspects of website maintenance. Having a website is like having a separate computer that runs 24 hours a day, 7-days a week. It has its own operating system and programs. Most websites use what’s know as a content management system or CMS for short. It’s the core of your website, but also uses a database, themes and plugins to make your website fully functional and appealing to your visitors. All of these require periodic updates just like your home computer or cell phone. If you’re not familiar with how CMSs function and you accidentally change the wrong setting it can lead to a catastrophic crash of your website. This is something best left to the professionals and can cost between $25 and $275 per month depending on the complexity of the website and the frequency of scheduled updates.
The MOST important aspect of website maintenance. This is one area that cost should not be spared! Hackers around the world attempt to infiltrate websites on average every 39 seconds and create 300,00 new pieces of malware daily. If your website gets hacked it could cost you thousands of dollars to get your website back online and if customer personal date is compromised the costs could put you out of business. CNBC recently reported that the average cost to small businesses that have had its website compromised costs $200,000! Additionally, you want to protect yourself and your visitors from spam -no not that processed canned meat! (Interesting tidbit of information… Did you know that the residents of Hawaii consume more Spam per capita than any other state – that’s five cans eaten per person per year or 7 million cans total!) Getting back to website maintenance costs and preventing getting spammed. If your server address is blacklisted because it is identified as a frequent complaint of spam then it will be not be available to many email services. Also, if your website is being attacked by spammers then it could tax your server’s resources and in the worst case cause it to crash your website temporarily. Lastly, there is a new trend in governments requiring the protection of personal privacy. Many countries and states require that you disclose to your visitors if personal data is being collected in any way. You also must have policies and procedures in place to secure any data you collect. The cost associated with website security maintenance can run between $50 per month for a small website that doesn’t collect or store personal data to over $500 per month for a website that hosts an online store.
8. Up-time Monitoring and Analytics
Websites generally don’t go down on a scheduled basis and often occur at the most inopportune times. Having someone available tracking your website’s up-time can save you from having your website down for a prolonged period of time and the possible loss of revenue. You’ll also want to know how your website is performing across many measurable metrics. Utilizing analytics can help you to optimize your website so you get the most out of it.
9. Technical Support
Not if, but when your website goes down, because eventually there will be something out of anyone’s control that will cause your website to go offline, you’ll want someone on your side to jump in and get you back online in as short of time as possible. As mentioned above there are many aspects to having a website and that leads to the possibility that plugins or updates may not play well with each other. Website backups are also very important in ensuring your website’s health. Although backups can be scheduled to run automatically on a set schedule, you’ll want a tech support team to be on call for those times when you need data restored. Depending on the level of support required can bring about costs ranging from $50 to $200 per month on a subscription plan or $90 to $125 per hour for freelance.
If you’re lucky your website will be found organically. That means you haven’t paid for any advertising and your visitors have found your website either by typing the website address into their browser or by finding it in the results of a web search. This is often not the case and businesses must allocate for online marketing to gain exposure that leads potential customers to their website. The options are email marketing, online advertising campaigns, ads on popular social media platforms, etc. As a business you should have a certain amount of funds dedicated towards advertising factored into your operating costs and online marketing is a segment of that and has the biggest variable of all with regard to website costs. You could allocate zero dollars towards online marketing or thousands of dollars per month.
What happens if you do not maintain your website?
Some people make the mistake of ignoring website maintenance in order to save money. Although it may save you money at first glance, it can lead to several more costly problems in retrospect if you do not maintain a website. An outdated website design means a poor user experience. This ultimately results in your website being pushed back in search engine results. The same result occurs when a website has outdated content, and the worst thing that will happen is that you find that the website is broken due to outdated codes. This ultimately results in loss of revenue for you. At Shaka Web Design Services we provide all our website design clients the option of signing up for one of our hosting plans that include website maintenance and support at a very reasonable cost on a monthly or yearly basis.