How much does it cost to maintain a website?

By Leann Priebe on September 2, 2020

By Leann Priebe on September 2, 2020

The days of launching a website then not having to touch it for several years are long gone. Depending on your website’s complexity, the CMS—Content Management System—it’s built on, and your needs, the investment for maintaining a website can vary greatly.

If you’re paying yearly, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 a year to $50,000 a year. For monthly payments, expect around $40 a month up to $4,000 a month.

That’s a big range, right? It’s similar to car maintenance: it can vary greatly. Let’s take a look at what impacts your investment in website maintenance.

Website hosting vs. website maintenance vs. managed hosting

First, it’s important to know the difference between website hosting, website maintenance, and managed hosting.

Let’s keep the car analogy going. Hosting is like renting a bay in a garage. You’re paying for the garage itself to be maintained, reasonably secure from car thieves, and overall clean and functional. If it’s too cheap, there’s a higher likelihood it’s not being maintained well and possibly isn’t very secure.

Investing in website maintenance is like having someone maintain your car in that garage. You give that person access to your vehicle through the garage, and they take care of that vehicle for you. Depending on what you’re investing with them, they could just be filling it up with gas, checking the oil, and checking the tire pressure. Or they could be full-service, fixing anything that’s ever broken, cleaning the care, and possibly even make suggestions on how to get more use out of your car.

Managed hosting is like paying the same person to do both things. Not only are they supplying the bay in the garage and maintaining that garage, but they’re also taking care of the car itself.

Of course, that’s far from a perfect analogy. But you get the idea. Website hosting means your website has a place to live. Website maintenance means someone is taking care of some aspects of the website itself on an ongoing basis. And managed hosting means someone is doing both.

What website maintenance includes 

Let’s look at what website maintenance may or may not include. Since we typically maintain WordPress websites—but not always—the list below assumes you’re using something similar. These items may vary slightly if you’re using one of the other popular CMSs.

Here are some responsibilities that may or may not be included in a website maintenance package:

  • Keeping the website’s CMS software and all its components updated
  • Suggesting, installing, and configuring additional plugins
  • Troubleshooting issues that happen when updating or installing software
  • Keeping the website secure
  • Keeping the website backed up with off-site backups
  • Fixing the website when it has been hacked
  • Connecting your website to analytics software like Google Analytics
  • Reviewing the analytics of your website on an ongoing basis
  • Sending those reports to you
  • Tweaking design elements
  • Design work for website graphics
  • Helping you when you run into issues making website updates on your own
  • Support through email, phone, and/or a web portal
  • Updating the website with new content you supply—text, photos, videos, etc.
  • Proofing or editing your content for mistakes or to help make sure it accomplishes your goals
  • Helping create new content for the website
  • Keeping up with best practices for your CMS
  • Keeping up with best practices for websites in general
  • Suggesting changes to your website that make sense for you

How much should you pay for website maintenance?

So how much should you actually invest for website  maintenance? Of course, it depends. In general, the more revenue a website can help you generate, the more you should be investing in it on an ongoing basis.

In addition to what website maintenance can include, some additional factors impact the ongoing investment. Those include some of the following:

  • Does your site have e-commerce capabilities?
  • Do you need ongoing help to rank better in search engines like Google, i.e., SEO?
  • Do you need help with digital marketing that has nothing to do with your website, like local SEO, social media, email marketing, etc.?
  • How many pages are on your website?
  • What functionality is on your website besides displaying text, photos, and videos?
  • Do you need help with both the website and the hosting?
  • Do you want someone to keep up with your domain name as well?
  • Do you want just one person to help you, or do you want a whole team available?

The number of items that apply to your case in that list and the list above will determine what your ongoing investment in website maintenance should be. If your needs are extremely basic, you may find someone to help you with website maintenance for under $100 a month. If your needs are more advanced, expect to pay more.

T&S’s website maintenance plans

At T&S, we do offer website maintenance for websites we didn’t create. However, most of our clients end up investing in at least our managed hosting, and often in having us create a new website for them.

Wondering what the investment would be to have T&S help with your website? Feel free to reach out and request a quote. We would be glad to talk and see if we might be a good fit for you.

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