Here’s a side of making a website that most people don’t like to talk about: website maintenance. While it isn’t the most exciting topic, regular maintenance is essential for making sure that your website remains secure and up-to-date. It encompasses unique tasks, as well as its own costs. In this blog, we’ll review what maintenance entails and associated costs that you should be aware of.
What is website maintenance and why is it important?
Website maintenance is a process of regularly updating and monitoring your site to ensure that it remains functional, provides up-to-date information and doesn't have any security vulnerabilities. Maintenance operations can include updating your content management system, adding fresh content and removing broken links (among many other things).
Maintaining a website is vital for several reasons:
Improving the user experience. It goes without saying that to deliver a positive user experience, your site must function properly. Visitors expect sites to be fast, reliable and easy to use—and many will form their impressions about your website in a matter of seconds.
Improving SEO. Search engines prefer websites that are regularly updated with fresh, relevant content and that are fast to load. By keeping a website well-maintained, website owners can improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results.
Improving security. Websites can be vulnerable to hacking, malware and other security threats; regular maintenance of your website development infrastructure can help to identify and address these vulnerabilities before attackers exploit them.
How much does it cost to maintain a website on average?
The cost of website maintenance can vary widely depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of your website, the frequency and scope of maintenance tasks, and the level of expertise required to perform those tasks.
For example, the cost of maintaining a website without a content management system (CMS) and a lot of content distributed in individual static files will be much higher than for the same website with a centralized CMS in place.
Generally, the cost of maintenance ranges from $5 (for personal websites with limited CMS-backed content) to thousands of dollars (for large enterprise websites or online shops with a lot of content).
9 common website maintenance costs
Here are some of the most common costs associated with building and maintaining a website.
01. Domain name
A domain name is the address (or URL) that people use to get to your website. A domain name is a mandatory cost for your website because, without a domain name, users can't visit your site. Registering a new domain name costs around $1 to $100 annually. The price can skyrocket if a domain name is taken by someone else and purchased at an auction. Domain names should be renewed every year (the renewal cost is around $10 per year).
Looking for domain name ideas? Try Wix’s free domain name generator.
02. Web hosting
Web hosting is a service that stores your website's files and makes them accessible to visitors on the internet. Web hosting costs vary depending on the size and complexity of your website. It typically ranges from $5 per month for shared hosting (i.e., one physical machine is used to serve multiple websites), which is popular among small and medium websites—and hundreds of dollars per month for a dedicated private server that is required for large and complex websites.
Before selecting a particular hosting plan, you need to understand how much hardware resources your website will consume and what traffic level it will likely have. If you opt for a hosting option that doesn't meet your current website traffic levels, you can end up with a slow-loading site. Most people expect websites to load instantly, and when they don't satisfy this expectation, they leave.
03. SSL certificate
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a data transfer protocol that enables encrypted communication between a server and a client. Most websites nowadays have SSL certificates. Having SSL is mandatory if you want to collect user input (e.g., your website includes a “contact us” or payment forms). Without an SSL certificate, the browser will show an alert message “Not secure connection.” The price for an SSL certificate for a domain generally starts from $5 per year. To save money, you can get a web hosting plan with a free SSL certificate or generate an SSL certificate yourself.
04. Website design and development
Web design is the process of creating the look and feel of websites. Web design includes creating a sitemap for the website, designing individual web pages and filling them with content and functionality. The cost of website design and development can vary widely depending on the complexity of the website. A website with a few static pages created from existing templates may cost a few hundred dollars, while a website with unique design and complex functional elements (such as a web portal) can cost thousands of dollars.
05. Content creation
Content is the reason why people visit websites. The more you invest in content, the more likely it is for people to visit your website again. Content creation includes the cost of creating and publishing website updates, such as texts for individual pages, new blog posts and images/videos that support the text. Depending on your needs, this may include the cost of hiring not only a professional copywriter but also a graphic designer and photographer who will accompany the text with relevant imagery.
06. CMS license and updates
A content management system (CMS) is a system used to manage content on your website. A CMS makes it easier for site owners to control the content available for users, but requires regular maintenance. Regular CMS maintenance is essential for ensuring that your website remains secure, is up-to-date and functions properly. Depending on the level of service required, website maintenance costs can range from a few dollars per month (if you use a free CMS with default settings) to several hundred dollars per month (if you use a paid CMS with some customization).
07. SEO and online marketing
Search ranking has a direct impact on conversion level. The higher your site is ranked for high-intent keywords, the higher your chance of attracting high-quality traffic. If you want your website to rank well in search engine results, you may need to invest in search engine optimization (SEO) and online marketing. SEO tasks can include the cost of hiring an SEO specialist, purchasing SEO tools and hiring a marketing manager who will create and manage online advertising campaigns.
Your site may utilize a variety of third-party apps and plugins to enhance the user experience. For example, if you own an eCommerce store, you might choose to install shipping automation software to your site. Some apps, like many within Wix’s App Market, will be free to install—while others will have their own recurring fees or monthly costs to account for, as you weigh all of your day-to-day costs.
09. Email service
If you plan to create custom emails using your domain name, such as firstname.lastname@example.org you should expect to pay for email services. One popular option is Google Workspace which offers email service for $6 per month per single mailbox.
How website maintenance costs vary by the type of website
The types of website maintenance required can vary depending on the type of website. Here are some examples:
As the name suggests, a blog website is a site that lists blogs. Blog websites require regular content updates to keep visitors engaged and improve search engine rankings. It may include creating and publishing new blog posts that the target audience finds valuable, updating existing content, and promoting content on social media.
Average monthly blog website maintenance cost:
Personal blog: $5 to $25
Professional blog: $25 to $100
A corporate website is by far the most common type of business website. The complexity of a corporate website can vary from a small site with a few pages to a large website with hundreds of pages and many functions.
Corporate websites may require regular updates to ensure that the company's branding, messaging and products or services are accurately represented. It may include updating the website's content and design, adding new pages or sections and checking that all links and forms work properly. It's also vital to keep your hand on a pulse with the latest web trends and consider a website redesign every few years to make the design look fresh and trendy.
Average monthly corporate website maintenance cost: $200 to $2,000
If you plan to sell something online, you will need to build an eCommerce website. Ecommerce websites require regular maintenance to ensure the online store remains functional and secure. It may include updating product listings, managing inventory, ensuring that payment processing works fine and addressing any customer service issues that arise along the way.
Average monthly eCommerce website maintenance cost: $1,500 to $5,000
Government websites require regular updates to check that visitors are informed about the latest government policies and can access public services. This may include updating information about government officials, publishing reports and documents and providing access to government services.
Average monthly government website maintenance cost: $200 to $5,000
How to curb your costs with a website builder
A DIY website often requires lots of hands-on maintenance. Fortunately, a website builder can minimize your costs by offering the tools, support and expertise for keeping your site up to snuff. As an example, Wix includes:
Built-in enterprise-grade security
Native payment solutions
Native marketing, content management and SEO tools
Native lead capture forms
Free domain for one year
24/7 customer care
And much more