How much are you being charged each year?
and what are you getting for your money?
Once you build your website, you’re done, and it takes care of itself, right?
WRONG! Website owners also have to face the cost of maintenance.
There are two main types of website maintenance.
1. Maintaining the integrity of the website code – the code that allows your website to display and function.
2. Regular updates & maintenance to your website content
Every website needs to be hosted on a web server. Hosting a website makes it accessible via the web.
It basically means renting or buying some ‘space’ on the internet, ie. some bandwidth. Fully understanding what hosting means is not necessary, but you should know that your website will need it in some form and you have a few options for this, these are;
A website is like a time bomb with many fuses that are constantly burning down.
Plugins, extensions, and the framework of your website (in the case of the sites we build "WordPress")
needs to be updated on a regular basis to the risk of harmful bugs and hackers.
Why do you need website framework upgrades?
Websites are like any other software application you may use, Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat, etc., in that they have versions, each new version adds features, or fixes security flaws. If you don’t upgrade your website then you can’t take advantage of new features and hackers could gain access to your website through some “backdoor”.
This is why it’s always advisable to keep your website version up-to-date. If you have a website on a DIY (do it yourself) hosting services like Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify, etc., they will take care of these version upgrades since you are just “renting” their base website software, and they are liable to maintain it. This is one of the few advantages of DIY (hosted) website services.
If however, you have a regular website (WordPress, PHP-based) on a standard hosting service, you are just renting the hosting “space” (not the website software) and they will not perform any upgrades for you. This means that you are responsible for maintaining your website framework, by upgrading it when a new one comes out. This could be every few months depending on what type of framework your website is built on.
98% of the sites we build are built using the WordPress platform which, from 9th Jan 2019 to 28th Dec 2019 and 25 upgrades. The Majority of which were security and Maintenance releases.
What are other website maintenance costs?
1. Hosting is a basic recurring cost. Depending on the complexity of your website and how much bandwidth you are using, your website hosting costs could range from £10.00 a month to £100.00+ a month for a small to a mid-size business website.
2. Domain Name: your domain name (or URL or website address) cost can start at about £48.50 per year.
3. SSL: Google is now giving preferential ranking to businesses with SSL licenses. We now build it into all our websites for extra security.
These can start at £180.00 per year and go up to in excess of £500.00 per year.
4. Backups: Website backups are cheap insurance, no matter the size of your website. If you get hacked or infected with malware, you could have to completely rebuild your website. Backup services start at £10.00 per month and go up depending on the size, frequency, and type of backup you need.
What about content maintenance?
Most businesses have an ongoing need to update website content, like; product or service and project information, staff bios, news, etc. Modern website frameworks, like WordPress, have built-in content management Systems (CMS) that allow non-tech users to manage content. We find that most businesses are so busy running the day-to-day that their website content is continually being placed on the back back-burner. As your Web Agency, we know your business and can help by scheduling content edits and providing a communication process to allow for quick response to client requests.
Costs for this service depend on the number of hours your business requires. For example, we have some clients that we bill under £300 a year because their content updates are so minimal. Other clients require 20 hours or more of content work every month
Why do you need to upgrade plugins and extensions?
Plugins and extensions are mini-applications that you add onto to your website to increase the features, like having a slideshow on the home page (which it should be said are an easy target for hackers), a video player, a photo gallery, a social media feed, etc. These mini-applications also routinely expire and need to be upgraded or they can frequently become the backdoor used by access hackers your website.
Once a new plugin is installed, the website should be checked to see if the new plugin “broke” any exiting website features. Sometimes plugins that worked well together previously are not compatible when upgraded.
Many website frameworks will alert you when a new version of a plugin is available – but you have to be paying attention. At Gerard Greenan Consulting we receive on average 80 to 90 notifications of this type every week without fail.
What are some examples of website maintenance services?
Executionists does offer maintenance packages, such as our “Secure Pack” where we monitor and keep your website current.
For example, an overview of our process for upgrades is as follows:
1. Make a website backup (so you can always revert)
2. Make a working duplicate of the website on another server (so you don’t work on the live site)
3. Perform the upgrade on the duplicate
4. Test and make sure nothing breaks
5. Move the new upgraded website to the live website’s server and replace the older version (still, keep that backup)
6. Test again (because you always need to test again)
What about SEO maintenance?
SEO keywords and metatags are not as critical as they used to be. There is more emphasis these days on PPC Ad services like Google Ads. That being said, all your content should be properly tagged and new content should be tagged using current SEO best-practices. Once the content has been optimised for search engines, there is little reason to go back to it and re-SEO it.
Your marketing resource or Web Agency should keep an eye on the analytics to determine if any further SEO work needs to be done to legacy content.
Website maintenance is a necessary part of your online budgeting. Talk with your web agency or internal team to make sure you understand how your maintenance is being managed. If it’s not being managed or you would like a free review of your website code, contact us for more information.