A reader asked me this question, an important one for anyone who has a website or is thinking of launching one. In this post, I’ll outline the many variables that can affect your ongoing web maintenance costs, so you can anticipate your expenses and factor them into your business budget.
In most cases, you will have registered one or more domain names for your website. Your domain registration (affiliate link) must be renewed annually, usually at a cost of around $10.00 per year. If you’ve registered multiple domains (such as organizedassistant.com, organizedassistant.biz, organizedassistant.ca), this fee applies to each one of your domain names, so a fairly small investment can add up quickly if you’re not careful!
Hosting can range from free to hundreds of dollars per month, so it’s important to select the level of service you need for your website.
Most solo professional organizers with a basic website can get by with an inexpensive shared hosting account (affiliate link). Such plans cost only a few dollars per month, even less if you pay for a full year or multiple years in advance.
As the saying goes, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch,” so remember that if you opt for free hosting. The company supplying the hosting is not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts, so if you, the customer, are not paying for it, the costs are usually covered by allowing advertisers to place ads on your site. You may be comfortable having ads on your site, but keep in mind that you have no control over the content of these ads, yet visitors to your website may assume that you endorse the products or services being promoted.
One of the great things about WordPress is that they’re continually updating it to offer new features and security enhancements. On the downside, this means your WordPress site needs to be upgraded on a regular basis so you can access the new features and, more importantly, to keep your site secure. This isn’t always a difficult process, depending on your level of technical knowledge, but it is essential that you do it carefully and correctly. A client recently upgraded her own site and contacted me because she could no longer access part of her WordPress Dashboard. So, unless you’re 100% sure you have the time and expertise to manage your own upgrades, you will probably want to budget for WordPress technical support.
Another option for WordPress website owners is WordPress managed hosting. It costs significantly more than typical shared hosting, but includes the added peace of mind of knowing that all upgrades will be performed quickly and efficiently.
Premium WordPress themes and plugins are a great way to give your site a professional look and added functionality, but in some cases, you need to renew your license each year in order to be eligible for continuing upgrades and support.
Website Content Updates
If you use WordPress or another Content Management System (CMS), you can probably update your content yourself, provided that you have the time and interest in doing so. However, if you’re looking at major changes that will affect the layout or navigation of your site, you may need to pay your website designer to implement them for you. Some website developers charge exorbitant fees for even minor updates, and small projects may not be completed on a timely basis if they’re busy with larger ones, so if you’re simply too busy with client work to fit website updates into your schedule, it may be more cost-effective to hire a virtual assistant.
I’ve listed above the types of maintenance costs that most website owners can anticipate. Clearly, a website is not a one-time expense. You’re probably looking at $85 or more per year for domain registration and hosting, and more if you require assistance keeping your site up-to-date. Even a very basic site should be updated from time to time to keep the design and the content fresh!
You may also choose to enhance your site by investing in other services, such as professional copywriting or search engine optimization. Just like anything else, pricing for such services varies widely, so do your homework and make sure you’re working with someone who really understands your business and your goals for your website.
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