How much does it cost to maintain a website?
This page may contain links to Amazon.com or other sites from which I may receive commission on purchases you make after clicking on such links. Read my full Disclosure Policy
Your website is not a one-time investment. As your business evolves, you need to update your website to reflect changes to your services, team members, or policies. Even a very basic site should be updated from time to time to keep the design and the content fresh!
In addition, there is much going on behind the scenes that requires attention. To help you anticipate your expenses, I’ll outline the many variables that can affect your ongoing website maintenance costs.
Website Content Updates
If you use WordPress or another Content Management System (CMS), you can probably update your content yourself. However, if you’re simply too busy with client work to fit website updates into your schedule, it may be more practical to outsource this task.
And when it comes to major changes affecting the layout or navigation of your site, you will likely need to pay a website designer to implement them for you.
Domain Name Renewal
In most cases, you will have registered one or more domain names for your website. Your domain registration must be renewed annually, usually at a cost of $10.00 to $15.00 per year. If you have multiple domain names (such as organizedassistant.com, organizedassistant.biz, organizedassistant.ca), this fee applies to each one, 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, depending on the level of service you need. I cover this in detail in Signing on with a Web Hosting Company.
If you’ve purchased an SSL certificate or other extras from your hosting service, this is usually a recurring expense as well.
WordPress is continually being updated with new features and security enhancements. This is great, but it means you need to apply the updates to access the new features and, more importantly, to keep your site secure.
It’s not always a difficult process, depending on your level of technical knowledge, but it is essential that you do it carefully and correctly. I’ve had clients contact me after updating their own site because something went wrong. Restoring a broken site can be costly, especially if you factor in the cost of lost business due to your website being down.
If you’re not 100% sure you have the time and expertise to manage your own updates, my Website Care Plans may be just what you need. For a set monthly or yearly fee, I look after updates, backup, security, and even minor content updates.
Themes and Plugins
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. Outdated themes and plugins present a security risk and may even stop working properly.
If your web designer purchased a theme or plugins for you, ask them whether you are responsible for the cost of future updates.
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 $100 or more per year for domain registration and hosting, and even more if you require assistance keeping your site up-to-date.
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.
This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated, most recently in 2020.