Your website isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of deal.
Much like a car, it requires regular tune-ups to ensure it runs smoothly and securely.
But how much should you budget for website maintenance and updates?
Let’s break it down.
Website Maintenance Budget
Understand What Website Maintenance Involves
Website maintenance includes a variety of tasks, such as updating your content management system (CMS), themes, and plugins to the latest versions, regular website backups, security checks and fixes, monitoring website uptime and load time, SEO optimization, content updates, and more. Each of these tasks requires time, skills, and sometimes additional resources.
DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Your first decision is whether to handle maintenance yourself or hire a professional.
DIY: If you’re technically inclined and have the time, doing it yourself can be a cost-effective option. You’ll need to account for your time and any additional tools or resources you might need. For example, premium plugins for security or SEO optimization can range from $30 to $100 per year.
Hiring a Professional: If you’re not tech-savvy, or if you’d rather focus on other aspects of your business, hiring a professional may be the right choice. Web maintenance services can range from $50 to $150 per hour. However, many agencies and freelancers offer maintenance packages that provide a set number of hours per month, which can range from $50 to $500 per month, depending on the services included.
Predicting Update Costs
While maintenance costs are ongoing, update costs occur less frequently but can be larger. Updates might include a website redesign, adding new functionality, or overhauling your SEO strategy. For major updates, you might need to budget for the cost of a web designer or developer, which can range from $50 to $200 per hour, depending on their expertise and the complexity of the update.
Plan for the Unexpected
No matter how carefully you maintain your website, unexpected issues can arise. Your site could get hacked, a major update could break a feature, or you might experience a sudden surge in traffic that your current hosting plan can’t handle. It’s wise to set aside a contingency budget for such unexpected expenses. A good rule of thumb is to set aside an additional 15-20% of your annual website budget for these surprises.
In conclusion, budgeting for website maintenance and updates is all about understanding what tasks need to be done, who will do them, and what resources are needed.
By planning ahead and setting aside a contingency budget, you can ensure your website stays up-to-date, secure, and ready to serve your audience effectively.