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Website Maintenance Costs

Website maintenance is a bit like installing computer updates. It’s a total pain, and we’d all rather not do it, but it only gets worse the longer you leave it.

Website maintenance: The tedious ‘Configuring Windows updates’ message

The only thing worse than this message on a Friday evening...

Website maintenance: The dreaded 404 error message this one on a Monday morning

On average, 77% of users will give up trying to access your website when they see a 404 error message like the one above. Meanwhile, slow-to-load web pages are a major cause of ecommerce customer dissatisfaction.

The causes of poor website performance are complex. The consequences, however, are simple; fewer sales, more customer complaints, and bad news all round for your bottom line.

Fortunately, most issues are completely avoidable with the right approach to website maintenance. Sure, you’ll need to shell out for the services of trained professionals; but you’ll save yourself a whole lot of time, money and stress in the long run.

Here’s the lowdown on website maintenance costs in 2019. If you don’t have a website, our guide to web design costs is also worth a look.

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How Much Does Website Maintenance Cost?

The cost of website maintenance depends on the type of website you own. For example, a single-page portfolio website will be much simpler to curate than a sprawling ecommerce website with product pages and databases.

Here are typical monthly website maintenance costs for different types of websites in 2019:

Website typeMonthly Cost
Hobby/personal blog/portfolio website$5-$30
Active blog, wide audience$5-$100
Company website$35-$300
Ecommerce (uncustomized)$150-$1,500+
Ecommerce (custom built)$300-$2,000+

There are five common costs components that we’ll consider in more detail below:

  1. Domain renewal fees
  2. Web hosting costs
  3. Framework updates
  4. Content updates
  5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Web Domain Renewal Fees

As the Dallas Cowboys learned the hard way in 2010, it’s easy to forget to renew your domain name after you’ve bought it. Renewal fees are due at the end of each billing period, and you’ll need to pay them to keep hold of your domain name.

We examined the average renewal fees for the three most popular types of domain name (.com, .net, .org) sold by 45 major domain name registrars.

Here are the registrars who emerged cheapest overall:

RegistrarAverage renewal fee/year
RegistrarAverage renewal fee/year
Crazy Domains$11.00
Amazon Route 53$8.99
RegistrarAverage renewal fee/year
Crazy Domains$9.99

Web Hosting Costs

Note: For a detailed costs breakdown of the different types of web hosting options, check out our full guide to the costs of creating a website.

Much like registering a domain name, signing up to receive web hosting services is usually cheaper than renewing an existing subscription.

We already ranked the top web hosts according to the initial cost of their shared hosting plans. Now we’re going to look at how they stack up when you add renewal fees into the mix.

We’re only concerned with renewal costs here, since these are what keep the figurative lights on for your website. Here’s how the top web hosting providers fare:

Cheapest Web Hosting Providers
Web hostRenewal fees for basic shared hosting plan/year

Website Framework Updates

Note: If you made your website with a DIY website builder like Wix, Weebly or SquareSpace, you can skip this section. Your framework updates install automatically, free of charge.

All websites rely on a software framework. In 2019, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are the three most popular frameworks. Developers are constantly iterating upon these frameworks, adding new features and security fixes.

As a website owner, it’s in your interests to update your website with minimal impact to performance. That means scheduling planned downtime for rolling out updates, testing the post-update functionality of your website, and debugging the source code to fix any issues.

Needless to say, it’s a process that requires considerable technical expertise. If you don’t have in-house IT personnel, it’s best to hire an IT consultant or web agency.

Most website maintenance agencies offer a range of pay-as-you-go and fixed pricing plans. Pay-as-you-go maintenance runs at around $120 per hour, and is best if you’re looking for short-term help rolling out critical software updates. Fixed pricing plans provide ongoing monthly maintenance at a reduced hourly rate - anywhere from $50 to $100 per hour.

Content Update Costs

Even if your business has the best product or services on the market, outdated content and broken hyperlinks on your website will send the opposite message to customers. A copywriting agency can handle content quality control for you.

Fees vary according to the type and length of content in question. We’ve covered average copywriting service fees in our other article on web design costs.

Search Engine Optimization Costs

Quite simply, SEO - or Search Engine Optimization - is what keeps your business in Google’s good books. SEO professionals make sure that each and every aspect of your website is fine-tuned to appear at the top of search engine results pages.

SEO agency packages run from $200 to $800 per month, and include support for:

  • Keyword research and targeting
  • Website analysis and evaluation
  • Page coding and optimization
  • Descriptive HTML site mapping
  • Local business listings indexation
  • Site analytics reporting
  • Off-page link building
  • Competitor analysis

Other Costs

As well as the costs detailed above, there are a couple more expenses to keep in mind:

  • Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate - A digital certificate that confirms the identity of your website to users. Essentially, it reassures people you’re the real deal and that you can be trusted with their data. You don’t have to buy one, but you’ll probably want to; SSL certificates are known to boost e-commerce sales and Google rankings. SSL certificate installation prices start from around $50 (one-time fee).
  • Website backups - Regularly backing up your website is a cheap insurance policy against getting hacked or infected with malware. From $5 a month, you can rest easy knowing that a recent version of your website can be restored from the cloud at the click of a button.
  • Plugins and extensions - These are mini-applications that you install in your website to add features, like a video player or a Twitter feed. Plugins are free to download but require frequent updates to work properly. Website maintenance agencies can install updates for you - prices are available by quote.

Next Steps

If your website suffers from 404s galore, you’ve got work to do. Now you should have a better idea of what that work entails, and how much it will cost.

That said, you’ve got another option: redesigning your website from scratch. It’s all well and good paying professionals to maintain an old website, but if it doesn’t follow modern web standards and causes problems for your SEO, is it really worth it?

World class web design not only gives your brand great visibility; it also makes light work of website maintenance. A slick site built on the most modern frameworks is a cinch to maintain, and web design companies can even do that part for you too!

If you’re creating a website and want an idea of the costs involved, your best bet is to get bespoke quotes.

Complete our short webform and we’ll connect you with top website design suppliers today.