Once you decide to create a website, in most cases, you think only about the cost of coding its front-end and back-end, paying a UX/UI designer, testing it for quality, and releasing it for your target audience. However, having a website is not a one-time investment.
It needs 24/7 maintenance to run smoothly and without glitches. Website databases are typically stored on a paid hosting server, thus requiring monthly or annual payments for the rental of digital space. As a rule, websites also need regular updates to ensure the highest quality of service and innovative features to your clients.
So, apart from calculating the cost to hire UX designer specialists and coders for your project, you need to factor in the post-launch maintenance of your resource. Here’s a detailed breakdown of site maintenance with prices, allowing you to perform more exact budgeting.
What Does the Maintenance Cost Depend on?
The first thing you should realize is that maintenance costs vary broadly. Some small firms can deal with $10-50 for monthly maintenance, while others need $1,000+ per month. It all depends on the scale of your website and the daily traffic requirements. Compare the following:
- A small personal website – maintenance ranges from $5 to $25 per month.
- A professional blog – you can manage the site for $25-$100 per month.
- A large marketplace – the minimal maintenance cost is $1,500, reaching up to $5,000 per month for huge online shops.
- A multimedia content platform – here, the costs vary from $300 per month to $2,500 depending on the daily users and traffic volume.
What Maintenance Costs Should Your Budget Include?
Now, let’s take a deeper dive into what maintenance involves. Here are the main categories of your unavoidable expenditures.
#1 Domain Name
Every website has a name by which customers can find it, but you can’t buy that name once and for all. As a rule, domain names can be rented, and you need to pay for them all the time. You pay once for its registration and then pay a specific sum for its annual renewal. An average price for a not-so-popular name is around $5 per year. But if you want a catchy, short domain name like nike.com or bbc.com, you’ll need to pay way more for the rental – up to $10,000 per year.
This category of maintenance expenditures is unavoidable; you can’t operate in the online space without an address. Once you forget to pay for the domain name’s renewal, it becomes vacant, and anybody else can buy the right to host their website under this address. So, we recommend tracking the deadlines of domain name payment very carefully, avoiding the dread of losing your place in the online space.
#2 Web Hosting
A domain name is an address by which users can find you, and hosting is the rented digital space where your website lives. It is the space occupied by its databases and the system’s back-end with which users interact through the menu options.
Hosting is a vast topic, as there are various hosting services and a huge diversity of hosting plans. As a rule, websites don’t pay more than $75 per month for hosting, while a small personal website can do with as little as $2-5 per month.
When choosing among hosting options, you need to consider your website’s current and planned volume and traffic needs. It’s OK to go for shared hosting if you don’t need too much space and are ready to share the server’s resources with other websites. However, large websites for which speed and unlimited efficiency are critical (e.g., marketplaces and streaming services) require VPS hosting – a server dedicated to their resource only.
Another excellent solution is to use cloud hosting for websites with extensive traffic requirements. This variant presupposes website data storage on server clusters, thus ensuring much higher uptime.
#3 SSL Certificate
Having an SSL certificate on your website is no longer a whim. All websites taking care of their clients and trying to protect user data should have the SSL seal guaranteeing better data privacy and website encryption. Therefore, it gets much easier to manage an SSL-protected website due to the encrypted server-browser communication.
It’s a pretty affordable service that won’t break your bank, with an average cost of $12-15 per website (if it’s a small, non-demanding resource). You can go for a lifetime certificate or pay for it on a subscription basis, for around $7 for small websites.
#4 Business Email
Efficient email marketing is at the heart of any profitable business. Thus, you need to consider this component when budgeting your site maintenance. There are free business email services, but they have pretty limited functionality, especially when you scale and develop. So, it’s better to pick a reliable email provider with a small premium guaranteeing flawless business email functioning, allowing a certain degree of customization for the newsletter and special deals. The service’s cost ranges from around $1 per month to $2.5 per user per month, depending on your needs.
#5 Technical Maintenance
Every website requires technical support, and it’s up to you who will provide it. You can either set up an in-house team responsible for all the ins and outs of web support provision or hire an external agency to deal with these issues. As a rule, businesses hire the company that built that website, ensuring that people knowing the website’s architecture deliver high-quality assistance to clients.
Technical maintenance is an umbrella term denoting many things, such as:
- Answering the client’s questions and inquiries via a live chat.
- Conducting communication with customers via emails, ticketing their inquiries, and managing the entire process of email support.
- Phone support for customers calling the hotline.
- Managing the business’s knowledge database (like a Wiki) to ensure client onboarding and self-service.
- Community building and support in the business communities (e.g., forums, social media, or internal groups).
Don’t Save Money on Maintenance As you can see, website maintenance is a complex, ongoing process that starts after launching the website. It is vital for effective and safe website operation, preventing critical data loss or security breaches. So, you should never neglect the website’s maintenance needs, as they keep your business resource intact and functional, thus attracting new clients and preserving your business’s reputation.