Web Development

How Much do Website Maintenance Services Cost? The Complete 2021 Guide

Your website is vital to the success of your business. That’s why you invested in the beautiful, feature-rich site of your dreams.

So now you can just sit back and let the traffic roll in, right?

Not so fast.

Websites need regular maintenance to function well and provide your site visitors with a positive experience. Failing to update your site can lead to lost conversions, damage to your brand’s reputation, or even a costly security breach.

But maybe you don’t have the spare time or resources to maintain your own website. How much will it cost for a website maintenance expert to take that extra work off your plate?

This article is your guide to what website maintenance is, why you need it, and what you can expect to pay for it in 2021.

What are website maintenance services?

Website maintenance services are regular checks and updates that keep your website running smoothly and securely. Maintenance ensures that you’re using the most up-to-date technology, nothing has been hacked, and traffic keeps flowing to your site.

You can maintain your website yourself or contract with an agency that provides website maintenance. Each agency’s maintenance plan will offer a different mix of services.

Why do you need website maintenance services?

You’ve probably come across a website or two that looks like it hasn’t been updated in years. It loads slowly, it’s hard to use on mobile, and the design is giving you flashbacks to 2006.

Don’t be that website.

Website maintenance provides your site visitors with a superior user experience. Your site design looks modern, and the functionality is everything today’s consumer expects.

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Website maintenance services also protect your site against downtime and bugs. Patching and upgrading any software or plugins you use on the site are key to keeping it up and running.

Some website maintenance services help with ongoing search engine optimization (SEO). SEO bumps your site higher on the search engine results page and brings in organic traffic.

What happens when you don’t maintain your website?

Let’s start with the worst-case scenario: your website could be hacked.

Website owners often think of cyber attacks as something that only happens to the British Airways and Marriotts of the world, but 46% of data breaches happen to small businesses.

Out-of-date websites are especially vulnerable to hacks. Website maintenance services can minimize your chances of suffering a breach.

Another potential catastrophe is a website crashing or not working well. You’re losing potential sales every minute that your website is down — and some interested buyers will never come back.

Even if the website hasn’t crashed completely, poor functionality will drive customers away: 90% of shoppers have left a website because it didn’t load quickly enough.

If the mobile experience is slow or inconvenient, 18% of customers will abandon shopping rather than switch to a desktop.

Website maintenance can catch bugs before they lead to downtime and performance issues.

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Even if you’re lucky and your out-of-date website doesn’t experience a crisis, it’s not living up to its potential if you’re not maintaining it.

For example, take SEO.

There are people out there right now searching for a product or service like yours. But search engine optimization requires ongoing maintenance, and if you’re not putting in the effort, those potential customers are less likely to find your site.

MOST BUSINESSES STRUGGLE Maintaining their website...WE FIX THAT!

Since 2009, we have helped many businesses keep their website updated and maintained. Let us do it for you!

Can you do website maintenance yourself?

You can DIY website updates, but it’s not an easy job.

You need a variety of skills in website development, design, and SEO. And you need to find the extra time to work on your site at least once per month.

Many small businesses find that it’s much more cost-effective to contract with a service that provides regular website maintenance.

What’s included in website maintenance services?

Website maintenance packages range from very basic to everything but the kitchen sink.

Agencies have different specialties and capabilities, so it’s important to shop around. Which service and package you choose will depend on the needs of your business.

Let’s look at 11 of the most common website maintenance services.

1. Website hosting

Maybe you already have a website hosting service you’re happy with, or maybe hosting will be included in your new maintenance package.

Either way, it’s going to be a recurring expense. How much you pay depends on what kind of hosting you go with.

Shared hosting – Shared hosting is what it sounds like: your website is hosted on a server shared by other websites. Because of the shared cost, it’s an inexpensive option. Expect to pay $3–$10 per month.

Website builder – If you built your site with a website builder like Wix or Weebly, your website hosting costs will be pretty low. These platforms sometimes offer a free plan, but they’re not typically suitable for businesses. Expect to pay $6–$18 per month.

Virtual private server (VPS) – A VPS is the middle ground between shared hosting and having a dedicated server. You share a server but have your own partition with a private CPU and RAM. A VPS generally costs $15–$50 per month.

 Dedicated server – The most expensive website hosting option is renting a physical server for yourself. Expect it to cost $100 and up per month — probably not worthwhile for most small businesses.

2. Domain name renewal

Another non-negotiable investment for any business website is a domain name. This falls into the maintenance bucket because it has to be renewed each year.

While people sometimes pay millions of dollars for a domain name, most unused domains are quite cheap. The price you pay upfront is often lower than the annual renewal.

For example, GoDaddy lets you register domains for as low as $0.99. However, the second-year renewal jumps up to $17.99.

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The average renewal price for a .com domain is between $8.27–$29.99 per year. This is less than $1–$3 per month.

3. SSL certificate

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is a protocol that encrypts and authenticates data being sent between applications, such as a browser and your web server.

Having an SSL certificate for your site is critical if you’re taking customers’ personal or credit card information.

But even if no customer data is passing through your site, the browser will label it with a “Not Secure” warning if you don’t have an SSL certificate — not a look that inspires trust.

You can get an SSL certificate for free. The type of encryption is the same as a paid SSL certificate, but paid SSL typically comes with additional features like customer support and a longer validity period.

SSL certificate renewal ranges from $0–$150 per month.

MOST BUSINESSES STRUGGLE Maintaining their website...WE FIX THAT!

Since 2009, we have helped many businesses keep their website updated and maintained. Let us do it for you!

4. CMS patches and updates

Your website likely runs on a content management system (CMS) like WordPress that lets you easily upload new content.

Unfortunately, as useful as a CMS is, it’s also an area of vulnerability. The major content management systems are quick to roll out bug fixes, but that doesn’t help if you don’t update your version promptly.

A study found that 56% of hacked websites were running outdated versions of the CMS at the time of infection. Website maintenance prevents you from being one of those sites.

Plus, you get all the latest feature upgrades.

Some businesses pay for a custom CMS. There’s no real upper limit on the price of development in that case. For regular updates to a CMS like Joomla! or WordPress, expect to pay $20–$200 per month.

5. Security scans

Don’t wait until you’ve had a breach to fix security issues.

A website maintenance plan should include regular (even daily) security scans.

You can find apps and plugins that do this for free. However, paid services can scan deeper, identify more vulnerabilities, and provide better assistance if something is found.

Expect to pay $0–$85 per month.

6. Site backup

If something happens to your website, it’s important to have a full, recent backup so that you don’t lose any data or have to redo any work.

Web hosting services often offer backups, but be careful — they may not back your full site up very frequently. Ideally, you’ll have daily backups. At a minimum, it should be done every few weeks.

If your host’s backup and restoration package isn’t good enough, look for a third-party service. Website backup usually costs $3–$10 per month.

7. Ongoing development

Part of your website maintenance plan could include website development and design.

Some packages include a set number of development hours, while others let you pay as you go for the hours you need.

Ongoing development covers things like design changes and functionality enhancements. Keeping pace with modern technology and design trends is important for providing your site visitors with the best possible experience.

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The sky’s the limit for website development costs — plenty of enterprises pay over $100,000 per year perfecting their sites. But as part of a larger maintenance package, look to pay $200–$5,000 per month.

8. Tech support

Even websites with top-notch maintenance sometimes have issues. You need someone available who knows how to troubleshoot glitches.

If that’s you or someone on your team, you might not need to outsource tech support. Or maybe you have a small, simple website, and the free customer support provided by WordPress or another platform is good enough for you.

But if you want tailored support with a guaranteed turnaround, you should pay for third-party tech support. It could cost anywhere from $50–$3,000 per month.

9. Analytics and reporting

You may have a web maintenance service monitoring your site for you, but you want to know what’s going on.

Some services provide monthly website analytics reports that you can use to further strategize and optimize your campaigns. Expect it to cost $5–$15 per month.

10. Ecommerce system maintenance

If you have an ecommerce website, your ecommerce system is central to your entire business.

Whether you’re using Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, or another platform, it’s important to find a website maintenance service provider that understands how to keep it updated and secure.

That typically costs $15–$25 per month.

MOST BUSINESSES STRUGGLE Maintaining their website...WE FIX THAT!

Since 2009, we have helped many businesses keep their website updated and maintained. Let us do it for you!

11. Search engine optimization

SEO includes any action aimed at making your website perform better on search engines.

Some SEO is technical. It involves making your site more crawlable by search engine bots and improving technical ranking factors like site speed and mobile responsiveness.

SEO also includes non-technical work like:

  • Keyword research
  • Content development and optimization
  • Link building

You can find SEO services for a few hundred per month, but cheaper isn’t always better.

Companies that spend over $500 per month on SEO are 53.3% more likely to be “extremely satisfied” with their SEO company than those that spend less.

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The cost of SEO varies widely, but for a package covering all aspects of SEO, you’ll pay $400–$10,000.

What factors affect the cost of website maintenance services?

When you start to shop for a website maintenance plan provider, you’ll see there’s a wide range of prices. There are a number of factors that can affect the cost of website maintenance.

The first factor is which services are provided. An agency that only offers hosting and security patches will be cheaper than one that’s also doing your SEO and website development.

The size of your website may affect how much you pay. Maintaining a site with thousands of pages and sophisticated functionality will cost more than updating a 5–10 page Wix site.

The type of site matters as well. If you have an ecommerce site, you need ecommerce platform maintenance and robust security. A brick-and-mortar store with no online ordering can get by with basic security.

Finally, the skills, manpower, and resources of the website maintenance agency are a factor. Experienced website experts won’t offer the cheapest services out there, but the investment is worth it for many businesses.

How much does it cost to maintain a website?

There’s no simple answer to this question.

If you have a personal blog that doesn’t collect personal information or have a lot of visitors, you could get a free SSL certificate and security plugin and only pay for hosting and domain renewal. That would be around $25 per month.

A large business, on the other hand, might have a dedicated server and choose to invest in SEO and site development services. That company could pay upwards of $5,000 per month.

Before you talk to website maintenance agencies, go through the list of possible services. Decide what you need and what you can budget for it.

For review, here’s the list of site maintenance costs:

  • Website hosting: $3–$1,000
  • Domain name renewal: $1–$3
  • SSL certificate: $0–$100
  • CMS patches and updates: $20–$200
  • Security scans: $0–$85
  • Site backup: $3–$10
  • Ongoing development: $200–$5,000
  • Tech support: $50–$3,000
  • Analytics and reporting: $5–$15
  • Ecommerce system maintenance: $15–$25
  • Search engine optimization: $400–$10,000

How often should a website undergo maintenance?

Each type of website maintenance has its own schedule. Here’s how frequently you’ll need each service.

  • Website hosting: Web hosting is ongoing. You’ll either pay monthly or yearly.
  • Domain name renewal: Renew your domain yearly.
  • SSL certificate: SSL certificates expire and need to be renewed between every 90 days and every three years, depending on the certificate.
  • CMS patches and updates: Your CMS should be updated at least once per year, ideally monthly.
  • Security scans: Scans are ideally conducted daily. They should be done at least once per month.
  • Site backup: Daily backup is best. If that’s not possible, try monthly.
  • Ongoing development: This can either be part of a monthly package or paid hourly.
  • Tech support: This is a monthly expense.
  • Analytics and reporting: Regular monthly reports are optimal.
  • Ecommerce system maintenance: Ecommerce system updates should be made at least once per year, ideally once per month.
  • Search engine optimization: You can pay for this hourly, monthly, or by project.

How to choose a website maintenance services provider

The first thing to check is whether the agency covers the specific services you need. Each service provider will have different skills — find the maintenance package that works for your needs.

You don’t have time to wait months for a service provider to implement a much-needed change. Make sure your agency has the resources to make updates quickly and regularly.

They should understand your type of business. If you’re an ecommerce website owner, the agency should have experience working with your ecommerce system.

Talk about a plan for communication. The agency may be taking website maintenance off your plate, but you should still know what’s going on. Ask potential agencies how they’ll report on their work and how often.

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If your website maintenance package includes SEO, check the agency’s track record for getting results. They should be able to share real case studies from companies that used the service and increased traffic and conversions.

Conclusion

Your website is far too valuable to let it fall into disrepair. Website maintenance keeps your site up and running and bringing in customers.

If you’re shopping for website maintenance services, why not turn to a company that has a track record of helping businesses manage their website?

Talk to a website maintenance expert at HigherVisibility today.

MOST BUSINESSES STRUGGLE Maintaining their website...WE FIX THAT!

Since 2009, we have helped many businesses keep their website updated and maintained. Let us do it for you!

Is your traffic declining? Are you not generating enough leads or sales? We’ve been growing businesses since 2009, let us do it for you!

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