If you are running an online business, you must be aware of the concept of websites, and if you are not, then you must also have heard of the term website maintenance.
Website Maintenance refers to the activities of regularly updating a website with fresh content, checking it for issues and bugs, keeping a track of its performance and do the needful to make it better overall.
While the basic purpose of website maintenance is to ensure that your site is running smoothly, frequent updates to your site will also make sure that your users keep finding new things to read and talk about your online business.
Website maintenance is about regular servicing and repairing of your site. It involves looking under the hood for any coding bugs, checking the website traffic and sales statistics, analyzing email responses and doing whatever it takes to improve the things for your online website. That said, the website maintenance cost can be significant, depending on how less often you perform this activity, just as the cost of servicing your car will keep increasing if there is too much gap between two consecutive services.
In this article, we will try to figure out things like why it is important to keep your website maintained, how to do that, and how much does it cost to maintain a website monthly?
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Why is Website Maintenance Important?
Wondering why you need to regularly maintain or update your website? It is for the same reason why you should regularly service your bike or car. Because if you don’t, the life and performance of your vehicle will decrease drastically over time. However, website maintenance is a little trickier than that.
As I mentioned above, maintaining your online site is not just about checking and repairing it for bugs, it is also aimed at improving the site for better user experience and constant engagement.
Your website is an online image of your business, which your potential and existing users use to analyze the value of your products/services. Depending on how well you present your website to the world, the demand and worth of your services will be perceived accordingly. Besides that, here are some other reasons why it is important to maintain your website.
- Only a well-maintained and regularly updated website can preserve the interest of your existing customers and bring new customers.
- Search engines like Google prefer to rank websites with updated and fresh content higher in search results.
- Your website is an online image of your business. Keeping it fresh, attractive and well-maintained is the key to improving your brand reputation online.
- Another major reason to regularly update/improve your site is to identify and remove security vulnerabilities.
- Keeping your website maintained will also help maintain its value over time, in the same way as the value of a vehicle over time largely depends on how well it is maintained.
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Things to be covered under Website Maintenance
Maintaining a website is almost equally important as building a website in the first place, or even more in some cases. But what does it involve and how frequently should you update your website? Let’s figure out.
Some people might think that website maintenance is only about identifying and removing bugs that appear over time, but it is not exactly true. Website maintenance comprises a lot of things, as explained below.
Check for Security Vulnerabilities
This involves scanning the complete website, including the code and database, for security threats that may have appeared over time or have remained during the initial development.
In this, you need to test your site for bugs, errors such as broken links, etc., and fix them accordingly.
Speed and Compatibility Testing
Site speed is an important factor for Google ranking as well as optimal user experience. Remove unwanted content, graphics, JS code, etc., to speed up your site. Also, check the compatibility of your site for browsers, mobile, etc.
Regularly update your site for the latest software version to ensure proper security and functionality.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is another thing you can consider to optimize the overall website and to improve its search engine rankings. A professional Online Marketing Company can help you with the job.
Make sure there is a working automated backup system with your website.
Update your site on a regular basis with fresh, unique and relevant content to keep search engines and your visitors engaged.
Functionality & Features Testing
It is altogether important that the various functions and features of your website keep working smoothly to ensure a hassle-free experience for your site users. The only way to ensure that is to test and update the website from time to time.
Design & Layout Optimization
Another important website aspect that needs to be checked and optimized regularly is its design. It does not mean that you have to change the design every time, but simply checking and improving it for errors will do.
Performance and Analytics
Last but not least, you should have a proper and proven method to check the performance of your site. You can consider using tools like Google Analytics to keep a track of website users and their behaviour.
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The Cost Analysis of Website Maintenance
Now that you know and understand the importance of website maintenance and how it is done, it is time to get into the cost of Website Maintenance. Yes, you guessed it right. Maintaining your website will take both effort and price.
So, you have two options here:
- Hire an in-house IT team, or
- Outsource the job to a professional website development company
Then, you need to figure out the things that you want to update or change in your website, and when. Some of these things may be time sensitive, such as software update, framework upgrades, etc., so you need to build a timeline accordingly.
Here’s a brief analysis of the website maintenance cost in 2019, according to the various parts to be maintained.
If your website is based on an external framework application, such as WordPress or Drupal, you need to update the same as soon as new updates are released. Each new version of the website framework comes with certain features and/or security upgrades which may be crucial for your website to work seamlessly in the long run.
If you do not update your website software on a regular basis, your website may become vulnerable to security issues and hacking.
If you are using free software like WordPress, framework upgrades should be mostly free. Some advanced features and plugin updates, however, may cost you extra.
Third-party plugins and extensions that you use on your website also receive constant updates from the owner. These updates should be implemented immediately to ensure the smooth running of various operations.
Also, you should check the website thoroughly after updating each plugin to make sure that the new update is not impeding any website feature/functionality.
For website maintenance is an ongoing task, it is recommended to hire a full-time in-house or remote IT team for the job. This way you will not have to worry about the constant updates and whether your website is performing to its full potential.
You can hire a full-time IT consultant or expert with a remote Web Agency, who will keep a constant watch on your website, monitoring its performance, removing bugs and installing regular software updates. To be honest, it will not cost you much as compared to the returns and benefits it can give to your website.
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When you hire a full-time IT service team, you’ll no longer have to worry about the various maintenance tasks such as software/framework updates, analytics and performance tracking, script analysis, bug removal, security upgrades, design/development and SEO support, etc. The usual cost distribution is as follows.
Website Maintenance Cost at SAG IPL:
- Hourly Rate – $5-$15
- Monthly Rate – $500-$1500
- 24/7 Website Maintenance Cost (Monthly Rate) – $1,000-$3,000
Most of the web development companies provide maintenance services as a part of their overall package, so you can save on cost by choosing that as well.
Other than the above-mentioned charges, you may have to pay extra for the following related services:
- Recurring hosting cost – $10-$100 per month
- Domain (renewal) cost – $15 a year
- Security (SSL) – $50 a year
- Backups – $5-$50 a year
- Content updates – $5-$15 per hour
- SEO maintenance – $5-$15 per hour
Website Maintenance is an important part of your overall online business and marketing campaign, which should not be ignored if you desire to make a successful and everlasting online presence for your business. If you are concerned that your website is not performing well or up to its potential, you should immediately consult with your web maintenance agency or in-house team to analyze the problem, the average cost of website maintenance and act accordingly.
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