Through regular website maintenance, you get to keep your website in working order. Properly maintaining it ensures your site is kept running, healthy, and secure. If you want your site to be successful, you would want to keep it up to date at all times. Though it comes at a price tag!
Are you wondering what the costs associated with maintaining a WordPress website are like? Newbie WordPressors may not at first realize this, but website maintenance costs aren’t something they should ignore or underestimate.
Upon launching your brand new website, how steep your subsequent website maintenance cost is, primarily depends on whether you’ve hired a developer team or opted for the do-it-yourself (DIY) route.
Yet, that’s not all it depends on. Think about unforeseen and unplanned adversities that may strike your website. These may include being hacked, plugin malfunctions, need for speed optimization, and other aspects you should keep a regular check on for ensuring an optimal user experience.
It is the basic goal of any business vying profitability to ensure its costs are minimized while revenue is maximized. In line with that theory, you must have a cost-effective maintenance function aligned to the running of your, say, WooCommerce website.
Once you realize this, a lot of questions will prop up in your mind:
- Are there some aspects of maintenance you should do yourself (DIY approach)?
- How much does it cost to maintain a WordPress website adequately?
- What does website maintenance cover, and what’s the cost breakup?
- What’s the best strategy moving forward?
Through this guide, you’ll learn everything there is to learn about the topic of WordPress website maintenance costs.
Let’s get started pronto!
Is The DIY Approach Worth It?
As mentioned earlier, there are two approaches to handling your WordPress website’s maintenance function — either outsource it to the professionals or choose the do-it-yourself approach. Though there are advantages and disadvantages to each route, generally it’s recommended to outsource it to an expert.
The DIY Approach Vs. Your Precious Time
Every developer is at a different level of expertise on the newbie to expert WordPressor continuum. Depending on how much you already know, gaining additional knowledge about website maintenance costs you your precious time.
No doubt, a complete newbie will find maintaining a website to be a mammoth task. To master website maintenance’s nitty-gritty, including disaster management remedies, an estimated 100 or so hours of learning time is required. And, it’s not just time; quality learning comes at a cost!
Some common maintenance tasks you’ll end up spending several hours doing monthly include:
- Performing updates & backups
- Deleting spam
- Checking for any bad links
- Adding new plugins for enhancing functionality
- Changing themes to break the monotony
Besides the time needed for performing the above, you may also have to factor in your full-time job, family commitments, and the time and attention required for your website’s business aspects. Given that scenario, you could end up missing a crucial website maintenance task or two. The slightest blunder could cost you a fortune. Hence, it might be best to leave things to the professionals while focusing on your own core competencies.
Should I, Or Should I Not, “DIY” it?
Every website is different. The level of expertise and the amount of spare time varies among individual developers. It might be more feasible for some to go for the DIY approach than others.
In the previous section, we’ve outlined the case against the DIY approach to maintaining a WordPress website. Now let’s take a look at how you can assess whether the approach is worth it for you, given your circumstances.
Here are a few things you should consider:
1. How many hours can you spare monthly for the upkeep of your website?
Suppose your website has a lot going on, and you’re able to spare only 15 minutes a day in its maintenance (i.e., less than 8 hours per month). In that case, this could be a risky proposition. Similarly, suppose you devote sufficient or excess time on the upkeep of your site. In that case, it could be at the expense of having forgone potential earnings from other work. Managing your time efficiently is key.
2. What type/size is your site?
Are you running a small blog site (or a personal site)? Or, are you into a comprehensive, busy WooCommerce venture? Size does matter! If yours is a small site, say a blog site, you could maintain it yourself by easily allocating time for it somewhere within your busy schedule.
Large WooCommerce type sites require dedicated professional attention for their smooth running and timely updation. Also, keeping downtime minimal is crucial to the success of such customer-centric sites. All in all, you need to ask yourself, “how much downtime am I alright with?” If you answer “some” or “quite a bit,” then you may be alright with the DIY approach.
3. What are the components of your WordPress maintenance checklist?
To keep your website maintained, these are some basic measures you must take:
- Keep your website secure. For doing this, depending on the features you need, you may use a recommended free or premium security plugin.
- Prevent & resolve hacking and malware attacks. You should be ready for such misdeeds at all times, especially if you have a WooCommerce site with loads of personal data. There are numerous steps to follow, including resetting passwords, clearing spam, notifying users of the potential threat, etc. If you feel this is a bit much, then you may not make the cut to handle such disasters in time, not manually, at least.
- Keep monitoring your site’s uptime. If your site is down you end up losing online sales every second, then your site is quite valuable. A valuable site’s uptime should be closely monitored. There are both free and paid WordPress uptime monitoring tools. A suitable one depends on your budget and the time you have at hand (manual vs. automatic systems).
- Keep your site optimized. Saving space and keeping your WordPress site’s speed in check are paramount for giving your users an uninterrupted and seamless user experience. There are both free and paid optimization tools available, depending on how much you want the service automated.
- Update your WordPress core, plugin, and theme software. Updating these ensure they (core, plugin, and theme) remain compatible with each other and result in WordPress functioning properly at all times. Furthermore, updating works as a strengthening force against attacks as the process blocks vulnerabilities. But, for updating to serve its purpose without causing issues, the next step on the checklist is “a must-do.”
- Do backup regularly. Doing regular website backups (daily basis preferred) ensures that if during testing or updating, for instance, something unexpected happens to your site, you can revive things to keep it running quickly and efficiently. There are various plugins to get the job done. A good premium plugin can help you back up in an automated process.
4. Are you capable of doing an adequate job?
Lastly, this brings us back to how much knowledge you have of WordPress; you need to assess if you are confident and equipped enough with the knowledge and tools to handle the maintenance of your website on your own. If you need to learn the ins and outs, you need to consider how much time and money you’re willing to dedicate. If incapable, any slip will result in huge losses. Thus, it’s better to pass on the baton to the professionals.
Average WordPress Website Maintenance Costs
Here’s a peek at the kind of average maintenance figures you could be looking at for your type of WordPress website:
Your Small Personal Website
Suppose yours is a personal website of modest size. In that case, you need not worry about an emphasis on strong security and premium plugins. An estimated figure you’re looking at is around $5 to $30 per month for its maintenance. This figure comprises the costs of the domain and hosting mainly. Also, you’re not burdened with heavy website design costs; you’re likely to find the comprehensive choice of free themes sufficient. The cost of content can also be nil since it’s a personal site that you’d be happy to upload your content any time you wish.
Medium Blog Site
The site’s size isn’t just based on the server space it uses; we also consider the number of monthly visitors. If your blog site has anywhere from a hundred to a thousand monthly visitors, it’s considered a medium blog site. Medium blog sites cost you about $20 to $65 per month. Most of which is domain and hosting expense.
The variation in average cost compared to a personal site is attributed to certain additional requirements. As the size grows, the upkeep requirements increase. You need to safeguard your site from spam and enhance security by investing in specific plugins while also making necessary periodic upgrades.
The content is likely supplied by the user in this case too, and technical help may occasionally be freelanced. Further, as another cost-saving strategy, medium blog sites almost always resort to social media for marketing.
High Traffic Blog Site
Suppose your monthly website traffic consistently exceeds a thousand visitors. In that case, it’s not feasible for one person to keep it up and to grow. To keep thousands of monthly visitors hooked, you need to have a regular content plan, employ innovative marketing tools, and advertise aggressively. You’ll end up having to meet all kinds of expenses, including monthly plugin costs. Here we’re looking at a monthly cost estimate of anywhere from $70 to $350.
Small WooCommerce Store
When online transactions are incorporated into the picture, you must make security a priority no matter how small the online enterprise. The rest, including plugins, designing, and content aspects, is your choice. The ballpark figure for the upkeep of a small WooCommerce website ranges from $30 to $60 per month.
Medium WooCommerce Store
As your online business grows into something bigger, you need to start enhancing your website’s aesthetic appeal and quality. Professionals should be hired for this so that the product images are superior, and the content is unique and appealing. Furthermore, things like having a custom domain, premium themes, and specialized plugins are now essential investments. With more frequency of online transactions on your website, an advanced security plugin requirement will further add to costs. All in all, we’re looking at a ballpark figure between $80 to &170 per month.
High Traffic WooCommerce Store
A big WooCommerce website translates into big costs. Your monthly expenditure to keep it up could be anywhere from $400 to $2,500, if not more. It all depends on the type of service you’re offering. Expenses that will form the bulk of your total cost will be the hosting plan cost, extra & premium features, technical expertise costs, and payments to your employees.
What Does The Average WordPress Website Maintenance Package Include?
This is the next pertinent question. For each of the above types of websites, we’ve specified a range of monthly maintenance expenses. So it’s essential we next outline the monthly maintenance breakdown. This will give you a clearer idea of what’s included in the costs.
Domain charges depend on what kind of name you’re looking for. For instance, a fresh, straightforward “.com” is the least pricey; it ranges from $9 to $14.99 per year, if not already owned by someone else. The price varies according to the domain extension (i.e .store, .org, .global, .net, etc.) and domain registrar (i.e GoDaddy, bluehost, namecheap, etc.) you pick.
Also, if someone owns the domain you want, you may bid a price to buy it from them if they’re willing to sell. Many such names run into thousands of dollars to buy. If you’re going with the annual plan, remember to renew your domain name every year.
Hosting Plan Expense
How much you can expect to shell out monthly towards hosting costs depends on the type of website you have. The minimum you can expect to shell out for a small website (blog or personal site) is $3, if not free. Medium and big websites require a better server, and monthly costs could run into the more prominent sites.
SSL License Cost
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that provides data protection and authentication of your website. It enables an encrypted connection and also enhances your search engine ranking and users’ trust and confidence. An SSL license can cost as little as $8 per annum for a small site. The cost can escalate to a thousand or more dollars per annum for bigger sites that need higher security.
Three Levels of – Professional Technical Website Maintenance Help
For those that are opting for the DIY approach, this section is irrelevant. However, if you’re en route outsourcing website maintenance, hiring a professional team will be a worthwhile investment.
WordPress website maintenance packages typically come in three levels. They range from $50 to $ 200 a month on average, typically covering the following services:
- Basic-Level Package ($50 – $75) – You get a 30-days backup archive, site optimization, regular software updations, uptime monitoring, and website firewall.
- Mid-Level Package ($75 – $130) – You get all of the above, a 60-days backup archive, plus Search Engine Optimization and WooCommerce support.
- Advanced-Level Package ($130 – $200) – You get all of the above services and real-time backup, a dedicated account manager, priority technical call support, and optional WordPress hosting.
Premium Tools & Plugins
A premium WordPress plugin (including premium WP themes) subscription usually costs roughly $20 to $100 a month. That’s just for a single plugin or theme. For all your plugins put together, you can do the maths. For the average WordPress website, your requirement would be at most 2 to 3 premium themes.
Aesthetic changes may not be on everyone’s monthly maintenance checklist. Yet, you should do it often enough to keep your brand exciting. Professionals like photographers, graphic designers, and other technical freelancers can assist. Such freelancers charge anywhere from $50 to above. If yours is a big website, you may want to onboard a permanent professional on your team so that these tasks work out cheaper.
Content Updation Charges
When it comes to conversion rates, your site’s content is the main deal maker or breaker. Regularly updated content is the key aspect of keeping your website relevant. Your WooCommerce revenues depend on conversions, and without traffic to your site, your business may soon bust. Content is the most important part of your website, and content writers charge anywhere from $20 an hour too much more. If you have the talent to write meaningful content yourself, you could save on this bit.
The DIY option is feasible for those that have just one WordPress site to manage, and that too, a small, personal type website. If you’re running one big WooCommerce site or multiple websites of different types, it’s not sustainable to manage them yourself.
It takes several hours of dedication per month and high expertise to do the maintenance job successfully. This is why outsourcing is typically the best option. If you think keeping your online brand relevant and growing traffic to your website, it always pays off to outsource.
Would you like to add your valuable inputs about the topic of website maintenance costs? If yes, use the comment section below. If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also want to check out our “how-to” guides, including the one titled: “How to Redirect www to non-www on WordPress?“
Joe has been using WordPress for many years, building many different types of websites along the way. Joe now enjoys working as a freelance content writer and is available for hire.