What Is Website Maintenance? [Beginner’s Guide]
Your website is the foundation of your business’s online presence. People visit it to learn about your company, find your contact information, and purchase your products.
If your website isn’t working properly or is out of date, you may lose out on significant opportunities, such as new leads and sales.
Since 94% of first impressions relate to web design, people may come away with a poor first impression of your business if your site isn’t up to date and functional. Additionally, if you’re an ecommerce business and your ecommerce functionality fails, people won’t be able to purchase your products.
Regular website maintenance helps prevent these issues. In this post, we’ll explore what website maintenance is, what it includes, and why it’s so essential for your business.
To learn more about website maintenance and other digital marketing topics, explore our free resources or sign up for our weekly newsletter to get the latest marketing tips that will help you create a better website!
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What is website maintenance?
Website maintenance refers to the tasks required to keep your website functioning properly and up to date. It involves regularly checking your website for issues, correcting any issues, and making updates.
Why is a website maintenance plan important?
Why is a website maintenance plan crucial for your business? Here are some of the top reasons.
1. The majority of customers conduct online research
Before making a purchase online, 87% of people conduct online research. People that are considering buying a product from you will likely end up on your website.
If your website gives them a negative impression of your company, they’ll likely continue their research on a competitor’s site, and you could miss out on a sale.
2. Your website informs users’ first impressions
If your website doesn’t work properly or looks outdated, customers will often click away. It will set a negative first impression of your business. If your website looks unprofessional, customers may think that your business is too.
3. Your website helps grow your sales
Your website plays a crucial role in guiding users toward making a purchase. In the case of ecommerce sites, your site facilitates purchases. If your site doesn’t work properly, you’ll miss out on potential sales.
4. Site visitors value user experience
Among consumers who have a poor user experience on a site, 89% will shop with a competitor instead. Regular maintenance prevents these poor user experiences and encourages potential customers to stay on your site, increasing your chances of making a sale.
5. A website maintenance plan improves security
Cyberattacks cost U.S. companies $15.4 million per year. Repairing the damage caused by cyberattacks is often costly, plus you may lose customers who no longertrust your company with their personal information.
Regular maintenance helps protect your site from cyber threats by keeping your security systems up to date. When you maintain your security protections, customers will feel more comfortable making purchases on your site.
6. Website maintenance supports your SEO strategy
If users frequently leave your website shortly after arriving on it, Google may view this as a sign that your site isn’t relevant. This increase in bounce rate can lead to lower rankings in search results, which means you’ll drive less traffic to your site.
Persistent technical issues, security issues, and outdated website design, structure, or content all contribute to diminishing your search engine rankings.
How much does website maintenance cost?
Website maintenance costs may vary depending on the type of site. Here are a few examples of potential website maintenance costs for various types of websites:
- A personal website will have low maintenance costs, typically from $5 to $25 per month
- Small business website maintenance may cost up to $100 per month
- A corporate website may have maintenance costs of $200 to $3500
- Ecommerce website maintenance costs may range from $1500 to $2500
Additional website maintenance costs
Some website maintenance costs to keep in mind include:
1. Domain name renewal
When you created your website, you purchased a domain name, which is your website’s address. For example, Google’s domain name is google.com.
You might pay for your domain name on a monthly or yearly basis. Domain names typically cost from $0.08 to $1 per month or $2 to $20 per year.
While a domain name typically isn’t too expensive, it’s essential to keep up with the payments so that someone else doesn’t buy your domain name.
2. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate
You’ll also want to ensure that your website has an SSL certificate, which helps keep your site secure. An SSL certificate enables your site to receive and transfer sensitive information securely.
Sites that have an active SSL certificate have HTTPS, instead of HTTP, in their URL. They also have a padlock image next to the URL in many browsers.
Sometimes you can get an SSL certificate for free if you’re using a hosting website, but generally, you’ll pay for an SSL certificate. SSL certificates typically include features, such as higher encryption rates, which can be beneficial for businesses. Their costs range from $0.80 to $125 per month or $10 to $1500 per year.
Be sure to keep up with your SSL payments so that your certificate stays active and your site stays secure.
3. Website hosting
Website hosting is another website maintenance cost to consider. You can either host your website yourself or hire a hosting provider.
When it comes to website hosting providers, you have several options.
- With a shared host, your website shares a server with several other websites. It’s the least expensive option at $24 to $120 per year.
- Website builders like WordPress and Wix are user-friendly and cost between $60 and $180 per year.
- If you choose a virtual private server (VPS), you still share a server with other sites. However, the provider divides the server up into several VPSs, giving your site a dedicated amount of server space. VPSs cost $240 to $600 per year.
- With a dedicated server, you get full access to your own server. This option costs between $1200 and $24,000 per year.
What does website maintenance include?
So, how do you do website maintenance? Here are some of the most important tasks involved in website maintenance.
- Testing your whole website annually: Test your whole website at least once a year and after making updates. Check that all features work, look for broken links, and watch for outdated or incorrect information. Bring in someone not associated with your company to get a fresh perspective on your site’s usability.
- Testing browser compatibility: Test whether your website works correctly in several versions of mainstream browsers at least once a year.
- Testing your forms and checkout process quarterly: At least once a quarter, make sure all your forms and your checkout process are working properly.
- Checking for software updates monthly: Check for software updates from your hosting provider, security provider, and other third parties monthly. These updates help ensure proper functionality and security. Even better, install patches as they’re released, if possible.
- Backing up your website: Backing up your website can save you from losing a huge amount of time and money if something goes wrong with your site. If you have an automatic backup feature, check that it’s working each month. If you don’t have automatic backups, complete a manual backup at least once a month.
- Reviewing key metrics weekly: Using tools like Google Analytics, review your website’s performance at least once a week. Check your key performance indicators (KPIs)and make sure your site is helping you meet your goals. If it’s not, make updates and check whether they improved your site’s performance the next time you review your key metrics.
This website maintenance services list includes the most essential website maintenance tasks, but it isn’t a comprehensive list of all the maintenance work you can complete.
You may choose to create a more extensive website maintenance plan or work with a professional website maintenance company to meet your goals.
Learn about website maintenance with WebFX
Keeping your website maintained improves your business’s reputation, keeps your site secure, and helps you gain more leads and sales. While you can conduct website maintenance yourself, working with a professional website maintenance company like WebFX can help you make sure you cover all your bases.
We offer several website maintenance packages that will ensure your site stays up to date, functions correctly, and remains secure.
Now that you know what website maintenance is, explore our website to learn more about website maintenance and other Internet marketing topics. Check out our free resources, or subscribe to our Revenue Weekly newsletter for industry updates and actionable advice on how to generate more revenue.