Once you spend time, money, and effort building a new website or app, you may feel that you’ve achieved everything you wanted; everything looks great, and it’s already been bringing in new leads and customers.
In truth, as soon as you leave your website for any period of time, it immediately becomes obsolete due to the ability of the internet to advance and continuously improve.
There are times when it isn’t an issue, but there are also times when it can lead to serious security problems.
Keeping your website up to date with regular maintenance is actually fairly straightforward, Albeit the thought of keeping your website up to date with regular maintenance can be a little daunting at first. Most digital agencies and good freelancers will offer packages that keep your website looking fantastic, working perfectly, and improving over time.
Maintenance of your website can entail a variety of things, but it is essentially the necessary upkeep that keeps your website and the platform that it runs on up to date and secure.
A website maintenance checklist would include:
- Security patches
- Updating plugins
- Identify and fix anything that might have stopped working after the update
- Ensure the site works correctly with new and updated browsers by performing cross-browser testing
- Device compatibility, to ensure the site is working for all supported devices, including new releases
- Server-side updates including regular backups
- Support, including help with using a CMS
- Essential bug fixing – especially for functional or complex websites
- A guaranteed response time to support questions
Even packages for website maintenance can include additional services, such as hosting costs, marketing or design services, and after-hours support.
A monthly maintenance plan will keep your website safe to use, updated, and working brilliantly. Otherwise, you risk having your site infected by hackers, bugs, and your customers experiencing browser compatibility issues.
First and foremost, you want a website maintenance service for security reasons. This is true especially if the website is built on an open-source platform like WordPress.
Having such a vast array of themes and plugins makes it especially vulnerable to security threats. Even dedicated security plugins need regular updates to make sure they are up to date and remain secure.
The usability of your website is another key concern, especially if it’s more functional. If you have an ecommerce site, booking calendar, or application, you are more likely to have bugs, broken links, and user issues appear. These can impact accessibility.
Hosting companies usually also provide server updates and backups of your site as part of their service. That means that in the event that anything goes wrong with your server or site, your maintenance provider will be able to restore from a backup.
A lot of website maintenance contracts also offer additional service to help grow your business and your web product. Examples include adding new features and functionality to your website, and improving your website’s conversion rate, as well as ongoing SEO and marketing services.
Another reason that you should consider getting web maintenance is that you can ensure that you will receive a fast turnaround. If you have an ongoing maintenance contract with your web designer or developer, all requests will be guaranteed and completed in a timely manner.
Meaning that if you have an urgent issue on your site, but don’t have a service agreement in place, you’re likely going to be at the back of the queue.
There are a few types of website support available, and you should choose the one that’s right for you and your business. Here are some questions to consider to help you choose the best website support:
- Is my website business critical?
- Can I wait until working hours for issues to be addressed?
- Is my website on an open source platform like WordPress?
- Do I have a simple, information-based website?
- Could issues on my website lose me money or customers?
- Will I need regular additional design, development or marketing work on my site?
If your website is just a small, simple site without a CMS, and you’re open to reporting issues as and when you find them, then a Reactive, or Pay As You Go, support contract might suit you.
This would mean that you don’t have anyone regularly checking your site for updates or issues, and when you spot things that need fixing, you contact your website designers and get a quote for the additional work.
If your website is on an open source platform like WordPress, then it’s advisable that you do have a proactive website maintenance service, even if it’s just for essential updates.
A proactive maintenance contract will mean that your web designer or developer will do regular checks and updates – usually on a monthly basis.
For websites on a bespoke CMS, this is great to keep on top of browser updates and device compatibility. But if you have a WordPress website, or use another open source platform, this service is essential for keeping on top of system and plugin updates.
Many of these will be security patches, as open source platforms are a lot more vulnerable to hacks and attacks, so a proactive maintenance service is a real necessity.
If your website is a little more complex, for example if it’s got ecommerce, booking or other functionality, you might need a bit more than just proactive support.
Instead of just regular maintenance for browser, CMS and device updates, you might also want yourweb developer to set aside time to develop additional features, provide design for new pages or printwork, or even look at marketing for you.
This can be incredibly valuable if you have a more complex website or provide software as a service. It gives you the ability to adapt your features and functionality to improve the user experience, using your allocated design/development time.
R-freshd’s detailed package includes your essential updates are managed, but you also have dedicated time set aside by R-freshd for additional work.
The highest level of website maintenance, we call grow. This is for clients whose websites are business critical – by which we mean that any loss of availability or functionality on your website poses a critical risk to your business.
This level of support isn’t required for the vast majority of websites but, for some, it’s essential.
With other website maintenance services, queries and issues are dealt with during business hours. But if with total support, you’ll have support out of hours too.
For some businesses that just needs to be an extended working day, for example from 7am-10pm. For some clients that might need to be 24/7 availability.
For the vast majority of customers, R-freshd advises our Build or Conquer packages, depending on what your website does for you.
For most small businesses and companies that aren’t dependent on their website as their main source of revenue a pay as you go package would be fine.
Our 4 different levels of service for website updates, but how much does it cost to maintain a website?
Remember, these are R-freshd’s website maintenance costs at these different service levels. Some agencies will quote higher, some lower, and some won’t provide them at all! But this should be a rough guideline for what you can expect to pay.
- PAY AS YOU GO
This will be charged hourly, with prices that could range from £25 per hour.
- GET STARTED
£95 per month, depending on the complexity of your website or system.
- BUILD maintenance + additional work
This will depend entirely on what additional work you expect to need, so will probably be somewhere upwards of £195 per month.
£295 per month, this will often require staff to be available on call during out of hours with additional work to be completed over the month but everything is included so there’s no others fee’s to have to consider.
How can I keep my website up to date?
A monthly or annual website maintenance package from your website designer will help you keep your web product up to date and secure.
R-freshd is firm believers that a web project doesn’t end at launch day. If you’re interested in having ongoing support and maintenance for your web app or website, read more about our website support services.