Website maintenance cost – is it worth it?

Before the internet provided us with a portal to sell our goods and service to the world, we had to operate from physical locations, with serious overhead costs; rent, light, heat, rates and public liability insurance.  Now, freed from the physical constraints of the office space, it can seem strange to have to pay maintenance fees for the site we had created.

So why should you pay these maintenance fees and why do so many website designers recommend maintenance packages?

What are website maintenance packages?

Website maintenance is a service that is provided by a website designer to keep your website up to date, secured and loading as quickly as possible.  Your website designer takes on the responsibility for the running of your website, so, if anything were to go wrong, they have the responsibility of putting it back online.  Generally, they deal with your hosting company, domain registrar,  your website software and your staff, to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

With a maintenance package, you can typically also avail of a group of additional add-on services, to help boost your website, such as content updates, graphic design, advertising, SEO and sales conversions.

Do I need a website maintenance package?

Well, that depends on how confident you are with making changes to your website. The type of website you have is also a factor.  Static websites built with straight HTML & CSS generally need little maintenance and have fewer security issues, because there is no ability to login to make edits.  However, these types of websites are becoming fewer and fewer, as websites with advanced functionality become more popular and affordable.

Most websites these days are built on content management systems (CMS), like WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.  These CMS websites give you access to much more advanced functionality than before, such as being able to update your website yourself, sell products online, stage & sell tickets to events, regularly blog and even add paid membership options, without costing the sun, moon and stars.

More parts – more problems

The downside to all of this additional functionality is that websites have many more moving parts.  These parts need to be kept up-to-date regularly, to keep them up and running and to fix any security or performance weaknesses.  These parts are also constantly being upgraded to add new functionality – your website needs to continuously evolve alongside technological advances.

Of course, the downside is that moving parts cause wear, tear and incompatibility from time to time.  When something malfunctions, it can be difficult to know exactly what went wrong and how to fix it.  This is where maintenance packages come in – what could take you hours of troubleshooting could take an experienced designer minutes to fix.  Keeping everything up to date often prevents many of these issues, and, where there is an issue that cannot be easily remedied, they will roll back to a recently backed-up version of the site, until the issue has been resolved by the respective developer of the offending part.

The dangers of going it alone

There is nothing more dispiriting than staring at a blank screen where your website used to be, after an update has gone wrong.  Even worse again, is seeing your website having been taken over by a hacker, demanding a ransom to return it to you.  As an aside – never pay hackers – if they got in once, they can get in again, and, as evidenced by the fact that their modus operandi is extortion, they are not people whose word you can trust.

You can hire a web designer to attempt to rescue your website, but that comes at a price – an hourly rate that will often amount to much more then you would have paid to keep it secure.  The chances of your site going down, or being hacked, are much lower with regular maintenance, because it is being constantly updated and scanned for issues by a trained eye.

Additional hidden benefits of maintenance

It is not only the ongoing technical updates that provide value with a maintenance package – do not underestimate the value of having a website expert at the end of the line.  If you have questions, worries or ideas, your website designer is much more attune with your website, from regular contact, and is on hand to help.

They will also implement new upgrade functionality that will improve your website.  A great example of this is the SSL Certificate upgrade that most websites needed recently.  Generally, where we maintain websites, we have been adding certificates and amending page links to secure the websites, as necessary.

Time for the car metaphor…

Yes, that is all that there is to website maintenance – essentially, it is like a car insurance policy, except that the insurance company also comes out to regularly polish your car, check your oil and water and if your car is written off, they magically reincarnate it as it was before.   Now that would be an insurance policy to rave about, yet, folks discount the value provided by quality maintenance packages.

Your website is a vital part of your business and a constantly evolving piece of technology – it, too, needs regular love and attention, to keep purring like the well oiled machine it is.

After all that, make sure you check out our very fine maintenance packages, and let us know if you have any questions about their suitability for your website.