Congratulations if you just launched a website, or are preparing to do so. In order to make sure everything runs smoothly with your site, it’s a good idea to put some consideration into three important areas. These include maintenance and management, hosting, and website security.
In this post we’ll explain each one and give general pricing expectations.
Website Maintenance & Management
A website is not something you just publish and walk away from. It requires constant maintenance and management. To start with, you should ensure the site is frequently backed up. There are a few ways to do this.
- Your hosting plan could include automatic updates. We’ll talk about hosting later.
- You can install a plugin on your website to automatically create backups.
- You can manually make backups of your website.
In addition to backing up your website, it’s also important to regularly and promptly update the plugins and content on your website. This will help with security and strengthen your SEO and Google rankings. A long period of downtime between updates can harm your search engine rankings.
Importance of Website Maintenance
When prospective customers or clients land on your website, what do they think? There are a number of factors that could dissuade them from actually becoming an authentic lead. For example, if your website takes too long to load, they will likely go to a competitor website. Also, if the website isn’t mobile friendly, this can be a frustration for many prospective clients or customers. And of course, if your website looks outdated or doesn’t have the content your visitor was hoping to find, this will hurt your chances of making a lead or sale.
Fortunately, there is software that can help maintain the website. And there are plenty of companies who offer website maintenance services. These types of services can keep the plugins and scripts on your website updated. This is important because outdated plugins can make it much easier for your website to be hacked.
The average price for general website maintenance is $35 to $100 per month. Whether you choose a basic or professional plan, you should consider the size of the website and level of security you need.
Website hosting is what makes your website actually show up on the internet. Here’s an analogy we like to use for explaining websites, hosting and domains.
Websites: A website is like a house. A designer will create a blueprint for what the website will look like. Then, a developer will actually create the website through their coding. This is like an architect and construction company designing and building a house. But, the house needs to actually sit somewhere. It needs to be placed on a lot. That’s where hosting comes in.
Hosting: Technically, a website can be built but never actually show up on the internet. In fact, we have multiple websites in development right now and they can’t be found online because we aren’t ready for them to be found. But, once we finish building the website, we will put it in a hosting account. This could be through our own hosting services or in a hosting account owned by the website owner. Hosting functions in the same way that a lot (plot of land) functions for a house. You have to pay a hosting company to have the space to put your website, in the same way a person needs a lot to put their house is on.
Domains: Once the website (house) is built, and it’s put in it’s hosting (lot), it’s time for the domain. The domain is like the mailbox of a house. It would be very difficult for someone to get to your house if they don’t know the address. The same thing is true for a website. A domain (www.example.com) needs to be purchased and then it needs to be attached to the hosting.
According to the latest stats, there are approximately 330,000 web hosting providers worldwide. They all offer different plans from free to expensive options specialized for your business. The plan you choose will depend on your budget and the level of hosting service you want.
You should expect to pay around $50 to $150 per year for shared hosting. A higher capacity hosting plan such as a VPS or dedicated server can cost $150 and above. Unless you want to switch hosts every year, you should be prepared for renewals.
If you find one hosting package for $50 and another for $500, this doesn’t necessarily mean one company is trying to rip you off. It most likely means they provide a greater level of security and service, which impacts the performance, security and Google rankings of your website.
Website security refers to actions taken to ensure data is not exposed to cyber criminals every day. Because this is a proactive measure, you protect your website from being taken offline due to malicious and dangerous cyber attacks.
Another common security problem is malware attacks. This malicious software allows cyber criminals to steal sensitive consumer data.
So, how do you secure your website? First, you should choose an SSL certificate that is best for your site. It protects important information like emails and credit card numbers. Keep in mind that most search engines are labeling sites without an SSL certificate as insecure. Since SSL protects data in transit, you must take further steps to keep your site secure.
Secondly, you should update your software regularly. A website hosted on a CMS system like WordPress, Wix or Squarespace is at a higher risk of vulnerability. Make sure to prevent this by updating the CMS and plugins regularly.
In addition to that, you can use a web application firewall. It stops those attacks that can crush your website. Other ways of making your website secure include using two-factor authentication and strong passwords.
Benefits of website security
Website security can be compared to an apartment building, while the management will offer security for the apartment, but it’s up to the occupant to lock the door.
Because hackers can discreetly enter your website and stay hidden, they can infect your site without you realizing it. Therefore, you should secure the website to protect your business and reputation.
As technology changes, the website attacks are growing in numbers every day. We know of several clients who didn’t have a high enough level of website security and as a result have had major issues with their hosting company. Having said that, make sure you choose a reputable website hosting provider before you hire them.
While website security isn’t free, it’s certainly worth the peace of mind, knowing you’re less likely to have an issue with getting malware on your website and spending a lot of money to get it cleaned up. And, since a website cleanup is more expensive than protection, you should take proactive measures to keep it secure.
It’s estimated that by 2021, the amount spent on cyber security will be $6 trillion. The annual cost of securing a website averages $12-$119 per year depending on the provider.
Website security and maintenance are crucial for your business. If your website is simply taking space on the internet and not generating revenue, you should consider the above tips to fulfill its potential.
Your website should not just be something that costs you money each year, but something that can potentially generate a lot for money for your business. It’s not an expense, it’s a marketing tool.
If you need assistance with your website or digital marketing, let us know! You can connect with us through the contact form below.