The Small Business Guide to Website Maintenance

February 26, 2024
Posted by
Andrew Pottruff
The Small Business Guide to Website Maintenance

Having a website is crucial for any small business in 2024, but creating one is only the first step. Maintaining your website regularly is just as important as building it in the first place. Without proper maintenance, your site can quickly become outdated, slow, insecure, and even completely non-functional.

For small business owners without large IT budgets, keeping up with website maintenance can feel overwhelming. But it doesn't have to be! This article will provide you with a handy maintenance checklist, cost estimates, and tips to help keep your small business website in good shape.

Website Maintenance Checklist

To keep your website running smoothly, you should regularly check and update:

  • Backups - Back up your website files and database daily or weekly to avoid losing important data and content if anything happens to your site. Store backups offsite as well.
  • Security - Install an SSL certificate, firewall, and scan for malware regularly. Use strong passwords and limit admin access.
  • Updates - Update your CMS, plugins, themes, and web hosting software when new versions come out. This patches security flaws and bugs.
  • Content - Add fresh blog posts and new pages to your site regularly to engage visitors. Update existing content as needed.
  • Speed - Check site performance using online tools like GTmetrix and optimize images, code, etc. to improve site speed. Slow sites lead to high bounce rates.
  • Links - Fix broken links on your site. Build new quality backlinks from other sites to help SEO.
  • Design - Make minor tweaks and updates to the look and feel of your site. Keep things fresh.

Estimated Costs of Website Maintenance

When budgeting for ongoing maintenance, you have two main options:

  1. DIY Maintenance

    Doing it yourself costs no extra fees but requires your time and effort. Basic tasks like content updates can be managed in a few hours each month. More complex work like migrations and redesigns can take 10-20+ hours though.

  2. Hire a Professional

    Basic Package: For $100-300 per month, you can get around 2 hours of maintenance work done. This covers routine tasks.
    Standard Package: For $300-600 monthly, expect 5 hours of maintenance work. This allows for more complex updates and fixes.
    Premium Package: For $600+ each month, you can get 10+ hours of work. This level is ideal for ecommerce sites or those needing major overhauls.

Tips for DIY Maintenance vs Hiring a Professional

Doing your own maintenance is often free but requires time and technical skills. Hiring a web professional costs more but saves you effort. Below are key factors to help decide the best approach:

  • DIY tasks: Content updates, basic WordPress changes, link fixes, simple design tweaks.
  • Hire out: Large migrations, major redesigns, heavy development work, ecommerce maintenance.
  • DIY if budget is very limited and you have some tech skills.
  • Hire help if budget allows and you lack the time or skills.
  • Do security and backups yourself initially. If the site grows, hire out.

In the end, most small businesses use a blended approach. They handle simple routine maintenance internally but bring in help for larger projects or as needs evolve.

The key for any small website owner is realizing that maintenance is not a one-time task. It requires vigilance on an ongoing basis to protect your online presence and keep visitors happy. Use this guide to build a maintenance plan that fits your time, budget and abilities. With regular upkeep, your website will hum along smoothly for years to come.