This is a common question once a WordPress site has been setup.
Think that by installing WordPress, choosing a theme and plugins, and adding in your content, that’s all there is?
That’s only the beginning!
Yes, WordPress software is free and you can get ‘basic’ domain name, hosting & email packages for 10/month.
So the total cost is only $120/year, yes with a huge but …
- That basic package generally comes with limitations … shared ‘basic package’ hosting can produces low load times & intermittent downtime, and does not include the support if anything goes wrong with your website.
- Are you willing to devote hours of learning the ins and outs of WordPress, your theme & plugins so you can maintain and fix your site. To start you will need a strong knowledge of WordPress and the technical side of WordPress maintenance before things go wrong, as well as PHP, MySQL and even CSS.
So now your $120/year cost starts to become $?/year.
What Maintenance Do I Need?
Backup software, backup services, third-party offsite storage (i.e. Dropbox, Amazon S3). Hiring a developer to set up the backups correctly, test the backups, and restore your site in the event of a disaster.
Simply clicking the upgrade button doesn’t take much effort. But fixing your site if the upgrades go wrong can cost a lot.
A secure site setup is a investment that can greatly reduce the chance you will get hacked. But ongoing monitoring is recommended to keep up to date.
Your WordPress Website Is Setup – Now What?
Once your site is set up you generally have 3 options for maintaining your website:
Option 1. The “don’t do anything – don’t back up, upgrade, or secure your site”.
Your ongoing cost and time commitment are zero. But you have a greater risk of something going wrong, and it will cost you more money to fix it. You will also have the highest potential downtime with this option.
This is, unfortunately, the common choice of most WordPress users.
- Ongoing Cost: $0
- Time Commitment: None
- Risk of Hacking/Downtime/More $s: Extreme
Option 2. The “hire someone to do it all for you”.
Back up, upgrade your site and manage security. Regular weekly backups are done properly with the ability to quickly restore your website in the event of a disaster. You will likely lose changes made since the last successful backup – posts, pages, comments, etc. Your site may be down for a short period, depending on how quickly you can identify the problem after it appears, and how quickly the site can be restored and fixed.
- Ongoing Cost: Medium
- Time Commitment: Low
- Risk of Hacking/Downtime/More $’s: Medium
Maintenance packages generally cover regular backups, updates & security, but do not cover recovery costs.
Option 3. The “educate yourself and maintain on your own”.
Regularly back up, upgrade, and secure your website. Know what themes and plugins to use, how to restore from a backup, how to fix broken PHP code, etc.
- Ongoing Cost: $0
- Time Commitment: High
Hours to learn the intricacies of managing WordPress, and time each week/month to manage your site and stay up to date.
- Risk of Hacking/Downtime/More $’s: Low to High
Learning how to maintain your site correctly is the first stage, if there is a major problem you may still incur cost to help recover & fix.
If you don’t educate yourself or have a WordPress developer on call, you’re putting both your website and business at risk.
If you want to do things yourself you must devote the time to learn the technical side of WordPress maintenance before things go wrong. If not, then it could take even more time to master.