The WordPress software is free, and you can get a domain name for $10 a year and basic web hosting for $5 a month. So your total cost of ownership should be less than $80 per year, right?

However be prepared for the following: Slow loading times, intermittent downtime, devoting hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours into learning WordPress so you can maintain and fix your site. You might think that once you install WordPress, choose a theme and plugins, and add in your content, you’re done.

But that’s only the beginning – Your initial expected costs would be your domain name and website hosting. The actual costs are domain name and website hosting and Website Maintenance.

Offsite Back Ups – Backup software, backup services, third-party offsite storage. Hiring a developer to set up the backups correctly, test the backups, and restore your site in the event of a disaster. There is no point backing up your site on your own hosting account or server as 9 times out of ten when the site goes down the backup is not accessible.

Software Upgrades – Clicking the upgrade button doesn’t take much time. But hiring someone to fix your site if the upgrades go wrong can cost a lot.

Website Security – A secure site setup is a one-time investment that can greatly reduce the chance you will get hacked. Ongoing education on security and monitoring your site are also recommended. These can add up to a significant cost.

After the Set Up – Once your site is set up you generally have 3 options for maintaining your website:

Option 1 – Don’t do anything – don’t back up, upgrade, or secure your site. Your recurring time commitment and cost are zero. But you have a higher chance 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 most common choice among WordPress users.

  • Cost: When something goes wrong, it may cost you $1000 or more.
  • Time commitment:
  • Risk of hacking/downtime:

Option 2 – Hire someone to do it all for you. Back up and upgrade your site but don’t do security. If your backups are done properly, you should be able to quickly recover your website in the event of a disaster. But you will likely lose any changes made since the last successful backup – posts, pages, comments, etc. Your site may be down or broken for days or weeks, depending on how quickly you can identify the problem after it appears, and how quickly you can get your developer to fix it.

  • Cost: Probably $50-100/month.
  • Time commitment: You will contact your developer whenever something goes wrong.
  • Risk of hacking/downtime: However, it varies depending on your developer’s skill level, your priority as their customer, and your contract/retainer.

Option 3 – Educate yourself and maintain your website on your own. Back up, upgrade, and secure your site on a regular basis. Know what themes and plugins to use, how to restore from a backup. When you are doing it all yourself, you don’t have to wait for your developer to fix things.

  • Cost:$0.
  • Time commitment: At least 100 hours to learn the intricacies of managing WordPress, and 5-10 hours/month to manage your site and stay up to date.
  • Risk of hacking/downtime: Assuming you learn how to maintain your site correctly.

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, or you’re responsible for other people’s websites, it is Essential that you devote the time to learn the technical side of WordPress maintenance before things go wrong. The Preventative approach is the way forward.

Preventive maintenance is a concept employed, to some degree, by most industries. Taken at its most literal interpretation, it is also practiced in the most common activities in which humans participate.

Bathing prevents germs and disease, as does cleaning the house. Changing the oil in a vehicle prevents the engine from failing. We do these things because we know that failing to do so will result in larger problems in the future.

If a problem does occur, you’re now in a different realm. You’re then responding in a reactive manner. Perhaps your vehicle has broken down on a remote road, creating further problems. End of analogy!

EssentialWP is designed to take care of the basic WordPress Website Maintenance along with other services and extras that makes our Website Care and Support Plans the best value you will find online.

Our platform is on high performance managed hosting, so your websites load faster and are more reliable than on shared hosting. We have the experience to handle all the technical work for maintaining your websites, so you never have to worry about it.

Essential WordPress Website Care and Support Plans