Updating and making changes to a website does cost money, but just how much?
Have you ever wondered how your web design agency works out what they are going to charge you to update your website?
If you have a WordPress-powered website, we believe that you should be able to update the majority of website content yourself – that’s kind of the point of having a site built on WordPress.
The WordPress editor makes it easy to make text and image changes, the appearance section allows you to manage menus and other customisations and you should be able to add and change widgets.
So why is it that we speak to a lot of clients who have WordPress sites they simply can’t update themselves?
How much does it cost to maintain a website?
We’re going to make some assumptions here:
- You have a website that is built on WordPress
- You don’t have a support contract with your agency (so we’re talking ad-hoc website support requests)
- You’ve not signed up to some bonkers contract that basically states that even though you’ve paid for the site, it’s not yours.
You should be able to update the general content of your site easily. This should include stuff like:
- Making text and image changes
- Adding new posts and pages
- Managing menus
- Organising and adding new widgets
- Moving content around on the page
- Updating plugins and themes*
- Creating forms and using them on pages
* Plugin and theme updates do require some technical knowledge
Your website should be set up to allow you to administer the above (and more) sections of your site.
You shouldn’t be incurring charges from your agency for doing the above (unless you ask them to do it for you).
So what WordPress updates do we deem chargeable?
In general, we consider the following WordPress website update requests to be chargeable – either as ad-hoc work or as part of a WordPress maintenance contract.
- Updates to theme template files
- Adding new template files
- Adding and testing new plugins
- Changing themes
- On-page SEO
- Core updates (generally covered by support contracts)
- Plugin updates (generally covered by support contracts)
- Fixing things you’ve broken
And how much do we think these updates to your website should cost?
We charge by the hour for WordPress development work – currently, our charge for website maintenance per hour is £80 ex VAT.
- Updating a template file – anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours depending on the complexity
- Adding a new template file – as above
- Adding and testing plugins – one to three hours
- Changing themes – varies hugely depending on the current and new theme
- On page SEO – for basic YOAST prep – 15 mins to one hour per page
- Core updates – generally we cover this in our support contracts, ad-hoc work is charged at one to two hours
- Plugin updates – as per point 6
- Fixing things you’ve broken – this depends on just how badly you’ve broken it!
- Consultancy – as many hours as you need @ £80 per hour
These costs are obviously guidelines, but from our experience, the above is a fair estimation of time. There no straight answer to ‘how much does it cost to maintain a website’ – but the above is a good guide.
Cost versus value in website updates
One important thing to remember when costing-out a website update is the commercial value of the work you are asking for.
If you ask a WordPress developer to add a shop on to your website as you have an awesome product that will sell millions, there’s a commercial value to having the shop, and the developer will likely quote you the going-rate for completing the work.
If your developer is very experienced, it may only take them ‘X’ hours to do the work, but the costs may be ‘2x X’ as this is the commercial value of the project.
Although there’s no set web design price list, you should find that quotes from similar-sized agencies are in the same ball-park.
This is something to factor in when considering using freelancers for WordPress updates.
A freelancer may charge you half as much per hour as an agency does, but they often take twice as long to complete the work. Automatically thinking that freelancers are cheaper for updating your website can be a false economy – they are often less able to complete the work quickly either whereas a larger agency with staff can often help you right away.
There’s a reason WP powers 30% of the internet.
WordPress is an opensource platform.
1000s of people contribute to its development for free.
It’s 100% free to download and install.
One of the main reasons we use WP is its speed and ease of deployment.
What used to take days to set up now takes minutes, and we believe those savings should be shared.
WordPress is easy to update, move, change and develop – all of which should benefit both web agency and client.
If you’re thinking of making the move to WordPress and want some pre-project advice, call us on 01295 221291.
So is your web agency ripping you off?
If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then you need to carefully consider your current agency relationship.
- I can log in to my site, but only as an editor
- I don’t have full access as an administrator
- I have no access to the WordPress admin at all
- I have to make a phone call to make the smallest website alteration
- I can’t seem to see certain admin sections that I know should be there
- There’s no option for me to update anything
- I am paying £100s per month but I don’t know what I am getting
- And so on – the list is endless…
At Toast, we believe in working with the opensource nature of WordPress at the heart of everything we do.
If we build you a site, once you’ve paid our bills, the site is yours – we hold no on-going ownership of the installation, plugins or theme code used to build your site.
Absolutely everything is accessible on your WP install – from plugins to theme files, and you are welcome to manage as much of it as you want to.
Of course, we provide website maintenance packages for clients who ask us to look after their sites – but these are not part of the initial design and build contract and are over-and-above what a website costs to build in the first place.
Stuck on a proprietary CMS?
In the old days of website development, everything was bespoke. Many web companies had their own proprietary content management systems (CMS) and you paid a big chunk of the project budget for the privilege of using them.
To some extent, this was fair enough – the agency would have spent a lot of time and money developing, building and maintaining their CMS – you then pay for using it.
Does that sound like you?
If your website is built on a proprietary CMS, there’s not much you can do about charges for updating your website. They’ve got you over a barrel and the only thing you can do is move your website to an open source platform like WordPress. While we don’t offer a website cost calculator, a quick call to us on 01295 221291 will give you some idea of what the charges might be.