By: Gareth James / April 11, 2017

The Importance of Updating Your WordPress and Plugins

For individuals with any kind of platform it is normal for them to be continuously reminded to have regular updates, many of whom just brush it off and leave it until it is too late. However, inexperience and neglect damages the look and functionality of your website. Just like it is important to regularly update your smartphone or tablet it is just as imperative to do the same for your content management system. Not only is this a deterrent for custom it often leads to a complicated turn of events. Typically, there’s two solutions, fix it yourself and make it worse or pay a hefty sum for experienced personnel to fix it. All of which can be avoided by regular updates and can produce even greater benefits.

WordPress is a leading platform for content management, currently powering 30% of all websites. WordPress is renowned for its flexibility and adaptability, but growing in popularity and use for small business increases the likelihood of being hacked. Hackers are growing in competencies and more and more platforms are being targeted, for example Facebook and websites regularly produce updates to defend against them. With each update comes enhanced security, bug fixes, performance, compatibility and functionality.

Security

Millions of websites are hosted using WordPress which increases the number of sites being targeted by malicious threats. These threats are regularly identified by the security team working with the platform and updates are created to combat the vulnerabilities. Therefore, by not updating you are opening yourself up for attack. Being a victim of a malicious attack has a serious impact to yourself and the company. You risk the loss of client data, the site being offline and heavy costs for repair in time, effort and money.

Bug Fixes

WordPress frequently produce new releases. Major releases (recognised as x.x) are stable and bug free due to rigorous development and huge quantities of testing. However, down the line bugs do occur and minor releases (recognised as x.x.x) come to fix these.

For example, previous releases 3.8.5 eliminated a bug with the ‘quick draft’ tool that was broken and 4.5.2 was a security release for vulnerability identified in a third-party library used to upload files. Therefore, this shows the variety in updates that can be used to enhance the performance of your site. And remember, better performance aids custom.

Performance

Regular updating also improves the performance and speed of the product, resulting in a faster and more efficient platform. For example, these can improve the accessibility of the navigation menu as well as previous updates targeting Javascript. Plugins are typically targeted for updates to improve functionality, to speed up the scripts or queries and to run them more efficiently. Remember, performance is one of the crucial factors of a successful website.

Compatibility

WordPress also release updates to ensure their plugins continue to be compatible with each other and within the website. It is also important to ensure they are compatible with the new features of the website. Sometimes there are problems with aspects of WordPress so it is important to backup prior to running the updates.

Features and Added Functionality

Finally, updates allow access to all the latest features of the platform. For example, a recent update introduced a major overhaul to the admin screen and increased accessibility.

It is important to remember when using a platform for content management that it needs to be regularly updated and well maintained. Not only will this benefit the company in numerous areas, especially time, effort and money, but it will prove beneficial for custom. If a website is up-to-date, accessible and functional then it will be easier for a customer and they are more likely to return.

How can we help?

If you are looking for some support with maintaining your website, or just looking for some advice regarding updates and security, fill out our contact form and one of our experienced members of the team will get back to you.

About Gareth James

Accounts Director at HeartCMS.com and creator of a best selling iOS app. Gareth loves to help small to medium size businesses get more online exposure. Gareth started his online marketing journey back in 2008.

https://www.heartcms.com

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