Had you just launched a brand new website and found it hard work? Or maybe you have an established website, and it’s doing well for you? In either situation, it’s likely that the last thing you want to hear is that you need to keep updating your site continually and over time. The truth – however – is that you should.
Take WordPress sites. Nearly forty per cent of all websites globally are built on this platform. There’s a reason for this: WordPress is a stable, usable and customisable system. That makes it an unusually good all-round basis for any website: for developers, functionality can be endlessly extended; for users, it always remains intuitive to edit and update.
That word again – update – crops up, too, for a reason. All sites need to be regularly given some TLC. For one thing, Google and other search engines tend to give better search placement to sites which regularly feature fresh content. For another, users’ expectations are always shifting, and a good site keeps up with its audience. No website is ever finished – it’s always a work in progress.
WordPress has a few other needs, too, however – and also offers some extra features which make updating your site both easier and more essential as time goes on.
First and foremost, security should be at the forefront of your developers’ minds. WordPress’s popularity comes at a price: hackers understand that if they find a weakness in WordPress, they have opened up nearly half of the world’s websites, and they are consequently always probing the system.
The good news is that WordPress are extremely good at upgrading WordPress’s code to rectify security issues – all you need to do is keep the version of WordPress that runs your website up to date, and you’ll stay ahead of the hackers.
Ensuring you’re running the latest version of WordPress is crucial for plug-ins, too. These are the widgets of software that your developers can install on your site to add all sorts of extra functionality. They’re the “secret sauce” of WordPress: because the platform is “open source” – meaning its code is available to all – developers are constantly expanding its capacities and making the fruits of their labours available to everyone else via plug-ins.
Plug-ins, though, change over time – and to ensure everything is as up-to-date as it should be, you’ll be good to keep your plug-ins fresh. Newer plug-ins, though, require the latest version of WordPress – and so, if you’re going to have a cutting-edge website, you need to hit that ‘Update’ button regularly (before doing so, please ensure you read on to find out how to do this properly!)
That leads us to the third reason you should update your WordPress site regularly: performance. Over time, the demands made by users and browsers alike change, and the functionality they need shifts. Successive WordPress versions increase speed, extend features and enhance compatibility – updates, in other words, improve how your website works.
The good news is that updating your WordPress is easy – though we’d recommend your developer take the reins, just in case.
That’s it! It’s possible to install plug-ins that manage all this for you – but the manual approach, if you have the capacity, is a good way to have confidence in, and oversight of, the process. Whatever route you choose, the important thing is to update regularly and often. Your website, and your users, will thank you and you can rest assured that your website’s safety is up to par!
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