Two Crucial Reasons to Keep Your WordPress Site Updated
Written by LaFleur
If You Have a Website, There’s a Good Chance It’s a WordPress Site
WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) out there. It is used by over 25% of websites across the globe and an even higher percentage of websites in the United States. To put that a different way, every month:
- 23.6 billion WordPress pages are viewed (by over 400 million people)
- Nearly 70 million new posts are created in WordPress
- 46.8 million new comments are posted on WordPress pages
Here at LaFleur, we have built and managed sites on a variety of platforms — such as Expression Engine and Adobe Experience Manager — but most of the websites we build and manage for our clients are WordPress sites. From independent bloggers to major content providers like Forbes, The New Yorker, and the BBC, a huge variety of people and businesses use WordPress for their websites — and with good reason.
The Benefits of Using WordPress
There are a wide variety of benefits associated with using WordPress as your CMS. Some of the major reasons we tend to favor it at LaFleur include:
- Affordability: Everyone knows you can get a website for free from a lot of different venues, so people tend to expect their website to be affordable. WordPress has a free version (though you’re still required to pay for hosting and other costs), but most people don’t want a site that looks identical to their competitors, so we prefer to customize our clients’ sites using a suite of tools that work with WordPress to create a unique design, a dynamic user experience, and pragmatic functionality that helps further the primary goals of our client.
- Scalability: Whether you are self-employed or have 500 employees, WordPress is a flexible, scalable platform that can suit the needs of many different sized businesses as well as many different types of businesses — from law firms to healthcare organizations and more.
- Ease of Use: WordPress has a very intuitive interface. Tasks that routinely need to occur on a website — like posting new blog articles — are easy to execute by people who don’t have a long history of working with websites. Most people can figure out how to create a new blog post by poking around a little. This is great for us because literally every person on our team can hop in and make a quick change if they notice that something needs to be updated. And it’s great for our clients because they can use it themselves (even if they decide to part ways).
- Customizability: Because WordPress is such a popular CMS, new features and integrations are coming out all the time. Some of these features are pushed out by WordPress themselves, while many, many others are created by individuals and companies to expand the capabilities of WordPress. With so many different widgets, plugins, themes, and tools available, WordPress is incredibly customizable and versatile.
There are, of course, many other reasons that WordPress is a good choice for your CMS, but those are some of the most important.
And even though we enjoy working with WordPress, we are also willing to remain platform-agnostic until we have completed an in-depth discovery session with a client to determine their specific needs and goals for their website. Although WordPress is often a good choice, sometimes it makes sense to use a different CMS.
Every Website Needs to Be Updated — Much to Everyone’s Chagrin
Maybe you’ve had this experience before: You’ve been working on your phone, tablet, or computer when a message pops up on your screen that says you need to update. It seems to always happen at the worst possible time. While you can put it off, you might notice your device slowing down, doing weird things, or even crashing if you don’t update in a timely fashion.
Well, the same situation exists for your website, regardless of what platform you’re on. There are some risks associated with updating your WordPress site. For example,
- An update can interfere with your site’s functionality
- An update can temporarily shut down your site at a bad time
- An update can crash your site (but that’s unlikely)
- You will need to spend time testing your site after an update to make sure everything is working properly and that the design has not been affected
Despite these issues, the benefits of keeping your site updated far outweigh the risks.
Below, we’ll discuss two of the most important reasons why you should keep your WordPress site up to date and why an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” approach is not the right choice for managing your website.
Reason #1 to Update Your Website: Security! Security! Security!
Along with weak (or compromised) passwords, outdated software is the easiest way hackers can manipulate your site. There’s no better way to lose trust and credibility with your clients and customers than having them see your site taken over by some prankster, but there are also many other security risks that exist by letting your site go stagnant. For example, what if the threat is less obvious? What if every time someone submits their confidential information on your site, it gets captured by another party without you knowing?
Security should be your first priority, especially if you are collecting user data in any way on your website. If you don’t update your WordPress site, your security is at risk. It’s that simple.
Reason #2 to Update Your Website: Ensuring Optimal Functionality
As you might have noticed with your phone or computer, you may still be able to use it without updating, but the longer you wait, the harder things get. Your device slows down. Sometimes programs won’t open properly. You may experience crashes more often.
Similar symptoms exist when you go too long without updating your site, and they can have real consequences. Users today are incredibly impatient — 47% of users expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less. If your site is slow, they will leave. Additionally, your site speed affects your rankings in search engines like Google, so if you have achieved great rankings (or are working toward them), keeping your site up to date is crucial for your success.
In addition to keeping your site function to users, updating your website also keeps it functional for you. New features come out all the time that make it easier to manage your website and offer new capabilities you can take advantage of. If you don’t update, you’re missing out. Similarly, updates roll out to fix bugs. So if something isn’t working properly already, an update can fix it.
(Sidebar: I once went an entire year without a garage-door opener, ducking under the door and over the sensor whenever I needed to close it, so I understand the impulse to stick with a workaround. But you can trust me when I say that having things work as they are intended will save you time, energy, and sanity. Bugs are meant to be fixed — and garage doors are meant to be opened remotely.)
While it is sometimes fun and interesting to figure out a workaround for a bug, you can save a lot of time and energy (not to mention your sanity) by using software that works as it is intended.
LaFleur Keeps Your Website Up to Date — And More
For most people, keeping their website up to date is the worst kind of hassle because it feels unnecessary. It takes time to do it properly. It takes time to test your site after an update. It takes time to troubleshoot when things aren’t working right after an update. And what’s the one thing almost everyone is short on? Time.
At LaFleur, we have a maintenance plan for all our clients that includes updating their website, themes, plugins, widgets, and more. This proactive approach helps our clients save time and money by avoiding the major pitfalls associated with update avoidance, such as site crashes and security breaches.
We also include a few free hours of additional site work each month to adjust the little things that come up. Maybe a staff bio needs to be updated. Maybe you’ve won an award and want to get a badge implemented on your site to show it off. Maybe you want to change the verbiage somewhere or make a couple design tweaks. That’s great! We can help.
We’re not here to bilk our clients for every billable minute of website work; we want them to have a fully functional website that they are proud of and that gets them the results they are looking for.
If you’d like to talk about updating and managing your website — or if you need a new site built from the ground up — give us a call at (888) 222-1512. You can also fill out a convenient contact form, and we’ll get back to you right away. We look forward to hearing from you!
And even if you’re not looking to hire someone to manage your website, please keep your site up to date! It may not seem important when everything is working fine, but everything always works fine right up until the moment it doesn’t, so be proactive and avoid the real headache of trying to get a broken site back up and running again!
Munford, M. (2016, December 22). How WordPress ate the internet in 2016… And the world in 2017. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/montymunford/2016/12/22/how-wordpress-ate-the-internet-in-2016-and-the-world-in-2017/#446f9ec8199d
Work, S. (2017). How loading time affects your bottom line. Kissmetrics. Retrieved from https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/