WordPress is the most used Website CMS systems in the world as it attributes for around 40% of all the websites (According to W3Techs). This is because of a number of reasons but main ones are:
Its easy to use
It can satisfy almost every need and is completely customisable
Google likes it – at last count 55% of all first page results are WordPress sites (this changes daily)
Its easy to code – If you have a WordPress site and you web dev stops working – don’t worry anyone can work on it.
The basic components of any WordPress site are the theme and the plugins, this is because they are pre written “templates” that allow you to have a simple but easy website management process. But installing a theme or a plugin is just the first steps you can get a site of the ground. It’s very important to regularly update WordPress, plugins, and themes if you want to have a fully-functional website. Then again, a lot of people actually fail to see the importance behind performing timely updates.
You may not know this but by updating your plugins it keeps your website secure, functional and relevant. FYI we can help with this if your struggling – Simply go to our Hosting page and fill in the contact form with the subject line “managed hosting” our prices are very competitive and we can do it all autonomously without your involvement. This is providing that your site is currently functioning well and that it doesn’t need fixing first (which we can also help with).
Think about it – you are frequent in updating your mobile apps and your operating system. So why would you think that you should fall behind on maintaining something that has such an importance for your business?
The Main Reasons to Update your WordPress Plugins and themes regularly
If your trying to get your website to the front page of Google you need to stay relevant. If this isn’t a good enough reason there are certainly others that are worth considering.
1. Security and Bug Fixes
The best thing about WordPress is also the worst thing and that is that its open source. This means anyone (including hackers) can view the source code at any time and exploit weaknesses. Because hackers have access to these plugins to, Its much easier for them to hack a plugin than a site, as they gain access to many more sites (every one that using the plugin or theme). This downside is also an upside as luckily for WordPress owners, the original developers of the plugins are always trying to stay ahead and improve there software. This happens almost weekly, and through this process of bug fixing you can expect increased security overall.
Its actually staggering to think that almost 85% of all WordPress website hacks that occur is because of not updating plugins, additionally if your having problems with your sites SEO this should be your first point of call as its an easy fix to get some instant gains in the SERPS.
2. Updates have New Software Features
Look at the plugins your WordPress site has and ask yourself a simple question – “Why do these plugins exist in the back end of my website?”
Normally the answer is that you or your website developer liked the added features and functionalities the plugins came with. Depending on the plugin depends on the benefit it brings. For example there are builder plugins to make construction of pages easier such as WPBakery Builder, Other plugin like Yoast and Rich snippets are used to increase page SEO or you may have a pop-up making plugins to create easy marketing messages on your website. The point is that you chose then for a purpose, the newer plugin version does what its designed to do and normally has added features.
Just think of all the new features you can gain by switching to the latest version of WordPress or its themes and plugins. Especially since the process will take so little of your time. But more on that in a few minutes.
3. Site Speed (Speed Improvements)
Did you know that site speed is now a ranking factor? How do I test my site speed? Well use this tool – Google Site speed checker. With this you can get a good idea if this is a problem that needs addressing on your website. Website speed is a very important factor when it comes to SEO and your ranking, this is because page visitors will usually leave if it takes more than three seconds to load. In this fast working world that we all live in people are pressed for time, There is no excuse to loose a customer because your site is slow – its not hard to get this sorted.
When plugins and themes are updated, they often find better and cleaner ways to achieve the purpose the plugin was built for. This means when a new WordPress release come out it may come with small improvements to the speed of your website. So why not receive maximum performance benefits if you already have the chance? And it can all be done with a few clicks!
Now that you have read this information we have no doubt that you’ll never forget to update those plugins again!!
How Do I update My WordPress Website Theme or Plugins?
Don’t be in a rush to update your themes or plugins, if you find some that you don’t consider to be essential or even important, feel free to uninstall them. It’s generally advisable not to overdo it with the plugins. After all, the fewer plugins and themes you have, the fewer updates you will need to perform and the faster your site will be!
The Update Process
The First step to this is the hardest but the most important!!!
You need to take a backup of your site in your hosting panel or make sure your C panel has the functionality to roll back plugins (if your not sure ask your host). The reason is sometimes updating plugins can create glitches and make your website not display or function correctly. Once you have done that, you can actually update the plugins in the Wp-Admin panel of your site.
Its actually super easy to do, when you first login you’ll see this:
This is an example of website that hasn’t been updated for a while, simply press on the updates button with your mouse and a new screen will appear in the CMS.
In this example we can see that the theme and 1 plugin needs updating. We always suggest doing the plugins first then the theme updates.
To complete a plugin update (you can do this one at a time or all at once) select either update all (see above image) or next to the plugin there will be a tick box, this is for selecting the specific plugin for update. Then just press the update plugin button, this will create a load screen in the CMS, its important to note that updates should be done at none peak times as if a users on the site. they will get a maintenance in progress message, which could turn someone from a potential client to not QUICK..
Conclusion on WP updates
WordPress updates are not mandatory, but we hope that the above information has helped inform you why doing them can bring benefit. Their role is to improve the functionality of your website, increase security, as well as fix bugs, and improve website speed. So keep an eye out for the latest updates that will become available. In the fast-changing world of WordPress, we have no doubt that it will happen sooner than you think.
If you have liked what you have read, have any WordPress site issues or would just like to know more please reach out to us today via our contact page.