Software can be a pretty broad concept, so we’ll narrow it a little:
In the case of your content management system, you’re relying on programmed templates and sub-routines that work together to render out your website in a very specific manner — for Internet browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari to interpret and show to visitors on various devices.
Put another way, your CMS is the app with which you interact and put content into, in order to produce a result within your customer’s browser in the form of a page, post, menu, taplist, etc. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll be focusing on WordPress since PRÜF specializes in creating custom WordPress sites for restaurants, hospitality, craft beverage, and craft cannabis customers.
Why Does This Matter to a Business Owner?
Glad you asked. This is important to address; in fact, it’s the reason for this post. As a business owner you’ve got a lot going on. You’re busy creating new sales and marketing campaigns to pull in new customers, managing employee schedules, balancing books, and attending to a host of other really important tasks as part of your overall business strategy. As difficult as it is to keep your phone and computer updated, it can be equally challenging to remember to keep your WordPress website updated as well.
Does My Website Need to Be Updated?
That depends somewhat on which CMS you use. If you’ve got a self-hosted, custom WordPress or Drupal web installation, the answer is a resounding “YES!” We like to look at it like this: if the WordPress CMS is the operating system for your website, like Android or iOS is for your smartphone, your theme and plugins function a lot like the smaller apps you’d install on your phone to extend its functionality.
As you well know, in the regular course of months or years, your smartphone receives numerous updates to its core operating system (OS), as well as updates from the app developers. These updates usually includes security patches, bug fixes, and upgrades to various aspects of OS and app functionality.
Is It a Problem If I Don’t Update My WordPress Website?
By and large, not updating tends not to be a huge issue if you go a short time between WordPress Core and plugin updates. But there can be significant downsides, though, as time progresses between update cycles. Like anything, website software is a lot easier to maintain incrementally than if you have to address massive changes in large chunks. As time goes on, your investment requires work and upkeep to maintain it at a level that’s desirable.
When you do allow long intervals between updates, the risks to the health and safety of your site increases — just like waiting too long between checkups with the doctor or dentist. You run the risk of plugins and themes with security holes exposed for prolonged periods of time. As developers add new features, you may also be missing out on those, so of which could save you time. Additionally, incremental updates usually help exposed plugin and theme conflicts in ways that are easier to diagnose than if you’re making big leaps between version updates. These can potentially affect your data, as well.
Doesn’t My Web Host Perform Updates?
This is also a question we see a lot. Some hosts do, most don’t.
If your host uses the words “managed hosting” in their marketing copy, there’s a much higher probability that automated site updates come as part of your hosting package. The big names in the managed WordPress hosting space are WP Engine, Flywheel, Pantheon, Kinsta, SiteGround and Blue Host.
Hosts like ours, WP Engine, do offer CMS updates as part of their routine hosting. WP Engine gives site owners the ability to defer WordPress core updates if necessary, and generally only force through major updates if there is an extreme security risk to your site and/or their infrastructure if your WordPress site isn’t updated.
Introducing PRÜF Site Care Plans
OK, But Do I Really Need This?
Think of PRÜF Site Care as similar to insurance, or a regularly scheduled oil change for your car — we’ll be checking on your site periodically. We’ll run uptime monitoring on it. Depending on the plan you choose we’ll send you monthly reports on your site’s performance as well as your site visitors and effectiveness of your content strategy. There’s real value in knowing what your site doing and how that relates to your business and decisions you may need to make.
Otherwise, what could you be missing and how can that HURT your business?
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Co-Founder and Visual Developer
I drink and I know things.
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