If you have a website built on a content management system such as WordPress, Joomla or Droopal (and there are many others), this specifically affects you.
Setting up your site on a content management system is not a one-time deal. Just like any other software, it needs to be updated. And it isn’t an option. Here’s why:
- Security. This is the number one reason, and it’s a critical one. Without updating, your site will be hacked. Everyone agrees: it isn’t a matter of IF, but WHEN. There are some very smart – but nasty – people out there trying to insert malicious code onto your web server. Why? They want to use your server to generate spam, set up a phishing scam to collect banking passwords, or just freeload on your server space – often for, er… unsavory website content. Content management system developers spend a lot of their time closing those security holes. Unfortunately, it’s a never-ending cycle.
- Compatibility. Often, added functions on your site are integrated into your website through plug-ins. Even if you aren’t evolving, they are and you may find that a favourite plug-in stops working or is no longer supported.
- New features. Web technology is evolving constantly. Upgrades can take advantage of these new technologies, making a visit to your website a better experience. Just like any software, newer versions can do new and exciting things. “But, my website is fine the way it is,” you say. However, peoples’ attitudes to technology are evolving rapidly. What was “fine” four years ago may be embarrassing today. An up-to-date content management system can make your site ready to adapt.
How often should you upgrade? Every time there is an update of the system software. Really. Often, those updates are security fixes. The frequency can vary, but updates come out about once a month.
How easily you can upgrade your CMS varies. Generally, the older it is, the more complex it will be. Which content management system you use will also be a deciding factor. The most popular systems now have one-click upgrade functionality. But sometimes you need to go through a complex update once to get to that one-click function.
Talk to your web developer about upgrading your content management system and keeping your website up to date. If you use an outside contractor to look after your website, you can probably arrange for a service contract to ensure your system and related plug-ins stay up-to-date. But don’t wait – update your site today.