Your website is up and running. It looks good and it’s mobile-friendly. You’re done, right?
Well, not exactly. Websites are most often written on a platform called WordPress. And although this software is free, it does get maintained and updated frequently by the WordPress community of developers. New features and capabilities are developed continuously to make WordPress a better product, to give you more options and to make it easier to use.
It is also monitored for security flaws. There are hackers out there who find little security holes in any software, or develop a new way to get inside and get access to the server where your site is hosted. Hosting companies take this very seriously. So, although you may not be storing information of any importance (credit card numbers, etc.) others on your server may.
When a new release of WordPress is published, your website needs to be updated with this new version to protect you and everyone else. This doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to upgrade, but it take a few more minutes to check that your theme and plug-ins (I’ll talk about these in a minute) are all compliant with the new release of WordPress, too.
Your “Theme” is a layer of software that is loaded on top of WordPress and that gives your site it’s structure and design. a “plug-in” is another layer of software that allows your website to do specific functions. One example is an SEO plug-in. This sets up fields in your website that allow us to enter keywords for Google to find and enhance the ranking of your page. Others might include social media icons that direct people to your Facebook and Twitter pages.
The theme and plug-ins are also constantly being updated to comply with WordPress, to make the features better, and to protect your site from hackers.
We are always willing to train our customers to do these updates for themselves. But most do not want to get behind the scenes and do it. So most developers and hosting companies offer “management options” for a small monthly fee. Sometimes this is included in your hosting fee and sometimes it isn’t.
At Media Point Design, we maintain our customer’s backups as part of the hosting fee. And we normally have WordPress update automatically as part of our service. But theme and plug-in updates take more time and sometimes cannot be done automatically.
Wherever your site is hosted, or whoever your developer is, be sure and ask about updates and maintenance. It is usually a small fee to pay to ensure your stay up-to-date with WordPress, your theme and your plug-ins.