You now have a WordPress website set up for your business. Congratulations! You’re ready to get your business up and running, maybe write a few blog posts, but for the most part, are ready to move on and leave that site on the backburner for a while to work its magic. Hold on for just a moment!
You are not alone in thinking this way. Many business owners will tell you that they’re too busy to worry about the weekly and monthly technical maintenance their website requires. However, if your website isn’t secure, you could face a myriad of problems that can cost you more than just time and money.
Today, we will take a few moments to explain exactly why you must keep WordPress up to date and why doing so will save you considerable headaches later.
Why You Need to Keep WordPress Website Updated
Unfortunately, hacking and phishing are more of a problem now than they ever have been. Malicious actors largely target small businesses in an effort to sneak under the radar on sites where website security may not be as robust as it is for larger enterprises with dedicated IT and cybersecurity teams. These people don’t care about the size of your following. They’ll still attack your site if they can. When this happens, it can lead to numerous issues.
Your Website May Crash
When your website crashes, a “404 Error – Page Not Found” will be displayed. This error message means your page is offline and results in your website missing out on valuable traffic. It can also result in a loss of trust from your customers. Downtime can be a costly error that will affect your site’s revenue potential
You May Lose Important Information
Not updating your WordPress framework, themes, and plugins leaves your site more vulnerable to intrusion, as old versions are often not supported, or the code and security features may have been circumvented in the past (a primary cause for updates in the first place).
Hackers use brute force attacks and SQL injection attacks to steal sensitive information (e.g. credit card details, confidential business information, trade secrets) from your website. They may then attempt to auction or sell it, which will then cause your company even more damage in lost IP, legal fees, and more.
Besides losing sensitive information, your business may also lose crucial business-related information (e.g., customer orders, business emails, invoices) from your database. Losing this information could cripple your business for weeks or even months.
Your Website May be Defaced
One of the most apparent forms of cyber-attacks occurs when a hacker defaces your website. Here they’ll do damage to how your website looks. Unfortunately, this is one of the most successful malware attacks because hackers can gain illegal entry into your administrator accounts through an SQL injection.
When your website has been defaced, your visitors will immediately take notice of it. A malicious actor may include profane material or language, offensive imagery, or even private information in an attempt to intimidate or defame you. Once they do so, you may lose website traffic, brand trust, and revenue. When you’re running an E-commerce website, this can be especially damaging, as high volume traffic will take notice and potentially never return after witnessing such a visible compromise of security.
Your Website May Load Slowly
Outdated WordPress plugins and themes are responsible for many of the vulnerabilities you may face with this content management system. For this reason, you can’t just update the WordPress version, but you must also update all of your plugins and themes.
Updates to plugins and themes include security fixes. These are important as they make it harder for hackers to find and exploit any vulnerabilities on your site.
When you ignore these updates, you won’t just face a security issue. Your website’s performance may also be affected in several ways. For instance, an update may be released to increase your website’s response time. If you choose not to install it, your website may start running slower, providing an inferior experience that may frustrate your visitors.
You May Miss out on New Features or Fixes
WordPress developers continually add new features and fixes (e.g., the “Social Icons Block Update” allows users to share your page on social media easily) to this content management system. It’s beneficial to take the time to install them on your website.
Installing these on your website will ensure that it functions better, so your visitors have a better experience. When you don’t implement updates, you’ll miss out on new features and enhancements that will improve your website’s functionality and efficiency for your visitors and for your business.
It isn’t only your visitors who are affected here. When you ignore updates, you’ll also miss out on known bugs that have since been fixed, essentially leaving website performance on the table and making your page seem out-of-date. To fix this, WordPress routinely releases minor updates and patches. These are easily handled by simply enabling the automatic updates on your WordPress dashboard. Once enabled, the updates will be available for installment as soon as they’re released.
How to Keep WordPress Updated
If your hosting company doesn’t do this on your behalf, then the most effective way to minimize any risks that an update may pose is to use what is known as “a staging site.” This provides you with a replica of your site, where you’ll be able to test updates first before you take them live on your site. Once you know that the update works, you can merge the two.
Another important thing that you should do is take time to make backups of your site, if your hosting company doesn’t already do this for you. This backup will be your safety net just in case an update causes your site to crash. There are plugins available (e.g. BlogVault) that will create an automatic backup based on a predetermined schedule.
It’s essential to keep WordPress updated, but it’ll also take you some time to do so. It’s important to make sure that your website is a safe place for your customers. If you put WordPress updates on the back burner, you risk a security breach that can incur fines, scare away your customers and result in losing business. Don’t worry — you don’t have to tackle website security and updates alone.
Trust HPX Media To Keep Your Website Safe and Updated
When you trust the experts at HPX Media with your website, you can rest easy knowing that your website is safe and up-to-date with all the latest bug fixes and updates. We have provided reliable service and advice to customers for almost a decade.
Our WordPress Integrity Plans include 24/7 uptime monitoring, real-time security protection, malware scanning, and WordPress component updates. You will also receive monthly reports to keep you in the loop with any issues we may have found and fixed. We will also back up your website regularly, and we visit each of our client’s websites monthly to ensure that your site is working the way it should.
Don’t wait. Schedule a free consultation today, and let us secure your website so you can get back to what you do best.