Have you ever seen a notification in the backend of your WordPress website that an update is ready for one of your plugins? Or maybe you see several updates, or a lot? Do you let the numbers increase steadily, and simply ignore them for fear of messing up your site? After all, these little plugin updates can’t be that important, can they? Wrong! WordPress plugin updates are needed to keep your website safe and secure, patch bugs, and provide new features and functionality. In fact, if you aren’t updating your WordPress plugins, your website is extremely vulnerable in a very big way.
WordPress plugin updates are most often issued to fix security issues in the software, making the updates integral to keeping your website safe from hackers. Over 85% of hacked WordPress websites have not been updated, leaving them predisposed to attacks and malware. If your WordPress software isn’t updated frequently, your site is practically guaranteed to be hacked at some point. This is because hackers and other malicious groups keep track of vulnerabilities in the software, which they begin to exploit as soon as they discover it. That’s why it’s so vital to update a plugin as soon as one is released, to keep your site safe.
And not only does hacking result in losing valuable content and prospects, you can even lose your spot in search engine rankings! Google actually looks for websites with malicious code and de-indexes them. This is great news to the rest of the world, but if a hacker puts blacklisted code in your site, you’ll be stripped of your Google ranking and prospects will have a much harder time finding you online than before you were hacked.
If you’re afraid that updating a plugin is going to break your website, this is a valid concern. Some updates aren’t compatible with an existing theme or plugin, resulting in issues and messed up coding. WordPress doesn’t provide an easy guide or method to updates, so it can be scary to click that “update” button when you aren’t sure how it’s going to turn out.
But, it doesn’t have to be that scary, and updates are still a necessary part of having a website. One thing you can do is simply back up all of your data every time you update a plugin, and you’ll have a cushion if anything goes wrong. If you don’t have the time or expertise to update your WordPress website yourself (it’s okay, that’s most business owners!), The Art of Online Marketing has a variety of maintenance plans to take care of your WP updates and backups for you. To ensure that your website and search engine rankings stay safe and at optimal performance, call us for a free consultation today at (800) 764-8528.