This is NOT the image you want existing or potential clients to see when they find you online. Regardless of your business sector, you cannot afford to have your website down or contaminated with malware that could infect visitors.
Not only is your site down and unavailable to your potential customers, but you may also have to spend thousands of dollars to clean up the malware. Google will not display an infected site; once the malware is removed, you must resubmit it for indexing.
Like the computer operating system, Windows, or the iPhone’s IOS platform, websites are built on software platforms requiring updates. These updates keep the platform stable and help prevent malware intrusions. Some platforms or release versions eventually become obsolete and are no longer supported.
As the world of technology evolves, with changes coming quicker and quicker, it is critical to keep up with platform and plugin updates. Why?
- Increase security and avoid attacks on your website – outdated platforms and plugins leave your site open to attack because updates are usually designed to address critical security issues.1 For example, updates help prevent hackers from placing malware files on sites and deter them from having “backdoor”2 access to website files.
- Fix known bugs or other issues – updates include patches and fixes to resolve known issues with buggy features that have stopped working or are newly enhanced.
- Incorporate new features and functionality – new releases and updates often include new features and improved functionality to improve the user experience, which is critical to converting site visitors to clients.
- Improve site speed – if a plugin or platform bug prevents the site from working correctly, it will bog down the site and increase the time it takes for pages to load or functionalities to process.
It is vital to check for plugin updates and platform releases regularly. It is also essential to install the updates safely and correctly to avoid making the site inaccessible to users. The update process should be as follows:
- Check for updates.
- Make a backup of the website before installing any updates. This is very important in case something unexpected happens during the update.
- Update the site.
- Assess changes and save them (if you need to restore to a previous version of your site).3
- Quality check your website’s functionality, forms, and links.
The importance of updating your website’s platform and plugins cannot be stressed enough. If not done, your site and business can be held hostage for days, with untold lost revenue and possible significant costs associated with regaining control of your site.