Your new website design is finished, it’s live on the web and looking great. Job done …or is it?
WordPress is a CMS, (Content Management System), and like any CMS, it needs to be maintained on an ongoing basis to avoid issues around functionality and security.
This article is focused on the importance of platform, theme and plugin updates, rather than the process of adding new content to your website. Fresh website design content is also very important, as it shows your website visitors that you are current and active, and also shows Google and other search engines the same – which they can reward with better search rankings.
So, I started out by mentioning Platform, Themes and Plugins. These are the three key parts of a WordPress website, but what are they?
The Platform is WordPress itself, it is a piece of software that sits on a server and provides an easy to use interface with which you can build a website.
A Theme is basically a pre-built set of website page layouts, (along with other things), which make it easier for you to quickly create the pages of your website in an existing layout or design. They usually include an easy to use Theme Options area that allows you to control the look of things on your pages. For example you might set what font your headings should be, along with size and colour etc..
Plugins are extra modules that you can “plug in” to your website to give you functionality not already provided by WordPress. A good example of this is Contact Form 7, a widely used form builder that is often used to create a contact form for your “Contact Us” page.
There are over 50,000 plugins and growing in the WordPress Plugin directory, and that does not include plugins created and sold around the web. This means that if you can think of something you want to achieve with your website, there is probably a plugin for it. This is one of the many reasons that WordPress is so popular and completely dominates the CMS market.
Platform, Themes, and Plugins are updated regularly for a number of reasons:
Authors release updates to the software, making the platform, themes and plugins better or do new things. Which is great for you. 🙂
Themes and Plugins are often updated on the back of an update to the WordPress platform, to ensure everything keeps working as it should. There are other examples, but you get the idea.
Fixing known issues:
As the platform, themes, and plugins are all just software, bugs or issues are often identified. These are resolved and an update is released.
Unfortunately there are those out there that want to cause trouble on the web, so the WordPress platform, themes, and plugins are updated frequently by their authors to increase security. If a website is not maintained for an extended period of time, it will become outdated and vulnerable to these attacks. This is the most important reason to maintain your WordPress website.
There are many other things to consider when ensuring your website remains stable and safe, for example determining when it is safe to update a plugin. Sometimes plugin updates can cause an issue with some other plugin on the website. Theme updates often change the way in which certain elements on your page work, so your website suddenly looks all wrong or doesn’t work at all.
This is where we come in, and specifically the Website Maintenance Packages we offer all our website customers. We remove the time, hassle, and worry of keeping your website safe, looking great, and working properly.
If you are planning to have a new website built for you, or you have an existing WordPress website, ensure you are talking to the right web design company. There are many web design companies or one-man-band web designers out there that will simply hand over your completed website without mentioning any of what I have talked about here – leaving you on your own to suffer the consequences down the line.
We build all our websites using WordPress, so we know it inside-out. We are a full-service web design company in Buckshaw Village, and have completed work for customers all over the globe, although we are always especially excited to be working with local companies and provide beautiful website design in Chorley!
Also, please feel free to take a look at our web design portfolio while you’re here. 🙂