Just like the software on your computer or smartphone, your Content Management System (CMS) needs to be kept up to date.
There are several reason why you need to stay up to date:
To prevent your website being hacked
If you don’t keep it up to date you’re at risk of your website being hacked and/or not working with modern browsers and smartphones.
If your website gets hacked customer data could be stolen, payment systems could be redirected to someone else and your website could start installing malware on customers computers or showing them illegal content. If your website starts distributing malware then you may also find that email you send gets blocked by spam filters.
Browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Edge are constantly being updated. This is to ensure users are protected from new security threats and to introduce new features. Occasionally old web standards are removed or changed. A good example is Adobe Flash. Most modern browsers are removing support for Flash at the end of 2016 as modern HTML/CSS replaces its functions.
Web hosting software update
Just like web browsers, the software on your hosting package is constantly updated to add new features and protect your website from security threats. Code written several years ago may not work on newer versions of the software that runs on your server. If your getting errors such as ‘Strict Standards’ then that’s a good indiction your Content Management System or a plugin is out of date.
Tips to stay up to date
- Use a Content Management System that is easy to update such as WordPress.
- Use a regularly updated open source CMS and plugins.
- Avoid using a proprietary closed source CMS – if the company maintaining the CMS goes out of business where will you get updates from?
- Login regularly to the website admin and check for updates.
- If available, enable options to email you when updates are available.
- If your CMS supports it then enable automatic updates.
- Make sure you update all themes, plugins and extensions in your CMS.
- Keep regular backups of your website and especially the database. There are a number of WordPress plugins available that can automate this for you.
Opportunities that come from staying up to date
- A more secure website.
- Your website and admin area may run faster.
- Improved browsing and management of the website on modern smartphones and tablets.
- Easier to use interface to add/update content and images.
- Better user experience which leads to more sales.
- Higher search engine rankings. Modern Content Management Systems have better tools for helping with Search Engine Optimisation.
If you need any help getting your website up to date, then get in touch.