Welcome back! Hopefully you guys missed us.

Last time we talked all about keeping your content fresh, but this week, things are about to get a bit more complicated.

When talking about keeping your website as a living, breathing organism, you are constantly going to updating it. Today we’re covering the tools you’ll mostly have to update, and how you do it. Wasting no time, let’s talk about how you’re going to receive updates.

WordPress, the user friendly wonder

Much like content, we love and promote WordPress as website designers. WordPress is a great platform and great company. If you don’t have a WordPress site, you should seriously consider it for your next site redesign.

WordPress is great because it allows anyone, even non-programmers, the ability to update their website tools. Whenever they have upgrades available, there’s a little popup notification inside your internal site manager.

WordPress Update Notifications_BNG Design_Fargo ND

It’s pretty easy to know whenever you have updates that need to be installed.

How frequently you’ll receive updates for plugins for your site primarily has to do with how many plugins or applications you have on your site. If you’re using tons of plugins, and check your site every other day, you’re going to have a couple new updates.

The types of plugin updates you’ll see

Outside of WordPress updates popping up, you’ll see other plugin upgrades appearing with your WordPress ones.

Two of the most common ones will be from Yoast, and Gravity Forms.

Yoast is a plugin used with WordPress, that helps with your SEO efforts. Yoast ultimately helps you know how your page is performing based on the keyword of your choosing, and will also tell you if there are content changes that need to be made on the particular page you’re updating. As for updating Yoast, it will just push updates whenever they’re ready.

Gravity forms is a really good premium plugin that helps you manage your forms on your website. Whether you have forms for the purpose of lead generation, or support, Gravity is a plugin that’s definitely worth the time and money you may spend to use it. (there is a cost, depending) It has a lot of custom functionalities, and it works with a lot of other third party plugins.

With these types of plugins they are purposely built to be comparable, and will popup in your updates section of your WordPress site.

How you update your plugins

Those updates do not automatically take care of themselves, you still have to go in and manually approve them. WordPress updates will always ask for approval.

WordPress Updates_BNG Design_Fargo ND

There’s also a very good reason for why it asks for permission, because sometimes, the plugins do not get along with one another.

This can occasionally happen with plugins that integrate with WordPress, but it’s more likely to happen because of a unique plugin.

In most cases you can just click updates and you’re done. If you do start having problems, it’s better to keep that older plugin, that is causing the problem or conflicting with your theme, and just have your web designer fix it for you.

This is one of the situations you really do not want to try and fix it yourself. You may seriously end up screwing up your website.

Security updates

Usually once or twice a year, WordPress will send out a new security update for their sites.

This will, of course, come with the rest of your updates. Always make sure you approve all your updates (even if you have to pay your designer to make two plugins get along), because having outdated plugins is a great way to get hacked.

**FYI: Security updates aren’t necessarily their own thing. They’re going to get grouped in with all other updates.

Other security updates you should do every few months is changing your passwords.

Yes, we can hear you groaning through the computer, we know it’s tedious and annoying, but you still should do it. It helps make your site more secure, and lessens your chance for a hacker gaining access.

A final note on security

This is the main reason you need to keep your site fresh, is to keep out unwanted visitors. What kind of unwanted visitors?

We mean hackers.

Outdated websites as a goldmine for hackers and fraudsters. When you don’t update your plugins, or monthly updates, you are creating a chance for those unwanted guests to come in and steal any information stored on your site. This is a huge security risk, not only for your business, but your customers who frequent your site.

If your website design company offers a monthly service to take care of your updates, run reports, and generally secure your site, that is an invaluable service.

Sure, you may be dropping a few hundred dollars a month to do that, but nothing can beat that piece of mind, knowing your website is running safely and smoothly.

If you don’t have someone to provide this for you, it’s going to take a fair amount of time and effort. Unless you’re well versed in fixing two fighting plugins, or have a background in web design/programming, you’re going to want to refer to an expert.

No matter what, you’re going to run across something you can’t fix, and then, it’s nice to be able to call someone to take care of it for you.

Not sure if you site is fresh and up-to-date?

Give us a call, or shoot us an email, we’ll give you a free consultation and answer whatever questions you have.