All software comes with updates. Bugs are fixed, existing features become more streamlined, and new features are added. As time goes by, older software becomes less and less compatible with other newer programs unless it is updated. This is particularly true with WordPress.
What is WordPress? What are Plugins?
WordPress is an online content management system (CMS). It uses CSS themes, PHP, and various plugins to achieve the website that you want. For those of you without any prior web design experience, WordPress is also the easiest to use for minor updates on your own, such as photos, news articles, and blog posts. With all of these moving parts, it’s incredibly important that all pieces are up to date. Don’t try to update WordPress yourself; this is a job for a pro. It’s very easy to have a compatibility issue or an install issue and need an expert’s help… don’t try this at home.
Plugins are the bread and butter of WordPress. There are plugins for just about everything: contact forms, SEO, even widgets and buttons. There are many plugins that work behind the scenes for backing up your site, managing analytics, and handling forms and subscriptions. WordPress works with its plugins to create the website that you are dreaming of. When your site was being designed, plugins were chosen for their functionality and appropriateness for your site. The advice is the same: don’t update your plugins yourself. Have your web professional handle it.
What if WordPress isn’t up to date?
You could have a backend SEO nightmare on your hands. Slow load times, glitches, misbehaving forms and widgets… all of these things are a possibility if things are out of date or updated incorrectly. In the worst-case scenario, your site may crash completely. Not to mention the fact that a misbehaving site drives visitors away. No one wants to stay on a site that isn’t working or takes forever to load.
If you’re concerned that WordPress might not be up to date, an easy way to tell is to visit your site like a regular customer would. Go through all of your pages and click your links. Try your forms. Is everything loading quickly? Are all of your forms and features behaving correctly? If you see any discrepancies, it may be time to have a conversation with your web designer.