Websites are like cars. Technology changes and things evolve. Just like your car needs a service, so does your website, be it WordPress, Joomla!, Bespoke or static. In this post I’ll cover why a WordPress website in particular needs to be kept up to date.
Core, Themes & Plugins
WordPress has 3 main parts to it. They all come together to build you the site of your dreams. They are:
- Core – The main files which WordPress uses to show pages, update the database, and provide an admin area so you can manage your site.
- Themes – Themes are built by the community, some free, some paid, some bespoke. They provide the visual element (And some nice functionality) of your site to your users.
- Plugins – Plugins allow you to extend the functionality of WordPress beyond posts, pages and comments. Things like SEO management, security and contact form plugins can make your site yours.
When you combine WordPress with your desired theme and plugin selection, you can make something truly unique. At the time of writing this post, there are 5502 free themes on WordPress.org, and 54,829 plugins. That’s a lot.
WordPress, its themes and plugins, are all built by the community who use it. Because of this, everyone writes code differently, some might be less experienced about best practices, and some might be trying to do something malicious. This is why we need to keep things maintained.
Core itself is built by a community of developers, who work super hard to keep the software well built, robust and secure. Core goes through a lot of testing, code reviews and sign offs before it’s made available for Beta testing. Beta testing is the best way to iron out any creases in a product before it’s released as a stable version. It’s at this point, people will test it thoroughly to ensure it’s suitable for public release.
WordPress Themes & Plugins
Much like core, themes & plugins are built by the community, however they’re not as “regulated” as core. As the core is literally WordPress, that has to be solid, and trusted. Unfortunately this doesn’t go for themes or plugins. Both themes and plugins can be listed on WordPress.org for free download, and Themeforest.net (And others) for a download fee. These directories have an approval queue, where all submitted content is checked to be compliant to a set criteria. This criteria might differ between providers, but the idea is the same – to ensure that whatever is submitted to them, is built to a standard.
While most themes & plugins are built well, there are several which are built poorly. They might meet the criteria mentioned earlier, but what else is going on in the files? Some might have (un)intentional security holes, or malware. Some might be loading in content in an inefficient manner, thus slowing your site down. One might be loading scripts on all pages, when really that script is only needed on one or two. Little things like this can drastically alter someone’s perception of WordPress.
So Why Keep it Maintained?
By keeping WordPress maintained, you need to keep core, the theme and the plugins up to date. Some of the plugins which might be premium and have a license cost, would need a license key in order to receive updates. but don’t be fooled. It’s not that easy. Say you have a poorly built theme or plugin, and core is updated. Core drops support for a function as it’s old, and not needed any more, but your plugin/theme is using it. What will happen?! Yup, it’ll all go Pete Tong.
The Lack of Education
Unfortunately, despite being the biggest CMS in the world with 60% CMS market share, and powering over 30% of all websites in the world, people just don’t understand it. We’re in a world where information is at our finger tips, however a lot of end users download a bad theme, or a bad plugin, and blame WordPress when it all goes wrong.
Users need to first be educated on what WordPress is and how it works before they slate it. You wouldn’t say your car is a load of ***t after installing your new aftermarket turbo – you’d blame the turbo.
We can provide a training document or one-to-one training to all our customers at request.
How Can We Help?
We combine well built WordPress sites (custom normally), and load it onto one of our high speed servers. With this we can configure each and every server specific to each site. Combine a well built WordPress site, with our fast hosting and a support contract you can rest assured knowing your site is looked after and in safe hands, leaving you to run your business.
Give us a call on 01622 755 855 and see how we can revolutionise your WordPress site’s speed, security and general performance.