Keeping your website software up to date helps your SEO and traffic authority in the following ways;
- Your site is more secure – less susceptible to infection and attack.
- Your site is more reliable – minimal downtime.
- Your site is faster as it uses the latest technology.
- Your site has longer life as it is not dependent on obsolete components.
- It may include features to make it more attractive to visitors, more easily shared or otherwise interconnected to other content.
All of these factors help you improve your website quality and authority.
If you have a WordPress website then there are three levels of software that you need to keep up to date;
- WordPress itself
- The WordPress theme
- All your WordPress plugins.
Because WordPress is very popular it is a prime target for hackers to exploit by finding “holes” in the software. Security exploits are usually quickly identified and fixed, but you need to keep your installed software updated to benefit from the latest versions.
This is easily done by logging in to the admin interface of your website, checking the update page for new versions and updating. This is normally straight forward and without incident. As with all changes to your software you should make a backup of files and database before updating.
Alternatively, you can automate checking and updating using an outsourced service such as WP-Guardian. The basic level service checks and makes any updates every day and reports monthly on updates made.
If you are using premium plugins (commercial add-on applications) you may need to obtain the new version through a secure login to the software developer. Check your website documentation which should record your website components together with license and access details for updates.
If you do not use WordPress, you still need to make sure the software you use is kept up to date. How you will do that depends on the software you are using. If you don’t know you will need to contact your website developer, research it further yourself or hire a virtual assistant.
This article only addresses the security aspect of updates. Updates frequently add benefits of new features and performance improvements. Sometimes updates will lose features that you particularly like or want and this will seem to be a disadvantage. However, continuing to run old software is a short term measure. Once you become reliant on an old version you are doomed to stop progress and this will eventually catch up with you favourably. Unsupported software means you need to find a new solution to your problem or lose the problem.