To answer this question, you need to understand:
- Your web designer’s duty is to provide you with a working, bug-free and professional website at delivery.
- Your web hosting company’s duty is to rent you reliable web server space to connect your website to the internet.
- Your responsibility as a website owner is to ensure your website is receiving regular attention and maintenance, such as keeping your website software up to date.
Why do you need to keep your website software up to date?
The online world is changing rapidly. A few years ago websites were designed for desktop users. Now that has changed, with more than 50% of people accessing websites through mobile devices. This has created a dramatic change in the underlying technology and coding that websites use. Now websites have to cater to both mobile and desktop users; the same information is displayed quite differently on a mobile device compared to a desktop.
The way a user interacts with a website is different on a mobile device, using finger taps and swipes, compared to using a mouse for a desktop. This has created a complexity of changing online technologies that websites have to keep up to date with to still function. A website that is not maintained will quickly become outdated on a code / software level. This will have an effect on your visitors with poor user experience, broken links, slow page loading times, and dated content giving the impression of a business that just isn’t up-to-date.
Just like your computer, online technology and the environment in which it works are changing rapidly, meaning your new website can become outdated very quickly. Without proper maintenance your website will slowly but surely experience new problems over time. Compare this to your car. A car is serviced regularly, not to fix something that is broken but to ensure nothing breaks so it keeps running reliably. Your website also requires regular maintenance to ensure it is up-to-date with current technology and to ensure that it will keep on working reliably. Prevention is better than cure.
- A website is an information and promotional tool: a business investment. With regular updates and maintenance, your website’s useful life can be increased over that of an unmaintained site, increasing the return on your investment.
- A website is not a final product to be put online and forgotten about.
- A website should be treated as an evolving entity residing within a fast-paced developing environment. To be a successful investment, websites must be regularly maintained at a technical level to ensure long-term reliability.
Who can help you keeping your website software updated?
Your first contact should be your web designer/web developer. They should be able to keep your website up to date, and if not, point you in the right direction.
Some web design companies will also offer you ongoing maintenance services. This means, your website is monitored and problems are solved before they become serious. If you’re not sure how this is being managed for your current website, ask your web designer or website developer.
How does Soul Space Design approach software updates?
We offer Website Hosting and Maintenance to all our clients. This means, as well as hosting, we perform backups and software updates, as required. We offer this as a combined service because website security and server security go hand in hand.
Our websites are built using WordPress, which is an open source content management system (CMS). Being ‘open source’ the software is constantly evolving. This is thanks to the worldwide web development community.
WordPress software updates and plug-ins.
The main reason to keep your WordPress website up to date is security. We use premium software to secure websites we build plus, our servers are also kept up to date.
WordPress websites also contain plug-ins which are extra bits of software that add a specific feature to the functionality of your website.
The main issue with plug-ins is their ability to ‘catch-up’ with WordPress software. Some plug-in developers take time to update their software, so we need to ensure any plug-in your website is using is compatible with the WordPress site we are about to update.
Although WordPress software and plug-ins can be updated ‘with the click of a button’ sometimes updates can break a website.
Prior to commencing any website update work, we make sure we have up to date back ups.
Cost of updating your website.
Some service providers will offer you a monthly plan. Prices vary depending on the level of service you get. For example, your service supplier might be creating weekly or even daily website backups, applying security measures to the web hosting server (if you are receiving a combined Managed Web Hosting and Software Updates service) and regularly monitoring your site.
For Soul Space Design clients, we offer a WordPress Maintenance Service, inclusive of Website Hosting.
How often should you update your WordPress website?
With current changes in technology, its hard to give you a precise answer. From experience, your website software should be updated at least four times a year. And if a major update is recommended by WordPress, you must implement that update as soon as possible.
We hope the above helps you get clarity around updates. And if in doubt, we’re here to help! Just give us a call and let us help you with a customised approach to your business website needs.