Like many things in the world of technology, what was once cutting edge just a few years ago is now obsolete. Still running Office 2007? You might want to update it. Still texting friends on your iPhone 3? Do yourself a favor and and get the latest release – iPhone 6 at the time of this post.
How about your WordPress site?
When was the last time you updated it to the latest version?
Two quarters ago?
Three years ago?
Or, even worse:
“You mean WordPress has new releases? I had no idea.”
If your WordPress site is running the latest version of WordPress then you are all set… for now. You’re on your way to take advantage of the coolest features and protection WordPress has to offer. But if you’re currently chugging at version 3.2, then, we’ve got a problem. I know you’ve got a few valid excuses not to pursue an upgrade (e.g. Lack of budget, no resources or not in immediate plan). But the benefits of upgrading your WordPress site today far outweigh the excuses of not doing so:
- Your peace of mind
- Happy and satisfied customers
- Excellent recognition from the industry where you belong
If these benefits aren’t enough, then consider these 5 reasons why upgrading to the latest version of WordPress is good for your business.
Reason #1: Upgrading secures your site from the bad guys
How did it happen?
Well, let me explain.
Every now and then, the community of WordPress developers release a fresh version. They publish these releases publicly for the rest of the community. That’s how open source works. In doing so, the developers can continually adjust, tweak and customize WordPress to the benefit of the community. Unfortunately, hackers can get a hold of these publications as well. By doing so, they can use different WordPress attack tactics to exploit these releases. When the community finds out about these “exploits”, they get to work and develop an “antidote”. Once they release these “antidotes” it’s your job as owner to implement them by upgrading your core version.
Reason #2: Upgrading gives you more features and functionalities
Constant upgrade of your WordPress site allows you to enjoy new features not found in previous versions. That’s the beauty of using a platform that is continuously evolving over time. For example, WordPress 4.1 was designed with mobile users in mind. It also comes with a revamped distraction free writing mode. You can also edit an image without opening your media editor.
To keep up with the times, WordPress version 4.2 has new character and Emoji support. You can also include Korean, Japanse and Chinese characters. Additionally, you can now auto embed links from Tumblr, Kickstarter and similar services. With WordPress version 4.3, you can add site icon or Favicon, enforce stronger log-in password and experience a better visual editor.
Besides, using an older version makes it hard to look for online support. This is because most experts on WordPress support forums assume you’re using the latest version.
Reason #3: Upgrading makes your WordPress site faster and easier to use
The theory of evolution applies to websites too. That’s because every WordPress version gives you the chance to build a faster site compared to its predecessors. And we all know that in any situation only the fast, the smart and strong last. For example, WordPress 4.1 makes it easy to process queries while version 4.2 improved JavsScript performance to navigate menus.
And remember, Google considers your page load speed when ranking your site.
Reason #4: Upgrading future proofs your site
Future proofing means your site won’t likely become obsolete even if there’s a new trend in town. And to make this possible, you might need to upgrade to the latest version. However, such activity is easier said than done. This is because most sites have been using older versions. WordPress recommends that you should upgrade incrementally if your site is a few versions behind the current one.
Let’s say your current version is 2.9 and you’re planning to upgrade to 4.0. Following WordPress’ recommendation, you should upgrade to 3.1 first, followed by 3.3, then 3.5 and so on. You can skip one version, but not two. Wouldn’t it be better to start early and go for gradual upgrades rather than a one-time event – compromising your files and database in the process?
Reason #5: Upgrading offers a better user experience
But before you gather your team for a UX-related brainstorming session, wouldn’t it be better to check your version and fix some bugs first? You see, part of an amazing user experience is promising that your site runs without glitches – without the bugs. Because the last thing you want are angry visitors complaining about buttons not working or pages not loading. Keeping your site updated preempts any technical issues before they show up in front of your visitors. How about mobile users and people with special needs? Even search engines for that matter. Is your site ready to satisfy them? Always remember that your customer’s needs are evolving. Certain features meant for them may not be available on your current version.
Upgrading to the latest version of WordPress can be challenging. But there’s a reason why the WordPress community keeps on releasing them: to protect your website, add new features and make it more efficient.