The biggest rage in the website development world right now is WordPress. Over 25% of the websites on the Internet now use the WordPress platform and this is growing rapidly every day. Why does everyone want to use it…? It is because WordPress has so many features and functions available that it can provide almost any level of business with the online services that they need. It truly is powerful!
The down side of this platform is that most people who try to create and use WordPress themselves don’t take into account any part of the necessary Security and Maintenance. WordPress is software. What this means is that it is regularly in need of updates. Just like a PC computer that regularly runs Windows Updates, a WordPress website has the same needs. It is a constantly flowing technology that requires every element of it to be updated. New security holes are found almost daily and every part of the site will regularly need to be maintained. Anyone that doesn’t keep up with it will truly regret having chosen this platform for their website.
WordPress has three levels:
WordPress Software – The base platform of software is provided for free by WordPress.org. This software is called a Content Management System (CMS) and it is the basis for the entire website. It is an “open source” platform which means that everyone can see into the code. This allows developers all over the world to create new features and functions, and it also allows people with malicious intent to write bad things that attack it too. WordPress.org regularly updates their software to add new features and combat security issues.
Theme Software – This is the design elements. It is software that sits on top of WordPress.org and allows you to make it have the look and feel that you want for your site. There are tons of free themes or templates out there, but our web firm always recommends you consider purchasing a pro-version from a reputable company who makes design themes. This software needs to be updated practically every time WordPress.org updates the platform, so you want to get your theme from someone who will maintain that for you.
Plug-ins, Plug-ins, Plug-ins – The plug-ins are what help you have all of the cool features and functions that make WordPress so amazing. There literally is a plug-in for almost anything you can image you want your site to do (check out the WordPress Plug-in Directory). Since WordPress is open source, developers all over the world are constantly designing and adding new plug-ins as they need their sites to do things. As with all software, if the developer isn’t maintaining the software, then you don’t want it in your site. Too many designers add tons of plug-ins into a site and this can make your site glitchy. Having too many plug-ins is not a good idea. Simple is best… What do you really need your site to do? Don’t load too much into it, but get the neat features that you want. It’s a balancing act.
Once you have your site running and all of these elements working, you can’t just leave it alone. It is ever flowing software that changes constantly. New features are added, security holes are plugged… If you don’t do all of this – your site will crash. Our web firm gets called every week with people who have WordPress nightmares because no one is maintaining their site. There’s a cost involved in having all of this control and features.
Here’s what we recommend:
Site Backups – There are plug-ins available that can automatically back up your site every week. This is a must. If your site crashes, can you go back to a previous edition? Having backups that are saved off-site are very important.
Software Updates – Running all of the updates for WordPress (the platform), your Theme Software, and all of your Plug-ins, is an essential part of having a WordPress site. Unfortunately, it can also crash your site if there’s an incompatibility or one of those updates are buggy. So, knowing what to update and when is important.
Security Software – As a result of it being the top web platform out there, WordPress is constantly under attack. Having Security Software installed and maintained is a must. Something as simple as blocking incoming logins can save your website. Most WordPress sites get attacked literally every day. Everyone knows where the login page is… So, some simple Security rules and Software can save the day.
Tech Support – Having someone who can help you fix and repair things without going through the hassle of trying to speak to a person is essential. We all pay for customer service when it’s necessary. Believe it or not, a WordPress site needs support.
All of what was just discussed above will go a long way to keeping your WordPress site safe and secure. No one can prevent or guarantee a site to be completely sound, but these type of preventative measures can help you keep your site running for a long, long time. The idea is to minimize the possibility and keep things as strong and safe as possible. WordPress is great as long as you are prepared to maintain it.