working on electrical connections and plugins to keep everything functioning properly.

Update WordPress, Themes, and Plugins Regularly

Clients often ask what the next thing they should do once their site is complete and live online is. And my answer is always the same – have a maintenance schedule that runs the updates for the core, theme, and your plugins.

Because updating is designed to do three things:

  1. Increase security and apply patches
  2. Fix bugs in the software
  3. Add functionality and features

We often forget that WordPress is a software program and software needs to be updated just like the operating system on your computer or applications like Word, Page, and many others.

Most developers have a changelog that tells you what changes have been made to each version of the update. WordPress core does a good job of keeping the users apprised of their changes. gives a running list of all versions with a link to more details about each one.

You can find the release notes in the update information in the updates of the dashboard or in the plugins section. Both have a clickable link that leads you to the changelog to see what is being updated in the available version.

But why update WordPress and your theme and plugins?

Increase Security and Apply Patches

According to WPBeginner, 86% of all sites hacked are due to outdated plugins, themes, and WordPress

86 sites hacked
86 sites hacked

It makes sense that security updates are part of the WordPress software because who wants to have anything on their site that would lead to hacks and problems?

Security patches address vulnerabilities that strengthen against attacks to prevent a site from being compromised. Hackers watch for release notes of this software, looking for ways to exploit outdated core, theme, and plugin files. This is why it’s important to update as soon as possible with these releases.

Because you have a smaller site doesn’t mean that hackers are interested in you. The truth is every site running WordPress is a target. It’s not because WordPress isn’t secure or a “less than” framework; it’s because WordPress powers over 33.6% of all websites.

Hackers aren’t interested in how much traffic you have or how many sales your site makes; they want your host resources to send out spam and redirect to less-than-stellar pages.

ACTION: If you haven’t updated in a while, contact us to help you get up-to-date or create a staging site and run the updates there first to make sure nothing breaks on your website.

Fix Bugs

Bugs are glitches in the software and, many times, are small annoyances, but others can affect the functionality or feature of the software. Usually, bugs are discovered in previous versions, and the fixes are designed to well, fix them.

Sometimes the bug fixes affect security, so they can often overlap while we are breaking it into two categories. These bug fixes can also affect speed because the new releases come with improvements which could be due to performance issues.

Add Functionality and Features

My favorite reason to run updates is the addition of new features and functionality. Most times, the features are hardly noticeable, but other times it makes your workflow change (in a good way) to address usability issues or missing features.

Take WordPress, for example. WordPress 5.0, aka Gutenberg, came out with a limited number of features because it was a huge undertaking to redesign the core to add the blocks. Phase 1 was about the new block editor, while phase 2 will focus on the content areas.

Updating WordPress

WordPress makes it pretty easy to run the updates, but people are still reluctant because they are afraid to break the site. That’s why it’s important to have a current backup and a staging site if your host provides it.

Here’s a short process list that you can easily follow:

  1. Read the release notes so you can see what has changed.
  2. Create a backup of your site.
  3. Install the updates either in bulk in the update area or individually in the theme and plugin area.
  4. Review your site and be sure everything looks good.

Still not convinced this is a task for you to perform? Leave the updates to the experts. Let us take care of keeping your site up-to-date so that you can be running at optimal health and keep hackers at bay.