A Content Management System, or CMS, is software used to create and manage your website content behind the scenes. Just as it is important to keep your website content fresh and current, updating and maintaining your CMS is essential to keep your website secure and working effectively.
Regular CMS updates will make sure that any changes you make to your website won’t be incompatible with your plugins. Like any other software, developers regularly release updates to fix bugs, or to offer new and improved features, and to ensure compatibility with the server’s network.
As with any online activity, security is paramount for your website and is a key factor as to why your CMS should not be a set and forget product. Weak points and security holes in websites are an invitation to hackers, and software is constantly evolving to mitigate new threats. Once a potential breach has been identified and corrected, your CMS developer will issue a new version of the software, requiring an update. By staying on top of your CMS updates, you are keeping your website secure and protecting yourself from malicious attacks.
If you’re paying a yearly software maintenance fee to your CMS developer but not keeping your framework up to date, you’re not getting the most bang for your buck with the latest features, or technical support. Many CMS providers only support their software going back as far as two major updates, so skipping upgrades could be costly in the end. If you are using a system from Drupal, WordPress or Joomla, keeping your website’s CMS platform current ensures continued support from the open source community.
Every year or so, your CMS provider will release a major system upgrade offering additional features and improved functionality. Updates often utilise new and more effective code, allowing faster processing and a more responsive user experience for your customers. Upgrading your system can be a lengthy process, but in a world of constantly evolving technology, it is essential for your website to stay up to date.
Your website design may be fresh and full of optimised content, but that may not be enough to keep your site ranking well on search engines if your CMS is out of date. Search engines don’t actually see your web pages, they send out “spiders” to crawl the code behind your page and index your website, and their search models are constantly evolving. Each time Google updates a search algorithm, the results ranking changes, and if your website code is not up to date, you risk being left behind.
Regularly upgrading your content management system will keep your website up to date with the latest functionality and technologies. It will improve the user experience for your customers, help you to build or maintain your search engine ranking, and most importantly, it will ensure protection against cyber-attacks.