Almost every business relies on one key thing as the centerpiece of their marketing strategy: their company website. Maintaining an online presence allows businesses to effectively interact with their clients and customers while helping to increase brand awareness. Too often, however, businesses fail to understand the importance of keeping their website software updated. Even with the best website software, staying on top of updates can help ensure that your business is putting its best foot forward in front of potential customers by taking advantage of improved performance and more effective security.
Why Security Needs to be Every Business’ Priority
Maintaining strong security protocols is critical for every business with an online presence. While this may be obvious in certain cases, too many businesses disregard the very real risks posed by poor security as not applicable to their situation. After all, if you have a very bare-bones website and don’t collect any sensitive customer data, do you really need to be worried about a security breach? The answer is a resounding yes. Regular back-ups of your website constitute a key aspect of website security, and businesses of all kinds need to pay attention to their website’s back-up schedule. Even brief outages when your website is down (whether due to an internal issue or as a result of malicious external interference) can cost your business dearly in terms of traffic, customer loyalty, and revenue.
The Increased Importance of Security for Ecommerce Sites
Of course, the obligation to maintain strong security is exponentially greater when your website has an ecommerce element. A single data breach can leave your customers at risk for identity theft and fraud. Think that it can’t happen to your company’s website? Since January of 2017, at least 16 major retailers including Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, Delta, Best Buy, and Saks Fifth Avenue have experienced a website hack that exposed their customers’ data. The perils of an insecure website in such instances are obvious: it deeply erodes customer trust and puts a strain on your business’ brand name. In fact, a KPMG study shows that a third of all customers would take an extended break from using a business’ website after a hack, while almost a fifth would stop shopping with that business altogether.
So how can keeping your website software updated help your business improve your website’s security? One of the main reasons why website software is updated is to address potential vulnerabilities that open up your website to security breaches. Failing to update your website software gives hackers a greater chance of finding weaknesses in your website platform and exploiting them, while regular updates can help you stay ahead of the curve.
How Updated Website Software Can Also Improve Performance (and Your Users’ Experience)
Safeguarding your customers’ security isn’t the only reason to keep on top of website software updates. Ensuring that your potential customers and clients have a positive user experience on your website is crucial to getting them to stay long enough for you to get your marketing message across. Many factors play into creating a website that promotes a positive user experience, including content factors such image quality, update frequency, and ease of readability. However, one key aspect that affects user experience falls on the technical side: performance.
In other words, your website needs to be stable, quick, and reliable in order to give your customers the best impression of your business – and to ensure that they stick around. If your website software is theme-based, regularly updating your software to make sure your business is using the latest version of the theme can have a big effect on your website’s usability. While the look of your website won’t change with such updates, the stability of your website and its forward compatibility can be bolstered through regular theme updates.
Similarly, making sure that your business is using the latest version of its website software can help guarantee that you’re utilizing the most up-to-date versions of any website plugins. Like themes, plugins are often updated to include feature updates and security patches. Keeping on top of updating your website software, and thus any plugins your business uses can make sure your website is functioning optimally.
Why Keeping Up with WordPress’ Updates is Important
If you’re one of the many businesses that utilize WordPress and its incredibly popular website management software, you may think that your company’s security concerns are covered. After all, WordPress is a huge, well-maintained company; doesn’t it take care of the security of the websites that make use of its software?
The answer is yes, and no. WordPress does address security vulnerabilities as they arise by issuing updates to its software, but it’s on the website owner to install the update. Issues can also arise from outdated plugins or themes, which don’t always notify users when an update is available. For evidence, look no further than the rash of hackings that WordPress sites experienced in September 2018. Thousands of webpages were improperly accessed via vulnerabilities from outdated WordPress plugins and themes, allowing the hackers to plant malicious code on the sites to redirect visitors to scam websites. In other words, you must be proactive about protecting your company’s website – whether you use WordPress or other website software.
Ultimately, it can be easy to focus on the content of your business’ website when analyzing its effectiveness – and to be sure, keeping your content fresh and regularly updated is necessary to maximize the reach of your website. However, it’s critical that you don’t lose sight of the importance of maintaining the aspects of your company’s website that your clients and customers can’t see. By regularly updating your website software and emphasizing security and performance, you can take steps to create an effective, trustworthy, and reliable marketing tool for your business.
Having trouble updating your websites software and security features? Are you unsure if your site is secure? Contact Zero Gravity Marketing today to get set up with a secure website that your customers never have to worry about.