It’s crucial to update your WordPress website regularly. However, updating the plugins, themes, or core software of your WordPress website can sometimes lead to unexpected issues if not done with care.
In this blog post, we will discuss 11 precautions to consider when updating WordPress plugins, themes, and software to ensure a smooth and trouble-free process.
#1 Backup Your Website
Prior to initiating any updates, it is imperative to adhere to the first essential guideline: generate a comprehensive backup of your website. This backup serves as a protective measure in the event that any issues arise during the update procedure. The creation of backups can be effortlessly accomplished by utilizing WordPress backup plugins or by leveraging your hosting provider’s backup services.
#2 Check Compatibility
Not all plugins, themes, or software updates are compatible with your current WordPress version or with each other. Be sure to consistently verify compatibility details either in the update notes or on the official webpage of the plugin or theme. If there are any alerts or indications of potential incompatibility, it is advisable to delay the update until these issues have been addressed and resolved. If required, consult a WordPress developer.
#3 Review Changelogs
Changelogs provide insights into what has changed in the new version of a plugin or theme. Reading the changelogs of plugins or themes provides valuable insights into the intent behind the update, encompassing bug fixes, security enhancements, and the introduction of new features. This information proves instrumental in gauging both the necessity and potential ramifications of implementing the update.
#4 Test Updates on a Staging Site
Testing updates on a staging site is a best practice that can help you identify any compatibility issues or conflicts before they affect your live website. Staging sites allow you to replicate your website environment for testing purposes, ensuring a smooth transition to the updated versions.
#5 Keep Your Site Offline During Updates
During the actual update process, consider temporarily taking your site offline or activating a maintenance mode plugin. This prevents visitors from encountering broken or partially updated pages and maintains a professional appearance while you work on your site behind the scenes.
#6 Update Regularly
Frequent updates are essential for WordPress security. Outdated plugins, themes, and core software are more susceptible to security vulnerabilities. As soon as any update becomes available for your theme or plugin, make sure to implement it. If you don’t have time to do that, consider hiring a WordPress developer who can maintain your website regularly.
#7 Monitor Your Site After Updates
After applying updates, thoroughly monitor your website to ensure that everything is functioning as expected. Pay attention to page load times, functionality, and overall user experience. If you notice any issues, address them promptly to maintain a seamless user experience. When required, don’t refrain from hiring a web developer to fix post-update issues on your website.
#8 Keep a Record of Changes
Maintain a detailed record of the updates you’ve applied, including the date and any issues you encountered. This documentation can be valuable for troubleshooting purposes or rolling back updates if necessary.
#9 Update One at a Time
If you’re updating multiple plugins or themes, consider updating them one at a time. This approach allows you to identify which update might be causing issues if problems arise. Updating everything simultaneously can make it challenging to pinpoint the root cause of any problems.
#10 Verify Plugin and Theme Sources
Only download plugins and themes from reputable sources, such as the official WordPress repository or trusted theme and plugin marketplaces. Avoid using pirated or nulled versions of premium themes and plugins, as they can pose security risks and lack support and updates.
#11 Consider a Staging/Production Workflow
For larger websites or those with critical functions, implementing a staging/production workflow can be invaluable. This approach involves making updates on a staging site first, testing thoroughly, and then replicating the changes to the live site, minimizing the risk of disruptions to your online presence.
When is the right time to upgrade a website?
If your website’s design looks like it’s stuck in the past, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Hire a web developer to upgrade your website design.
Slow Page Load Times:
Slow-loading pages frustrate visitors and can lead to high bounce rates. An upgraded website can improve speed, enhancing user experience and SEO rankings.
Is your website not responsive for mobiles and other devices? Is your web analytics showing a high bounce rate on mobiles? Get a web developer to redesign your website today!
Broken Links and Errors:
Broken links and 404 errors can harm your SEO and frustrate visitors. An upgrade can help you fix these issues and ensure a smooth user experience.
Content is king, and outdated information can turn away potential customers. An upgrade can help you refresh your content and keep it relevant.
Poor SEO Performance:
If your website isn’t ranking well on search engines, it’s a sign that your SEO strategy needs a revamp. An upgrade can include optimizing your site for better search engine visibility.
Difficult-to-navigate websites can deter users. An upgrade can improve your website’s navigation and make it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
High Bounce Rates:
If a significant number of visitors leave your site immediately after arriving, your bounce rate is high. An upgrade can help address issues that may be causing this problem.
If your website lacks essential features or isn’t delivering the functionality your users expect, an upgrade can expand its capabilities and enhance the user experience.
Compromised User Data:
If your website has experienced data breaches or security vulnerabilities, you shouldn’t delay anymore and hire a professional website developer to redevelop your website.