Clients need to know and be warned that in 2016 it was reported that Google blacklisted around 20,000 websites for malware and around 50,000 for phishing each week.
According to a website hack trend report from Sucuri, a very large percentage of the website hacks came from out-of-date, vulnerable, versions of plugins. Taking the necessary precautions for your WordPress security can prevent malware infections, branding issues, Google blacklists, and possibly huge SEO impacts.
Keeping WordPress, the WordPress theme, the plugins, and WooCommerce, up-to-date ensures everything works together, doesn’t break the website if something is old and is no longer compatible, and keeps security vulnerabilities at a minimum.
Making sure you and your client both have each other’s concerns at heart can and will pay dividends as the years progress and you both work towards mutual success.
The security benefits of keeping the website up-to-date
When using a security plugin like WordFence, for example, it is imperative to keep it updated to avoid the most recent malware and hacking attacks. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and bolder so the security systems must also become better.
Just as it’s the business owner’s responsibility to protect their physical store merchandise, it is an online business owner’s responsibility to protect its business website and its customers’ information. Businesses need to protect data and the company’s reputation.
The importance of website backups
Website backups are not necessarily part of WordPress security but are administrative maintenance tasks. Unless clients really know what they are doing, it is best to rely on a good, knowledgeable designer/developer to perform the backups.
Having a backup (and an offsite backup) is a foundational necessity for any online business. There are many things that can happen to a website, including being hacked, database corruption, developer or designer negligence, etc.
A backup allows the website to be restored to a previous point in time. Without a backup, the designer or developer may have to recreate part of a site which can be expensive and time-consuming.
Websites need to have regular, automated backups performed. Website owners must not wait for the site to get hacked or infected with malware, only to find out they have to rely on an older version of the site, or in some cases, no backup at all.
Maintaining a good relationship with the person doing the maintenance
Ensure the work being done follows the monthly, quarterly, or as-needed maintenance schedule. It is crucial to be ahead of (or at least keeping up with) the technological updates and other changes that can affect your site’s performance.
New plugins are not always compatible with existing website designs and templates, for example, so it’s good to have your designer/developer working with you for your needs over the long term.
Your designer/developer should be following the update notes for WordPress, the theme, and the plugins to ensure your website is getting the latest software updates and upgrades for quality performance.
Make sure to have the website maintenance discussion with the designer/developer beforehand or you may have to find another company at some later time to maintain the website.
Not all design companies are made equal, and some don’t even provide maintenance after the website is created. This can become a major hassle to a website owner or manager. Before designing and building a new website, make sure to take into consideration who will be performing the maintenance and updates.