Your content management system (CMS) and website plugins are designed to deliver a smooth, engaging user experience to customers and site visitors. But sometimes, updates to these systems cause glitches and problems. Staying proactive about resolving CMS problems and plugin issues is essential when implementing SEO best practices for your business.
Why Are CMS/Plugin Updates Important to Monitor?
It’s important to monitor CMS and plugin updates for a number of reasons. For one, not keeping them up-to-date makes your website more vulnerable to security breaches since updates almost always include security improvements. You don’t want to risk hacks, phishing, data loss, and other issues that could put you and your customers at risk or impact your search engine rankings.
Along with website security, plugin and CMS updates are rolled out to fix bugs and improve user experience. But if these updates aren’t completed, or if an updated plugin clashes with an older version of your website, site features may break, loading could slow, and the look of your website may change. Any one of these would mean more bounces, and a greater chance of Google and other search engines changing your ranking for the worse.
Best Practices for CMS/Plugin Updates
Here’s what we recommend when setting up best practices for CMS and plugin updates:
Backup: Start and keep a backup process in place. Keeping regular website backups will give you an updated version to roll back to after a problem with a plugin update.
Documentation: Document all website versions in a single location, including the CMS version, PHP version, and any other languages in use. Document the generation of server technology in use, and the plugin update versions currently in operation.
How to Prevent Issues with CMS and Plugins
You can’t prevent every issue with website functionality. But we’ve found these problem-solving techniques helpful for our websites, and our clients’ content management systems.
Know the Software: Getting to know your CMS is a critical step for successful troubleshooting. Which version do you have? Do you know when new versions are announced? Do you manually update your site, or is it set to update automatically? Knowing the answers to these questions can go a long way toward more streamlined website operations.
Check the Plugins: Know what plugins are running and how plugin security alerts are announced. Some plugins require manual updates, so it’s good to have a point person to log in, check for, and adopt updates regularly.
Act on Alerts: When you get website alerts from your hosting provider, your Google Search Console, or your Bing Webmaster Tools, address them immediately. Any lags in correcting website issues can affect your search engine results rankings.
Along with these checks, regular website updates and performance checks can help you stay proactive. If you’re noticing unexpected dips in your SEO analytics (fewer site visions, lower conversion rates, or higher bounce rates), problems with plugins or CMS update issues may be to blame. Finding the issue as soon as possible will prevent downtime and keep leads from slipping through the cracks.