Making Custom WordPress Website Design
More Affordable for Small Businesses

As a non-profit aviation organization, we were looking to revamp our member website entirely, giving it a modern look and enhancing usability. In the process of selecting a company for this project, we contacted many local companies. Laura Bowly was a top contender from the start, but the competition did not stand a chance after meeting Laura in person. Her professionalism and great personality really shined through from the first meeting until the completion of the project. Laura Bowly absolutely was the right and the BEST choice we could have made for the total overhaul project of our website. She was highly responsive throughout the project, and communications were clear and fast. She truly went above and beyond on our project, and we are extremely happy with the results. Our members have been contacting us on a regular basis to inform us how much they love the new website.

Eline
Southwest Section of the Ninety-Nines

Why it’s important to keep your WordPress site updated

I know it seems like WordPress releases a lot of updates … and it’s true, they do! Updates provide new features and/or fix bugs that might effect the security of your site. Because WordPress is the most popular content management platform in use today, it’s also targeted by a lot of not-so-nice people (hackers). Keeping your site updated is a good way to help prevent malware attacks (click here to read about other things you should be doing as well).

WordPress releases major updates about three times a year. There are many minor updates released between those major versions, and for most sites, those minor updates happen automatically. For WordPress 3.7+, you don’t have to do anything to apply minor & security updates, however, major updates do not happen on their own.

“How do I know if my site needs to be updated?”

That’s easy. Login to your WordPress Dashboard. You can always see what version of WordPress you are running in the At a Glance details. Generally, if there is a newer version, you’ll see an alert at the top of the Dashboard.
wordpress-version

If you are logging in with an Admin level login*, you will see a tab under Dashboard called “Updates” which gives you a complete list of the updates needed for the platform (WordPress), Plugins, & Themes.

[*CLICK HERE for more details about User Roles.]
admindashboard
With ADMIN level user access, you’ll see expanded choices in the Dashboard including “Updates”.

Backup your site BEFORE you run updates!

Before you run any updates, it is critical that you have a current backup of your site & database. From time-to-time, there will be compatibility issues between new versions of WordPress & different plugins. These compatibility issues can take your site down and you’ll need to be able to fix the problem at a code level or restore the site or plugin from a backed up copy.

Sucuri offers a daily off-site backup service that I recommend. It is $5 per month and gives you peace of mind in knowing that you always have a current backup of your site & database. Once you purchase the backup plan from Sucuri, you will need to get them your FTP login information to enable the backups to begin.

“How do I update WordPress?”

Once you have confirmed you have a current backup, login to your site with Admin level access. You can run the updates using the one-click process at Dashboard » Updates. Run one update at a time and check the front end of the site after each update to make sure everything is working properly. The reason I recommend this is because if something goes wrong, you’ll know exactly which plugin caused the problem so it will be much easier to get your site back online.

“Do I have to update every time WordPress releases an update?!”

Again, updating is about site security — closing all possible “windows” into your server, so I definitely recommend you update your site at least a couple of times a year.  If that just isn’t happening, you can make sure your site is protected with a Website Firewall like Sucuri’s Cloud Proxy. With Cloud Proxy all your site’s traffic will be redirected through Sucuri so they can filter malicious traffic, while allowing good visitors to go to your site. It doesn’t slow your site down at all — in fact, in most cases it actually speeds it up! Adding a firewall to your site greatly reduces the risk of a malware attack even if your software is outdated. This means you can be a little more relaxed with your updating schedule. 🙂

Remember, Laura Bowly Design can run updates for you if you don’t want to tackle them yourself.  Contact us to schedule updates!

 

Why it’s important to keep your WordPress site updated

I know it seems like WordPress releases a lot of updates … and it’s true, they do! Updates provide new features and/or fix bugs that might effect the security of your site. Because WordPress is the most popular content management platform in use today, it’s also targeted by a lot of not-so-nice people (hackers). Keeping your site updated is a good way to help prevent malware attacks (click here to read about other things you should be doing as well).

WordPress releases major updates about three times a year. There are many minor updates released between those major versions, and for most sites, those minor updates happen automatically. For WordPress 3.7+, you don’t have to do anything to apply minor & security updates, however, major updates do not happen on their own.

“How do I know if my site needs to be updated?”

That’s easy. Login to your WordPress Dashboard. You can always see what version of WordPress you are running in the At a Glance details. Generally, if there is a newer version, you’ll see an alert at the top of the Dashboard.
wordpress-version

If you are logging in with an Admin level login*, you will see a tab under Dashboard called “Updates” which gives you a complete list of the updates needed for the platform (WordPress), Plugins, & Themes.

[*CLICK HERE for more details about User Roles.]
admindashboard
With ADMIN level user access, you’ll see expanded choices in the Dashboard including “Updates”.

Backup your site BEFORE you run updates!

Before you run any updates, it is critical that you have a current backup of your site & database. From time-to-time, there will be compatibility issues between new versions of WordPress & different plugins. These compatibility issues can take your site down and you’ll need to be able to fix the problem at a code level or restore the site or plugin from a backed up copy.

Sucuri offers a daily off-site backup service that I recommend. It is $5 per month and gives you peace of mind in knowing that you always have a current backup of your site & database. Once you purchase the backup plan from Sucuri, you will need to get them your FTP login information to enable the backups to begin.

“How do I update WordPress?”

Once you have confirmed you have a current backup, login to your site with Admin level access. You can run the updates using the one-click process at Dashboard » Updates. Run one update at a time and check the front end of the site after each update to make sure everything is working properly. The reason I recommend this is because if something goes wrong, you’ll know exactly which plugin caused the problem so it will be much easier to get your site back online.

“Do I have to update every time WordPress releases an update?!”

Again, updating is about site security — closing all possible “windows” into your server, so I definitely recommend you update your site at least a couple of times a year.  If that just isn’t happening, you can make sure your site is protected with a Website Firewall like Sucuri’s Cloud Proxy. With Cloud Proxy all your site’s traffic will be redirected through Sucuri so they can filter malicious traffic, while allowing good visitors to go to your site. It doesn’t slow your site down at all — in fact, in most cases it actually speeds it up! Adding a firewall to your site greatly reduces the risk of a malware attack even if your software is outdated. This means you can be a little more relaxed with your updating schedule. 🙂

Remember, Laura Bowly Design can run updates for you if you don’t want to tackle them yourself.  Contact us to schedule updates!

 

Working with Laura was so easy, and her professionalism was strongly demonstrated in the excellence of her work product, and our working relationship. Very few designers possess her artistic creativity and the technical skills to create a website that is: beautiful, compelling, and so easy to operate. We are able to keep our site fresh and interesting while framed in a background of color splashes and balance that everyone admires and uses. Over the years, I’ve engaged the services of many website designers, and never experienced anyone with the quality of Laura’s talents. Her personality is wonderful to work with, and she solves challenges with easy solutions that are fun … we all loved working with her. Whenever we got stuck, she stepped in and solved any issue with great ease. This is about the 4th or 5th website I have asked Laura to design, and every single site has been a home run; we could not be more pleased.

Dixon Collins
Destination Angels Camp