We have a message for you from Clifford Brown: no more putting off updating WordPress.
We get it—we’re all busy, and updating software doesn’t always rank in at the top of our to-do lists. Make no mistake, though. Failing to stay on top of WordPress updates can end up costing you (and your site) more than you bargained for.
For those who haven’t had a chance to explore the new functionality provided by one of the latest and greatest WordPress updates (version 4.4, affectionately dubbed “Clifford” in honor of the jazz trumpeter), here’s a breakdown of the biggest improvements that you’re not currently using:
As they often like to do, WordPress developers included a new default theme in their 4.4 overhaul. Twenty Sixteen has a chic interface that keeps it simple—minimalism is all the rage these days in Web design. This theme was created with mobile users in mind, offering responsive design for different devices and flexible color schemes to add a little flair to your content.
And speaking of your content…
WordPress version 4.4 makes content sharing easier than ever.
Though WordPress has been an oEmbed supporter for more than 6 years now, Clifford flips the script by merging the oEmbed API plug-in into the WordPress core. This means that WordPress is now an oEmbed provider, allowing any oEmbed consumer to embed content taken directly from WordPress sites. This opens up some interesting new possibilities for content sharing on the WordPress platform.
With coders at WordPress rewriting WordPress’ oEmbed consumer code to integrate with any site that provides oEmbed data, any public post type will be embeddable. All you have to do is drag your post URL into the editor to be greeted with a preview of your embedded content—title, excerpt, and featured image.
Not a fan of all this convenience and flexibility? No problem. All embed features can be disabled manually with an easily installed plug-in.
Aside from the modern themes and the extra embeds, Clifford brings responsive images to the WordPress table. This functionality provides a perfect image resolution for nearly any size device out there. As mobile phones, tablets, and even phone-tablet hybrids become the online browsing norm, this responsive design ensures that users enjoy a seamless and uninterrupted browsing experience.
Updating WordPress regularly is important but is often overlooked. According to statistics taken from WordPress’ site, only 30.4 percent of consumers are using the most recent version of the platform. That’s less than a third of total users! This is problematic for both platform users and for WordPress itself.
Yes, each new update provides new tools and functionality, but that’s not all. Updates let developers patch security holes and emerging errors noticed in their software. In early January, WordPress released version 4.4.1, a security update for all previous versions of WordPress. Version 4.4.1 protects users from a cross-site scripting vulnerability that could put users in jeopardy.
While it might not seem necessary to keep up with each minuscule update the platform releases, consider the growing importance of information security in the online world. If you run a business or e-commerce-oriented website, can you really afford to leave your site exposed to possible threats? And what happens if your customer data is compromised? There are pretty serious financial and legal consequences at stake for something as simple as installing an update.
There’s also the competition to consider. Businesses wanting to stay at the forefront of their industries need access to the latest features and functions that their Web platforms have to offer. Your competition may be updating its platform as we speak. Don’t fall behind your competitors—keep WordPress up to date to unlock the full platform functionality and security that your business depends on.