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May 20, 2015

May 2015 Newsletter

Table of Contents

  1. Neglect WordPress Updates at Your Own Peril!
  2. Mobile Friendliness Now Affects Google Rankings

Neglect WordPress Updates at Your Own Peril!

By Brendan Magee
If you're using WordPress to manage content on your website, you're already familiar with the positive aspects of open source systems: no software licensing costs, "free" plugins to extend functionality, and a large community of developers who build new features and functionality.

Sounds great, right? We certainly think so—that's why we recommend WordPress to many of our clients, especially those who don't need all the power and extensibility of the Microsoft .NET platform. WordPress gets the job done, and it's hard to ignore the software's nonexistent price tag. The downside, of course, is that open source systems need a lot of regular attention just to maintain security and prevent malicious incursions.

If you're worried about security, go ahead and log in to your WordPress administrative dashboard, and look around for these words: "WordPress 4.2.2 is now available. Please update now." Obviously, this means that your version of WordPress isn't up to date. Now look for the word "Plugins" in the left-hand menu. The little bubble with the inscribed number indicates how many of your plugins need to be updated.

Hodgson recommends that our WordPress clients update their sites at least twice per month in order to prevent hacking and keep your site running as smoothly as possible. By its very nature, open source code is publicly available for anyone to review. This means that Hodgson can build a WordPress site for you without paying anyone for the software, but it also means that hackers can check the code for vulnerabilities.

Frequently, hackers will simply comb the internet for WordPress sites that are using older plugin versions or older versions of WordPress. This is not unlike what car thieves do when they search massive parking lots, looking for unlocked vehicles with valuables on the seat. The best way to protect yourself is just to stay on top of the updates.

If you don't have the time to do these updates yourself, Hodgson's WordPress developers can certainly help. Also, if you're just nervous about an automatic upgrade breaking code, give us a call at 301.942.7040—your project manager can talk you through the process and give you some helpful instructions.

Mobile Friendliness Now Affects Google Rankings

By Karen Rosen
After Google’s recent mobile search algorithm update, mobile-friendly sites now rank higher in mobile searches. Here's Google's explanation of the changes:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices. 
Clearly, websites that aren't mobile friendly are going to fall in the rankings as a result of this change, even if they have plenty of SEO-friendly content on them. It's now more important than ever for you to implement responsive design on your site.

Hodgson works with a variety of content management systems—Sitefinity, Ektron, EPiServer, WordPress, Drupal, and OmniUpdate—all of which support responsive design. Now is the perfect time to start talking to your project manager about implementing responsive templates on your site.

If you have any questions about responsive design or the changes to Google's algorithm, please give me a call at 301.942.7040, or email me at