WordPress is a magnificent tool and powers a massive number of websites across the internet.

Every WordPress website is built from the main WordPress core, a theme to determine the look and feel of the website and some additional plugins to give your website the functionality you need.

Nearly every website designer that uses WordPress as their foundation also uses third-party themes, plugins and extensions to build your website. If they had to write all of these from scratch, rather than buying in a pre-written plugin, your website would cost tens of times more and website designers would keep having to reinvent the wheel to build your website.

Automatic Updates

One of the great aspects of a WordPress website is that all of the various components of your website can be updated without your knowledge.

All of these components are being maintained by their own developers and as updates are made available, you need to make sure that they work with your website, but also that you install them when they are updated. These updates may provide a stability patch, bug fix, enhancement or new feature. Either way, we always say that you must use the latest and most current version of every piece of software. So it’s vital to keep your website updated.

However, as the core of WordPress is updated and progresses forward, so must all of the other components of your website. Each website theme and all of the plugins also need to be updated too. Say for example, if a bug or security issues were found in the WordPress core, that bug may also need to be fixed in some of the plugins, so many things need to be updated.

WordPress is Free, isn’t it?

Yes, the core of WordPress is free, but the themes, design work and premium plugins are not. It’s using these extras that makes your website, well, your website. Otherwise, every website would look the same and do the same.

Software Licences

Like any computer, some WordPress plugins come with licences from the developer, after all, this is their software and they are a business, just like you.

Usually, the first years’ licence has been built into the cost of your website development. After a time, this annual licence will expire, so if you want to keep your website current (and you really do want to do this) then you will need to purchase a licence renewal. Your website developer can do this for you and just invoice you accordingly.

Why do I need to pay for a licence

So why do I need to pay for a licence that was included in my website design build?

Well, think of this like buying a computer, with some software on it. When you buy the computer you get everything thrown into the deal, the hardware, software and anything else you needed. After so long your software will become out of date as newer software is released. You don’t expect that software for free do you?

So this is the same as within your WordPress website. It consists of many parts of software and some are free to update and some are not. So you need to make sure that your licences are up to date and paid for to get the latest features, fixes, patches and to make sure they are compatible with WordPress core updates.

So why did my website designer use expensive plugins?

Firstly, most plugin licences are not that expensive. Most range from £25 to £75 per annum. We think that this is a fair investment in the grand scheme of running your business website.

Features – Usually free plugins are a teaser into the feature-rich world of a premium plugin. If you want all of the features of a good quality plugin you are going to have to pay for it.

Support – You are far more likely to get a prompt reply to a support request if you are using a premium plugin. Free plugins are free for a reason and you certainly won’t get much in the way of support if something goes wrong or you find a bug.

Security – Plugins are generally safe, but vulnerabilities do come to the surface quite often. Premium plugins are less likely to fall foul of a security risk. Plugin developers generally patch their premium plugins more quickly to keep you safe.

Karma – good work deserves to be rewarded. Someone has committed a lot of time and expertise building a plugin you use to run your business. Would you expect to not pay your accountant, or not to pay business banking charges?

What should I do?

Just ask your website designer to keep your WordPress website up-to-date.

They can look after it all for you, make sure everything is up-to-date, licenced and registered for you.

They’ll even make sure that it’s backed up before each update, just in case.

What if I don’t update?

Well, all you do, if you do not update, is miss out on bug fixes, new features, security patches, upgrades and support to name but a few things.

You need to remember that this is your online business and you need to invest in it to be ahead of the game and keep in front of your competition.

If you have an eCommerce website, then this is your entire shop. You’d spend money on new fixtures and fittings, decorating and presentation materials if you had a physical store, wouldn’t you?

So why is your online shop any different? The short answer is, “It’s not”.