It is been my general experience that many auto mechanics typically have cars that run in less than ideal condition. IT professionals often have computers and websites that are similarly plagued with less than ideal configuration and are sorely in need of maintenance. As it goes with mechanics, so it goes with IT. We spend all day working on computers, and then we have to go home and work on them some more…really?!? This is not exactly what I call a high priority in the grand scheme of things.
The result: many IT people end up with personal sites and projects that tend not to be updated as often as needed or even to the level we recommend our clients to maintain. It is ironic, but understandable if you are in this field. You spend all day working on client web projects, and you really want to go home and install the latest security patches on your own server/site? However, neglecting the regular maintenance will catch up with us eventually and create greater problems that we do not really have the time to resolve.
For example, I was a couple of releases behind WordPress and about five releases behind my blog theme. I finally took some time to patch my server, install the latest version of WordPress, update on my plug-ins, and install the latest release of my site’s theme. The result was a nicely updated WordPress site that did not function properly. But heck, I was fully patched and as secured as I can reasonably make the site. That is a plus right? The few pages that would load seemed to load a little faster than normal, but I had to start the long process of fixing everything that was been broken.
Why did things break? Well, I tend to make adjustments to the page templates and other aspects of WordPress to fix little nits that bug me. However, I am very bad about documenting my personal projects, and it catches up to me when I do updates. It took many hours to hunt through an update all the spots in the code to get the site to function the way I like. Unfortunately, there were a few aspects that I could not address (IT translation-could not figure out), and I had to reach out to my theme developer to make the corrections. I was so impressed by their willingness to make these adjustments, and at no cost, that I have to express my thanks to ColorLabs. I really did appreciate them fixing the last couple image wrapping issues that I was having.
Currently, I have a completely updated site that is working and looking as I wish. Now here is the big question: will I actually be disciplined enough to install updates more often than once a year or so? This was a painful process, but I am happy with the end product. I can only imagine if I was a little more diligent in completing my updates throughout the year that I would not have had to waste a couple of days getting it all put back together.
So here is my advice to the blogging world: frequently take the time to install your updates as the issues that pop-up along the way during these incremental updates will be minor in comparison to putting it all off and doing major updates. Frequent updates are a lower-cost approach, in time and money, as compared to only doing major updates, and it keeps your blog running faster and safer.