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Learn how to improve your nonprofit's online presence.

Is it Really Critical to Update my CMS?

After paying a sizable up-front cost to have your website built, you may be wondering if it's really necessary to install regular CMS updates as they become available. Many nonprofit professionals mistakenly assume that websites are a one-time expense, when in reality, they should become a line item in your organization's annual budget. So why is it so critical to update your CMS? Here are the top reasons to regularly update your content management system.

1. Security
The first and most important reason to keep your CMS up to date is to protect your site from security vulnerabilities. While you may think your site is too small to be a target for hackers, there is still reason for concern if your CMS is not current. According to opensourcecms.com, more than 4 million websites are currently powered by Wordpress, while more than 600,000 are powered by Joomla. Judging by these statistics, even though your website may not be the most popular one out there, the CMS running it could be well known by hackers. Furthermore, because Wordpress and Joomla are open source systems, the code that powers them can be viewed by anyone, allowing hackers to study the code and look for loopholes. If your website is running an outdated version of your CMS, hackers will be able to find your site and target its vulnerabilities. In order to find and remove these vulnerabilities, open source developers release security patches in new releases.

2. Bug Fixes
While open source content management systems are heavily tested before they're released to the public, there is always the possibility that bugs can be overlooked. If a bug is introduced in a given version of the CMS, subsequent releases will often include a fix.

3. Performance and Feature Enhancements
As CMS developers constantly seek ways to make their software faster and more efficient, subsequent releases of the software will often include performance enhancements. Likewise, CMS updates can also include features that were previously unavailable. Many times, upon completing an update, you'll notice subtle differences in the user interface that make the overall system more intuitive and easy to use.

While it is critical to keep your site up to date, it's also possible that updating the CMS can cause conflicts with outdated plugins and components. If you need assistance with a Wordpress or Joomla update, feel free to drop us a line on our contact form. Our team would be happy to help.

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Best of 2014: Free, Responsive Joomla Templates

As 2014 draws to a close, we've compiled a list of five free, responsive Joomla templates from around the web. We've looked at a number templates and found that these five have packed in some really great features at no cost to you. Merry Christmas!

 

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ZT Shield
ZT Shield is a clean, responsive Joomla template for the small price of a social share. This template is built on the ZO2 Framework, which offers a drag and drop layout builder. So if coding is not your specialty, you'll still have the capability to make customizations quickly and easily. Because this template is integrated with Font Aweseome, you'll also have access to a variety of vector icons for use on your site. Finally, the template was built with SEO in mind and optimizes for quick page load speeds. Learn more at the Zoo Template site or check out the template demo.

 

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Favourite
The Favourite template was created by FavThemes as a free, responsive Joomla 3.x template. It includes a simple and clean layout with 10 built-in color variations, Google web fonts, and 40+ module positions. It is compatible with K2, and also integrates with Font Awesome. For more details, visit the FavThemes site. or check out the template demo.

 

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Meet Gavern
Meet Gavern is a fully responsive Joomla 3.2 template. It is built on the Gavern Framework, and includes CSS3 animations in the header, as well as advanced typography, employing Google web fonts, Squirrel fonts, and Font Awesome, which can be selected using an options menu. The Meet Gavern template also supports the use of the K2 component, and has a built-in social API for sharing content. Learn more at the Gavick Pro website. or check out the demo. You can also take a look at Gavick Pro's free image slider module for Joomla 2.5 and 3.3.

 

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Zenith II
Need to put together a website fast? Zenith II comes with up to 9 built-in pages, including "Meet the team," "FAQs," "Portfolio," and more. This template employs the Bootstrap Framework, and includes an off-canvas menu for mobile and tablet devices. Zenith II also includes a free responsive image gallery and the option of using tabs for an interactive way to present content. Learn more at the Themexpert website or check out the template demo. 

 

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Orddie
Orddie is a lightweight, responsive portfolio site with a streamlined design and several color schemes to choose from. Learn more at the Beautiful Templates website or check out the template demo.

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