Hello Happy Site Owners! Tips this week include:
– Optimization techniques that squeeze 10x more traffic out of your hosting
– why I’m moving to a new hosting package
– the new affiliate program going live
– how to get in on the secret launch and special discounts of the new Video Marketing Library
– an upcoming Blab on How to Get More Traffic with Less Work
– what’s up with W3 Total Cache and sudden high I/O usage
– the WordPress plugins repository is getting a makeover
– VaultPress is now supporting faster speeds with PHP7
– what’s up with Mandrill email going to a paid service and alternatives
– 3 super ways to generate leads with your content marketing
– and a whole gaggle of news on Google AMP, including new plugins
Listen to the podcast
Whew, what a week it’s been. I’ve got a lot to share with you, including some very exciting news.
10x More Traffic with My Optimization Techniques Confirmed
One of my recent site audit clients has a TON of traffic, to the tune of 10,000 visitors a day. And we’ve now proved that her hosting is handling 10 times more traffic than it should be able to do because of my optimization techniques!
I’m thrilled to have this kind of hard evidence!!
I checked with two techs and a server admin at the host to confirm everything and you better believe I’ll be promoting the heck out of that feather in my cap!!
And these are the same performance and security measures I teach in my Webmaster Training courses too. I also teach you how to run the tests to gather your own data.
Moving Host Types
A few years ago I moved up to Managed VPS on A2 Hosting (aff link) because I had so many sites of my own, plus I needed to set up sandbox sites for training clients, and all of those needed to be in their own cPanel.
Managed VPS was the only way I could get a reseller account beefy enough to handle all of that. I didn’t have the traffic to warrant that expense, though, and still don’t, so I’ve been checking into other options.
I’m going to be moving to the new Reseller package soon. It’s a shared environment, but is in a quiet neighborhood on the network.
I’m the reason they created this shared reseller option a few years ago, so more folks with just 2-3 sites could get them all on their own cPanel, but without having to step up to the extreme expense of VPS.
That’s very important because the days of having multiple sites under one cPanel are over. It’s a huge security and performance risk now.
But to be honest, A2s first release of this package didn’t work well at all. Neither did their first attempt at Turbo, which are on Litespeed servers.
That’s all changed now and they’ve got very viable products with both at this point.
And that 10x more traffic test I mentioned previously was on one of these reseller servers too. Plus, I have peers that are on those servers and they’ve been humming right along very well. So, I’m confident that they can handle my sites.
This will also give me a whale of a lot more testing options, including being able to have a typical shared account, setting any PHP level, and turning Turbo on or off. I’m totally stoked about that!!!
And this move will save me about $300/year too, so I’m very excited about that as well.
I’ll be doing tests before and after the move and will do a post with the results.
Affiliate Program Wrap Up
Me and my team are on the last elements of the new Affiliate Program setup. We hit another bug, and it’s on the last thing tested, which was paying the affiliates. So, there is a manual work around for now, so I’m launching it and we’ll continue to investigate the cause of the issue with the auto pay. I’ve got one experienced test affiliate who will be putting this whole thing through its paces before I open it up wider.
This whole project turned into the mission creep from hell. I went through this same thing with the first member site I set up too. And it’s why I’m developing my own documentation and checklists as I go so that none of my clients will have to go through this.
That’s why I do a consult first before setting up a member site for folks. We discuss their goals, and options for meeting them, and then we dive into the tech and the setup of how to do it because there are a lot of options. They don’t go into the process not knowing what the options are. Thus, they can make better decisions up front, and we can make a game plan from that. No mission creep and goes way faster too.
And I can deliver a turnkey site that works exactly as expected on day one. We do a little live training and their off to the races.
So, in that respect, going through this process was worth it because I got to see all that the program can do, and what it takes to do it.
I’m not sure my teammates feel the same way. It’s been a tough project.
Video Marketing Library Launching This Week
In all of this, I did finish setting up the new Video Marketing Library and the first course, which is how to Blab Like a Pro.
But, I didn’t include any links to it from the home page or such yet.
I’ll be having a private release later this week.
All BlogAid News subscribers will get first notice, and the deepest discounts. So, be sure you’re on that list.
Then I’ll open it up to the public.
FYI, I make between $200-$400 every time I do a Blab show. So, I’ll be expanding the course and/or making a new course very soon to show you exactly how I do that. If you want to see it firsthand, come to one of my shows.
How to Get More Traffic with Less Work – WPblab Ep. 23
Wed 3/2 1pm ET / 10am PT
Discover what’s holding you back from getting all the traffic your hard work should be bringing in.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
W3 Total Cache and High I/O Usage
In recent client site work I’ve noticed an extreme uptick in I/O usage. And while it maxing out will not get your site limited, it most definitely will affect performance.
I finally traced it back to the W3TC plugin. I’m still testing out what has changed, either with that plugin or in the hosting environment, and is suddenly causing this problem.
There are 2-3 settings that can cause this issue at any time, and I already know about those. And these are host environments that I’m already familiar with too.
Plus, the developer has been making all manner of tweaks to the plugin lately, like turning their beta Edge Cache on by default, and putting an extremely annoying pop up on the admin pages and those things keep going back and forth. So, my first guess is that the issue is a change with the plugin, not at the host. But you know, they have mandatory software updates all the time that can suddenly make things go bonkers too.
So, I’d invite you to go have a look at your hosting resource meters and see if you have a sudden spike in I/O usage and maybe even CPU usage too. This change hasn’t really affected memory usage that much.
I’ll keep you posted on what I find with it all. But my Webmaster Training folks are being updated in the moment and will get full details on all fixes.
It’s about time! A team of WordPress devs have taken on the task of overhauling the look and function of the Plugins repository. And this is a far bigger overhaul than just adding thumbnail images like they did the last time they touched it. They are changing the very foundation of it, and this should be a good thing, if all goes smoothly. You can go read the post for more.
VaultPress now supports PHP7
I’m delighted to hear it!!! PHP 7 is a whale of a lot faster and this should make both the backup and restore process lightning fast too. And, I’ll be able to test that on my new hosting setup too.
More and more hosts are beginning to support PHP7 and I look forward to testing major plugins on it to see if they break as well.
For more on what the switch to PHP7, and how it can radically increase your site’s performance, check out my Tips Tuesday from December that gives you a heads up about all of the big changes coming quickly that you need to prepare for.
See my quick video on 4 VaultPress Tips to help you save money and performance with using this service. I’ve got all of my sites on it and most of my clients are using it now too.
Email Marketing Tips
MailChimp has announced that their free Mandrill service will soon only be available via a paid MailChimp account. Some folks were using Mandrill as a way to send their newsletter directly from their sites in an effort to run end around having a paid service, like MailChimp or Aweber.
Mandrill users will have until April 27th to make the change. And, they open the account creation doors at MailChimp on March 16th.
Mailgun is still a free service, if you want to go that route.
And Mailchimp announced just yesterday that SparkPost has offered to take any departing Mandrill users too. You can see the post I’ve linked for you to get more info if you need it.
Content Marketing Tips
Most of us blog to drive traffic to our sites, where we then hope to convert those readers into paying clients. It’s called lead generation. And +Mike Allton has a super post with 3 ways to do that kind of lead generation.
This is a super post for learning about content marketing basics, no matter what your goals are. I highly recommend it.
Bunches of Google AMP Updates
Now that AMP is live, there have been a slew of news stories on it.
Read my post Google AMP and Your Site – What You Need to Know to get up to speed on whether you even want to use AMP or not. I don’t have any plans to at this time, but I certainly have clients who want to stay in the know about it, which is why I’m bringing you the latest news and test results.
I had already tested the two AMP plugins for WP and now that AMP is live, I’ll be testing this new plugin from Yoast that glues the SEO of his pluginto the WP AMP plugin, which is honestly the only one that is viable at this point.
The folks over at Webdados have found a way to add Google Analytics to their AMP pages. In the post, they mention that at some point, others may come up with a plugin method for doing this, and they mention Yoast, which would be my bet too. But until then, maybe their method is worth implementing.
The folks over at Search Wilderness have developed a hack to add forms and even CTAs (Calls to Action) back to AMP pages. Oh, here we go with the hacks. Basically AMP is trying to serve a stripped down version of your content so that it is lightning fast, and now we’re going to see a bunch of hacks to put everything back, but still be on AMP.
That’s trying to have your cake and eating it too. Folks, before you go down this insanity path, take a step back and determine if there is any shot in hell that your site even qualifies as the kind of big news publisher that produces the type of posts Google is going to feature in their AMP carousel. If not, then don’t worry about AMP. You’ve got better things to do than go down this rabbit hole.
Now, if Google ever does start supporting more than big news publishers, then I’ll help you find ways to get AMP setup on your site in ways that don’t break the bank, actually work, and help you retain your conversion points. So, stay tuned.
And speaking of big publishers, Google recently announced that they will help protect those big news sites from cyberattacks – for free. And while that sounds rather altruistic on their part, it’s really about protecting their beloved AMP project, since big-time publishers are the main backers and partners of that project.
Thanks to Webmaster +Larry Snow for the heads up about this.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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