Hello Happy Site Owners!
Tips this week include:
- The launch of the BlogAid Booming Bloggers Hub
- What’s coming on the BlogAid Live Show and when
- Behind the scenes look at what’s on my plate this week
- New monthly roundup on the WordPress blog
- A must-read post on what the Gutenberg editor means for the future of WP
- What’s new in Gutenberg and a great way for you to play with it online
- What the push for popular plugins to support Calypso means for you
- A new online site tester I’m trying
- Changes to my recommended HTTPS security headers
- New Dev Tools in Chrome 59 that webmasters will like
- A must-read post on 301 redirects and how Google treats non exact matches
- Updates to the Google Test My Site tool
- Why you should delete inactive plugins
- A step-by-step guide on writing powerful headlines
- An epic post for content repuposing
Listen to the Podcast
Watch the Video Recap
Join me on the BlogAid Facebook page around 8pm ET / 5pm PT to discuss this week’s news.
I hope all of my U.S. buddies are having a super Independence Day and having a bang.
Speaking of bangs, I am so excited about this new mastermind and support group for my experienced site audit clients!!
We have our own:
- private membership in the BlogAid Learning Center. https://learn.blogaid.net
- private Facebook group
It’s like a rich village of successful site owners.
And our first live Meet and Greet chat is on July 19.
If you’re a site audit client who was getting notifications before, be sure to look for the email invitation.
Registration for this pilot program closes July 15.
And, be sure to visit your member page for the links to our Meet and Greet and Facebook page.
BlogAid Live Show Schedule
As I mentioned last week, I’m still lining up my interview schedule with both clients and experts.
I’ve decided to do shows as those schedules allow instead of roping me and my guests into a weekly show.
And, I’ll be jumping on live as hot news and topics pop up so we can chat live about what’s happening too.
I think that’s just going to work better for me and everyone involved.
I’ll be giving you plenty of heads up before the interviews, so you can plan to join us and ask questions, especially when we have an expert guest.
For the pop up shows, definitely subscribe to the BlogAid YouTube channel.
And click that little bell so you get notified when I go live.
And I’ll still be doing my BlogAid Today Tips and Tips Tuesday recap on Facebook Live, if you want to catch me there.
Secure Site Setup Webinar Coming Super Soon
This week I’ll be announcing the date for the Secure Site Setup Webinar that’s coming later this month.
BlogAid News subscribers will be the first to know and get a discount link. So, be sure you’re subscribed.
All current Webmaster Training members will get a substantial discount too.
Secure Site Setup is a must-have skill for all site designers.
So, this is your super low cost way to see what’s involved in how to do that because I’ll be setting up a site from scratch right in front of you.
Even if you decide this is not another task you want to put in your wheelhouse, you’ll know what it takes and be able to properly vet someone you want to partner with to provide this critically important service.
Plus, what you learn can be applied to existing sites as well.
So, either way, it’s worth you attending the webinar to learn more about site security because it goes hand-in-hand with performance too. And that’s moving up the ranking factor scale in SEO.
On My Plate This Week
I’ve heard from several of you, especially webmasters, that you enjoy hearing what’s happening behind the scenes at BlogAid with, and for, clients, plus what I’m testing. So, I’m introducing a new little section this week for that.
This week I’m:
- Looking forward to the 2nd Scratch to Published class with a client who is building a brand new site for teachers. We’ll be going over all of her content and basic SEO and conversion and then diving deeper into those topics. Plus, we’ll be getting her blog editorial calendar filled for the next 6 months to achieve authority on topic as fast as possible, which is the key to ranking in search and driving traffic. And then we’ll go theme shopping to find one that meets her conversion goals.
- Checking in with 2 clients on sandbox sites who are playing with their first Genesis themes and following my Genesis tutorials. One is about ready for the final design phase, which is going to be some very inexpensive paint for colors and fonts. The other is checking into Beaver Builder for designing his own, which has a learning curve to it, but he loves tinkering at that level.
- Converting a site to HTTPS that has 2 million visitors a month. I’ll be inviting this client to an interview because what she’s doing on her site is very impressive and I know you’ll want to hear from her.
- Helping a client that went through a design revamp from hell. She’s been fixing things on her site ever since. We’ve found all manner of hidden stuff the designer put in there. And he completely wiped out all of the security measures I had on the site. And y’all wonder why I work so hard to get more designers into the Webmaster Training courses. Because you don’t want your clients finding me later and rue the day they met you for messing up their sites, or causing more expense to fix it, especially on security and such that they had already paid to have done.
- Investigating why the new WP 4.8 Events module in the Dashboard and the Login Lockdown plugin can’t run on a client’s site, plus why folks can’t leave comments. That’s just the tip of the iceberg in symptoms of what’s going on with this site. I migrated it to a sandbox so I could do more destructive testing out of the public eye. Login Lockdown is working fine in the sandbox site on another host. And I was able to confirm which plugin was interfering with comments. Splitting a problem in two by migrating it elsewhere is a trick I learned from my electronic engineering days. And now we know to start looking on her host for what the problem is.
- I’m using that sandbox site to test new comment reply plugins. I discovered something super egregious with a couple of the popular ones, and a new one that I will likely be recommending. But I want to put everything through its paces first. You’ll be seeing a must-read post on this when I’m done.
- Getting 2 sites back from my fave fix-it guy, Makis at FixMyWP who we had to call in to unscramble the backside of the accounts before I could even do a site audit. They had stuff all over the place from multiple host migrations and too many hands in the pot with folks who maybe didn’t know as much as they needed to before doing the work they did. And now you know the background for my BlogAid Today Tip this past Friday about how to not get ripped off by a designer.
- Having a live chat with a client to go over our HTTPS pre conversion checklist and map out a plan for swapping her primary and add on domains on her hosting account, and then converting the site domain to what was the add on while we do the HTTPS conversion. That’s all actually a lot cheaper and easier to do than it sounds.
- Meeting with an SEO copywriter who is exploring becoming a webmaster so she can be one-stop shopping for her clients, who are mainly small, local business owners.
- Making a custom migration tutorial for a client who wants to move to A2 Hosting (aff link) because her current host does not offer free SSL certificates and runs a little too slow.
- Digging into the WP Rocket caching plugin to make tutorials for my webmasters plus reviews and overviews for the public. Afterward, I hope to invite Lucy Beer, of WP Rocket, for an interview. She’s worked with WordPress at all levels forever and I have mad respect for her as a person and a dev. You’ll definitely want to hear from her about all things caching and WordPress in general.
- Checking into the new Gutenberg Text Editor and will be making a video sneak peek for you in the coming weeks.
That’s my week. And now you also know why it may take a while to actually produce some of the things I mention are coming. They’re on my to do list, but working on them depends on my client load. And right now I’m at max.
So, if you’re thinking about a site service or training from BlogAid, go ahead and book now before the end of July and August get filled up.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Instead of relying on others to report what’s happening with WordPress, they decided to do it themselves. There’s a new monthly roundup on the WordPress.org blog with top news on releases, what’s being developed, and WordCamps.
In a previous Tips Tuesday, I linked to a couple of first-look posts on the new Gutenberg Text Editor that is coming to WordPress.
One of those was by Matt Cromwell, who is a long-time WordPress plugin dev including one of my absolute must-have plugins, WP Rollback.
He has a follow up post on Gutenberg with lots of quotes from other devs about what this new text editor means for their future.
But it goes way beyond that and speaks to the future of WordPress itself.
This affects designers, developers, and site owners.
So do give it a read to see what’s coming down the pike for you.
WP Tavern reports on the new front end styles and core blocks in the Gutenberg Text Editor, along with 50 other fixes and feature improvements.
WP also states that the plugin has been downloaded 900 times, which is nearly 1% of the 100,000 downloads Matt Mullenweg wants to see tested before replacing the WP text editor.
Note the word replace. Right now, Gutenberg runs in addition to the TinyMCE editor. So, this is a hint that Gutenberg will be the only text editor in the future.
The Gutenberg Text Editor is still in beta and not ready for prime time yet. So, I don’t advise installing the plugin on your production site.
But, you can still play with it using the online tester the nice WP devs made. You can also report your impressions of it too. See the links in this post for more.
Here’s another hint at the future direction of WordPress. Plugin devs that have over 1 million installs are now receiving emails from WP that strongly encourage them to support Calypso. That is the interface used on WP.com sites and those hosted on Pressable, which is also owned by Automattic.
To be honest, I found Calypso to be incredibly confusing. And it’s the first thing you see when you get an account over on Pressable. And then when you figure out how to escape that maze, you’re dumped into a staging site area.
This is 100% nothing like the experience you have when you get hosting elsewhere. And I don’t think they do a good enough job of explaining the process. So, I hope to make tutorials for you at some point because I do think Pressable is a good hosting choice for some smaller sites. It has the same security protection dome that’s over WP.com, and you never hear of any issues there. They also include their own backup service via VaultPress, and their own CDN.
But, the main thing to pay attention to here is what I mentioned in The Future of WordPress Site Ownership webinar, and how WP.org is merging ever closer to WP.com.
I’m checking into a new, online site tester that lets you see all manner of important info about your site, including speed and security header status for HTTPS and more.
I’ll let you know how it stacks up with my other trusted online testers. So far, it’s telling me my site is loading way faster, with less requests than other testers. So, I’m as suspicious of that as I am Pingdom, which doesn’t tell you the truth either.
But, it has other features, and if those are good, I’ll be adding a tutorial for it to Level 4 of the Webmaster Training https://webmaster.blogaid.net course.
And, a couple of the testers listed there have changed their interface and have added a couple of things, so I’ll be making new tutorials on those as well.
Most of you got to see those new interfaces during the How to Run a Site Audit and Fixes workshop that we did a few months ago.
HTTPS Security Header Trouble
In an effort to get the highest security header score for HTTPS sites possible, I advise using 5 of the 7 security headers available. The other 2 are just not uniformly supported enough across all browsers to use yet.
Turns out that WordPress itself is now having issues with one of them.
It’s the X frame deny header.
This keeps your site from being scraped and shown in an iframe on another site, like it’s their own content.
One of the questions I ask in my 6 page pre HTTPS conversion checklist is whether or not you’re using a page builder like Thrive Builder. That’s because it doesn’t work with the X frame security header either.
Now we’re finding that parts of WordPress use a frame too, like:
- Updates page
I don’t use the Customizer, but my site audit client and web tech Marilyn Lesniak does.
She, along with support at SiteGround hosting helped point us in the direction of what was causing the issues with both. Actually, they advised taking out more than was necessary.
I tested those headers to within an inch of their lives, as webmaster Ingrid Moyle says of my testing methods, and found the one that was causing the issue.
If you have had an HTTPS conversion by me, I’ll be sending you a link to a video tutorial soon with how to take out that security header. It’s a very easy thing to do and you can do it yourself. Of course, if you would like me to do it, I’d be happy to.
We’ll put it back in when WordPress and some of those page builder plugins catch up with HTTPS security requirements.
I’ll also be updating my Webmaster tutorials for that too.
New Dev Tools in Chrome 59
Got too much css and js on your site? Chrome 59 has expanded the Dev Tool section so you can see which css and js was actually used in the rendering of your page. That may help you cut down on bloat.
I used to be a FireBug fan only. But Dev Tools is starting to win me over to Chrome. How about you?
This post is a must-read for anyone who has deleted a post or page and is redirecting it to another one.
In a recent Tweet, Google’s John Mueller said:
“301-redirecting for 404s makes sense if you have 1:1 replacement URLs, otherwise we’ll probably see it as soft-404s and treat like a 404.”
So, if you’re in the bad habit of redirecting folks to your homepage to avoid a 404 on a deleted post, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
If your redirect is not a direct replacement for what you deleted, then take the 404 hit.
And make your 404 page useful to help folks find similar content.
That way you make Google happy and retain the visitor to your site, or at least have the best shot at retaining them.
See a good custom 404 page example here on BlogAid.
Site load speed is starting to take on more importance than ever before.
Speed is rising in Google ranking factors as they rev up their Mobile First initiative.
More importantly, slow speed is a rising factor in visitor abandonment rate.
If your site loads too slow, folks are just jumping out and finding a similar site that comes up faster. That’s especially true on mobile.
And that’s why Google has revamped their Test My Site tool to show you how much traffic you’re losing with your slow site.
Go give it a try and let me know when you’re ready for your site audit to get to the bottom of what’s causing your slow speeds and loss of visitors and ultimately, loss of revenue.
The tool’s status bar is at the bottom, and you may need to scroll down to see it on anything besides desktop, which I think is a usability issue.
If you’re curious, BlogAid has a 5 second load speed, which qualifies as Good on the test’s scale, and it says that I could be losing 19% of my visitors.
The rating drops to Fair if your site loads in 6 seconds, and the loss of visitors goes up to 24%. It goes downhill quickly after that.
What’s your score?
Feel free to leave a comment on the blog, or anywhere you see this post online.
Got inactive plugins on your site?
Get rid of them.
They are a security issue.
And you’re not doing yourself any favors by deactivating plugins you only use once in a while. Either keep them turned on or delete them.
I’ve even seen one deactivated plugin that kept pinging the WP cron, which is its internal clock and it was driving up resource usage on the host.
Thanks to webmaster, and one of my fave designers, Michelle Phillps of Codefetti for the reminder and sharing this WPBeginner article on her Facebook page. She’s a good person to follow there. Hint, hint, hint.
Content Marketing Tips
You could spend a lot of money and time learning to write killer headlines and all of that investment would pay off.
Start here – for free.
Neil Patel has a post that should be a paid course, with a step-by-step approach to writing powerful headlines.
If you follow this guide, you are going to see an increase in clicks, simple as that.
And you’re going to see a working example of one of his suggestions in this next tip.
Check out its powerful headline and format.
Ana Hoffman has written another epic post. In fact, I think that’s all she writes.
But she doesn’t stop there.
She repurposes the ‘ish out of it, as she says.
And it works.
The name of her site is Traffic Generation Cafe. And that’s what she helps folks do – generate traffic.
This is not your run-of-the-mill repurposing content post either.
Read it. Study it. More importantly, do it.
You’ll see results.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
Find these tips helpful? Share them with your peeps!!!!
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