Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- A sneak peek at what’s coming from BlogAid for the rest of 2018 including 4 new courses
- Why hiring the help you need is a good idea
- What’s in WordPress 4.9.8 and the first thing you need to do after you update
- What’s in the latest Genesis update
- The huge Google Algorithm update that whacked some sites hard
- How to watermark your blog images, plus the pros and cons of it
- The message Facebook is really sending with the shutdown of their API for auto-posting
- A super post on the top reasons visitors leave your site and how to fix them
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live tonight at 9pm ET / 6pm PT for the party and an interactive Tips Tuesday recap and breaking news discussion on the BlogAid Facebook Page. You can also catch the quick recap later that evening on the BlogAid YouTube Channel.
I’m back from my fun and restful mini vacation at my brother’s place on the TN river. I got to take back roads for the whole trip, so even the drive was good.
My understanding of the goal and purpose of medicine is to break the current cycle so you can remember health.
And that trip was good medicine for me to fully realize that I need to be more mindful of how many hours I put into this business, including all the reading and testing and evaluating I do, just to keep on top of all the changes we face as site owners these days.
And, I need to do a way better job of promoting all that research to help as many site owners as possible get ahead of the changes so I’m not walloped with service requests days before deadlines on some new penalty or massive change.
While I know that most folks won’t change until they are in pain, I hope that I can educate on the virtues of running your site in a calmer, and less expensive way. And maybe that will help more site owners get to the same place many of you already enjoy, and even out my service business a little too so the waiting list times are not so long when major changes pop up.
Share the Good News
And I’m asking for your help in getting more site owners out of panic mode too.
I so appreciate those of you who share my posts or talk about the info I provide in your blogging groups.
And I hear you when you report that it’s like banging your head against a wall because folks won’t listen.
Here’s the thing. There is no one way to run a successful site. But, there are ways that are cheaper and less stressful in the long run. And that’s the kind of info that I strive to provide you every day and give you good things to share too.
What’s Coming From BlogAid
So, now that I’m back, and now that my theme revamp is mostly done, I’m ready to jump into the rest of the projects and info and courses I had planned out for BlogAid in 2018.
Here’s a little bit of what’s on my to do list for you for the rest of this year.
Site Security – I haven’t been talking about this much this year, as we have had so many other site fires to put out. But, I can tell you that hackers are finding new ways to crack open some of the free ways folks are doing HTTPS. And, they are finding new ways to launch devastating DDoS attacks that will bring host servers to their knees. Part of that way is by breaking into sites that don’t have good security and using their hosting resources to attack other servers at that same host, or other hosts.
Do not wait until your host or server gets hit before you take this threat seriously!! Prevention costs at least half as much as recovering from an attack.
You also have to think of this like all of us living in an apartment building. That’s what shared hosting is like. If one apartment catches on fire or is crawling with bugs, it puts every other site on that server box at risk.
It takes all of us, as site owners, to ensure that the entire building where we live is secure.
Hence, the importance of spreading the word and ensuring that your fellow bloggers are serious about site security too.
So, look for me to be promoting security more for the rest of the year, and I hope you will join me in that effort. It helps keep your site on shared hosting more secure too.
And trust me, that wait time will change as folks respond to this post, and/or the next big thing hits.
So, sooner is better than later for sure.
Gutenberg – I’m going to have cover both ends of this. For existing sites, I’m advising that you skip using Gute until it matures more. For new sites, you may want to start with Gutenberg. That will depend entirely on your site needs, though, as it may or may not do everything you need.
So, I hope everyone will understand why I need to create a course for how to use Gutenberg for some, while at the same time saying don’t use it for others.
Recipe Plugin Comparisons – As you know, Marilyn Lesniak and I are working on vetting recipe plugins for ease of use and schema markup. Well, there has been huge news in that area and it has radically changed the course of our project. We met Sunday to discuss and I can tell you now that it’s going to come down to two plugins that are future proofed. We have our tests and posts planned and I’ll keep you updated on when those will come out.
Pinterest and Share Button Plugin Comparisons – I’m also working with a couple of other folks on setting up a good comparison study for Share Button plugins in general, and Pinterest share plugins specifically. However, Gutenberg, and other factors, are going to throw a monkey wrench into that research too. So, it has been delayed as well and I’ll have more for you when the dust settles.
An interesting side note about this, I made a comment in one of my advanced groups about not liking Shareaholic and one of the devs, Jay Meattle, reached out to me with some clarifications on the changeover from Sexybookmarks to Shareaholic and the plugin being pulled out of the WordPress plugins repo over supposedly malicious code injections. So, I’ll be including that plugin once again in my new test series.
More Plugin and How To Video Tutorials – For the last 2 years I’ve had a whole stack of plugin and how-to video tutorials sitting on my to do list and I’m going to make a dedicated effort to get more of them made no matter what.
One of my hesitations with making these things is that everything about either the plugin or WP is in constant flux. So, the tutorial gets dated pretty quick. I still get comments on the BlogAid YouTube channel on older videos that are outdated, about how the current interface doesn’t look or act like the tutorial.
I believe I’ve found good ways to deal with that. First, I’m going to clean out my YouTube channel of those outdated videos. That will kill my analytics, but it’s the best thing to do in the long run. And for new tutorials, I’m going to include the record date with a suggestion to see the description for links to a newer version if one is available. And then all that just becomes a matter of maintenance, which I can handle.
All of this is in conjunction with my massive content revamp on BlogAid.
Google Search Console Courses – This year I’m also expanding the DIY SEO course to include a deeper look at how to use Google Search Console. And I’ll be starting with the new version interface, as that’s where we need to look first when we get an email from Google saying something needs attention, or that it found a crawl error. My target date for that course is around Halloween.
And then I’ll start on a course for the original interface, as the new one doesn’t have all the functions in it yet. This one will be our workhorse.
I’ve already got tutorials in the course for how to connect to GSC, and how to use it to help you with your technical SEO, meaning crawl errors like 404s and such now.
The new courses will go much deeper so you can glean all of the important ranking info that Google gives you in Search Console. My target date for that course, for the new interface, will be end of year.
Google Analytics Course – The majority of my clients have Google Analytics hooked up, but never look at it beyond the little bit of info their analytics plugin is pulling into their WP Dashboard.
So, this first course on it will cover the basics and help you create a custom dashboard so you can easily glean the important traffic info for your site. The focus will be to track the content that is doing well so you can promote it even more, and/or create more of it, and/or maximize your CTAs (Calls to Action) on it. The secondary focus will be to help you pay attention to where your traffic is coming from and to do a better job of diversification. My target date for that course will be early 2019.
Live SEO Workshops – we will once again begin our next round of live workshops in January and those will continue for about 3 months or so, just like they did this year.
I’ve heard from some folks that they think the DIY SEO course only runs at certain times of the year.
You can join any time and the video courses are always up to date. Plus, you have the replays on all of the live workshops, plus the mini challenges we’ve done since.
Joining now means you’ll be all up to speed when the new courses begin to launch too, and you’ll be ready to jump right in.
For those of you who have been following my house hunt journey, everything is moving along as smooth as glass on the current purchase. We are set to close before the end of the month. And, depending on when the appraisal comes in, we may even be able to close early.
Either way, I’m already 95% packed and ready to go.
And I can’t wait to get my new wood workshop set up.
That plain first house got my creative juices flowing for things to create to dress it up. And a little time off recently just amplified that craving.
Both parts of the workshop are in the basement, so the temperature will be moderate all year long, unlike where I am now, where more than half of the year it’s either too hot or too cold to enjoy that hobby.
Where I’ll be making the biggest messes will be in one half of the oversized two car garage and then there is a temperature controlled basement room where I’ll be doing all of the assembly and carving and finishes and such.
And that hobby is what I’ll be doing with my extra piddle time by holding to a new schedule of clocking out at a reasonable hour from now on with BlogAid too.
Hiring the Help I Need
All of these recent changes and stress points this year have brought another thing to light for me.
We’re all good at some things and just totally suck at others, or just don’t have the proper skill set to get the job done.
That includes me.
All of the previous house hoohaa put in my face just how important it is to hire the right help.
And I’ve been delighted with the help I’ve acquired for BlogAid this year.
As you know, Marcy Diaz of Amethyst Website Design did a superb job on my new theme, and made the process so easy.
And Sheri Prest-Herman of Colorist Cafe has been doing a fun and amazing VA job with social media promotion.
And then Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats has been instrumental in helping not only with recipe plugins, but helping manage both my DIY SEO and site audit client Facebook groups.
And most recently, Michelle Phillips of Codefetti has helped tremendously with editing several key pages on BlogAid, including the new About page, as well as the new landing pages for the DIY SEO course and Webmaster Training.
Michelle is also a primo designer who has created themes for several of my full training clients too.
I am so happy to refer jobs to my webmasters for all kinds of things that they specialize in and are out of my wheelhouse, like bulk image optimization, hack repair, moving emails off your host, ecommerce, and more.
The fact is, one person can’t know everything. And some folks are better at their job than others. In fact, some folks ought to be sued for taking money to do things when they really don’t know what they are doing.
I’m in the same boat you are. When I need help, I find qualified folks.
The difference in me and some of the folks listening to this podcast is that I have enough site experience to properly vet who I hire.
My goal is to empower DIY site owners that way too. I educate to help you do what you can, and I’m here to help you with the rest, and to help you vet who you hire for anything with your site.
One prime example that comes to mind is to stop asking your host for site help. They are not qualified. They know hosting, not WordPress, not Cloudflare, and not plugins.
Another prime example is asking for technical help, or hosting or plugin recommendations from non-techie groups. They have nothing to go on but fashion, while having complete ignorance of technical considerations, much less security and performance.
Getting the right help, even if it’s free, makes all the difference to your site success.
So, I hope you will continue to use the Helpful Posts list, as well as my plugin recommendations, and Tips Tuesday, to help more site owners get the best help they can for resources that are vetted and tested and far more well-rounded than the info you can get anywhere else.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
WordPress 4.9.8 Released
What may be the last release of WP before Gutenberg rolls into the core with version 5.0 is now out.
And it has an invitation on your admin pages to either try the Gutenberg plugin or the Classic Editor plugin.
Don’t do either!
Simply dismiss that invitation.
Instead, go read my post on WP 4.9.8 for details.
And I’ll have a more detailed post about how to turn off Gutenberg soon that will likely work better for us than the Classic Editor plugin WP created and is promoting.
There is a nice post from the Gutenberg Times site with 10 Methods to Avoid Gutenberg if you want a sneak peek at the ways I’ll be vetting for us. I think you’ll get a good idea of why I’m saying the Classic Editor may not be the best option.
Genesis also rolled out an update last week to version 2.6.1. According to the changelog, there were only 4 minor bug fixes, so it should be okay to do this update.
I saw all manner of reports about sites that had their page 1 rankings completely wiped out by a massive Google algorithm update last week.
And now I’m seeing even more reports of quality sites getting a bump up in rankings.
I have not heard of any of my clients being negatively hit by it.
We’re still gathering info to see what the new algorithm went after, specifically, but in general, I think it was about clearing out a bunch of sites trying to game the SEO system with nasty tactics, like junk backlinks and such. At least that’s as best as I can guess right now.
I’ll have more for you as new info comes in.
Suffice it to say, these are sites that do SEO like day traders on the stock market and use short-term tactics.
If you follow my advice in the DIY SEO course and go for the long-term tactics, you don’t have to worry about Google algorithm updates like this. If anything, your site will get a boost past those gray and black hat SEO sites.
I really enjoyed this post from the nice folks at Foo plugins about watermarking your images.
I know many of you brand your image with your logo already, but this is still a good post to read, as you may pick up tips for other ways to watermark.
And, it’s a good read on the pros and cons of watermarking too.
FYI, Foo Gallery is my fave plugin for showing off a bunch of images. I use it extensively on my carving site.
If you use any type of auto poster from your site to social media, be warned that the days of doing that may be coming to an end.
Recently, Facebook made another change to their API to end autoposting from 3rd party services like Jetpack’s promote feature.
Another thing about using a 3rd party tool is that it generally has lower Reach on Facebook.
I know you think it saves you time, but in the end, it just wastes time, as it undermines the whole reason you’re sharing to Facebook – you want more eyeballs on your posts.
So, maybe taking the time to use Facebook’s own scheduler is super worthwhile, as it may increase your Reach significantly, by comparison.
Another reason to consider ditching any type of posting automation directly from your site is the sheer bloat of these things. CoSchedule makes the admin side of your site load so slowly. No kidding! It really drags it down to a crawl.
And that makes working on the backside of your site take longer.
Time is money, so save it, right?
Oh, this is an excellent post on WP Explorer that every site owner needs to not only read, but actually test their site to see if it hits any of these points.
The very first reason listed for why folks leave your site is that it is too slow. Amen!!!!
Another reason they cite is too many pop ups!! Amen to that too.
Some of y’all have 3-4 pop ups, including new ones for GDPR. Really? Are you testing to see if they are even working for you or just annoying the crap out of your visitors? I see some sites where pop ups are covering up other pop ups. It’s nuts.
Another reason they cite is that your website is too much fashion and too little function. I’ve got a lot of clients in the craft/lifestyle/foodie niches. And while pretty is a big deal, it doesn’t work if it makes your site slow and hard to find things, or worse, you have too many choices. Clutter doesn’t help you get more clicks.
So, do go over and read the whole post, and then check your site for all 10 reasons. It took a theme revamp to help me square out my site to not hit any of these points. And I’ll be watching my analytics to track just how much of a difference that made too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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