Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Why it’s critically important that you take care of your additional sites
- A YouTube comment that made my day
- What’s going on with the podcast player that may affect you too
- Even more new Gutenberg Ninja tutorials
- Getting ready for WordCamp US the first week of November, and what’s missing this year
- The second release candidate is out for WordPress 5.3
- Why I’m tickled about gradient backgrounds coming to Gutenberg, and why we don’t have to wait for them
- A fine tutorial on getting started with the Astra Pro plugin to enhance your theme and site
- Why you must update your PHP version to 7.2 or higher right now
- How to check if your HTTPS security headers are ready for the impending Chrome update
- 3 new Chrome warnings on 3rd party links like Amazon, Facebook, and Pinterest
- What happened when I installed the Yoast Video SEO plugin
- Why I’m upset with SiteGround’s new account login interface and how it hurts our security
- A new plugin that lets you place a Zoom meeting directly in WP and how I plan to use it
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 9pm ET / 6pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. It’s a great way to get the deeper story on what’s reported in Tips Tuesday. And, I almost always have breaking news for the day too. So come join us live for the party.
With Halloween just a few days away, the holiday season is upon us and it’s a mad dash from here to the end of the year.
Take Care of Additional Sites
I’ve been covered up this week with massive client work in getting 3 really big projects near completion. These clients had multiple sites that were all a mess with:
- No security
- Resource hog plugins
- Outdated plugins
- Old themes
- No HTTPS
If you have more than one site it is critically important that you don’t put them on ignore, especially if they are all under the same control panel.
Those neglected sites put your main site at insane security and performance risk.
Any of them could be hacked and that could open the door to have all of them hacked.
Plus, lack of security means that bad bots are eating those sites alive, and that leaves less hosting resources for real human visitors to your main site.
At the very least, come get an audit on the main site and a security audit on the others and lock those puppies down.
Better yet, also move to a reseller type hosting account where each site can be in its own cPanel. That will give it a wall between each site and limit the damage one site can do to another in both security and performance.
Thank You for Making My Day
This past week I got the nicest compliment on one of my Heartwood Art YouTube videos!!!
It was from a nice lady who said she had some medical limitations and relied on YouTube videos that explained things in audio as much as the video of it. She couldn’t believe that I was new to YouTube because my videos were so polished. I let her know that I’ve been doing them for years on BlogAid.
I’m really humbled by all of her kind words and thankful for the encouragement to keep making videos that are so helpful to folks with some limitations too.
Folks, it has taken me years to hone how I do videos. I look at my very first ones and want to barf. The same can be said of my old blog posts too. I’m a better writer now. And I do SEO and such better now. And I teach better now.
The point is – just do it, and keep doing it, and you’ll find your groove and get better at things too.
Video is such a powerful way to reach folks and be personable too.
Podcast player issues
I’m so sorry about the podcast player not working in the posts for the past couple of weeks. I use the Blubrry plugin to format my feed for iTunes and provide the player. I’ve been going back and forth with support and it turns out that it’s not the player or the plugin at all.
I store my audio files on Amazon S3 and they have recently changed the path to those files.
The Blubrry interface has a field to enter the first part of that path, so that you only have to enter the slug every time.
So, the first part of that path had to be updated and the files are playing in the player now.
I’m still checking with them on what this may do to the feed for iTunes and whether I need to do redirects or update old posts or what.
If you use iTunes or another service to listen to the podcast, please let me know if the last couple of episodes are showing up there. Since I use my iTunes interface to add the title and image and stuff, I can’t really tell if what I’m seeing is what I added or what’s actually in iTunes or any other subscription service.
So, I appreciate you letting me know.
And, if you have files at Amazon S3, like PDFs, or member site videos or such, you may need to check that the path did not change for those as well.
And I’ll follow up on this when I have more answers.
I only got 3 more new tutorials done this week. I had all day Saturday set aside to do them, but we had some nasty storms and the electricity kept cutting in and out. At one point the straight line winds were so high that I saw it peel off one of the window screens. Me and Zak hit the stairs for the basement immediately!! And I’m so glad to have a basement to run into again. We spent the time in my art room down there and I played with my little square dowels and the grid on my cutting mat to layout the bookcase I’ll be building. You can see a shot of it on the Heartwood Art Instagram page.
And I spent the rest of the time that the computer could be on, playing with different layouts in Gutenberg for my affiliate links on Heartwood Art.
I decided to take my own pictures of my tools and such so that I could make links for both Amazon and big box hardware stores.
I’ll have more on all of that in a new post for my Hobby to Money-Making Site series for you as soon as I finish it and have the examples to show you too.
Gutenberg is making this so easy in one way as it’s fast to make the blocks, but so hard in another as I have so many choices for layout and look.
And this is just one more reason Reusable Blocks are so powerful in Gutenberg. If I change my mind later about the look of the layout, all I have to do is change one block and it instantly changes everywhere it’s in use on the site.
That’s a thing of beauty, y’all, and why I insisted on waiting to do this until I flipped the site over to Gutenberg.
A reusable block will be fantastic for my affiliate disclosure too!!
Plus, I’ll be using them for my materials list and such as well, so they all have a consistent style – no plugins or page builder or special things for a designer to have to do. I can do it all myself with just Gutenberg.
That’s very exciting to me and I can’t wait to show you all of these examples of how you can do it too in the Gutenberg Ninja course!
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
UPDATE: I totally missed this announcement that WordCamp will be livestreamed – and it’s FREE!!!!
WordCamp US is coming a month early this year, thankfully, because it used to be the first week in Dec and that made crazy holiday travel plans for everyone, so I’m glad they moved it.
It’s in St. Louis this year. I had not planned to attend live because I thought there would be virtual tickets, like there were last year. But I see no option for that this year.
If you do plan to go, be sure to check in with the Genesis team, as they have a mixer and such as well.
In last week’s Tips Tuesday livestream, that happens on Tuesday evenings and includes news and updates that came in too late to report in the podcast, which I produce on Monday, I reported that the second Release Candidate for WP 5.3 had just rolled out.
And here’s the official post about it.
A Release Candidate means they are not adding anything new to the 5.3 version, and are just fixing bugs that are reported by folks like me who are testing it.
The public release is due out Nov 12th and I’m betting we’ll see an RC3 before then as they fix more issues.
SEE: my video on what’s new in WordPress 5.3 for details on all the massive stuff they are putting into this release from a lot of different angles.
And that’s why we will not be the first folks to update to it.
Woot!! I’m so excited about gradient backgrounds coming to Gutenberg!!!
There are already specialty block plugins that can do this and eventually that function will be rolled into the core, but it may be a while. So, I feel comfortable with us doing it through other plugins for the next year or so. And even when it does roll into the core, the plugins still have so many other styling options that native Gute won’t have, we’ll be sticking with them.
And yes, I’m covering all of that in the Gutenberg Ninja course!!
One of the things I like most about Astra themes is that you can start with free themes and get a feel for whether that layout is going to work for you.
Then you can choose to purchase their Pro plugin if you like, and get all manner of extra goodies.
And to shorten your learning curve on how to make the best use of all those extra goodies, see this super post from Michelle at Codefetti on getting started with the Pro plugin.
She is just knocking it out of the park with her Astra Themes tutorial series and I am so grateful to her for that, and helping all of us get to the site look we want even faster!
You have exactly 31 days to update your PHP version to 7.2 or higher before support for 7.1 drops on Dec 1st.
Stop putting this off and get it done, as you will need time to test your site and see if your theme and all of your plugins work with the higher version, and make any adjustments that might be needed.
Thanks to everyone who has already made this switch and especially to those who went all the way up to 7.3 so you’ll be all set for at least another year, if not longer. And I appreciate your tolerance of these reminders, but there are still millions of site owners who have no clue what’s going on. And it’s my job to inform them.
PHP 7.4 is already out, and WordPress 5.3 has been tested on it. They are also encouraging all plugin developers to test on 7.4 too.
And when WP 5.3 rolls out on Nov 12, the minimum version will be PHP 7.2.
So, get it done.
And here’s another thing you need to do before the end of the year.
If you did the free way of making your site HTTPS, then you most definitely need to go read this post about changes coming to the Chrome browser starting in Dec and running through Feb.
And it has a link to an online tester for checking whether or not you have all of the HTTPS-related security headers you need.
If you went the free way with HTTPS, you likely don’t have them!
Get that fixed.
And thanks to all of my clients who had a real conversion during the 3 years I’ve been offering them. You don’t need to do anything for this new Chrome change. Not only are you all set for it, but for all changes coming in the next several years. You’re that far ahead of the curve on this. Kudos to you.
New Chrome Warnings on Amazon, Pinterest, and Facebook Links
This past week I did my first HTTPS conversion since the latest Chrome update and sure enough, it is throwing a warning about a lack of Same Origin security headers on links bringing external things in.
I saw three warnings for links from:
Now, we can’t change the format of the links we have to use from those platforms. And God help us if we have to update all of them.
I’m still checking into how to deal with this as doing that type of Content Security Policy (CSP) is super tricky and can’t easily be done as a global header as it affects both internal and external links.
It’s going to take me a while to investigate this, and because it’s so new, there is very little info about it. But, that will change as more high-level money-making sites take notice.
If there’s money involved, you know there’s going to be some screaming going on. And big money is tied to each of these platforms.
So, we’ll see how it shakes out. I just wanted to give you a heads up and ask you to let me know if you see any news about this.
Monitoring Yoast’s Schema Markup on Videos
A few Tips Tuesday’s ago I mentioned that Google Search Console has now included a new video SEO report. It’s buried inside the Performance Report.
And, I also reported that Yoast has added video schema markup to his premium Video SEO plugin.
And, I reported that I was checking into whether it now worked with iframe video embeds, as it didn’t in the past.
Well, I’m delighted to report that it does indeed work with iframe video embeds and that it does add all manner of schema markup around them.
I got the plugin and have it installed on my Heartwood Art site, as nearly every post there has a video embed. That’s by design and it’s working. And I’m following my Performance Report with great interest to see what happens once Google has a chance to finish crawling the site again with this new schema markup.
I did a live session in the DIY SEO Facebook group with the case study screenshots I took prior to installing the plugin. So, I have a baseline to compare to as time goes on.
And I’ll keep you posted on how much this change propels my videos to the top of search.
And, I’ll be interested in seeing if it also helps propel the post in which the video is embedded up in search too.
YouTube videos can help you twice that way in search. If you’re not already doing videos, find a way to get into it. They work. And this plugin may make them work even better.
SiteGround’s New Login is Not Secure
Oh, I’m not at all happy about this.
SiteGround has switched their login interface to their new custom design.
It holds account logins in memory by default.
That is a major security issue that I will be complaining loudly about.
I have all kinds of clients on SiteGround and now I have to add an account every time I want to log into a new one. And it holds that login in memory somewhere. I don’t know if it’s my browser or where, but I’m going to have hundreds of account logins stored if they don’t get rid of this.
And that gives me a security liability for my client work.
I never save their logins to any accounts in my browser. And I even delete any secured docs that have login info after our project ends.
I take my client’s account security very seriously and I’ll be screaming my head off at SiteGround to do something about this.
It’s also a liability for every client to hold their logins like that on their computers, or worse, on their mobile devices.
So, this is a step in the wrong direction not to have an opt out of saving the info.
And you should be screaming at SiteGround over this too.
In fact, I’m asking you to.
I’m just one voice.
It’s going to take a screaming village of voices to get them to change this.
So help me out.
And help yourself.
As I’ve mentioned in previous Tips Tuesday’s, I plan to do Gutenberg webinars before year’s end.
And, ever since Blab shut down I’ve been super lax in doing client interviews and I want to get back to doing those too.
I’ve been checking out all manner of ways to livestream to Facebook and I just don’t like any of those options.
So, I had already decided to just use Zoom Meetings, since I already have it. And then post those recordings in a blog or such.
Well, guess what?
One of the advanced WP developers I follow has been working for a while on a plugin that allows you to stream a Zoom meeting on your WordPress site!!!
I’m very excited about checking out his plugin because that means I can do livestreams not only on BlogAid, but also on my two member sites, including the DIY SEO course and the Webmaster Training for Designers courses too.
So, we’ll see how that goes and I’ll keep you posted.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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