Tips this week include:
- No checkbox to turn off auto updates in WP 5.6
- State of the Word address this week on Dec 17
- Why you need to check your Grow Social Pro license
- Why I’m so happy with the new GTMetrix tester
- Why Google PageSpeed Insights is not an accurate tester
- Where Google gets its speed data about your site
- Update on Genesis Full Site Editing
- BlogAid holiday schedule
- Update on meeting with my video SEO clients for more testing
- What to do if you can’t see edits in preview
- A final word on getting errors when saving UpdraftPlus settings
- Why not to run end around your host security settings
- Why hosts are removing the WordPress Toolkit app in cPanel and what you need to check for
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Who I Help
All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower DIY site owners who are serious about making money with their sites and are not on hosting that is restrictive in what you can and can’t do with your site and hosting setup. If you have any doubts about what type of host you are on and if the tips I give will work there, see this post on What is Managed Hosting?
Welcome to the last couple of weeks of 2020, y’all.
I know it’s a crazy, busy time for you.
It’s been busy here too, but doesn’t seem like it to me, as we have been cranking through site audit requests faster this week.
Keeping your site safe and fast is cheap and easy
That’s because so many of them have been audit checkups.
My site audit clients come in every 12-18 months for a checkup because performance and security changes all the time.
And they are fast, easy, and cheaper to do than that first audit because everything is already cleaned up and the site owner is educated in how to keep it that way.
So, I’m just updating and changing as I go. And then if we need to chat for other improvements, we do, and we get those knocked out in a hurry too.
Wait List Status Update
So, if you’re on my wait list for a site service, just know we are getting to you as quickly as possible.
And we will be taking the upcoming holidays into consideration for breaks, if needed, with currently open projects these last couple of weeks too.
And the current waitlist is into the end of February at this point.
If you’re looking for a last minute site success stocking stuffer, my BlogAid Holiday Deals are still going.
You can get discounts on a site audit and on all courses too.
BlogAid Holiday Schedule
Just an FYI, I’ll be unavailable from Fri Dec 25 through Sun Dec 27.
So, no meetings, site services, or emails during that holiday break.
And I figured most of y’all will be taking off too, so all good.
Meeting with Video SEO clients
This week I sent invitations to a couple of my site audit clients who are helping me do the research and testing for my upcoming Video SEO course.
In our last run of tests we found some interesting settings that we need to explore a little deeper.
And now that I have accurate ways to test both the SEO and more Core Web Vitals metrics, we’re ready to take a deeper dive into how they have things setup.
And I can tell you now that the recipe plugin you use makes a wild difference to how your schema markup works too!!
Batch of Vendor Troubleshooting Posts
On Sunday I published a bunch of posts to wrap up the troubleshooting I had been doing with hosts and plugin developers.
And I’m sending a HUGE thank you to all of my site audit clients and webmasters who helped with getting to the bottom of the issue and putting the real power of the village to work for us.
Several of my site audit clients reported in our Facebook group that they can’t always see edits to previously published posts.
This is usually due to some type of caching issue.
See my post for what we found and tested and try those tips to see if they fix it for you.
Please do leave us a comment to let us know if those worked for you or not, or other ways you are getting around this issue.
ModSecurity recently released a whole bunch of new security rules.
And one of them affects saving our settings in the UpdraftPlus plugin.
I tried to work directly with the plugin support team but they blew me off as being the only one reporting it.
So, I asked all of my peeps to test and open tickets too. And that got support’s attention!
See my post for what UDP support suggested we do, instead of them fixing their plugin or taking other action.
And then see the pressure it took to get them to contact the folks who make the rules for ModSecurity and get the false-positive rule fixed.
Plus, see what I suggest you do instead, until this security rule is changed, so you don’t open a security hole at your hosting.
Don’t run end around your security
If any vendor asks you to run end around your site security, don’t do it. And let me know so we can bring whatever pressure we need to bring to get to the bottom of it and get it fixed instead of opening a security hole.
You may recall me mentioning a few Tips Tuesday’s ago that cPanel released a new app called WordPress Toolkit. I haven’t had time to check into it deeply, and what I did see of it back then looked mildly useful for webmasters who maintain multiple client sites on their reseller account.
Well, this past week, I found one thing that the new app does which is a BIG no-no.
It writes an auto update directive to your wp-config file that may directly conflict with other ways you are controlling your WordPress updates, including the native ones in WP 5.6.
It’s such an issue that hosts are now removing the app.
So be sure to see my post for how to check if your host has installed the app, and what to do if you have it.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
No checkbox to turn off auto updates in WP 5.6
Well, I lied to you because I was lied to or I entirely misunderstood, but I don’t think I did.
When the WordPress devs first decided to try to bring auto updates to WP 5.5, I asked if there would be a way to turn them off and/or make them opt-in only.
They said yes.
And that’s exactly what they did with the auto updates for plugins when WP 5.5 rolled out.
And they were supposed to do it for WP auto updates in WP 5.6 too.
In fact, I saw the screenshot of the checkbox that was supposed to be included on the Updates page.
They took that checkbox away.
So, when I made my What’s New in WP 5.6 video tour for you, I pointed to where the checkbox would be on new installs, as they were slated to have it turned on by default.
It’s not there.
Now, you can turn these major auto updates off the same way you always could, with either a directive in your wp-config file or by adding a plugin that gives you an interface to control these things.
But we were counting on that checkbox.
Even this WP Tavern article mentions that you can easily opt out. Plus they mention that devs can control it with a wp-config file change. So, they do make a distinction about there being 2 ways to do it, even if they don’t mention a checkbox.
And there may be so much stink raised over this that the WP devs bring it back, or other plugins pop up with just that one setting, which is ridiculous that non techie users, who don’t want to access their core files, have to do that.
So, this just became one more reason why we want to hold off on this WP 5.6 update for now.
Quick reminder to mark your calendar for Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word address this Thursday.
This WP Tavern post for it has links for everywhere it will be streamed plus a countdown timer so you can get your local time if you’re watching from outside the U.S.
Check Grow Social Pro License
I discovered today that my license for the Grow Social Pro plugin had not renewed.
I have no idea if the auto renewal didn’t get set when I was switched from the Social Pug system over to the Mediavine system, or whether I never had it set to auto renew.
But, I didn’t get a renewal notice to remind me either.
The plugin will still be working on your site even if the license has expired, but you won’t be getting updates, and that’s dangerous for security.
So, do go check your license status and ensure it is active.
And then look for a plugin update on your site if the renewal expired some time ago.
Woot!! I’m thrilled to report that the new GTMetrix online performance tester is pretty dang accurate now.
They rebuilt the tester from the ground up and got rid of the reliance on both Google Page Speed Insights and YSlow.
The whole thing is now based on the Lighthouse Tester and brings in Google’s Core Web Vitals.
I’ve been testing with it for a while since it came out. And it now looks like they have the kinks worked out and the data is accurate.
While WebPage Test will remain my workhorse tester because it just gives more details in the metrics, there is one thing that GTMetrix does that none of the other testers do well, including Chrome Dev Tools.
They provide a load strip that shows exactly when the Core Web Vitals metrics hit.
That one item has helped me positively identify load issues that are affecting Total Blocking Time for several site audit clients way easier than the other methods I had been using.
And, because the tester is so accurate, it helps confirm what we are seeing in WebPage Test too.
Google PageSpeed Insights is NOT accurate
So, this now makes Google PageSpeed Insights the junk tester.
It is also based on the Lighthouse Tester, which tests hundreds of metrics, and Google cherry picks out of it what they think is important for you to know.
But the real difference is that Google then weights these items with their opinion.
So, it doesn’t just test if your images load fast, it also dings you if you’re not using one of the modern file formats, like Google’s own WebP.
Nobody else gives a crap about that!
Visitors just want a fast page load.
And some day, Google will quit caring too, as my bet is WebP will be just one more Google invention that they make hard to use, and no one else adopts, so they drop it.
Use Squoosh and MozJPEG instead
Now, we do like the more modern image file formats because they have a different compression algorithm than standard jpg or png.
And our favorite one is MozJPEG, which was around way before WebP, and is supported everywhere.
SEE: Why Squoosh is My Favorite Image Optimizer for a tutorial on how to get your image file sizes way down while retaining quality, and get the modern file format that Google will be just as happy about.
Google makes no use of GPSI scores
Also keep in mind that Google makes zero use of the scores you see in Google PageSpeed Insights.
They use their own CRUX report, which is comprised of real-world data reported by Chrome users who visit your site.
And Google stopped showing us that Field Data info about 2-3 months ago, right after the lawsuits for privacy were settled in Europe.
So, if you have a bunch of visitors on slow mobile connections, Google changes your scores compared to having visitors on fast wi-fi or such. This is part of why your reports in Search Console can swing so wildly too.
And that top score on GPSI is NOT a speed score!!!!
It’s a compilation of all the metrics Google is considering in that test, including the things they weight with their own opinion.
SEE: How to Run a Site Speed Test Accurately if you want to know the real speed of your site.
For my webmaster designers who work with Genesis, you’ll want to see their latest update with progress on blocks ready, or being worked on for Full Site Editing.
You may recall me mentioning in the last Tips Tuesday that Genesis is actively looking for folks to test Full Site Editing.
Part of FSE rolled in with WP 5.6 and more will come in March 2021 with the WP 5.7 update.
But, I think fully block-based themes, which are required for FSE, won’t be ready for production sites until way later in 2021 as Gutenberg features for editing your entire site with blocks continues to be developed.
But, we’re off to a good start with it and I’ll keep my eyes on it for you.
For now, we’ll continue to use the theme frameworks we have, as they are.
So, don’t be afraid to switch themes right now, especially if you want to go all Gutenberg for your content editing.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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