Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
This week we’ll have a little fireside chat, just you and me.
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 open Q&A time for what caught your attention in this week’s post or whatever you’d like to discuss about your site success. So come join us live for the party.
I hope all of my U.S. peeps enjoyed your holiday weekend.
This past week was a mixed bag for me of happy things and stressful things.
And I want to share that mixed bag with you this week as I continue to take BlogAid in a different direction this year.
What we have to know to run a successful site is getting out of hand due to everything changing at such a rapid fire pace.
Last year, I nearly got an ulcer over the stress of covering those changes while house hunting and that, plus the deluge of work when there is a serious deadline that folks wait until the last minute to address, woke me up to the fact that the way I’ve been running BlogAid as primarily a service provider is no longer sustainable in time, money, and stress level.
I HAVE to make a change. And I’ve been on that track ever since to move BlogAid back into more of what I enjoy most, which is teaching.
Now it’s time for more input from you as to how these changes will affect you and what things you need covered that would help you the most.
Gutenberg Course Discounts and Testimonials
One of the happy things that happened this week were all of the comments y’all have been making about how much you are enjoying the Gutenberg course!!!! I’m thrilled to hear that.
Please do contact me for a testimonial. I’ll send you a short form of the info I need to put your happy face and site link on BlogAid.
It’s a great way to let others know if this course is the right fit for them too.
SiteGround suppresses WP 5.2 security features
Now for one of the unhappy things.
While doing site audits this past week for two clients on SiteGround I found a new directive from them in the wp-config file.
They were initially super vague in their reply to my support ticket about it, but I pressed hard for answers on exactly what they are doing with this directive, and why.
We’re still hashing it out and I’ll have a full post on it later for you.
If you’re in my Site Audit Plus group or the Webmaster group, you’ve been seeing the running reports.
But, suffice it to say that it is a super bad move on SiteGround’s part and I don’t believe they are thinking through the legalities of some of the changes they have been making with things like this, lack of resource meters yet running container hosting that will shut you down if you go over your resource, and with auto updates to PHP and WordPress.
Most of those changes are not for our benefit. They are to protect their servers, which I get.
But this is the wrong way to go about it as it can not only break sites, but cause backups to break when restored. This will also impact folks cloning their site for my Gutenberg course.
This is my last straw with their goofy setup and practices, as this one goes way over the line.
Like I said, I’ll have more for you later this week after I waste more time going back and forth with support just to get all the info I requested in the first ticket. That’s the norm for ticket support at SiteGround. If it’s not a super simple thing, expect to touch that ticket 4-5 times.
Caching Drops at A2 Hosting
This week I also spent 4 aggravating days going back and forth with A2 Hosting over something knocking out browser cache settings in WP Fastest Cache not only on a client’s site, but on the test site account I still have there.
I even had to get the WPFC plugin dev in on it, and had to provide screenshots of the speed tests I did on my account back at the first of this year, not to mention jumping through hours of hoops to take the sites off Cloudflare and put them into the most basic operating states.
They never found the issue yet it suddenly fixed itself everywhere.
My guess is that a server admin made changes they didn’t tell anybody about, including support.
So, me and the plugin dev and the client and host support just all wasted our time. Worse, none of us know what caused it, meaning we will have to keep an eye on it from now on, which is another time suck.
Move to Better Hosting
All of this is why I’m vetting NameHero as a new host for us. I can’t honestly recommend A2 Hosting for shared hosting any longer. As far as I know, they are still okay for VPS and dedicated. And I’m hitting my last straw with the goofy at SiteGround too.
If you’re ready to move hosts, see my post for a Migration Checklist.
And if you’re not up for doing all that, contact me for project managing your move.
Keep in mind that I do not offer a service to fix a botched migration. It’s cheaper and easier and far less stressful for us both to pay me to do it right the first time.
Cloudflare and Facebook Issues
Another unhappy time suck this past week was investigating the issues with shared posts not showing correctly on Facebook if you use Cloudflare.
Again, it has taken days of going back and forth with support to get to the bottom of it and I’m still investigating and testing the best way to resolve the issue permanently for us.
It may require a significant change from the way we are using the IP firewall now to challenge countries compared to the new way they recently made available with the addition of new Firewall Rules.
The issue suddenly cropped up because Facebook started scanning from one of the bad bot countries we have challenged.
I’ll have more for you soon as we continue to sort out the best way to deal with this.
But for now, please see the video tutorial I made for you on how to whitelist the Facebook ASN IPs as our temporary solution.
I’ll let you know if that will be our permanent solution or if we’ll be switching to the new Firewall Rules as soon as I can finish the testing. And that might be a couple of weeks.
Potential Changes to Ongoing Support
One of the reasons it takes me so incredibly long to create things like the Gutenberg course is due to so often having to throw everything on my schedule down to put out a fire or research and test changes to WordPress, plugins, and services we use.
For things like the major Yoast SEO changes, I made some of that info public, but the truly significant info I reserved for my DIY SEO course members. Their subscription is what pays me to do that sort of deep research, testing, and creation of training material.
Same with my Webmaster Training members. Keeping up with things at a hosting or deep site level for security and speed are things they have to know to keep their clients happy. And again, their subscription is what pays me to keep them updated.
Because there are so many fires and changes lately with hosting, WP, and plugins, I’m seriously considering going to a subscription service for my site audit clients too.
We already have a free Facebook group and member area for video tutorials and such.
The free FB group will remain, as it’s a great way for the entire village to help one another for everything site related, including the things I don’t use or cover in-depth, but several folks do use, like recipe plugins.
But, I’m thinking about making the member area with the tutorials a subscription service that has deeper info as a way to help offset the cost of all the testing and digging and battling with support I do to get us the answers we need.
On the other hand, making some of this info public is what brings in new clients and gets me found on Google as a great resource of info. And having that village helps me test things as well as alerting me to changes.
Or, maybe I just need a subscription service for VIP clients that gives them more 1-on-1 attention and a place to talk about their biz that is not as open a forum.
What I know is that I do have to make some sort of change to pay for all the time I spend on stuff like this, especially given the extreme escalation of the sheer number of changes we have to deal with as site owners now.
And I know that I’m one of the few people on the planet that even attempts to cover it all by themselves. Folks like WPTavern have a staff of writers to do this kind of research and reporting. But that’s all they do. They don’t give you a resolution or even a suggestion of what to do with the info. They just report.
I keep digging to get you the answer you need, and the training on how to do it.
What do you think?
How much do you value the info you get from me and having one place to keep up with it all? How many times have I helped you avoid going over the cliff with the herd and making a big costly mistake with your site? How much more traffic are you getting and more money are you making due to my help?
What would happen to your site success if I could no longer afford to keep doing what I’m doing the way I’m doing it by jumping right on the fires, keeping tabs on upcoming changes, or battling with support on the services we use?
Those are the hard questions I’m asking myself now too. What is my expertise worth to both me and to you.
And for all the folks still of the mindset that you should get everything for free, consider the cost to the one providing you with great solutions that help you make and save money.
That includes folks who email me for plugin suggestions and such. You and 300 others want a quick question answered each month.
I have a ton of free info on BlogAid. Simply Google the word blogaid followed by the thing you want an answer on and you’ll see all I’ve got on it. If you’re in one of our private groups, search there to see if someone has already asked and answered. And then ask if you don’t see it. If it doesn’t take looking at your site for more details, we can help you there. In fact, 90% of questions I get can be answered that way, and for the benefit of the whole group.
Otherwise, all email support is now paid support, that includes for site audit clients, as you are the only one getting help for your unique needs.
Heartwood Art Update
Okay, back to a happy thing from this week.
I’ve been making it a point to clock out at a reasonable hour to ensure I have time and energy to do things I enjoy, like being in my woodshop. Most of the time that’s 8pm instead of 10pm.
I’m delighted to share that I finally finished the mitre saw station build!!
And I’ll have a final post with the plans and entire build process that will link out to all of these tutorials and videos I’ve made along the way.
This has all been part of a content silo for SEO on both my posts and videos and it’s working.
I’m already seeing more traffic from all sources. The bulk of that traffic is from you, my BlogAid readers, but I am starting to get a few more subscribers from folks I don’t know too. So, that’s encouraging.
After I finish up this series I’ll be moving on to build my workbench and using all I learned in this mitre saw station build to help me do it better and try even more new techniques.
Video is Getting Bigger Everywhere!!!
On to another happy thing.
In my DIY SEO group this week, I shared part of a conversation I was having in another SEO pro group where someone had posted that SEOs are overlooking the power of video in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
I replied that video accounts for 86% of my new visitor traffic some months. That’s not video in YouTube. That’s YouTube videos showing at the top of a regular Google search.
Another pro SEO replied that it’s easier to organically rank a video than a post or a site.
If you have an easy way to get to the top of page 1 in Google, why in the world would you not take advantage of that?
THIS is why I’m so focused on video to help propel Heartwood Art as fast as I can with SEO. It’s a long game and I want to shorten that road trip any way I can. Video is the key.
How to Build a Content Silo
In our recent live DIY SEO workshop for Yoast SEO changes, I mentioned the content silo that I’m building on Heartwood Art and asked if that is something folks would be interested in learning how to do.
And enough folks replied yes that it’s something I definitely want to consider creating a course on.
I already have plans to make more courses, and separate SEO courses on things like Advanced SEO, the anchor of which will be tutorials for Google Analytics.
And I think that ought to include tutorials on content marketing, of which building a silo would be a part.
It really will be more of an advanced class as it will require keyword research and data mining. And that requires paid tools like SEMRush. And I really do want to make a course for folks who are serious about their site success at that level of commitment in the time and money it takes to make it work.
I may also make a basics class on Google Analytics as a foot in the door, trial sort of thing to the more advanced class too. We’ll see.
Video SEO Course
I’m also considering a course on video SEO that will include the SEO for YouTube and then the SEO for Google. That will be a standalone course. My hold up on doing that one is the fact that YouTube changes so often and just keeping the course updated with those changes is a lot to take on for a low-dollar course.
It’s the same hesitation I had before committing to creating the Gutenberg course, as there are updates to it every 2 weeks. But they are manageable right now. And, that course only has a 1 month access for that reason too. If it becomes unmanageable, or has run its time of usefulness, then it’s easy to stop offering it. I expect that will be at least two years down the road as folks will be making the switch to Gute over that timeframe.
So, I have to be careful about spreading myself too thin across too many courses that update so often.
I’ll be opening the Gute course up to affiliates in the near future, and also running ads. If those funnels get enough subscribers, then I know it will also work for the video course too. And that will be the key – volume sales to warrant keeping the courses current at a blazing pace.
Do We Need a Video Group?
I also learned this week that IGTV and Stories on Instagram are now allowing video in landscape format. I’m thrilled about it, as that will make it even easier for me to share my post promo videos not only for Heartwood Art, but for BlogAid now too.
I just need to find a way to upload them from desktop. (UPDATE: You can upload from desktop to IGTV natively, no app required.)
You may recall in a previous post that I’m using Gramblr to upload videos to my IG feed. So, I’m on the hunt for how to do that for Stories and IGTV. If you know a way, please do tell.
I’m also going to start uploading video to Pinterest for both BlogAid and Heartwood Art. I see that is catching on big there too.
But, I need to investigate right sizes and such. I believe Kate Ahl has covered that in her Simple Pin Media posts and podcasts, I’m just a little behind with reading up on those.
And of course, Facebook loves live video and videos uploaded directly to them. In fact, I’m doing better with video for BlogAid on FB than on YouTube. But that will change as I continue pursuing videos for blog promotion beyond Tips Tuesday.
Are you doing video yet?
If not, what’s stopping you?
I’m seriously thinking about making a Facebook group for those of us active with video. In fact, I had such a group back in the days of Blab and when FB first started doing video, as I had courses on that.
I don’t really have the time to run a course on it right now, and really do want to make it for folks already active with video.
What do you think? Would such a group be helpful to you?
Update on Podcast with Kate Ahl
Both Kate and I got tied up with Social Warfare fire and the major changes to Social Pug during the window we both had for doing a podcast and post together.
She’s crazy busy traveling with her speaking gigs, and I was crazy busy with getting the Gute course out.
So we decided to postpone our podcast together. We’ll circle back to it as time allows. And by that time maybe things with Pinterest will have settled down and/or I will be actively doing more with video on Pinterest, or other share plugin changes will have happened by then and we’ll have new things to cover.
What Say You?
Thanks for taking the time to listen and/or read about the changes at BlogAid.
I value the time you spend with me and your opinion counts!!!! Big time!!!
Please do leave a comment here on the blog or anywhere you see this post online or in our private groups.
I always want to hear about how I can help you have a successful site.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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