Hello Happy Site Owners! Tips this week include the Webmaster Training site Grand Opening, half off hosting deal from A2 Hosting, what was really behind the WordPress emergency security update and a special setting you can do to give it even more performance boost, a flurry of important plugin updates recently and what you need to know about them, the best free tools to create visual content from one of the top creators, how to share your passion instead of doing marketing and sales, a super cheat sheet for creating blog goals that work, how to max out with videos on social media, and for dessert this week, it’s really dessert with my buddies. So let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
Happy Thanksgiving Y’all
I know this will be a short work week for most of my U.S. buddies with the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ll be doing some serious cooking around here. And my plans for Thursday and Friday are to eat, sleep, and repeat. I’m overdue for a break. Whether you’re relaxing or have a house full of chaos that day, I send you best wishes and gratitude for spending this year with me online.
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Webmaster Training Site Grand Opening
I’m jumping up and down happy to announce the public Grand Opening of the new Webmaster Training site.
And to celebrate, I’m offering $60 off the regular price. I’ll be running this special through the end of the year, but once it’s gone, that’s it.
And thanks to all those who signed up for the special email lists a couple of months ago. Those deep discounts ended last night. So, this grand opening special is the last time to save on it and here’s why.
- This training will pay for itself. As someone who needs to know how to setup and maintain sites for security and performance, you’ll be able to charge more for your services and separate yourself from your competition.
- There’s nothing else like it. I checked. 30 of the 55 videos are already available and it will only be a few weeks before I have the rest on there. And those 55 are just the first wave. I’ll be adding more that go even deeper. You won’t find a more comprehensive course anywhere, including online or in colleges.
- Live webinars will be offered at least quarterly. You’ll get to hang out with other webmasters and we’ll discuss what sort of things you’re struggling with, what you need more info on, and pool our resources to help solve problems. (I’ll probably be offering more than once a quarter at various times and days to accommodate schedules.) So, it’s more than a site of videos. It’s a community of help too.
Half off Hosting Deal at A2 Hosting
My preferred vendor, A2 Hosting, (aff link) is running unbelievable Black Friday deals.
Get 50% off with the coupon BFRIDAY
on all hosting except dedicated, which is 30% off.
And check out the new Turbo Hosting. It’s like shared hosting, but better. Runs faster, uses less CPU than Apache servers, and more.
Deals run from Black Friday through Cyber Monday (11/26-12/1).
Now is a great time to switch!
My A2 Migration Guide will help you do it.
This past week there was an emergency security update on WordPress. Most sites are set to have incremental updates done automatically, which is a good thing, as most are serious security issues like this.
That means updates from 4.0.0 to 4.0.1 will be done for you.
But, major updates, like from 4.0 to 4.1 will not be auto done for you, and that’s a good thing too. You want to control those yourself.
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Now, if want to dig into the tech details of what led up to this release, and the team of hackers that found it, you can jump over to the Behind the Firewalls site.
One of the vulnerabilities involved a setting that got changed on the Login Lockdown plugin months ago, and that I set on all of my client sites as much for performance as for security. I’ll have a short video out on that as soon as I can.
And folks, this is how I stay ahead of the curve. I hang out with hackers.
There was also a little vulnerability on the Paid Memberships Pro plugin that allowed folks to download your protected content even when not logged in. A security patch has already been made available, so ensure that you’re running the latest version of 22.214.171.124
Since the WordPress 4.0.1 update, there have been a slew of plugin updates too. Some were connected to the security issue, but many just had important bug and feature updates that you need to know about too. Here’s the skinny on some of the more popular plugins, and why these updates caught my attention.
Version 126.96.36.199 was just released. The update mainly contains changes to the way PHP and AJAX handle displaying the progress on the database portion of the backup. That’s very important to the way it breaks the creation of the backup zip file into chunks so it doesn’t hit a max runtime issue. If you’re on slow hosting, you need this.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
There were several significant updates to the social media part of the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast, as well as new features, such as checking for other plugins that conflict with his. The short list of updates includes:
- Twitter inputs to Social tab.
- Attempts to purge Facebook cache when OpenGraph settings are edited.
- New tools for Pinterest Rich Pins, HTML Validation, CSS Validation, and Google PageSpeed.
- When a Featured Image is set, only make it available for Twitter and Facebook and ignore other images on the post.
- Fixed the bug where Twitter and Facebook were displaying the wrong image.
- Check for conflicts with other plugins outputting XML sitemap and OpenGraph tags.
- Fixed a bug for broken last modified stamp.
- Ensure stopwords are only removed from slug on publication.
I’ll be digging into a few of these over the next few weeks, especially the output of code for OpenGraph tags and that last modified stamp that is indexed by Google. And I was already looking into the Twitter Card thing and had trouble getting this plugin to validate. Maybe that’s fixed now. And will be checking into all of the new tools. I’ll let you know what I find.
This is one the most popular plugins for creating all types of redirections. But, it is also a resource hog if logs are turned on. So, if you’re not using the logs, be sure to turn them off so they stop filling up your database. One of the updates in the latest release fixes the log clean up options. And I’ll be checking into this to see exactly what that does to the database. I have a site right now that I’m about to remove the logs from literally 1000s of redirects. There are over 600,000 lines in the database for this plugin alone. Hoping I can take it down to a fraction of that.
Click To Tweet by Todaymade
This seems to be the most popular of the click to tweet highlighter plugins. They removed the “Powered by” self-promotion link, which is nice.
This is another top plugin for what it does, which is give you a nice looking way to draw attention to your free downloads, as well as let you track stats on them. They fixed a jquery issue and added 3 new link templates. Plus they upgraded the category shortcode view. In a previous update they made this a custom post type, which gives it even more control options that are separate from your regular post and category options.
This is one of the most popular sales page plugins. There were several updates to it recently, mainly for looks. But there were several code changes for bugs too, such as issues with MailChimp double opt-in, and Google font rendering. That last one actually got resolved due to the recent update to the Chrome browser. So, hopefully everyone is seeing clearer fonts now.
Smart Podcast Player
One of my clients has this on her site and I’m chomping at the bit to get it added to mine. It’s from Pat Flynn and it has some awesome features. The latest update has a new Advanced Settings menu and adds a feature to adjust the track loading speed and there was also a fix for the download button, which had a bug.
Seems like every time Google moves the cheese they first give a hint, then a perk to encourage adoption. After a while they start giving penalties for those who don’t adopt and adapt. Looks like they’re starting down that road with the new mobile-friendly guideline.
First they announced it. Then they gave a tester so you could see how your site was doing. And now they’re showing a mobile-friendly statement in search results. So, time to do that test and adapt your site. I doubt this is going away anytime soon. And unlike authorship, likely will draw some sort of penalty for those who don’t comply, even if that’s just your site links no longer showing up well in search.
The +Google Webmaster folks have a bunch of helpful links in their post so you can learn more about it.
Content Marketing Tips
Images play a big role in your content marketing success when sharing on social media. And many folks have taken to enhancing images with post titles and such too, which is a one-two punch for grabbing even more attention.
+Dustin Stout knows a little something about creating visuals that get noticed. In fact, he knows a lot about it. And he produces some of the most helpful posts on how to create visual content that gets noticed. In this one, he gives us a list and links and why-to’s on the best free tools to use.
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Hate the idea of selling? Then you’re going to love this most excellent post from +Susan Mershon https://plus.google.com/+susanmershon/posts about ways to simply share your passion as a way to do your marketing. It really resonated with me because I’m service to my bones. Took me a long while to understand the sales mentality. So, if you cringe at the thought of doing sales, this is the post for you.
Goals are great. Help with mapping out actionable steps to achieving them is better. In this super duper post, +Carrie-Anne Foster helps you do that. She breaks it down into yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily blog goals. And I totally agree with all of them. In fact, I’m really looking forward to setting some of these same goals into motion in 2015 and this is a good list to get me started.
Still images on social media are starting to get a lot of attention competition from videos these days. The nice folks at +Hootsuite have put together an outstanding post of all the major social media platforms that allow you to display video. More importantly, they give you extremely helpful guidelines to make the most of them on each platform, and for each audience.
And for dessert this week, it’s dessert. One of my faves – pumpkin pie with a few of my buds. Have a wonderful holiday y’all, and I’ll see you on the other side of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday. If you’re listening on the podcast, be sure to jump over to the post with full show notes and links, and any news that may have broken after the podcast was recorded on Monday.
And thanks so much for giving this podcast a big star rating on iTunes, and please leave a review and let me know what you think of the show. I really appreciate it. And do drop by and say hey over on my Google+ page too. That’s where I hang out. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.