Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Why I am so relieved to have my latest 2 Heartwood Art posts done.
- What I learned about 2 snazzy new Gutenberg blocks and why we can’t use them yet.
- What you can check right now to avoid duplicate content issues.
- Check to see if you’re getting all of your site audit client perks.
- The next DIY SEO course live session is this Thursday for individual SEO help.
- 2 important updates in my Ultimate Guide for Creating Links tutorial.
- The Ultimate NoFollow plugin is live again and what you should do now.
- How to create an Astra child theme.
- What’s in the new Genesis community roundup post series.
- Will Gutenberg becoming a full theme builder be the death of the Customizer?
- The latest update in the Dominos ADA compliance lawsuit and what it means for us bloggers.
- Big news that Chrome will start blocking sites with mixed HTTPS/HTTP content in December.
- How to check your HTTPS Security Headers.
- Why you need to get a real HTTPS conversion instead of cheating.
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.
***** Sound starts about 7:30 in ***** Sorry about that!!!
I am so relieved
I finally finished the workbench build series on Heartwood Art.
I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I am to have those last two posts and videos done!!
The bench has been done for weeks. But y’all didn’t tell me how long it took to do project posts.
But now I’m freed up to go monetize the site.
READ: When It’s Time to Monetize Your Site for details on what I’m doing with it.
Learning as I go
Besides how long it normally takes to do project posts, I did a LOT of experimenting with my:
- Video editing and production
- Framing photo shots so they can be used multiple ways
- Pinterest pin image making, including my first square pins
- New Gutenberg blocks
- Different layouts in standard Gutenberg blocks
So, all of that really added to the time it took, but it was worth it. I learned a lot and now have a better workflow too.
Those new layouts in standard blocks that I mentioned have to do with the Group block with columns nested inside.
And then different ways to do images in columns.
I’ve got all kinds of tricks to teach you about those in the Gutenberg Ninja course.
Plus, I played with two of the new blocks in the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg blocks plugin, mainly for making a snazzy CTA that had a super cool parallax scrolling effect for the background.
But to my dismay, some of these new features are either glitchy or don’t work at all on mobile or some browsers.
One was so glitchy that I had contacted my designer to see if something was wrong with my theme.
So, I will be making the tutorials on them, as I know you’re going to want to play with them.
But I’ll also be including notes above the tutorial for what doesn’t work where, like on some browsers, or if it just doesn’t layout the same on mobile.
I’ll remove those notes as things get fixed with the specialty plugins. Maybe they are just trying to stretch a little too far from what the WP core can support.
As I update other tutorials we already have, I’ll be testing all of the functions in different browsers and mobile too.
Plus, I’ll be making all tutorials on WP 5.3 and without the Gutenberg plugin. So, things may work or display a little differently for you than shown until November when WP 5.3 rolls out. But I don’t think it will be that much different.
This week I’ll be onboarding the last of the folks who requested site services during that big Summer Sales Event I ran in July. I kid you not. That many folks responded to that sales event!
And I’ve been steadily onboarding folks who specifically requested to have their site audits or moves or such done in mid to late Sept.
All new requests since those are on my waitlist and it’s looking like I’ll be onboarding those late this month.
So, if you want any type of site service, including migration to better hosting, get your request in now, as it will likely be toward Nov before I can start on it.
And that waitlist is going to come into play big time in December, as Google is beating the drum hard again about HTTPS, which I’ll tell you about toward the end of this week’s tips.
Duplicate Content Issues
I did a consult with a new client last week who said Google Ads had reported that she had 80 posts of duplicate content.
There are dozens of reasons why that can happen, but we started with the most obvious.
Be sure to check your Google Search Console sitemaps and ensure you only have one, and that it is on the canonical.
Google sees all variations of your domain URL as separate links.
- Https www and non www
- Http www and non www
So, you have 4 in all and only 1 of them is the canonical.
I need to update my video tutorial for removing those sitemaps, as it’s for the old Search Console way of doing it, and that’s no longer available.
I’ve got that on my to do list for us.
But you can at least go ahead and do the check now.
Are you getting all of your site audit client perks?
If you are one of my site audit clients, you were invited to join our private Facebook group.
And, you were also invited to register for a free membership to the BB Hub area of the BlogAid Learning Center.
There are very few folks who signed up for that membership.
You’re missing a lot – like tutorials on how to do things I don’t release to the public.
And I’m about to post another one on how to get the new Fight Bot setting in Cloudflare.
So, look for an email with an invitation and instructions and be sure to register.
So is the Facebook group and it’s a great place to ask questions and get extra help.
Site Quick Checks
One of the other perks my site audit clients who are in that special member area get is a weekly series of super quick checks to do on their site to ensure everything is working well. We’re in the midst of one of those series to ensure everything is all spiffied up for the holiday traffic you’ll be getting.
Look for another one to come out on Wednesday.
I was delighted to meet live with my DIY SEO course members on Thursday.
We had a group session to answer questions on their unique content. It was very helpful.
We’re going to do another one this Thursday, but at a special time of 9am ET.
This will give more of my international members a chance to join us live too.
So, look for your reminder email with the meeting details soon.
And you can always find the deets in your course member area.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this weeks tips.
Two updates have been added to my Ultimate Guide for Creating Links in WordPress post.
I added some clarity about using nofollow in combo with sponsored.
There are all kinds of rumors floating around that you should change nofollow to just sponsored. That’s not the way I understand what Google wants us to do.
Google is pivoting the way they regard nofollow. They are not doing away with it entirely.
Nofollow is the directive and will still tell Google you don’t want to pass link juice. Sponsored is additional info saying why you’re using nofollow.
In my opinion, you should use the two together.
And you can see more in this post on using the nofollow/sponsored combo for details.
Ultimate NoFollow plugin is live again
And the Ultimate Nofollow plugin is back in the WP plugin repository. So for those of you who held onto the plugin because it would add the noreferrer attribute if you removed it, good for you. But let this be your wakeup call to update those links manually, meaning recreate in the HTML view and without the link dialogue box interface. That way they won’t be under the control of that plugin anymore.
And thank you to all of my site audit clients and long-time followers for not having a knee-jerk reaction and deleting it and messing up all of your links.
We don’t do panic around here!!!!
And this can be why blogger groups filled with non-techs and folks who never test anything can be so dangerous.
Thanks to Michelle Phillips of Codefetti for another outstanding Astra themes post!
This time she covers how to create a child theme and why you should.
This is the same way that Genesis works.
You have the framework that also has a theme overlay. But instead of making changes directly to it, you get or create a child theme that replaces that overlay. And you edit and design on it instead of the framework.
So, if you’re thinking about using Astra, be sure you’re clear on this concept. And Michelle’s post will help you get that clarity.
The folks at StudioPress have launched a new monthly roundup of all news and posts on Genesis from around the web.
It’s called the Genesis Community TLDR Series. (If you’re wondering, that stands for Too Long; Don’t Read).
So, if you’re a Genesis designer, you definitely want to subscribe to it, if you’re not already subscribed to the StudioPress blog.
And there is a lot of Gutenberg news in there too, as the Genesis team continues to be a front-runner with Gute integration.
We’re still squarely in Phase 1 of Gutenberg, which is Gute blocks as a replacement for the TinyMCE text editor.
But Gutenberg was always intended to eventually replace the way themes are built and to make them more modular.
That’s what Phase 2 of Gutenberg is all about.
WPTavern has a nice post on the new prototype of modular theme building that was recently introduced by the lead WP devs working on it.
It’s basically new block areas. For instance, right now the content area is a block area, meaning that you can use blocks inside it.
The new block areas will be for things like your header, sidebar, and footer.
These will give you more control over layout and design in those areas.
Being a block area means you can use them just like you do the content area now and put any type of block in any order you like. And with the whole thing being a container for them, you will be able to give it a style.
So, you’ll be able to put your own background color in your sidebar and footer area. Or change up your logo block and social media blocks in your header and such.
And all of this will obsolete the Customizer as we know it.
This is a radical change and will require most every theme and plugin with widgets we have now to update to a complete different way of doing things.
I suspect we are at least a year out from this happening with the WordPress core.
And we’re at least another 2-3 years out from folks switching from their current themes to this new way of doing things.
So, we have time to stretch what we are currently using for a theme, or switching over to something like Astra.
But, now is the time to start using Gutenberg in your content area.
And my Gutenberg Ninja course will help you discover the real power of what Gutenberg has to offer.
You may recall me reporting in Tips Tuesday several months ago about some high profile sites being sued for lack of ADA compliance, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Dominos was one such site, and lower courts have decided to impose a fine on the company for their failure to comply.
So, Dominos appealed to the Supreme Court, and they have been turned down for a hearing.
This means it will continue to be battled over in the lower courts for now.
As you may recall me mentioning in a more recent Tips Tuesday, Gutenberg was not ADA compliant when it was first released. And the WP devs have been working hard to get this resolved.
In fact, there are bunches of enhancements coming to WP 5.3, which releases in November, to address these issues.
So, I wouldn’t worry about ADA compliance for bloggers like you and me, or let that hold you up with switching to Gutenberg.
Here we go!!!
Google announced that Chrome will begin to block page elements that have mixed content starting in December 2019.
But here’s the skinny version.
If your site is HTTPS and it has an inbound link that is HTTP, then it will give a mixed content warning.
Right now that turns your HTTPS green padlock to yellow.
A red padlock means that you aren’t delivering anything as HTTPS.
This new thing is a much bigger step, in that it completely blocks delivery of the mixed element on your page or post.
For folks running ads on your site you must have a CSP, or Content Security Policy directive in your .htaccess file because all of the ad networks randomly send HTTP links into your site.
If you’re on Mediavine ad network, they have a setting in their plugin to Block Insecure Assets. That will work.
But, if you are using the WP Fastest Cache plugin, it won’t.
The directive needs to be coded a different way.
I have shown their developer this and why they don’t change the way they code their directive to work with all caching plugins is beyond me. Instead, they continue to recommend crappy caching plugins like WP Super Cache that don’t even begin to work.
They also recommend WP Rocket, which does work if configured properly.
But, the premium version of WP Fastest Cache works even better and it’s way cheaper as you only have a one-time fee, not an annual subscription.
And the free version of WP Fastest Cache beats the pants off any other free version.
Check Your HTTPS Security Headers
If you cheated on how you did your HTTPS, meaning you used some plugin, or had your host do it, then you’re missing a lot.
That includes all of your security headers, like that CSP I mentioned, plus HSTS, which is HTTPS Strict Transport Security and is the one that Chrome requires for you to get on their preload safe site list.
Check your security headers at SecurityHeader.com
If you are getting anything less than an A score, you’re missing critical headers.
Get a Real HTTPS Conversion
Besides the headers, if you cheated, all of your links are simply being redirected from HTTP to HTTPS.
That’s not just your permalinks. It’s every image and every other internal link within your posts too.
In other words, your site had not been converted to HTTPS. It has simply been redirected.
And that’s going to bite you in the butt down the road.
If you’re using Cloudflare as a way to get your HTTPS delivery to the visitor’s browser, without having converted your site to HTTPS, that’s even worse. You don’t have end-to-end encryption and you’re leaving yourself open to a man-in-the-middle attack.
And then go fill out the request form to get your site converted for real and all of the associated stuff that was not done for you taken care of.
Come December, we’re going to see a lot of people screaming and panicking over this.
Don’t be one of them.
They are going to be looking for any way to quickly cheat the issue.
Don’t be that person either.
Get it done right all the way through.
My peeps are future proofed for this change and don’t need to do a thing to comply.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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