Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the BlogAid Tips Tuesday Podcast for Feb 23, 2015. I’m your host MaAnna.
– upcoming Blab on the Fastest, Cheapest way to make money online
– what’s up with the Contact Form 7 validator and why not to fix the errors
– a serious hosting vulnerability that was found and fixed on most hosts
– a serious security issue on Divi, Bloom, and Monarch
– getting ready for the launch of Facebook Instant Pages
– the new SEO plugins I’m testing
– a spam blocker I’m testing that works differently and helps performance
Listen to the podcast
It’s been another busy week here of finishing up client work from site audits performed in January. Yes, we found that much that needed fixing on the sites.
The Fastest, Cheapest Way to Make Money with Your Site – WPblab Ep. 22
Wed 2/24 1pm ET / 10am PT
Subscribe and/or watch live here
I’m going to give you step-by-step plan for the quickest way to start making money with your site, and tell you exactly why this plan will save you $2700 doing it this way.
Making an Upfront Investment Pays
And I’ve been customizing and testing the new affiliate program on BlogAid. Geez, there’s a lot to it. Almost as much as for a member site itself. But, taking the time to do this level of customization, instead of using the setup wizards or default settings, will ultimately result in a better experience for me and the affiliates, plus making more money. And that’s the point of setting it all up in the first place, right?
The Price of Taking Shortcuts
I’ve replied to so many email requests and questions in forums and groups this week where I saw folks taking shortcut after shortcut trying to keep things as simple as possible.
And all they are really doing is shortchanging themselves in the long run.
Simple is great. But, meeting your ultimate goal for setting the thing up in the first place is better.
Bogus Video SEO Info
I answered one question in a group this week about info in an article that said embedding YouTube videos on your blog was bad for SEO and would draw a duplicate content penalty.
What the hey? Since when?
The article went on to tell about a video player they created that would nullify the SEO penalty. It was a paid product. They also gave zero data to back up any of their claims.
And here was someone reading that article and asking about it in the group because they could not vet that bogus info for themselves.
They went on to ask 10 more questions in that thread, pulling up more articles from 2012. Good grief! Everything about SEO has changed in the last 4 years.
Invest in Your Success
When I finally drew the line on the free pick my brain session in that thread, I mentioned that I’d be happy to do a paid consult and had an SEO course that would help them learn enough to vet such bogus info. They got all huffy.
This is after they specifically @mentioned me to keep answering their questions for free because I was the only one giving them straight, and helpful answers.
Said they had already invested in courses and read books. I suggested they see about getting their money back if they hadn’t learned enough from them to vet the info they were reading any better than that. Or, to think they would get in-depth SEO answers for free on a group, from generic, broad questions.
And folks wonder why I no longer work with clients that have an “everything needs to be for free” mindset. They are by far the highest demand, lowest pay kind of clients who will cost themselves, and me if I allow it, more money than if they had ponied up, invested in a real education, and done things right from the get go.
I did a Blab on this recently too about the real cost of free in site ownership.
Let me tell you something, if you pay money for a course, and you still don’t feel confident that you know what you’re doing, then that is not a good course.
Or, if you want specific help for your unique situation, be prepared to pay a little more for 1-on-1 help from someone who has done the exact thing you’re trying to do.
Walking the Talk
In the last 2 months I’ve paid for a couple of $200/hr consults from experts who helped me do something very specific, and get it right the first time. It was worth every penny. And, I’ve hired team members that specialize in certain integrations that I don’t have as much experience with yet. So, I’m putting my money where my mouth is with this advice.
And then I turn around and see folks in forums like this getting all huffy about a $45 course that has 3 hours of instruction that will give them the exact info they need, and they come out knowing that they know that they know what they’re doing. Plus, they don’t waste time on bogus crap and get taken for a ride.
If you want to talk about expensive, that’s where the real cost is.
I probably saved that person in the group a full six months to a year of try-this-try-that SEO tactics that would have never worked. And they don’t know enough to even realize that.
Folks Who Get It
And then I turn around and look at my client list this month. These are all folks who are making more money because they invested in my services to improve their sites.
They can’t afford not to hire me.
I can’t afford not to hire consultants, VAs, and other tech experts.
I can’t afford not to give away valuable info for free either. But I can’t afford to give away the store, especially in my time.
That’s the balance that we all walk in these groups. And they are also where I find more experts that I want to work with too.
And you’re giving up some of your valuable time to listen to this podcast because you can’t afford not to, right? You have to keep up and this is one way to get a firehose of info that you actually need.
And I appreciate that you get it!!!
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Contact Form 7 Validator
The Contact Form 7 plugin has been updated and now displays a message across the top of your admin pages that states:
Misconfiguration leads to mail delivery failure or other troubles. Validate your contact forms now. » Validate Contact Form 7 Configuration
So, be sure to click that link. It will automatically find all of your forms and check them. Then go to your list of forms and see how many errors were found.
And, you may have to jump around the tabs to discover what the errors are. They’re in red below the fields that have a problem. One of mine was in the Mail tab and it was bogus. I was using the form’s code for the email sender’s email address and it told me that wasn’t valid. Same with the other two errors it found on another form.
So, not all the errors it finds are really errors. And I think this validation thing has a ways to go before it actually works well.
I’m already getting emails from folks that tried to fix the errors and now it has goofed up their email delivery. So, if you weren’t having issues, do nothing and let the developer fix the mess they caused with this. I’m sure it was well intended to help cut down on common support issues, but they need to to revamp how they’re approaching that problem.
And hey, before you get all huffy about this bump in the road, remember all of the years that this plugin has been working perfectly and you never considered donating a dime to the developer or saying thank you for all their hard work.
There is a very serious security hole in the OS on Linux servers, which most hosts use.
SiteGround publicly reported that they patched it. Most reputable hosts probably have too. Hope the host your site is on has updated, even if they are not proactive like SiteGround in telling you about it.
Divi, Bloom, and Monarch Updates
If you’re using Divi, you probably received an email from Elegant Themes telling you to update immediately. Same for Bloom and Monarch plugins that they make. There were some serious vulnerabilities found in them. Updating will fix it.
I understand why Elegant Themes sent the email without posting this on their blog or social media. They wanted to give folks a chance to update without alerting the general public, and thus hackers, about it.
But by now, they should be posting something publicly about it, I would think, just to ensure everyone hears about it and takes action.
Content Marketing Tips
Facebook has jumped the gun in telling folks that they will be making their Instant Pages platform available to all publishers this coming April. That coincides with their big annual conference.
I was pretty excited about it until I read the hoops you have to jump through to do it. So, it may be quite a while before I jump on that bandwagon.
I want to thank Larry Snow for bringing this article to my attention in our private Webmaster Training group. I’m really enjoying that group and folks are getting the help they need from other webmasters that they trust. It’s a super bonus resource for all Webmaster Level 5 members.
There’s a new SEO plugin that is on my testing list. You may want to check into it yourself. I’m thinking they’ve had two names on this thing because the name on the label is the SEO Framework, yet the link to the plugin in the repository is Auto Description.
From the screenshots they provide, it looks very much like it has all of the Yoast SEO functionality, but in a simplified setup.
I’m anxious to give it a whirl on a testing site. And I’ll be looking to see if it has an import tool for converting from other plugins. If not, there is another 3rd party plugin that can help with that called the SEO Data Transporter so I’ll be testing that too.
Yoast SEO and AMP
Yoast has got a new plugin for a few of us to test that glues your SEO settings to the WP AMP plugin. I’ll be testing that after I finish testing the new release candidate they have for the regular SEO plugin.
FYI, AMP should be releasing any day now, since Google said it would be late February. AMP went live on 2/23. And I want to give the WP AMP plugin a real world test first when that comes out.
Another plugin that I’m anxious to check out is WP-Spamshield. The way it works is very different from other anti-spam plugins, in that it has a blocker component, not just a filter. And blocking the spam bots in the first place really saves on system resources. And that improves performance, which is why I’m talking about it here instead of in the plugins tips section.
Plus, using an outside service like CloudFlare helps block bots before they get to the site too.
So, that’s a combo you may want to look into as well.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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