Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Why not to panic when goofy stuff happens with your site
- Why the sky won’t fall if you don’t get a post out on time
- How hosts are shooting you and themselves in the foot
- Why we are moving to boutique hosting
- Special invitations are coming to site audit clients soon
- 3 new and/or updated tutorials for webmasters
- Formal theme testing is underway
- My new summer office hours
- What’s up with the multiple plugin issues we’ve seen over the last 2 weeks
- Our Content SEO series of Workshops start this week in the DIY SEO course
- Why Google had to partner with Shopify
- Discover why videos are hot and why product videos are even hotter
- Video SEO Booster course Phase 2 launch is coming soon
- Why webmasters need to start testing WP 5.8 today
- Why it’s worth living through this messy WP revolution
- 8 powerful online graphic creation tools for you to check out
Listen to the Podcast
Spill the Beans Livestream tonight
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. We spill the beans on this week’s news, breaking stories for the day too, and special info just for those who watch. So come join us live for the party.
Who I Help
All BlogAid posts and tutorials are intended to assist business-minded, hands-on bloggers and webmaster designers who are serious about making money and who want to stay up-to-date with site changes.
This past week was all about getting back on track and recovering from all the fires I had to help put out over the previous 2 weeks. There seems to be one or two lingering bugs, and I’ll tell you about those in a moment.
My long-term clients don’t panic.
And their host and plugin devs are not the first places they turn for help.
If you’re a relatively new site audit client, when chaos hits, the first thing to do is to jump into the BB Hub Facebook group and search to see if anyone else has reported the same thing already. If not, then report it with as much detail as you can, like:
- exactly what you were doing when the issue occurred
- exactly what the issue is, including the exact error message, if there was one
- The plugin version, if a plugin is involved
Reporting something like, “I can’t edit a post,” is not helpful and wastes time playing 21 questions. Give us all the details and we can help you faster and better.
This is the power of our village.
And when all hell breaks loose, like it did over the past 2 weeks, we stayed calm and didn’t do things that goofed up our sites by having unqualified people take wild guesses and make undocumented changes.
The sky isn’t falling
All old warriors know the 3 things that get you killed the fastest:
- Downright stupidity
- Hanging out with zealots
There is no need to panic when something goes goofy with your site.
There may be no need to take any action right away other than reporting it to the village either.
Here’s the truth – the sky won’t fall if you can’t get a post out.
If I took a week off from producing Tips Tuesday – you know – the thing you rely on most for your site success news – your world would not stop turning, and your sky would not fall.
Your reader’s world will not stop turning if you don’t get out a regular weekly post either.
So, stay calm, and let’s work the problem together instead of you bringing everybody and their brother in to lay hands on your site and goof it up worse than it is already.
I’m saying all of this to emphasize again that the internet is on fire.
Cyber security gets worse by the day.
Stuff is going to happen.
More is to come.
Hosts shooting themselves in the foot
I’m stunned and dismayed at the route so many hosts are taking now when non-techie clients contact them for support on things that have zero to do with hosting.
During the massive brute force attacks and PHP manager changes, the hosts were fixing things by radically increasing memory limit to way too high a level.
That shoots them and you in the foot, as it just gives more room for the rats to run.
When site owners report an error that a post failed to update due to a JSON issue, they just turn off ModSecurity, and leave it off.
That shoots them and you in the foot, as you just removed part of your critical site security.
READ: What is ModSecurity and Should You Turn It Off? for details.
Moving to Better Hosting
I have zero faith in big box hosts anymore.
I don’t think any of them are prepared for the cyber security situation that I’ve been warning you about all year. It’s just getting worse by the day.
The internet is burning, and hosts are doing things to protect their servers that are goofing up my well secured and optimized client sites.
That’s because these hosts have zero standards for what junk can be placed on their servers.
If you are on shared hosting with one of these big box hosts, then your site lives in the ghetto. And it doesn’t matter how clean you keep your site, everybody around you has roaches, and it is going to affect you.
This is precisely why I’ve partnered with a boutique hosting provider and why we are carving out an HOA community for ourselves with them.
And there are requirements to get in and stay in there too. Just like a Home Owners Association, we can’t afford to let anyone not mow their grass and invite snakes in to harm anyone else. And nobody wants to live next door to a junkyard.
Site Audit Client TOS going into effect
Over the past month or so I’ve been sending emails and putting notices in our BB Hub about the new Perks and Terms of Service for site audit clients. It’s basically an enforcement of our partnership agreement as I am finding too many folks are not holding up their end of our bargain, and not keeping their sites current between site audits.
I’m mentioning it here in Tips Tuesday as a “last chance” notification, in case you did not receive those emails or see those mentions in the Hub.
If that’s the case, you need to contact me immediately so we can ensure you are on the list and getting your critically important info, else you could be dropped from the extra perks and support I offer for free to all site audit clients.
I can only support folks who are keeping their sites current with all the changes I mention in Tips Tuesday, else my advice to you may not work, and we’re all just wasting our time.
Site Audit Client Invitations Coming Soon
Please jump into our BB Hub Facebook group for a livestream I did Friday night with a brief on all of the invitations and guides that are coming to you soon, including the requirements for the new HOA hosting too, as well as an open invitation to move to it. And, a Site Owner Maintenance Guide is in the works for you too. Plus, our new mastermind groups are coming up soon, and I’ll have more info for you on that later.
New Webmaster tutorials
There are 3 new and/or updated tutorials in the Webmaster Training course for:
- New security directives in wp-config
- New settings at Cloudflare
- Updated walk through of all Cloudflare settings
Even though I send out emails with updates, I hope you will also get active in our Facebook group to see notifications on when new tutorials go live, breaking news, and to help your fellow webmasters too.
Formal theme testing underway
Thank you so much to all of the volunteer webmaster designers for creating the same real-world demo site on:
I’ll be giving y’all proper credit when I release the case study report to the public.
Now that the bad bot attacks seem to have stopped for a moment, I’m spinning up new test sites and will begin my formal testing this week.
There are multiple tests that have to be run, so this will take a while.
- Initial baseline with TwentyTwentyOne theme
- Baseline with the free theme loaded on the Hello World post
- Demo site home page
- Demo site blog post
- SEO output
And then making the comparison graphs on all of that data takes time too.
I’m guessing it will be about a month or two, and that’s if there are no new major fires to put out in that time too.
So, just hang in there with me if you’re wanting to make a big theme change soon.
I’ll likely be leaking preliminary test data as I go too.
I’ve been flying through the wait list the last couple of weeks due to so many site audit clients coming in for their annual checkup.
Those are super fast and cheap too, as the bulk of the work was done in their first audit to get their sites safe and speedy.
And some folks have done more work that was called out in their first audit too, like dumping Divi and getting rid of Elementor, so their sites are even faster now too.
We are squarely into August for the wait list – best guess. And that’s when Core Web Vitals goes into effect, but doesn’t go into full effect until October.
So, if you want to get your site ready for that, now is the time to sign up for a site audit.
New summer office hours
To accommodate keeping open client projects rolling daily, I was working half days on the weekends.
With summer approaching and so many of my clients unavailable because they’re out doing weekend things, I’ll now be taking all of Sunday off from client work, as that’s when I like to do more reading and write up Tips Tuesday in the morning out on the deck with the dog. Plus, I want to have some extended time in my woodshop that’s not just an hour or so after a whole day at my desk.
I’m still doing client work for only half a day on Monday so I can produce Tips Tuesday that afternoon.
I may not get to all emails or work on my half days. Just know I’ll get to it as soon as I can.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Goofy Shit Tips
We’ve been suffering through a perfect storm of events the last two weeks that caused multiple fires for us to put out.
I believe we are through the worst of it and I have my best guess at what happened and what may still be happening. And I’d give anything if I could be more definitive about this, but changes were made at hosts, Cloudflare, and to internet security as a whole that contributed to this and I’m not privy to all of those changes. I can just see the ghost or shadow of them.
Multiple plugins were flagged as having issues. And while some of these plugins may have had legitimate bugs, there is no way that all of them did, and I believe most all were affected by underlying issues.
The plugins include:
- Yoast SEO
- Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
- Grow Social Pro
The main issue reported was that folks got a white screen of death when clicking a post/page to edit. And when they deactivated one or more of these plugins, they could get to the editor.
I believe all of them were affected by two main things:
- PHP manager change from cPanel to CloudLinux
- Mitigation of DDoS/Brute Force attack at the host and internet hubs
Most of my folks got over the WSoD issue with the info I gave them to check at their host for the PHP manager change. And if you don’t know what I’m referring to with this change, see the last several weeks of Tips Tuesday where it was reported in-depth.
Most of the rest have magically started working again, and I believe that is due to the host removing the heavy mitigation protection.
The one issue that seems to be lingering is a blank screen where the Cloudflare plugin settings should be. There is an active report about it on Cloudflare’s GitHub page.
Keep in mind that those settings are being delivered from Cloudflare, not from the plugin. And it is making that connection over the API key. If the host still has some heavy security measure in play, then it could be blocking Cloudflare from delivering that info.
And see last week’s Tips Tuesday for the role of the Cloudflare plugin.
Your site is still on Cloudflare even if you totally delete the plugin.
You have just lost the convenience of purging Cloudflare without logging into your CF account. And the only time you should need to do that is after plugin updates anyway.
If you are in the habit of manually purging CF more than that, something’s wrong and needs to be addressed, including why you think you need to do that, or what help you think it gives you.
Quick reminder for all DIY SEO course members, we start our content SEO series of workshops this week with Page SEO.
Then we move on to Blog Post SEO.
And then we have a 3-part series on revamping your old content, including:
- How to easily make a plan
- Whether to update an old post or delete and write a new one
- How to properly delete posts
- How to consolidate posts to avoid keyword cannibalization
- How to do redirects
- And more
Amazon has been kicking Google ads in the butt for years. So now Google has gone and done something about it.
Google has partnered with Shopify. And you have to do a setting in Shopify to get in on this.
Shopify also partners with TikTok and Facebook too, which means Instagram comes with that deal.
Videos are hot – product videos are hotter
I was listening to a podcast recently with the owner of Shopify and he mentioned how effective product videos are on the platform, especially those that demonstrate the use of the product.
And I have clients who are already killing it on Instagram with sponsored posts.
This is exactly why I’m inviting guest speakers to our BB Hub masterminds coming this summer, as we will be focusing on how to sell your own products, including digital downloads.
There are LOTS of ways to make videos of your products too, and I’ll be partnering with folks who have courses on that as well.
My course volunteers are nearly done with vetting the course and their feedback has been invaluable!!!!
This week I’m back on track for finishing my real-world SEO tests of the How-To card in the Create plugin. And then I’ll be adding that info to my 4-5 part tutorial that will be shared in these two courses:
I have decided that it will not be included in the Gutenberg Ninja course, as it is not actually a block. The plugin has its own interface.
Phase 2 of the launch will be to my existing course members and BB Hub folks with a special discount offer. I’ll be sending that invitation as soon as I the testers are done and as soon as I can get the landing page finished. I’m currently waiting on graphics for it and then will send to the editor for final proofing.
WP 5.8 dev freeze today
WP 5.8 is bringing a big chunk of the new Full Site Editing code into core.
Even though 99.9% of us will not be using any Full Site Editing features, mainly because our themes do not support it, this new code will likely affect our current themes.
In fact, I believe most all of us will need to install the Classic Widgets plugin that I detailed in a recent Tips Tuesday.
The public release of WP 5.8 is in July.
But they are putting the freeze on development 8 weeks ahead of that, starting today, and I suspect the first Release Candidate, which is RC1, will be announced soon.
Webmasters, I strongly suggest that you jump in on the testing as soon as RC1 becomes available and see if your clients will indeed need that Classic Widgets plugin and/or if anything else breaks or acts goofy.
Living through a messy revolution
We most definitely want what is coming in Gutenberg Phase 2, which moves us beyond Gutenberg as merely a new content editor.
Phase 2 moves us into using blocks everywhere on our site, including places usually reserved for just widgets, like the header, sidebar, and footer.
This requires a massive code change to the WP core.
And it all has to be rolled out in chunks.
I don’t expect Full Site Editing to be viable for our production sites until 2023.
So, right now, we are just living through a messy revolution with our current themes as the base code under them changes.
I’ll do my best to keep you updated on potential impacts to our current themes and plugins as we move through these changes.
I know many of you enjoy Canva.
I’m not a graphic artist and I find it overwhelming.
PicMonkey is another favorite I know several of you use.
But, are you getting bored with the same old templates and design choices?
Why not try something new that sparks your creativity and gives a fresh look to the images you want shared?
The nice folks at Blogging Wizard have a great review of 8 powerful online graphic tools, including snapshots of examples, pricing, and more.
Most all have free versions, so it costs you nothing to try them out.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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