Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- New guide on Google Core Web Vitals – what you need to know and do
- A new Core Web Vitals tutorial coming to the DIY SEO course
- Why you can’t wait to jump on getting your site’s Core Web Vitals scores up
- An update on my theme speed tests for Astra, Genesis, and Divi
- Upcoming speed test on Elementor
- Why it’s way cheaper to contact me to set up your new site securely before you even point the domain to the hosting
- The new Nexus Edge CDN from Liquid Web and whether it’s better than Cloudflare
- Why you need to pay attention to the new WordPress minimum requirement for the PHP level at your host
- Why so many content marketers are jumping on Keen – the new link curating app from Google
- What we’ll be doing about native XML Sitemap generation coming in WP 5.5
- An interesting post about the future of building with WordPress and Genesis
- Why now is the time for you to switch to the Gutenberg Editor
- Why now is past time for designers to start building with Gutenberg
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Who I Help
All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower DIY site owners who are not on hosting that is restrictive in what you can and can’t do with your site and hosting setup.
A couple of site audit client projects were winding down this week, so I was able to take the time to get caught up on big chunks of my own waiting projects before bringing new client projects on, like digging deeply into the new Google Core Web Vitals and all the new info in performance testers.
The whole point of bringing these Core Web Vitals (CWV) into the testers was to standardize them.
Even though they are reporting the same metrics that are supposedly from the same Lighthouse source, the data is still all over the place.
So, I’m getting used to my new normal, as far as interpretation of the data, as I run more tests.
I culled all of my research into Core Web Vitals and put out an extensive guide for you last week.
Google is clearly focused on superior User Experience (UX) now.
In the opening line of one of their announcements about Core Web Vitals, Google said this:
“Optimizing for quality of user experience is key to the long-term success of any site on the web.”
In the guide, you’ll discover what Core Web Vitals are, where to test for them, and why your focus needs to be squarely on User Experience now too.
Google Search Console has added a new report for Core Web Vitals.
This week I’ll be diving into that and making a tutorial for the folks in my DIY SEO course.
And, I’ll be running a little workshop challenge on it so we can gather more data of what folks are seeing, as everyone in the course has a different mix of themes and plugins that they are using.
So, we’re going to put the power of the village to work on this so we can gather more examples and get to the bottom of fixes for them too.
Don’t wait to jump on Core Web Vitals
At the bottom of the Core Web Vitals guide you’ll also see why you can’t wait to get your site tested and fixed for any issues shown in CWV data.
And I hope you spread the word on this guide to your blogging buddies so they can jump on it too.
Just like HTTPS, folks waited until just before the deadline to get it taken care of.
I was completely overwhelmed with work for 3 months over HTTPS conversions.
And fixing CWV issues takes way longer than an HTTPS conversion.
I couldn’t even outsource the work to my webmasters as they were overwhelmed with requests too. It will be the same with this, or worse, as my wait list gets pretty long starting around October and goes through April.
So, get your site audit request in now and get way the heck ahead of this curve.
Site audit clients already in pretty good standing with CWV
I’m delighted to say that most of my site audit clients are already in good standing with the new CWV metrics.
A few of them still have things to do, though, like change to a better theme or get rid of Elementor and switch entirely over to Gutenberg.
And now they have some pretty strong motivation to get those projects on their plate sooner rather than later.
My issue with so many of my clients already ahead of the curve is that I can’t use their sites as test cases for gathering data on bad CWV scores!!!
So, I’ll be working closely with my webmasters and with my new site audit clients to start making lists of site elements that give bad scores.
Theme Speed Tests Finished, Post Coming Soon
I also had to finish my CWV research in order to do the new theme speed tests too, so I could include that data.
I got really hung up on the new info in Chrome Dev Tools. And while it does show problems, it really doesn’t give enough info to identify what the problem is without tons of data mining. All of my other testers are way easier to use. So, I’ve decided to only include a wee bit of the Chrome Dev Tools data in my case study. I’m collecting it, just not graphing it.
I’m testing Astra, Genesis, and Divi themes that were all created to be as exactly alike as possible by my friend and fellow webmaster, Michelle Phillips of Codefetti.
I ran tests on the home page and was shocked to discover that Genesis is actually a bit faster than Astra.
It was no surprise that Divi was the slowest of them.
Then I ran blog post tests on each and Astra beat out Genesis by a nose.
Those blog posts are a whole lot closer as far as apples to apples tests too.
So, I’m very confident in recommending Astra for those who want to DIY most of their own design.
And I’m still very confident in recommending Genesis if you want the bulk of it to be done by a designer.
I’m still tweaking on the graphs and the text for the summary post. So, I hope to have that out to you later this week.
And I’ll have the full case study data in the Webmaster Training course later this week too.
Elementor Speed Tests Coming
Next I’ll be asking one of my clients to help build out a landing page on an Astra theme.
I’m going to build the same page on that same Astra theme using only Gutenberg.
That way we’ll be totally apples to apples and we’ll see exactly how much bloat Elementor adds and/or if there are any real differences in what you can build with it opposed to just Gutenberg.
Contact me for new site setup
I probably don’t say this enough to keep it top of mind for you, but if you plan to set up a new site, contact me prior to even pointing the domain to the hosting.
The very best time to get your site properly and fully secured for maximum effect is right at the start.
Plus, it’s faster and cheaper than doing a site audit later.
Let’s avoid the bad bots and cleanup expenses, shall we? Let’s do it right the first time.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Liquid Web has built their own CDN (Content Delivery Network).
I’m wondering if it will be included on NameHero, as they run Liquid Web servers.
I’ll be keeping my eye on this for us and maybe digging into that CDN to see if it’s just speed or if they also have security elements.
Right now, nothing in the world beats Cloudflare for the sheer number of mirrored locations, plus all of the extra security you get that knocks bad bots to the curb before they ever hit your hosting.
And if you’re thinking about using Cloudflare, be sure to get your own account, don’t do it from the host. And contact me to help you set it up fully too. We do it in a live session so you don’t need to share logins or such with me. And I have yet to see a host who knows how to fully and properly set up Cloudflare.
WordPress has made fast progress on constantly upgrading their minimum requirement for your PHP level at your host.
PHP is the coding language of WordPress, and it is continually updated for security and speed.
WP started with a recommendation of version 5.6 a couple of years ago when they began rolling in the new Site Health Check feature.
Everybody screamed that was too low, as it was already out of date and unsupported.
But, it was a start to WP putting plugin and theme developers on notice to get their wares up to spec.
This past week, WP raised the minimum requirement from PHP 7.1 to 7.2.
You actually need to be on PHP 7.3.
Chrome and other browsers plan to block cookie tracking.
You need PHP 7.3 to ensure your site’s first-party cookies don’t get blocked.
Be sure to read my post on Chrome and cookie tracking for more.
If you are a site audit client, then you’re already on PHP 7.3, that is if you have had an audit or checkup in the last 18 months. If you haven’t, time to get one, as this, and all manner of other security and speed settings have changed. And, you want to get in before I start getting booked to the sky with new clients concerned about Core Web Vitals too.
This is a new experimental product from Google and a 3rd party dev.
It’s sort of like a cross between Pinterest and Evernote.
You can curate links to content in categories.
Those can be made private or public, and the public ones can be shared.
Once you start adding links, Google will begin to give you suggestions to related content from its search results.
I’m definitely going to start curating my own content for both BlogAid and Heartwood Art by topic on publicly available Keens, which is what they call their storage folders.
And I’m thinking this will be an easy organizational thing to do for Pinterest users too, as they are sort of like boards.
Now, here’s the catch – you knew there would be one, right?
It’s clearly stated in the article I have linked for you that this is an experimental project.
And Google has a super long history of creating something fun and easy to use, then tweaking with it every 5 minutes until it’s so convoluted that it’s hard to use.
Then they complain that no one is using it anymore and they kill it off.
Remember Hangouts and G+?
Well, don’t expect this to be any different.
However, do expect that you can likely get more eyeballs on your content for making the effort for as long as it lasts.
So, jump in and create some Keens and see what happens.
And let me know if you can see anything in Google Analytics to let you know that’s where your traffic is coming from or not. It may come down to how much we self-promote them before we see any traffic from them. But definitely worth a try, I think.
WP 5.5 is due out in August and it most definitely will include native support for XML Sitemap generation.
Most of us are using Yoast SEO to provide that function.
And we will continue to do so, as this native WP sitemap will not have all of the features and functions we use, like being able to noindex pages/posts on the fly, or being much more selective about anything on the site that we don’t want in our sitemap. You know, those thin content pages that we don’t want Google to crawl because it hurts us, like our contact page and such.
I teach all of this in the DIY SEO course.
I expect there will be a filter in Yoast to turn off the WP generated sitemap. We’ll see when time comes.
Just keep reading Tips Tuesday for what all will be in WP 5.5 and when it is safe to update.
This post from Genesis confirms what I’ve been saying for a while.
Phase 2 of Gutenberg is going to be shoved out at the end of the year before it’s truly ready, just like the Gutenberg editor was a couple of years ago.
Matt Mullenweg, the owner and CEO of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, cracked the whip hard on the Gutenberg editor devs so that he could launch it at WordCamp US in Dec of 2018.
And damn if he isn’t doing the same thing with the full theme editor, which is what Gutenberg Phase 2 is all about.
Did all those 1 star reviews on the Gutenberg editor mean nothing to him?
So, even if it does come out at the end of the year, no reputable theme designer is going to have code based on it mature enough to release to the public until about this time next year.
And if any of them do, consider it a beta that will likely make major changes for at least a year.
In the post you’ll also see links to Genesis Pro, which is the new framework that will be based on the full theme builder coming in Gutenberg.
The article also mentions why now is the time for all site owners to drop the Classic Editor and make the switch to the Gutenberg Editor.
I have THE premier course to help you do that.
The Gutenberg Ninja course takes you from cloning your site so you can safely learn Gute and make the switch, all the way through building custom page layouts.
You’ll never use a page builder again.
In fact, you can see 8 examples of the pages you can build with Gutenberg, and each one takes about 15 minutes.
Your jaw will drop.
Time for Designers to start building with Gutenberg
The Genesis article also says why designers must start using Gutenberg for their builds now too.
In fact, I think you’re already at least a year behind if you’re not doing that, and definitely two years behind if you don’t know how to style for blocks.
You’re also way behind if you don’t build sites for clients with speed and security in mind.
I teach you those two things in the Webmaster Training course.
If you offer maintenance services for your clients, this course is an absolute must. If there are any security issues, or hosting overage issues caused by lack of security, you’re the one on the hook for fixing it.
It’s way cheaper and easier to setup secure sites in the first place, or shore up existing sites than it is to fix a hacked one, or to pay more for hosting for all those bad bot hits!!!
Not to mention the speed improvements.
And, you’ll see how to run site audits exactly like I do too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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