Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Core Web Vitals workshop this week in the DIY SEO course
- What’s in WordPress 5.6.2 that rolled out Monday
- Why I’m concerned about lazy load of iframes coming in WP 5.7
- Why I think WP has no business including any type of lazy loading
- How the statistics of WordPress’ market share are misleading
- Update on progress with the Video SEO course
- Update on meeting with designers for theme speed tweaks
- Why I’m looking at theme frameworks beyond Astra and Genesis
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All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower business-minded, hands-on bloggers who are serious about making money with their sites and who are on hosts I can work on.
It’s going to be a super short Tips Tuesday today as there isn’t a lot of site news to share with you. And some weeks that’s a good thing as we can use the break, right?
But I will give you another peek into my crystal ball of what’s coming around the bend for us.
Video SEO course update
I’m still plugging away on the upcoming Video SEO course.
I’m in the slow part of it with gathering screenshots and such for all of the examples.
And if you’re in one of my courses, you know how real-world I make all of the examples.
There are 4 major sections to the course and I’m more than halfway finished with the 2nd section, which is by far the biggest one.
I’ve been doing livestreams to keep my site audit clients, who are our private testers group, updated and their feedback has been so helpful.
I’ll be featuring some of their videos and such as examples in the course too.
Theme Speed Tweaks for Core Web Vitals
This past week I was delighted to meet with my top 2 webmaster designers to go over tests I had taken to help us identify theme issues that are contributing to less than stellar Core Web Vitals metrics.
One of the biggest culprits is the mobile navigation. It will often be loaded as a bullet list of linked text prior to the CSS styling that collapses it down to the little hamburger icon you see when viewing on mobile.
We chatted about ways to mitigate that issue. One is to fix the load order with a good optimization plugin, like WP Fastest Cache premium, which has a combo of caching and optimization.
The other is to fix the load order of the theme, and that’s not as easy as it sounds, especially on older Genesis 3rd party themes that are bloated messes anyway.
So, if you’re in the market this year for a theme revamp, you need a designer who is also a webmaster and understands all about Core Web Vitals and elements in the theme that affect those metrics.
You also need to let that designer choose your new theme base if you want to stick with Genesis. Just forget all about StudioPress themes or getting one from a 3rd party child theme designer.
Looking Beyond Astra and Genesis
From the discussion with my webmaster designers, it is clear that we need to broaden our theme base beyond just Astra and Genesis.
I’m not going to tell you just yet which ones we are looking into, as the case study will be about a month away.
But I would like to ask if there are other theme frameworks you’ve heard of that are not page or theme builders that you think I should test.
And FYI, I still consider GeneratePress as a builder even though it has been adapted for Gutenberg. They lock you into using their own GeneratePress Blocks. That’s just their way of trying to survive. But being locked in like that is just as bad as having a builder of any kind now.
I’m really excited for our upcoming DIY SEO workshop on Thursday where we’ll be covering Core Web Vitals.
I know everyone thinks this is just about speed, but it goes way past that and into UX (User Experience) too.
And my DIY SEO course members will get the inside scoop on what Google is really looking at with the UX part.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Google released a slight change to how they calculate some Core Web Vitals metrics.
I noticed in my testers, which are all integrated with the larger Lighthouse tester. There’s a new way of displaying some of the metrics.
Instead of a speed just being less than, it is now listed as less than or equal to.
That will help some sites qualify for moving from one grade up into another, but in reality, the difference is a small fraction of a second.
I like to get my client’s sites well into the green grade and not have to worry about a millisecond of difference.
The latest bug fix release of WP 5.6.2 started rolling out to sites on Monday.
This should be an auto update for you.
There were 5 main fixes, including one that I’ve been seeing recently, which was a warning that I was leaving the page before updates were saved.
I already had it slated to mention in Tips Tuesday and I’m glad it will be fixed in this release.
There were also a handful of Gutenberg related updates, and I hope one of them fixes the various issues my clients have been reporting with Reusable Blocks.
We are scheduled to see several Reusable Block updates in WP 5.7, which will be out on March 9. So, hang in there just a bit longer and let’s see if these updates fix the issues.
As I mentioned in last week’s Tips Tuesday, I’ll be jumping in to test WP 5.7 as soon as we hit the RC1, which is the first release candidate.
But I decided to jump in early for this and I left a comment on the WP dev post about it to ask if they had tested this with folks who run ads on their sites and can’t have iframes lazy loaded. I also mentioned that I don’t see an easy way to turn it off.
WP Lazy Load nightmare
My understanding of how lazy load is supposed to work in WP is that it can detect if you are using another way of doing it, and then step back to let that take lead.
But, the reason we stick with the JS way in our caching/optimization plugins is that it does a far better job of it and helps with our SEO – browsers don’t.
Plus, we need to be able to control what gets lazy loaded, like iframes, as an example.
My real question is, why put this into WP at all if the browsers are already doing it?
Sure, it was a great idea before all browsers started doing it, but it’s too late for that now.
Seems to me that it just sets up a conflict of which thing is doing what to the load of our sites.
On top of that, the WP lazy load for images doesn’t work worth a flip.
It just generically assigns the lazy tag to all images regardless of whether they are above the fold on desktop or mobile or not.
That is not a good way to do this. Even the browsers know better than to do it that way.
I wish to heck they would make an easy way just to shut it off and let those of us who have our speed tweaked to perfection control things ourselves if we want to.
WordPress now powers 40% of Alexa’s top 10 million websites.
Now, review that statement carefully.
That’s only 4 million websites, and only from Alexa’s top 10 million.
So, it’s not even all the sites that are on WordPress.
And be careful of posts like this one on W3Techs which states that WP powers 40% of all websites on the web. The rest of the qualifications around that number are all of the sites where they can determine the CMS, or Content Management System in use. Of those, WP powers 64%.
According to WebSiteSetup, there were 1.7 billion sites on the web as of May 2020.
The Statista site confirms this is the best guess of how many sites are on the web too.
So, I’m failing to understand how this metric of 40% of the top 10 million sites is even a meaningful statistic, outside of the prestige of powering a good portion of the top sites.
And maybe that vanity number is all they are looking for here.
But what are the other 60% of the top sites in the world using? I would venture to say that most are not even using a CMS and that they are custom coded by devs.
But, for us bloggers, WP is definitely the way to go, it’s just that most of us don’t make up Alexa’s top 10 million sites. So again, not sure why bloggers use this vanity metric to make the case for WP being the thing for them to use.
We use it because it’s the easiest thing for us to setup and add a theme and expanded features with plugins, plus it’s easy for us to do our SEO with it.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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