Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Why we’re going back to our original time for the livestream
- Interesting site speed case study I’m doing this week
- Where the encore of the Gutenberg webinar will be shown
- DIY SEO Quick Start begins this Thursday to prep for our live workshops
- What’s new from the dev of Social Pug
- Which speed tests I’m starting on this week
- Why you need to go directly to your WP login page to avoid a redirect
- Why you need to log out of your WP site
- Why it’s a mistake to think that Google alone is pushing us for better internet security
- The new unsecured warning Chrome will start showing this week
- Why 3rd party cookies are going to die and what this means for those who run ads on their site
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page.
Yes, we’re going back to our original time for the livestream, starting today. Too many of my regular peeps can’t make the earlier time and I miss hanging out with y’all.
The livestream is 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.
Site Speed Case Study
One of my new site audit clients had a super interesting setup on her site. Basically, everything anybody said would be good for speed was thrown into the site. Several other “tech experts” had worked on the site before the client came to me and it was a bit of a mess.
I took all of their optimization stuff out and the site actually ran faster. Plus, all of the fixes and tweaks we’ve done since have made it faster too.
The site also has AMP, Google Ads, and WebP images too, so I’m getting a good look at how those affect site speed, as most of my clients don’t use any of those things.
So, if you come to the livestream this evening, or watch the replay, I’ll give you more details on what has turned into an interesting case study.
I’ve had my head down at my desk all week working on client projects. I’m booked well into March and have even had some folks request early April for their site audit checkups.
Many of the projects I’m doing right now are site audits combined with migrating to better hosting, and that really saves you a lot of money.
So, if you want any type of site service like an audit for speed and security, https conversion, or migration to new hosting, then please do get on my wait list now for an early spring project.
I want to thank everyone who came to the live Gutenberg Webinar last week and to those who watched the replay through the weekend.
And I really appreciate your kind feedback on how much you enjoyed the webinar and how it helped you see just how powerful Gutenberg is these days.
Because 3x more folks registered than what I can hold in the event, I asked my site audit clients and webmasters to not attend the live sessions to ensure I would have enough virtual seating.
So, some folks took that to mean not to even register, which also knocked them out of getting the info about where to find the replay.
So, I’ll be making the replay freely available in the private member areas for my site audit clients and webmasters soon. If you’re in those memberships, look for an email this week when I get the replay posted.
I’m very excited to get going with my peeps in the DIY SEO course this week!!!
On Thursday we’ll begin our quick checks ahead of our live workshops.
We want to ensure that everyone has their basic foundation for Yoast SEO settings and all Google Connections setup just right before we do the first workshop on Technical SEO on Feb 6.
I’ll be sending out emails every 2 days with these quick checks. But because I know some of you would rather batch all of the checks into one sitting, I’ll have all links available for you in the course and you’re welcome to skip ahead, if you like.
And again this year we’ll have some accountability attached to the challenge by reporting into our private Facebook group that we completed each check as they come up.
New Big Tutorials
Plus, I’m currently rearranging the live workshop order because I have new things coming, like getting setup with Bing and all of the new features they have released lately.
There has been such a backlash of anti-privacy concerns over Google that many folks are boycotting them and Bing has been their go-to alternative search engine.
In site audits I’m seeing way more hits and indexing from Bing. And many of my clients have been reporting that their Bing traffic has been growing, and converting for the last 6 months.
Plus, I’m very excited about some of their new features, like your own Bing page.
So, it’s definitely time to ensure we pay SEO attention to Bing now too.
And it’s not too late for you to get in on the fun!!!
Jump on over to see what all’s in the DIY SEO course already and see how you can get more traffic too, just like the folks report in the testimonials.
Mihai, the original dev of Social Pug, has released a new affiliate program for WordPress. It will help folks who sell digital products through Easy Digital Downloads or Woocommerce have an integrated way to add affiliates.
He told me about this last year and I’m so excited for him to see it finally released!!!!
I also appreciate his kind mention of my behind the scenes help with Social Pug. I had just shared all of my speed test data when the crisis hit with Social Warfare last year that threw all manner of new clients his way. I was more than happy to help with tutorials and other support of new features he was adding too!!!!
FYI, I work with a lot of plugin and theme devs behind the scenes to help them make even better wares for us to use.
A few include WP Fastest Cache, Mediavine, and Astra Themes, and more.
Speed Tests starting this week
I’m ready to get my baseline tests going this week for my annual deep speed tests.
I asked in a WP speed up group for all of the caching plugins they would like to see tested.
And glad I did as I had not even heard of 2-3 of them due to them being so new.
I also asked about any combos they wanted me to test and got some great ideas for that too.
So, caching and optimization plugins are first up in the test series. Those will not include image optimization as that’s a whole other can of worms I don’t want to open until later in the year.
I’ll also be doing head to head theme tests for Astra, Genesis, and Divi.
And this year I’ll be doing head to head hosting tests too.
Honestly, those caching and optimization plugins are going to be the worst of it as it takes a lot of tests with multiple configurations to fully vet them. So I really want to knock those out first.
And that will also allow me to apply the best ones to all of the other test types to see how fast I can make themes and hosts and other plugins too.
Beyond those tests, I need to run all new tests for the best share button plugins as well as recipe plugins and update the posts I already have out on those.
And I have a list of other plugins I want to test like JetPack and Yoast SEO and such, just so I have the data to bust some myths about how they impact site speed. None of what you may currently be hearing about either of those plugins is true anymore, but I need the data to prove it.
So, I’ve got a full 6 weeks or more of testing in front of me to do.
The main reason I do this is so that I have the proven data to make the best recommendations for you and your site needs. The other benefit is that we all have better hosting, themes, and plugins to use too. So it’s well worth it.
And I’ll be sharing that raw test data with my Webmaster Training members as well as some of the hosting, theme, and plugin devs.
And then I’ll have public summary posts for everybody.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
And it’s been another slow news week, for which we are all grateful, so there are only a few tips to share this week, but they are certainly impactful.
Go directly to your login page
When you first setup your WordPress site, WP told you to use the wp-admin slug to log in.
The slug is the last part of the link. Your domain is the first part.
Well, if you do that and look in your URL bar, you’ll notice that it simply redirects you to wp-login.php.
When I do site audits and see a ton of redirects, some of those are coming from the site owner going to wp-admin, and most are from bad bots hitting that URL because the sites have not been properly protected from them.
All of those redirects, no matter where they come from, chew up your hosting resources – and for nothing.
So, start using domain.com/wp-login.php to log into your site and avoid that redirect.
And then get your site properly secured so the bots stop hitting on either one of them.
And no, hiding your login page or changing the name doesn’t work.
Security by obscurity was a flash fad that the bots figured out a long time ago.
There are far better ways to protect your login page from a brute force attack.
Log out when not active on your site
Another way you can cut down on chewing up your own hosting resources is to log out of your site when you are not actively working on it.
I can see this in AWStats during a site audit.
The admin-ajax requests are through the roof.
Think of it like leaving the taxi meter running while you’re in the restaurant eating.
WP is constantly having to refresh your session to keep it active.
So log out and save all of those hosting resources for your visitors.
Google is not the only one pushing for a secure internet
The security tips this week center around changes coming to Chrome that will enhance internet security.
And it’s super important for us to understand that Google is not single handedly forcing this on us.
Google is part of a much larger consortium of vendors that help set the standards of cyber security.
Some of those vendors include the makers of the internet hubs all of the traffic goes through, like Cisco, and vendors that make the servers our hosts use and the software that runs on them.
So, it’s super important that all of them are on the same page with standards.
Google is used by the consortium as the muscle to enforce these changing standards.
Via their search engine they can either boost or penalize sites that don’t adhere to the standards. And via Chrome they can show warnings or block sites that aren’t up to par.
So, while it may feel like it’s all Google doing the pushing on these things, just know that it goes way beyond them. And these things will make for a safer internet for all of us. So it’s good for us to cooperate.
Also realize that Google talks about its planned changes well ahead of time. It’s just that most site owners and webmasters don’t hear about it until it’s right on top of us.
If you follow folks like me, I’ll help you stay way ahead.
TLS stands for Transport Layer Security. It’s an encryption protocol that is used to send data across the internet more securely.
And like all encryption methods, it evolves over time.
Most hosts have been sending out your site’s data on TLS version 1.1 because older versions of Internet Explorer could not handle the more modern encryption levels of TLS 1.2 or 1.3.
And lots of government offices still use older versions of IE, so this is not a little thing. And that’s why hosts have lagged behind in upgrading to TLS 1.2 delivery.
But, those government offices have had years to upgrade to a more modern browser and now Google is forcing their hand to do so if they haven’t already.
As of this month, Chrome will show a warning in the URL bar for any site that is sending data on any TLS version below 1.2.
For my site audit clients and webmasters, I’ve been setting the TLS version minimum to 1.2 in Cloudflare, and delivering sites on TLS 1.3 + ORTT for over a year now.
Cloudflare has since split ORTT, which is another layer of protection, off into its own setting.
So, if you want to update your Cloudflare settings, there are now 3 of them.
And this is just one of the things I check in a loyalty audit for my site audit clients when they come in for a site checkup every 12-18 months.
In the past year, there have been 20 changes to Cloudflare alone. And everything about security and performance changes all the time.
So, do yourself a favor and get an audit from someone who keeps up with all this techie stuff. And then get an audit checkup if it has been over a year since your last one.
You most definitely want to be like my clients and webmasters who stay ahead of the curves with what’s coming down the pike with Chrome so when it hits you can just relax because it was taken care of long ago for you.
I believe the whole GDPR implementation a year and a half ago made all site owners keenly aware of just how many tracking cookies were on their site.
But cookies are actually a pretty old technology that seriously needs updating. And GDPR shined a bright light on that too.
The problem is, big advertisers have totally embraced cookies as their preferred tracking method for clicks and retargeting of ads.
So, this is not a little thing to change.
Back in August 2018, Chrome announced the launch of their Privacy Sandbox initiative, which is a set of open standards to replace 3rd party cookies.
A few days ago, Chrome announced that they are moving forward with this initiative and hope to eradicate 3rd party cookies over the next two years.
How this impacts ads on your site
This has huge implications for all advertisers.
Now, for those of you who run ads, the top 2 ad agencies are already all over this. AdThrive and Mediavine have been planning for this change for years.
But if you are using the lower to barrier entry ad agencies, you will want to check with them to see where they are with this.
From what I’ve seen with Ezoic and some others, they aren’t even up to today’s standards, much less prepared for tomorrow’s.
And I know many bloggers are in such a hurry to monetize their sites that they go for these lower entry number agencies. But honestly, you are not doing yourself any favors.
They slow down page load so much and have such junkie ads that you’ll just run off your visitors and it will take you longer to grow your traffic to qualify for the top tier ad agencies.
My advice is just to wait. Honestly.
I hear it all the time in blogger groups how they never got paid enough from the lower tiers to have made the sacrifice in speed and quality worth it and they wish they had just waited.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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