Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Huge sale to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Webmaster Training site
- The new specialty block suite and theme I’m checking out for the Gutenberg course
- A new tutorial in the Gute course for putting text links on image galleries
- What I’m doing to speed up BlogAid ahead of my annual site audit
- Why not to use the Shareaholic plugin
- How I got unstuck with my hobby to money-making site and put it back on track
- What’s in the WordPress 5.2.2 release that is rolling out today
- Why XML Sitemaps coming to the WordPress core is such a big deal, and who’s involved in making it happen
- What’s being served up in the new Gutenberg Snackbar
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 9pm ET / 6pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. It’s open Q&A time for what caught your attention in this week’s tips or whatever you’d like to discuss about your site success. And, I always have breaking news for the day too. So come join us live for the party.
Whew, what a week!!! It’s super important to take time to work on your business as much as in your business. And that’s what I’ve been up to.
I’m thrilled to share that the changeover from Wishlist Member to MemberPress is now complete on the Webmaster Training site.
No more levels 1-6!!!!!!!
Most everyone was in Level 6 already, and now it’s just one big thing with access to every tutorial I have.
I also did a partial content revamp of deleting a few tutorials.
And then I rearranged all the rest into new sections that make a whole lot more sense for finding the type of project you’re working on.
And the home page has been completely revamped.
It used to be the info page for levels 5 and 6 and now serves a better purpose right on the home page to let folks know who this training is for and all the benefits they will get, including more income.
Yep, this training pays for itself.
And to celebrate the revamp, I’m offering a huge discount.
If you are a professional designer or maintain sites for a living, or know someone who does, these tutorials on site security, HTTPS, and speed are for you!!!
Sites can’t just be pretty any more.
They require rock solid security and max speed now too.
Plus, or private Facebook group is a gold mine of support and the kind of news I don’t share publicly.
You don’t have to do all this on your own or waste so much time trying to find good answers for your site tech stuff.
We’ve got you covered!!!
And we hire each other for specialty services too.
So, do come join us and get in on this major discount!!!!
It expires at the end of the month.
And if you know designers who need it, tell them!!!!
This week, I’m digging back into Gute and putting the Ultimate Block suite through its paces. Designer Lauren, of Restored 316 uses that plugin, along with Atomic Blocks, in her Beloved theme, which is a hybrid of blocks and regular Genesis widgets.
It’s an amazing theme, but has a lot to it. I started on the review of it, to go with the other Gute themes I review in the course, but realized I needed to get familiar with the Ultimate Blocks plugin first.
That will make a great addition to the tutorials I already have for Atomic Blocks, which Genesis favors, as well as the Design block suite.
I tell you, between all of these, you’ll have more design and layout choices than you can shake a stick at.
In fact, I bet the will blow you away!!!!!
And, you’ll be able to get rid of a bunch of plugins, most of them premium, that you’re using to do these neat layouts with now too.
You’ll be ready to switch to Gute in no time and wonder why you ever waited.
Just have a look at all the new testimonials coming in from folks who have already finished the course.
Image Galleries in Gute
One of my site audit clients who is also in the Gute course shared one of the neat tricks she found with image galleries.
She was able to put a caption with a link on the images. And that made gallery images clickable in a way.
That is something you can’t do in the Classic Editor.
I’ve got a new tutorial on it already in the Gutenberg Ninja course and you’ll see a post about it tomorrow on the blog.
Speeding up BlogAid
It will soon be time for my annual site audit and I’m making a few changes on all of my sites prior to doing that.
As you know, I recently switched to Formidable Forms.
READ: Why I Switched from Contact Form 7 to Formidable Forms which also has a link to my tour and tutorial on it.
That switch sped things up.
I also switched from WP Rocket to the premium version of WP Fastest Cache on BlogAid. I already had it on Heartwood Art.
And that sped things up a little too.
Plus, I made a change to some of the coding for revision and heartbeat control in the wp-config file that will speed things up and save hosting resources too.
I’ll be sharing that updated way of doing things with my webmasters soon too.
I’ve got a few other changes like that to make this week ahead of the audits.
Have you had your site checked for all the speed and security changes that have happened in the last year?
Request your site audit today and let’s get that done for you!!
Why not to use Shareaholic
I hate to have share a downer note, but you need to be informed.
In a recent blogger group, someone asked about using JetPack and the conversation went south from there.
In fact, it turned into a dumpster fire over Shareaholic, including me and the dev getting into it over their deceptive practices of passing themselves off as a share and engagement plugin when what they really are is an ad network that you will be participating in unawares.
And that discussion spilled over into my post on the best and worst free social share button plugins where I called Shareaholic evil in my review of it.
After an appeal from the dev to retest since their recent revamp, I found it was indeed a wee bit faster, but the deceptive practices of not clearly stating that you are participating in their ad network, and all the stuff it loads by default are still there.
I also found multiple blog posts attesting to this same deceptive practice all the way back to 2013, and again with appeals from the dev to say they are working on making it better.
My initial assessment stands. Don’t use this plugin.
And if he continues to waste my time with his lies, I’ll be making a standalone post about all of this, including links to every review where folks were shocked to discover how they had been deceived, plus I’ll be reaching out to the two hosts he cites that have given favorable reviews to ensure they have all the test data and their good name doesn’t get dragged down into this.
I removed the links he placed in the comments on my post too, and added a new comment as to why. I’ll be damned if I’ll let him use my good name and site authority to help pull the wool over people’s eyes with the same stunt he’s used since at least 2013 with other bloggers that also gave an unfavorable review.
All I can say is, be super wary of what you install and follow folks like me who do the deep testing so you know what you’re getting into with the plugins you use.
Not the Only Deceitful Plugin Out There
I wish this plugin was an isolated case, but it’s not.
And this is one more reason to get a site audit and ensure you are not using plugins that are hurting your site in ways you can’t even see.
Hobby to Money-Making Site Update
Okay, back to some fun news.
In honor of Father’s Day, I released a post on Sunday with a little piece of wisdom my dad shared with me that got my woodworking business plans back on track.
It might help you get unstuck too.
READ: Blowing Up Boulders in My Path to Site Success for more.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Version 2 of the final release candidate of WP 5.2.2 came out last week for testing.
A release candidate means that they have finished with all changes and are now just doing reported bug fixes before the final release to the public.
And 5.2.2 should be rolling out sometime today, unless they find something to delay it.
This is a minor, point version and should auto update for you.
It contains 13 bug fixes, mainly with the new Site Health Check features, as well as a Gutenberg fix or two.
WordPress has evolved from a blogging platform to a true CMS (Content Management System). Although it does a good job of internally handling your content structure, it has never had a native system to let the rest of the world know about that structure.
That’s the job of an XML sitemap, and we use plugins like Yoast SEO to generate one.
Search engine bots, like Google, make use of that map to better understand the structure of your content.
Well, guess what?
WordPress, Google, and Joost de Valk, maker of the Yoast SEO plugin all got into a room together and decided it would be a good idea for WP to natively output an XML sitemap.
Just like Gutenberg and the Site Health Check and other major improvements to WP, this project will start out as what they call a Feature Plugin.
That way it can be tested in various site environments and the devs can get feedback to make improvements and work out bugs. And that keeps it out of the core until they are ready.
It was super interesting to see what they have listed to tackle in this first iteration of it, as well as what they plan to leave out.
I’ll have a full post on this for us by this weekend, as it’s a big deal for SEO.
But, I expect this new feature to be in development for at least a year, if not two, before it’s even close to ready to roll into the WP core.
What I will say about it now is that this speaks to why I stick with the Yoast SEO plugin in the face of so many other SEO plugins coming on the market.
Joost is who both WP and Google called on to help with this project.
And that speaks to his deep understanding of both platforms.
It’s also why my DIY SEO course revolves around using the Yoast SEO plugin too.
The course goes way beyond what any SEO plugin can do for you, but you want to ensure that your SEO plugin is set up right and delivering all of your on-page SEO to Google in a way that maximizes the benefit to you.
The Gutenberg block options module got some user interface love in the latest iteration of the Gutenberg plugin, which is 5.9. I included a snapshot of it in my Gutenberg Ninja course in the Updates section on what they are calling the new Snackbar.
It’s a cleaned up message notification of tasks performed.
You’ll only see this in the Gutenberg plugin, not in the WP core yet.
Recall what I said about Feature plugins. They remain in development well ahead of what rolls into the WP core. I expect the Gutenberg plugin to be actively developed like this for the next two years, at least.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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