Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Content Silo live workshop this week
- Video SEO Booster course is in live beta
- How-To blocks and card tutorials are underway
- What I’ll be checking in the upcoming theme testing case study besides speed
- Why not to jump on a theme redesign for speed and Core Web Vitals fixes
- Why CLS issues are super hard to find sometimes, and the new methods I’m using
- First site owners are moving into the new boutique hosting
- A fix for buttons losing alignment since the WP 5.7 update
- CC Search is relaunching as OpenVerse by WP with Creative Commons images
- New CloudLinux PHP manager is goofing up sites, and the fixes
- How First Contentful Paint is handled by different browsers
- Google only cares about viewership on Chrome
- Yoast SEO plugin had a minor bug
- How to easily roll plugins updates back to the previous version
- Why we may need to add the Classic Widget plugin after WP 5.8 comes out
- Where to get step-by-step WP update instructions for major releases
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.
I hope your spring, or fall for my Aussie peeps, continues to be productive.
We’re in major launch and research mode around here on all fronts.
Content Silo Workshop
After a 2 week break from the live DIY SEO workshops, we resume this week and we’re changing gears.
We’ll be starting our Content SEO series of workshops, beginning with how to create a Content Silo.
These things lead to higher authority on topic with Google and Bing. And they help keep visitors on your site longer too, which is great for ranking as well as optins and social follows and shares.
Video SEO Booster in Beta
We have our first members in the new Video SEO Booster course!
It is an invitation-only beta release right now as we are testing the registration process and hit a couple of hiccups with the first Welcome email, but I believe we have that all squared away now.
Once these video SEO tester volunteers have a chance to take the course and give feedback I’ll be able to open the course up to my other course members. And then will release to the public.
How-To Blocks and Card Tutorials Underway
This week I’m making the tutorials for the Yoast SEO How-To block as well as the How-To Card in the Create plugin from Mediavine.
Those tutorials will be placed in all of my courses including:
- Gutenberg Ninja
- DIY SEO
- Video SEO Booster
These how-to things give your content extra schema markup, which are special tags that help describe the content in a way that Google regards as candy and it gobbles it up.
So, well worth doing them, as it gives your content a major SEO boost for any DIY thing that has a series of step-by-step instructions.
The Yoast How-to block is pretty straightforward and that tutorial will be quick and easy to make.
But you may recall me reporting in recent Tips Tuesdays that the Create block is a beast!!! It has so many worthwhile extras for affiliate marketers that it will definitely be our go-to way of making these things.
The written script for it is 8 pages, which is 4x longer than most of my tutorial scripts.
I’ll be busting that out into 4-5 tutorials and making them will take me all week, at least.
Theme Testing Update
I’m delighted to report that all of the testers have finished making their themes to match the demo layout, style, and content we will be using in the formal, head-to-head testing.
The themes include:
We also got our first look at the backside of GeneratePress.
The free version is pretty stripped down as far as styling choices compared to the free versions of Astra and Kadence. It’s more akin to what’s in the Customizer for Genesis currently.
But, all of the themes have a Pro version that has more styling options, and you will definitely want it.
I’m going to be doing 3 tests:
- Free theme baseline on the Hello World post
- Demo site that is the same across all themes
- Pro version with extra styling options
And I’ll be testing all of these themes for:
- Core Web Vitals
- UX (User Experience)
- and ease of creating a site on them.
So, there’s more to these tests than just raw speed and they are going to take a while to not only do the tests, but to make the comparison graphics and such too.
Why not to jump on a theme redesign for speed and CWV
If you’re thinking about changing themes as a way to fix your Core Web Vital issues, don’t be so fast to leap blindly into that process which is expensive in both time and money.
I’m seeing reports all over of bloggers who did that, or changed hosting, only to discover that neither fixed the issues.
Instead, come get a full site audit where we can positively identify the real speed drags on your site and get them fixed.
And then if there are any Core Web Vitals issues left that are definitely caused by the theme, we may have tweaks to fix it.
CLS issues can be super hard to find
As you’ve heard me report in recent Tips Tuesdays, me and my top designers are honing in on CLS issues of all kinds.
Those are Cumulative Layout Shifts where the content jumps around on load.
Most of them have been pretty easy to fix because 90% of CLS issues involve how the mobile menu loads and/or the radical difference in the websafe fonts that load first, and then the Google fonts which come in later.
But, we have also run into walls with some CLS issues being super hard to positively identify too, especially on complex sites that have a lot of other stuff loading besides just the theme and content.
So, we are having to draw some limits on the conditions for testing and what we can fix or not.
I will not be sending clients to my designers for a theme fix on super complex sites until I can positively identify that the theme is what is causing the issue. That may mean cloning the site and stripping it down to just the theme and content loading, and then adding back the other load items until we see which one causes the shifts.
And the designers will limit their CLS bug hunt to only the theme too, as the rest of it is out of their wheelhouse. Those kinds of tests are in my wheelhouse.
So, if you run ads, have pop up optins, special banners across the top, or other such complexities, expect more testing time if we do end up with nagging CLS issues after all the rest of the fixes are complete.
Even that extra process is still cheaper and faster than getting a whole new theme.
Boutique Hosting Update
We should be moving our first two folks into the new HOA hosting this week or early next.
That’s a special section on the new host for just my site audit clients.
We are tying up all the loose ends of remaining to do list tasks with the things that face the public, like the intake form I’ll be sending my clients.
So, be patient just a little longer as we complete our initial launch and then we’ll be moving folks in like crazy.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
We’ve got an overabundance of breaks and glitches and bugs to report this week.
Just know I’ve got you covered, even though it’s not fun news, it keeps you out of panic mode, and keeps you from making expensive mistakes.
Have your Gutenberg buttons lost their alignment recently?
My center-aligned buttons did.
Thanks to Marcy Diaz of Amethyst Website Design for the write up on the change that rolled in with WP 5.7 that made this happen, and ways to fix it.
I ended up editing all the pages with those buttons and clicking the Justify icon, which is to the right of what used to look like the alignment icon, and setting the button block itself back to center.
Be sure you are in the button block and not in the button itself.
This is exciting news. But I’m going to be honest, I did not have time to read the whole article before producing Tips Tuesday, as it came out on Monday and that’s when I do the recording. So you’ll want to go check it yourself.
WP has acquired CC Search, which is a Creative Commons search tool.
They are in the process of revamping it a bit and it will be relaunched as OpenVerse.
In the article, Matt talked about having it linked via some plugin, like JetPack, so you could search for Creative Commons images and such from within WP and instantly download them.
While that’s nice, it skips your ability to properly optimize your image prior to upload, or change the file name for better SEO and such.
I’m thinking they will have a site where you can search and download too, like Pixabay is now. And that would be the better thing to do, especially if you plan to do text overlay and such anyhow.
New CloudLinux PHP manager goofing up sites
PHP is one of the coding languages that WP, plugins, and themes are built with.
And that code is always evolving.
The current stable version you should be on is 7.4.
Version 8 is already out, but we are not wanting to move up to it just yet, as most of our plugins and such have not been tested on it. And even WP is only tentatively saying it is compatible on it.
cPanel normally handles our version and option management.
But, another software that host servers use, called CloudLinux, is wanting to take control with its own management interface.
It has far better security and is something we want to use.
Some hosts are rolling it out as an option and not forcing the switch.
But some hosts are instantly putting it in charge instead of the cPanel way with zero consideration or regard for any PHP AddHandler directives you may have in the files below WP, like the .htaccess files that could be in the root directory, in the main public_html directory where WP sits, or in any of the sub-directories.
If you have migrated from host to host, each one of them has their own way of adding these directives.
And if that junk is not cleaned out, then it could conflict with the way your new host does things.
And it will definitely conflict with this new CloudLinux way of doing stuff.
I’m hearing about all kinds of breaks, including the white screen of death when someone just clicks on a post to edit it.
I have been waiting for the new CloudLinux thing to roll into my own hosting account so I can make you a tutorial. But it has not come to my older server yet.
However, it has rolled out to some of the servers my clients are on and they are allowing me to use their account to make tutorials. I’ll be redacting any identifiable info in them, of course.
So, if you suddenly have a catastrophic failure on your site, and you are in our BB Hub, please report it there before you contact the host, as they are likely to give you all manner of bad advice because most of the first tier tech support folks are new to these errors too, and won’t know to look at the PHP setup.
Give me the chance to advise you first.
And I’ll be getting out this tutorial as soon as I can for my webmasters.
But not sure I’ll do a public tutorial. Maybe just a post with info, as the fix could get into file editing and such, and that’s a techie thing that most site owners should not be doing themselves as these are critically important files for access to your site and it’s too easy for you to break things if you don’t know what you’re doing.
This is something the host should do for you, and as mentioned, all hosts do these things differently.
I’ll have the info for you to give them of where to check.
And this is just one of the many perks my site audit clients get – extra support via our BB Hub member area and our BB Hub Facebook group.
For those of you who are paying unnecessary big bucks for managed hosting, I’ve heard reports of them falling down with this too. So don’t count on them getting it right for a while either.
Core Web Vitals Tips
This was an interesting read from the nice folks at CatchPoint who now run the WebPage Test online tester.
It’s about how the latest version of Safari handles the Core Web Vitals metric for First Contentful Paint very differently than either Chrome or Firefox handle it.
Basically, Safari considers the paint time reached when the request for it is made. The other browsers consider it done only after something is painted, or rendered on the screen.
In other words, Safari calls it good before you, as the site viewer, actually see anything.
Google Only Cares About Chrome Viewership
Keep in mind that Google relies on real data from real users of Chrome to determine its Core Web Vitals metrics about your site.
And even then, they take it at the 75% mark.
They make zero use of what you see in the Google PageSpeed Insights tester, which runs the test on a Moto phone with a Fast 3G connection.
That’s not even close to real-world, as the majority of cell phone owners use iPhones. And the majority of them have much faster connections than Fast 3G.
FYI, Fast 3G is nearly equivalent to 4G, but even that is much slower than a home wifi connection, or an LTE connection.
What device and browser are your visitors using?
How many of those iPhone users do you think use the default Safari browser?
Well, you can get that info in your Google Analytics.
It will be displayed as mobile, and then iOS for the device. And that will be followed by the browser info.
And that combo is what you should be testing your site on for real world user feedback, including just viewing your site to see how it looks.
Then test on Chrome to see if your site will also make Google happy.
Yoast SEO bug
The latest version of Yoast SEO came with a couple of bugs.
It dropped that extra link choice stuff for making a link sponsored/nofollow.
I’m betting most of y’all thought those extra choices were from WP. Nope, they come from your SEO plugin.
It also dropped the meta description area in the on-page module.
They are fixing it, and an update may or may not already be available. I record this podcast on Monday and they generally do releases on Tuesdays. So let’s hope the fix is out by the time you read or listen to this post.
This is where the WP Rollback plugin can save your bacon!!!
It allows you to easily roll a plugin back to a previous version should the new one have issues.
It only works on free plugins, and there is a method to using it during your plugin updates.
So, go read my tutorial for details and start doing all of your updates with this easy method.
As you have heard me reporting in recent Tips Tuesdays, the next WP release of 5.8 coming in July will roll in a big chunk of code to support Full Site Editing.
That includes support for using blocks in your sidebar or other widget areas.
Well, that new code could actually break some themes that have no idea what to make of it.
That’s because all themes handle sidebar output differently. And most themes are not even close to Full Site Editing compliant yet, which is required for putting blocks in the sidebar.
So there is no way for WP to roll in this code without potential breaks.
And that is precisely why a new plugin has been created called Classic Widgets.
It literally blocks the new code from having any effect on your theme’s sidebar coding.
Personally, I think most of us will be adding this plugin as most of us don’t have the latest, greatest themes.
Even if our themes are fully compliant to make use of all Gutenberg editor functions, that does not make them Full Site Editing compliant, which is Phase 2 of Gutenberg.
And, as I’ve been reporting in Tips Tuesday, I don’t expect Full Site Editing compliant themes to be viable for the type of production use we need until close to 2023.
So, look at this as living through a revolution, and those are always messy.
But our theme world will be AMAZING at the end of this journey. So, it’s all good.
My BlogAid News subscribers get exclusive instructions on how to update to the latest version of WP.
That includes the order to do all updates and special tips, like whether to add this plugin, and any special checks you need to do afterward and how to deal with any issues you find.
So, be sure you are subscribed.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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