Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Getting up to speed with the Amazon Affiliate Program
- Is your site legal?
- When controversy is good for your site
- Do you really have time to blog?
- Why you don’t need to use LinkTree for Instagram if you use Gutenberg
- Big news about what’s in WordPress 5.3 and an upcoming livestream on Wednesday to discuss
- My assessment of the Revisionize plugin for changing your post’s publish date
- What’s up with SiteGround charging for migration backups
- New security info about why you must stop making links open in a new tab
- A review of GDPR a year later and lessons learned
- Clarity on Google’s new no snippet code
- See how easy it is to add Google Analytics code to Astra Themes
- How Google uses machine vision to see objects and text in your images
- Brian Gardner’s goodbye letter from Genesis, and why it’s not really goodbye
- Whether Gutenberg spells the death of themes
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 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.
Oct 1, y’all!!
Welcome to Q4 and a mad dash to the end of the year.
It’s been a week of working on my business instead of in my business as much.
When I have a lot of site audit clients during busy season, which usually starts cranking up in Sept. and runs through March, it becomes a game of juggling projects. In every project we have wait times, like when we make big changes, we wait a couple of days to see if there are any unexpected gotchas. And then I have wait time while clients are doing a task for them on our to do list.
But then, there are also times when everyone has their stuff done and they are all waiting on me.
And that’s pretty much the way it has been since July due to the response I got from that Super Summer Sales event.
It’s finally calming down to a reasonable pace and I had a whole bunch of that wait time hit all at once this week.
And instead of making new tutorials and posts this week, I took that time to work on my business.
Getting Up to Speed with Amazon Affiliate Program
I’ve been saving up info posts for the last several months about the Amazon Affiliate Program and I binged on those this week. That gave me a good overview of steps to take and some advanced strategies that I’m not ready for yet, but at least I know more of what I didn’t know to even ask about.
I am so grateful to my site audit client, Jennifer Quisenberry of Champagne and Coconuts for doing a paid live session with me to get me up to speed with the Amazon Affiliate program.
I’ve had 2 stores for years, one for BlogAid and one for Heartwood Art, but I never did much with it beyond getting my qualifying sales. And I’ve carried a little $1.46 balance ever since. That was also back in the day when they had their A-store and such.
Things have changed a LOT since then and it was so worth it to me to do a 2.5 hour session to get caught up on those changes.
Plus, Jennifer showed me how to use reports to gather data about what my audience is buying, and perhaps even new posts geared toward that avatar.
And, she was even kind enough to provide an ideas list for Heartwood Art, most of which I already had on my editorial calendar. So that’s great and lets me know I’m on the right track.
Is Your Site Legal?
One of the things Jennifer was very careful to cover with me concerned all the legal statement things that need to be on an affiliate marketing site.
So, I spent time creating additional Affiliate Disclosure and Disclaimer docs for all sites. I’ll probably need to continue tweaking on those as I learn more, and see more examples, but it’s a start.
I’d like to invite you to check all of your docs and see if they are accurate, especially if you have changed hosts. You need to update your GDPR doc for data collection with that. And then ensure you have everything you need.
When Controversy is Good for Your Site
As I reported in my last Hobby to Money-Making Site series post about when it’s time to monetize your site, I thought I was running out of time to do that controversial post on the best workbench top.
Well, having a minute to myself this week to let my mind wander, it became clear how to do that post as a full video with a highlighted transcript. It took 10 hours, but it’s done!!!
Woodworkers hold VERY strong opinions about their workbench top, so I’m betting it will draw a lot of comments wherever folks see it online – and that’s precisely what made me itchy to do it.
And, I know how helpful it will be to new DIY woodworkers like me, and save them a ton of research time too. And that’s something I want to be known for on Heartwood Art, same as I am on BlogAid.
I’ve got the big bench build post done, but I’m going to go back and split it into at least 3 posts this week.
Building Content Silos
Once that’s done, I’ll get the site monetized and ensure I have all my internal cross-linking done too.
I’m keeping up with all that cross-linking in a spreadsheet. And someday I’ll look into the paid tools that help map that out visually, as I think it may be easier for me to build better content silos that way.
Do You Have Time to Blog?
I’ve been tracking my time with Heartwood Art, and it takes a minimum of 20 hours a week to do. That’s just for the blog post creation.
It doesn’t include all of the time I’ve spent learning about Amazon and Pinterest and Instagram and such.
Nor does it include site maintenance duties. Right now, that’s at the same level that folks just starting a site have to do.
In blogger groups, I’ve been reading a lot of newbies complain that they’ve been at this for 6 months and they are getting discouraged.
The truth is, they are just barely waking up to how much work blogging can be, and they aren’t even close to waking up to the reality of how much it costs, as they are still looking for everything to be cheap or free.
I’m having to come to terms with just how much longer it takes to create posts on Heartwood Art than on BlogAid. And that I am doing this as a side gig.
I think I’ve actually done very well with it, and I’m looking forward to making my year-end report on it in a few months.
More than anything, I know all of the foundation work I’ve done this year is setting me up for big results next year – as long as I continue to devote the time to it regularly. I’m already getting a wee bit of traction everywhere I have a footprint.
How long did it take you to start seeing a real return on investment with your site?
And were you doing it full time or part time?
Leave us a comment on the blog, or anywhere you see this post online.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
In 3 minutes I created a landing page on Heartwood Art for my Instagram followers.
I changed the permalink slug to ig, so there was no need to use a 3rd party shortener or a redirect.
Instead of sending folks through a 3rd party service, I’m sending them directly to my site.
It has a block for my latest post.
And then two more blocks that feature my latest builds.
And those are followed by a grid of posts from a specific category.
And all of this auto updates as I continue to create posts.
Like I said, took me all of 3 minutes to do. I would have needed a designer to create that page template before I switched to Gutenberg.
My Gutenberg Ninja course already shows you how to do every block on that landing page – and I’ll be adding tutorials specifically for building it, and several other landing page types soon too.
That will help you start dropping services like LinkTree, LeadPages, and several other page builders/template things.
This next release of WordPress in November is going to be a BIG one!! They are packing a lot into it from many directions.
I hope you’ll join me on Wed, Oct 2 at 3pm ET / 12pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook page for a livestream to go over what’s coming in the new release.
This is especially important if you are using Gutenberg, as just about everything in the Gutenberg plugin will be rolled into the core.
And yes, this is what I was waiting on before I started updating my Gutenberg Ninja course so that’s in progress right now.
Checking Out Revisionize Plugin
In an effort to make their content fresher for SEO, or to bring it back to the top of their Category list or home page, or even send out on their RSS feed again, some folks re-publish their older content by changing the publish date.
And since some folks like to schedule their posts, they end up saving the post as a draft, and then scheduling to publish on a future date.
That confuses the beegeebees out of Google as it suddenly can’t find a post it had previously crawled.
To get around that, some folks have tried to use the Revisionize plugin. It changes the date at the time you specify, so the post is never gone from your site.
I checked into it to see if this would be good for us to use. But too many folks have reported too many issues with it. So, I’m not sure it is stable enough to rely on.
And, that republishing trick can get you into trouble with Google, as they may think you are trying to game the freshness algorithm. So, do that practice at your own risk. Nothing bad has happened to folks doing it on a limited basis yet, that I know off. Just don’t abuse it, and know that Google could change their minds about it at any time.
SiteGround Charging for Migration Backups
This policy has been in place for years. If your site has more than 5GB of disk space use, you’ll need to pay SiteGround to do a cPanel backup for you so you can move to another host.
Currently the fee for that is $39.
Here’s my concern.
When they switch everyone from cPanel to their own custom control panel, will that sort of backup even be available anymore?
At Bluehost, and other EIG owned hosts, you can take a cPanel backup, but nobody can use it to restore a site, not even Bluehost.
So, your new host has to do a manual migration. Some charge for that, some don’t.
But Bluehost doesn’t have this disk space usage limitation like SiteGround does.
So, I really can’t say what’s going to happen down the road with folks who want to move to better hosting.
If you’re thinking of coming off SiteGround, maybe sooner will be better than later.
Stop Making Links Open in a New Tab/Window
In last week’s Tips Tuesday I talked about the new ways nofollow is being used by Google, as well as their new sponsored link attribute.
I also discussed a bit about why you need to stop making links open in a new tab, as that is a security issue.
Well here’s a follow up on that security issue from PerishablePress.
The simpler fix is to just stop doing it and get over the myth that folks are leaving your site never to return. It’s just not true and if you think it is, show me your A/B split test data.
And then tell me how many times you have left Tips Tuesday, never to return, since all of the links I have in it don’t open in a new tab.
I’ve also updated my Ultimate Guide for Creating Links in WordPress with this additional security information.
In that post I show you how to create every type of link with every kind of editor. And you’ll see that right now, Gutenberg is the only editor that consistently adds the noreferrer attribute. You can’t count on WP to consistently add that security measure for you anymore.
And that’s just one more reason to drop the practice of having links open in a new tab.
At this time last year every savvy blogger on the planet was running around screaming like Chicken Little about the GDPR compliance deadline.
WPEngine wrote a post last week about what they have learned in the year since.
The highlights are:
- Secure your site!! If a hacker gets in, they have all the email addresses in your database from your comment reply plugin and contact form and more. Get a site audit and get your site secured!
- Check if contact form holds info in your database and turn it off so that info you’re not even using isn’t a liability anymore. See my tutorial on the Formidable Forms plugin for details.
Clarity on Google’s New No Snippet Code
Last week, a post came out on the Google Webmasters blog that had everybody scratching their heads. It was about a new set of directives for no snippet.
That tells Google not to use parts of your content in their featured snippet area.
Considering that’s a highlight we all covet, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to use this nosnippet thing.
But, as I told my DIY SEO course members in our private Facebook group, I’d bet money that Yoast would include these directives in his plugin.
And that turned out to be so.
Here’s Yoast’s post with the skinny on why Google issued this code in response to a new French copyright law.
And, you’ll notice that a way to do it has been included in the 12.2 update that is rolling out today.
So, if you need to use it, there it is. But I wouldn’t at this time if you and your primary audience are not based in France.
One of the things we enjoy about Genesis themes is the in-built Header/Footer script area for adding things like our Google Analytics code.
Well, guess what?
It is so easy to add Google Analytics code in Astra themes too.
Thanks to Michelle Phillips of Codefetti for yet another outstanding post on Astra themes.
The technology to recognize text and objects in images has been with us for years. And now it’s pretty sophisticated.
Pinterest makes big-time use of it because they are primarily an image search engine.
Google has access to this same technology too, but all I’ve read and heard over the past couple of years is that the processing power to do it is not worth the return on investment to do it.
Well, this post from the Moz blog has me wondering if that has changed.
It talks about more SEO opportunities with images due to Google recognizing objects in the image.
Near the bottom of post they talk about video thumbnails and what Google is scrutinizing in them.
Now, most of the thumbnails I see doing well from bloggers like you and me have a headshot of the presenter and then some bold text. So, there’s not really an object in them. So, Google is mainly going on the text.
But, if that person is reviewing a product or such, that’s usually on the cover image, and then there is an object for Google to recognize.
So, I’m keeping that in mind for my YouTube cover images, as those get shown way up in SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages.
And definitely something to think about beyond Pinterest when you are making your images for promotion.
The original founder of Genesis and StudioPress, Brian Gardner, released his goodbye post last week.
It’s not really goodbye, it’s just his final salutation from Genesis, as his contract with WPEngine has ended. You may recall me reporting in Tips Tuesday earlier in the year about Genesis being sold to WPEngine. They retained the entire staff, including Brian, but his was a limited time contract, and that was a mutual decision.
Brian has always been very active in the WordPress community and I’m sure we’ll see him diving head first into some new venture down the road.
If you want to follow him, be sure to see the link in his post for where to get details.
WPTavern released an interesting post recently about Gutenberg being the rebirth of site owner creativity, and perhaps the death of themes as we have come to know them in the last 5 years or so.
It’s a good read, as it presents a very balanced look at how Gutenberg will most definitely shape the designer part of the industry.
And, it will give you a good indication of what you may be looking at, as a site owner, with regard to updating your theme in the future too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
Gimme some love!!
Share this post with all your blogger buddies to support all the free info and help you get on BlogAid – and help your buddies too!!
Subscribe to all BlogAid Posts via email so you never miss anything!
Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.