Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Specialty Blocks and Reusable Block tutorials updated in the Gutenberg Ninja course
- Why to be careful which block plugins you use
- The new optin that BlogAid News subscribers can look forward to soon
- My first look at the new Google Search Console Insights beta, with screenshots
- A much needed, and way overdue overhaul is coming to GTMetrix
- The 4 posts you need to read right now for running your own speed tests
- Whether outbound links affect your SEO
- An SEO News wrap up for August from Team Yoast
- Why we are excited about Yoast investing in the WordProof plugin
- Why the WP Support Team is trying to curb paid plugin support in the free plugin forums and what else they really need to address
- A Gutenberg Block Patterns Resource List and why this is a game changer
- Plus why Block Patterns may be the death knell for page builders
- Why you need to stop opening links in a new tab
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. 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.
Who I Help
All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower DIY site owners who are not on hosting that is restrictive in what you can and can’t do with your site and hosting setup. If you have any doubts about what type of host you are on and if the tips I give will work there, see this post on What is Managed Hosting?
Woo! Feeling a little nip in the morning air this past weekend. Made me and Zak the dog pretty frisky!! It’s amazing how a little change in the weather can energize you!!
This past week I finished up all of the updates and changes to the Specialty Blocks section of the Gutenberg Ninja course for the WP 5.5 updates.
That section includes the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin that most of us use.
And, I put notes in the Atomic Blocks section about why I’m waiting to do any more updates on it due to the rebranding of it into Genesis Blocks. See last week’s Tips Tuesday for more info on that.
Be careful which block plugins you use
I also removed the Design Blocks tutorials as their way of doing things is now defunct and has been replaced with new native WP blocks.
You have to be super careful with these Gutenberg block plugins.
Some of them are trying to get too far ahead of what’s in Gute now and what’s coming, and they may not last long because of that.
Plus, some are super bloated and will slow down your site, like the GetWid block plugins.
I have a whole list of block plugins that I’ll be testing anew and adding to the course for yay or nay on them and why.
Reusable Block Updates
There have also been a few improvements with Reusable Blocks and Reusable Templates, especially in how you can more easily access them.
I’ll be finishing up those tutorial revamps today, likely.
Whole Lotta Astra Going On
And, before I revamp the page example tutorials, I’ll be adding a new section for Getting Started with Astra to the course.
It will have handy links to the 2 live chats I had with designer Michelle Phillips of Codefetti. Plus links to all of her Astra tutorials too.
So, about another week’s worth of updates to go on the course and it will be fully up to speed for you.
And you’re not going to find anything like this course anywhere else online.
It is the premier Gutenberg course. So tell your buddies.
Updated optin on the way
As I’ve been mentioning in the last few Tips Tuesday posts, BlogAid is expanding and I’m outsourcing more.
One of my webmaster/designer colleagues has been revamping my optin for What Every Site Owner Should Know and boy, does it ever look good!!!!! I am so happy I outsourced that. And we’ll be releasing it soon.
And I’ll be sending the new version of it out to all BlogAid News subscribers too.
Are you getting all of these extra perks?
Focusing on Sales for Niche Sites
I really need to start treating my courses as niche sites.
They sent me names of a few folks that I’ll be checking out this week.
Happy to hear from you if you know good peeps for me to outsource this too as well.
And I have zero interest in courses or coaches. Been there, done that.
I’m looking to fully outsource this project.
A few weeks ago you may recall that I received the invitation to check out the new Search Console Insights Beta program. I know a few of you got that invitation too.
I had a chance over the weekend to have a look.
It’s numbers without overwhelm. But it’s not all the data you need for serious content marketing.
Still, it may help newer site owners get into the habit of checking both Analytics and Search Console.
See my rundown, with screenshots for more.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Man, this is WAY overdue!!!
The online GTMetrix speed tester is finally being overhauled.
They are dropping their interpretations of Google PageSpeed Insights and YSlow by producing their own interpretation of the Lighthouse tester.
Lighthouse is an open source tester that has a broad set of checks for your site.
And several other testers are based on it, like Google PageSpeed Insights.
But they all just pull bits and pieces of it into their interface, and weight the results according to what they think is most important for you to focus on.
I stopped running GTMetrix nearly a year ago because it was so out of touch and hard to evaluate the data.
Pingdom is even worse.
Now is the time to get super series about speed and User Experience because both of those things will become ranking factors when Google’s Core Web Vitals go into play next year.
READ: How to Run a Speed Test Accurately to see how to run the testers the way I do plus get a primer on which metrics to pay attention to with WebPage Test and Google PageSpeed Insights.
READ: Online Speed Testers: How to Read the Metrics to go deeper into those results so you know what to fix.
READ: Google Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know and Do for more about the new ranking factors that will become a reality soon.
READ: Top 10 Reasons NOT to Use Free HTTPS and see Reason 8 and test your HTTPS security headers. There are 5 you need and Google is calling for 3 of them. And these most definitely impact your site’s security score in the Core Web Vitals.
And then come get a site audit after you get over the shock of how badly your site is scoring on all of the above and let’s get all of that stuff fixed for you.
My wait list is 6 weeks and it will likely remain so until at least April of 2021. So, get your request in now, before Core Web Vitals becomes a ranking factor next spring or summer.
This is not a “dump it on the tech” or “do it all for you” type service.
This is a major education in DIY site ownership that will empower you to make informed decisions about your site and know how to keep it safe and secure.
Most folks hire me for the techie and security stuff. But there is always plenty for you to do too.
Plus, you get access to our private Facebook group that is filled with other non-techie site owners who have been through the same education you have. You don’t get all those bullshit answers and recommendations you find in other blogging groups. These folks have been there, done that, and know what they’re talking about with theme and plugin recommendations and site help.
Plus, you get access to a free member area where I have all kinds of tutorials and info I don’t release to the public.
And, you get major discounts to all of my courses too.
So, this is way more than just an audit.
It’s a way for you to confidently run your site – forever.
If you are a designer or pro SEO, you NEED to know how to make sites fast!!!
That’s what site owners are looking for these days. And I can help you get those gigs.
My Webmaster Training was created for you so you can get the tech skills you need to change how you do design and site setup and HTTPS and make everything fast and secure.
And FYI, this course is overkill for casual site owners. It goes into the backend of sites and to the techie things that you are better off hiring out.
SEMRush has an interesting post on whether outbound links impact your SEO.
The SEO community is somewhat split on this topic.
But, I believe these dofollow links to other sites do help you.
It’s the “birds of a feather” effect.
Tips Tuesday pretty much covers this effort for me, as I’m always linking to trusted resources that I come across in my weekly reading and research that I believe will help you.
I’m trying to figure out how I can do more of this for Heartwood Art, besides just linking to tool and product manufactures.
I see some craft and decor woodworkers linking out to the folks who inspired them for a new build. I think that’s a great idea.
And this kind of linking out to high-authority sites encourages trust with your reader too.
So, jump on over and read the whole SEMRush article and let us know what you think and how you’re linking out to other high-quality sites.
I love these monthly SEO news synopsis from Team Yoast and I encourage you to read them too.
For August, they cover how Google is continuing to push big players out of SERPs by taking over giving the answers and such themselves. This keeps searchers on Google, with less clicks over to other sites.
Folks, this is a trend that will eventually affect you and one that you need to be prepared for.
They also talk about the importance of site speed as a ranking factor.
And, they give opinions about Bing’s new Webmaster Tools being released.
This is what I was waiting on before adding a new Bing tutorial section to the DIY SEO course.
And that’s exactly what I’ll be jumping into making as soon as I finish this round of updates on the Gutenberg Ninja course.
Another interesting tidbit in that Yoast August wrap up was their investment into WordProof.
If I understand it correctly, this is a plugin that will register a time-stamp with a 3rd party for when your post was first published.
This will be a big bonus to those who get their content stolen and a way to prove that it is yours and you have first copyright on it.
I’ll be keeping my eye on this for us and will keep you posted, but it is sounding like something all of us could use.
And I’m wondering if it will be rolled into Yoast at some point.
Torque has a good article on this for more reading.
The hope is that by creating a universal time-stamp standard it will help cut down on fake news and help Google index only the canonical of the content.
This is pretty interesting and I really don’t know how they are going to pull it off.
Several plugins have a free version of their plugin in the WP Plugins repository.
They have a page listing in that repo where you can find out more info about the plugin and ask questions or report issues in the plugin’s forum.
But, what happens too often is that plugin devs who offer a paid version only want to offer support for paid users, not so much in the forum.
That means that the forum replies are from other users of the free version and/or WP support volunteers.
Those volunteers are looking to curb support in the free forum for what the paid version should be covering.
Here’s the part that gets fuzzy.
What if the free version of the plugin is what is causing the issue?
One of my clients had her database goofed when she updated to Yoast 14.x.
I tried to at least troubleshoot enough to narrow it down to that plugin, as the issue we were seeing was a in the PHP error log for exhausted memory. I even called in one of my devs and we went to the host for help looking at the server logs to see what was triggering the error.
So, we did due diligence before reaching out to plugin support.
And because she was on the free version of the plugin, I reported it in the plugin’s forum.
They made us jump through all of those hoops again, and a few more. And then they cut it off saying that further support was only available in the paid plugin.
And since purchasing the paid version was cheaper than hiring another dev, she did that.
They required that she create a staging site, which she had the host do for her for free.
It has been well over a week and they are still working on it.
I also noticed that the 14.9 update had a ton of bug fixes for similar database issues, so she was not alone.
It gripes me that she had to pay for support on something the free plugin caused.
And I think that needs to be addressed in this discussion by the WP support folks too.
When Reusable Blocks and Reusable Templates were introduced in Gutenberg shortly after it released, I thought those were a total game changer.
I use them extensively on Heartwood Art for things like a “Subscribe to my YouTube Channel” message above my videos. It’s a highly styled block that I don’t want to recreate over and over. So, I made it a Reusable Block and I can just bring it into a post with a couple of clicks.
The next evolution of that was released into WP 5.5 with Block Patterns.
These are standalone styled blocks that you can source from anywhere and put into your site.
At first, I thought these would be super for theme designers to include blocks for optins and such right in the theme.
But now, it’s looking like a great way for all manner of designers to start creating these little block snippets that anyone can use on any theme, no plugin required.
I’ll be adding more on these Block Patterns in the Gutenberg Ninja course soon, as there are already several native ones that became available in WP 5.5.
And yes, some folks are already asking how to turn off the native ones. There is a code snippet you can add. But, I think we’ll wait for that option to be placed into the WP core, perhaps in the 5.6 or 5.7 releases soon.
Block Patterns may be the death knell for page builders
Block Patterns are definitely going to be a game changer for creating page templates and I’m betting it’s going to have a direct impact on page builders like Elementor.
Well-made Block Patterns will add zero speed drag to your site.
SEE: Gutenberg vs Elementor: Which is Faster? for my head-to-head comparison in replicating an Elementor template using nothing by Gutenberg.
You’ll clearly see the speed difference and why you don’t want to use Elementor anymore.
I even sent the full case study results to the folks at Astra because that was the base theme I used for both in the test. And for the life of me I can’t understand why they keep pushing Elementor and Elementor Pro.
They have everything you need in the base Astra theme for doing this. Plus, if you buy Astra Pro, you have all of the extra theme builder options that Elementor Pro has too.
It’s just nuts why they aren’t pushing their own products and Gutenberg over a page builder.
Maybe the rise in Block Patterns will open their eyes as interest in Elementor wanes in the face of it.
Same for Divi.
I can’t imagine why any “build a blog” course person would continue to advise folks to start with such a bloated theme builder like Divi that costs a fortune to come out of.
Maybe this will be the death knell tolling on that practice too.
That’s especially true with the release of Gutenberg Phase 2 coming near the end of the year. It will become a full theme builder, or at least provide the base for it.
Stop Opening Links in new tabs!
Those who have been following me for a long time already know to not have links open in a new tab.
For those who this is news to, go read my Guide to Creating Links in WordPress for why this is such a super bad idea now both for security and User Experience, especially on mobile.
This has to do with the noreferrer and noopener attributes added to the link.
And if you’re still believing that super outdated idea that visitors will leave your site, never to return if it doesn’t open in a new tab, you’re thinking is 3 years out of date.
And there isn’t a current shred of evidence anywhere that is true.
However, there are bunches of current case studies showing the security risk and the poor mobile User Experience of opening in a new tab.
And I would bet real money that this will become a Google edict at some point in the future too, especially since they are so focused now on mobile User Experience.
And while you’re reading that Guide, be sure to see the sections on nofollow and sponsored while you’re at it too. You need both.
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.