Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- I’m celebrating the new Heartwood Art theme being all Gutenberg now
- Why I’m loving the Ultimate Add-ons for Gutenberg Blocks plugin
- Celebrating my first Gutenberg webinar this week
- The big changes to the Gutenberg Ninja course
- The new DIY SEO booster program has launched, and what’s in it
- What’s in the upcoming WordPress 5.2.3 release
- Why you need to update to PHP 7.3 now
- New encrypted and keyed checks for WordPress updates coming and why they may be an issue for some of us
- What I’m watching for in Automattic’s recent acquisitions of Tumbler and Zero BS CRM
- When the new Genesis 3.1 update might roll out and why we won’t be the first to update to it
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.
I am thrilled beyond words to share with you that the new theme on Heartwood Art is live and the site is finally on Gutenberg.
It is the first site that I have switched to Gute and I have been so itchy to do it.
I’ve still got plenty of things to revamp and add on the site, but now that it is on Gute, I can finally do those things, like my monetization plans.
We started with the Kreativ Pro theme which runs on Genesis, and which is the same one that is the base for BlogAid. So, it is a hybrid meaning that the sidebars and footer have widgets. It is not fully Gutenberg ready from StudioPress yet, but my designer can add those functions and features to just about any Genesis child theme, so that was not an issue.
The home page is all Gute, as are the two Shop Build pages, which are nice list pages.
I’ll be converting several of my posts to Gute over the next month or so.
And I was able to delete 8 plugins!!!
I’m pressing hard to get everything on the site up to speed and my monetization started prior to the holidays.
New Woodworking Posts and Videos
I’ve also got the next 3 posts in the works and I’m deciding if I want to do videos for two of them or not. I believe I do, I’ve just got to figure out how much of them I want to do with live talking head and how much I want to do reading a script. I think the live talking head ones are more engaging, but we’ll see. I may try a different mix of the two in these next videos.
It’s all about experimenting, folks!!
You have to mix it up and try new things.
Plus, I’ve got a different set of goals for some of the videos now too, and those will help me grow my YouTube channel.
I picked up a bunch of tips from a recent Video Marketing Summit that the nice folks at Social Media Examiner hosted about a month ago.
What I can tell you is that my SEO for both the site and videos is starting to catch on. And I’ve got more to do on the site with regards to SEO. It’s a long game strategy for both the site and the videos, so the more I can focus on that up front, the better.
And I did a bunch of speed testing on the clone where I tested out Gutenberg on the site.
I was thrilled to learn that the Ultimate Addons plugin didn’t auto include Font Awesome and other things that would slow the site down.
I’m so impressed with this plugin and will be doing a comparison post between it and Atomic Blocks as soon as I can.
But before that I’ll be adding the tutorials to the Gutenberg Ninja course.
First Gutenberg Webinar This Week
Visibility coach Denise Wakeman has asked me to speak to her Trailblazers group about Gutenberg. And I was pressing hard this month to get the Heartwood Art site revamped prior to that so I could use it to show off some of the spectacular things you can do with Gute.
I’ll be using the sandbox site where I make Gute tutorials to show off some of the other features that will just blow folks away.
I’m still about a month behind where I wanted to be with my marketing for the Gutenberg Ninja course, but I’m catching up quickly and will be doing more private webinars in the very near future for some big blogging groups.
If you are in any blogging groups where you see folks asking about Gute, please do put the group admin in touch with me.
And I hope to get some public ones scheduled this fall too.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m adding even more tutorials to the Gutenberg Ninja course.
And now with so many folks having taken the course to help assess the awesome value of what they learned and how fast and easy it was, I’m confident about raising the price and extending the access.
It’s now $97 with 6 months of access.
Everyone who is currently in the course on the BlogAid Learning Center will not automatically get their time extended. It’s still the access time you purchased at the lower rate.
If you are one of my clients, either a site audit client in our private membership, or a DIY SEO or Webmaster Training member, this price change also affects your discount coupons. The coupon itself is still good, so you can use the same code, it’s just that the net price has gone up.
The 2 month extension coupon is now expired and has been replaced with a 6 month extension at half price, once your current access expires. There is no auto renewing subscription on this course.
For affiliates of the course, look for the email I sent you about the changes to your commission and custom coupons for your clients and groups.
As many of you know, we do the live DIY SEO workshops starting in January and run through the spring, as that is when most of you are available to make the live sessions.
But, I know most of you got started with the last couple of workshops on content revamp, then fell off the wagon.
So, we need a fall booster program to get us going with it again.
The program I had planned to run got blown up due to so many changes with Yoast and Google that I decided to let go of that part of it.
So, I released a survey to members to ensure that help with their content revamp was indeed what they needed the most help with. And that was the last half of the booster program already.
Members overwhelmingly agreed that is what they needed help with the most, so that is what we are doing.
The first booster went out Sunday night, and we’ll have another released later this week, as that first one is fast.
And then we’ll go once a week from there.
Each booster has a focused task that you can easily do in one sitting.
And, we are doing accountability via our private Facebook group to help keep everyone motivated and getting each booster completed.
I’ll be taking the booster program with you to help keep my content revamp on BlogAid a front burner task too. It can be a big project for older sites and we have to divide it up into smaller chunks that are doable.
And that’s what this booster program is all about – to keep us motivated and on target with our SEO goals.
If you are thinking about getting a site audit this fall for better security and performance, or any other site service like moving to a better host, now is the time to request it.
I’m booking well into September at this point.
And that marks the start of busy season, so it’s not going to let up until spring.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Work is steadily progressing on the WordPress 5.3 release, which will be out in late fall.
But they have several updates that need to come out before then, and they are proposing to put them in WP 5.2.3, with a release date of Sept, 4. That is the Wed after Labor Day.
The big push in this release is focused on bumping up the minimum version of PHP required to run both WP and plugins.
As I’ve been mentioning for the last month, now is the time to upgrade your PHP version.
Support for PHP 7.1 will end Dec 1, 2019.
And I have found 7.2 to be glitchy.
Many of us didn’t have 7.3 available at our host until recently.
So, see the tutorial I have linked for you for how to make this change now, as you may need time to test and upgrade plugins that don’t work. The majority of plugins and themes will, unless you have some super old ones in there that are not being kept up to date.
So, go ahead and take care of this now and stay ahead of the curve with the changes, and more importantly, out of panic mode.
We like easy and calm around here, right?
Another major focus of the upcoming WordPress 5.3 release later this year will be better authentication checks for major updates, including WordPress and free plugins and themes in the repository.
They want to add encryption and authentication keys.
The encrypted part of this is pretty easy. They will start using an SSL connection when checking for updates. The only tricky part of that is making a fallback for any sites that do not have an SSL certificate already.
The authentication part is actually a lot more complex than they at first thought, so they are checking into ways to use the current API for this.
That may be an issue for us.
As y’all know, I strongly suggest everyone put their money-making site on the paid Pro version of Cloudflare.
You get a super WAF (Web Application Firewall) with it that includes several WordPress-specific security features.
Two security features that are chief among them are protection for:
- XSS (Cross Site Scripting)
- SQL injections (for the database)
These are the two most common, and frequent issues for plugins. In fact, about 10 plugins a week are found to have at least one of them.
The Cloudflare WAF gives you protection from these and many more common security issues until a patch is released by the plugin dev.
The problem is, something in the WP REST API is triggering false alarms for that WAF.
We’re already seeing more plugin devs starting to use the WP API for their connections, and they have come up with all manner of bypasses for the WAF false triggers.
I don’t advocate using any of them, as they basically gut your paid security, some far worse than others.
Instead, we are simply whitelisting our IP address in the Cloudflare IP firewall.
READ: How to Find and Whitelist Your IP Address in Cloudflare for more on how and why to do this.
This is not a viable long-term fix.
For that, WordPress and Cloudflare need to get in a room and hash this out.
We’re seeing this issue pop up with saving our new posts in Gutenberg, which relies heavily on the WP API, as well as more plugins switching to this more secure, and less resource intensive way of connecting with your site.
And you know I will continue to bang my head against this wall for as long as it takes to get a general fix. For now, I continue to work with each plugin dev I hear about who is dealing with it and I help to educate them on best practices at Cloudflare.
They should make specific exclusions for their plugin rather than gut the WAF rules. But the latter is exactly what some are doing because they are not up to speed with either Cloudflare or the WP API.
So, the sooner WP and Cloudflare work this out, the better, before we have even more widespread security issues created by folks ignorant of how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
I will be keeping close watch on the WP 5.3 development and may jump in the forums to report this WAF issue, as it will not just be one for Cloudflare, but all of the really good WAFs.
Automattic Acquires Tumbler and Zero BS CRM
Matt Mullenweg, the original creator of WordPress and owner of its parent company, Automattic, seems to be in a spending mood lately.
These moves do not affect us bloggers at this time.
But, I’m keeping my eye on what they do with these new purchases, as it will eventually open up more product avenues online.
I know several of you have stores where you sell both digital and tangible products. And right now many of you are using Woocommerce or some type of gated digital download plugin, or you have a Shopify store.
So, these acquisitions may impact you down the road by giving you more choices for how you list your wares. We’ll see, and I’ll keep you posted.
As I mentioned in last week’s Tips Tuesday, the beta has been released for Genesis 3.1.
And we are still trying to get clarity on a couple of the big changes, especially with respect to our footer content.
See last week’s post for more on what will be deprecated and change in this upcoming release.
But for now, keep in mind not to do this update right away when it rolls out.
I’m still trying to nail down the release date. The best rumor we have is by the end of August.
Be sure to follow BlogAid on Facebook as that’s where I’ll announce the news as it happens.
That includes breaking news during our live session on Tuesday nights that happened too late to make it into the podcast and post. So, do join us for that party, and you can see the replay on the post later too.
And of course, I’ll include news, and when it’s safe to update, in a future Tips Tuesday too.
So, be sure you are subscribed to BlogAid News so you never miss a post.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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