Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- What’s involved in moving to a new host
- Why doing an HTTPS switch the free way will come back to haunt you
- Updates to the Webmaster database and plugin tutorials
- Why a clean site on the back end just runs faster
- An upcoming Webmaster live session for site audits
- What you need to know about the new Gutenberg release schedule and what to do prior to it
- The possibility of live sessions for designers to get to know Gutenberg
- Why you need to take control of your WordPress updates and a tutorial to help you do it
- Which is best to use: relative or absolute links?
- A new talking browser coming from the FireFox folks and what this means to your SEO
- A cool new app for your images that you’ll want to give a spin
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live tonight at our new time for the summer, which is 9pm ET / 6pm PT for the party and an interactive Tips Tuesday recap and breaking news discussion on the BlogAid Facebook Page. You can also catch the quick recap later that evening on the BlogAid YouTube Channel.
Move to a Better Host
Many of those projects required getting clients to better hosting first.
And I’m sorry to say that HostGator has now adopted the same tactic as Bluehost in making it difficult to leave. We can’t do a cPanel migration there anymore either.
I assume most all of the crappy EIG owned hosts are doing this now.
So, we have to do a manual migration. Most hosts will still do those for free.
But, we have to take some extra steps afterward to manually add back some things that didn’t come over, like:
- Email box
- Extra FTP accounts
- Redirects via cPanel
READ: How to Migrate Your Site to a New Host for more.
Clean Out and Backup
That’s just one more reason to get an audit and get all that stuff cleared out, so if you have to move under duress, you can just pick up and go from your own backups and not worry about all that stuff.
You do have a full backup that you know how to restore, right?
And it includes the files below WordPress that affect your site security and HTTPS, like .htaccess and robots.txt, right?
If not, you’re skating on thin ice and need to get that super safety net in place.
Dropping Free HTTPS
Many of the HTTPS conversions I’m doing right now are for clients that want to get away from the free way of switching to HTTPS.
They see how that’s going to bite them in the butt later and they want a full conversion where they are not reliant on hosting or plugin tricks anymore.
READ: The Top 10 Reasons NOT to Use Free HTTPS for more on how easy in is going to be a problem down the road for you.
And that goes for just about every free trickery you may be using on your site. There is a high cost somewhere for doing that.
Database and Plugin Tutorial Updates
Another project I’ve been working on this past week is changes and updates to the Webmaster Training tutorials.
I’m focusing hard on Level 4 for Performance and Speed.
Last week I updated all of the Cloudflare tutorials.
This week I moved the database cleaning tutorials from Level 2 to Level 4.
Plus, there is a new tutorial for how to check the PHP error log for plugin and database issues. It also includes how to create that error log output file, in case your host didn’t turn it on, and how to test that it is working.
And, I started on new tutorials for:
- A resource hog plugins list
- Plugin prefixes in the database to help us easily remove orphaned tables
- Plugin prefixes in the wp_options table of the database to easily remove those orphans
Next week I’ll be adding to those tutorials on where some plugins, that we commonly remove, spew all of their files, folders, database tables, and directives.
Clean = Speed
You would not believe how much junk gets left behind when you delete some plugins.
And those could cause conflicts with new plugins too.
That’s especially true of caching plugins. They spew their stuff all over the place.
And a junked up database really slows down the site too.
Several of my site audit clients were thrilled with the speed boost they got just by having all that stuff cleaned out.
I’m also putting a challenge together for my webmasters so we can get back on track with our focus on speed.
Before the GDPR hoohaa hit we had a live session for Level 6 peeps on how to conduct the host side of a site audit.
This week I’ll have a challenge for folks to do their own audits.
And then next week we’ll meet live to go over them and answer questions.
Every site is different, so you need a real working knowledge of doing audits. And seeing more examples from different sites is the only way to get that kind of experience, besides just doing your own.
And these live sessions are a great way to get questions answered that benefit everyone.
If you’re a designer or someone who maintains sites, you definitely want to get in on this type of training. It will take your biz to a whole other level. Just ask any of the folks who have been in the program for a few years about how much more they are making. You can see some of those quotes on the home page of the Webmaster site.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, and the lead dev for the last year, was on the Gutenberg panel at WordCamp Europe recently and they took the opportunity to update us on the release schedule for Gutenberg.
Recall they had initially hoped for April.
It’s looking more like August now, with at least one intermediate release prior, which I assume will be WP 4.9.7.
One of those intermediate releases will have an invitation notification to try the Gutenberg plugin.
Don’t do it.
We’ve already got a plan in place to test when the WP 5.0 beta releases, which will be the one that rolls Gutenberg into the core.
We’ll basically be ignoring it and going on our merry way as usual for probably another year until we have more Gutenberg compatible themes and plugins.
I’ll keep you posted on the details later this summer.
Here’s another post on WPTavern with a little more info on the timeline too (besides the one linked above).
Gutenberg for Designers
While DIY site owners need to put Gutenberg on ignore, that’s not true for designers.
Now is the time for you to be getting more familiar with Gutenberg blocks and the design parameters.
That also includes using dummy content on your sandbox sites that is specifically made for Gutenberg blocks.
Webmaster Gutenberg Sessions
One of the things I asked my webmasters in the latest survey I sent out is what they want to learn about Gutenberg, and a majority of them want to have live sessions with other designers.
So, I’ll be putting together a new set of workshops for us to review Gutenberg as a user on the front end, just to get acquainted with it.
And then asking webmasters to lead the design discussions.
We have a very rich village and folks who work with all manner of frameworks and custom coding, so they should be very informative workshops.
Take Control of WP Updates
With all of the minor WP releases now having major updates in them, you need to take control over all updates.
One way is to put a directive in your wp-config.php file to turn them off.
But I know most of you don’t want to get into your files like that.
There is a plugin called Easy Updates Manager where you can just turn off WP core updates.
That’s the only setting you need to turn on for now. Don’t embellish and turn on others.
See my quickie tutorial for it on the BlogAid Facebook page.
If you’re on SiteGround, they have decided to be a middle man for your updates and you’ll need to open a support ticket to request they turn that feature off. It should remove the code they placed in your wp-config.php file. That way you’ll have control.
But, if you do take full control, that also means you have to watch for update notices like a hawk, and be sure to get on my email list to get immediate notification about security updates. I also post those on the BlogAid Facebook page, and usually on Twitter too.
Those minor updates used to be automatic, but won’t be when you turn them off.
I want to thank webmaster Ingrid Moyle for this excellent post on relative vs absolute links. Definitely a good read for all designers. The one exception to the rule will be links from ad agencies. Many times those are relative links as their way of being protocol agnostic, meaning they don’t care if your site is HTTPS or not.
You may recall in several of the last Tips Tuesday’s me jumping up and down about you getting serious with Voice Search.
Well, it’s not all about Google Assistant and other such devices now.
Mozilla, the makers of FireFox, are developing a new browser that you will use on your phone and you talk to it and it talks back.
Things like this are going to pave the way for Voice Search being the norm.
Last week I posted an article that predicted half of all searches would be Voice by 2020. I think that’s a conservative estimate.
We’ve already got homes and cars and even refrigerators that we talk to now.
It’s not a big leap to make every device Voice recognition enabled.
Before you know it, talking to every “thing” will just be a normal way of life, like it is in Star Trek.
You may remember me mentioning Splish in a previous Tips Tuesday back in March.
It’s a fun way to create a little motion on an otherwise still image.
Well, now they have an app for that.
I want to thank Drake for giving us the link to it.
So, y’all go out and have some fun on your phones taking shots and making them move!
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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