Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- The new edition of What Every Site Owner Should Know has been released
- Gutenberg Ninja tutorials are all updated and has a new Astra section now too
- DIY SEO course tutorial updates are in the works
- How you are overlooking important site notifications and what to do about it and why
- The exponential growth my clients are getting
- Scheduling of live client interviews is underway
- Why I have to draw a limit on “one quick question” emails
- Why I hope you always say thank you
- The new collaborations I’m excited about participating in this fall
- Yep, it’s finally time to upgrade to PHP 7.4
- A new custom PHP setup for some SiteGround clients
- The real reason WP Support wants to curb paid plugin support in the forums
- The full jQuery change plans for WordPress
- Why WordPress needs to go ahead and break some things
- How and why you need to move away from your freebie mindset and how much it is costing you not to
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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?
This past week has been full of course tutorial updates, client site service work, collaborations, and new opportunities.
What Every Site Owner Should Know – 2020 Version
I’m delighted to say the final copy of my revamped optin is here!!!!
A copy has been sent to all BlogAid News subscribers and is available to download by all new subscribers now.
Victoria Gazeley did the entire redesign. She made the process so incredibly easy for me and I love the modern look of that ebook too!
She’s in the process of revamping her own site right now, but do consider getting on her email list. She’s an amazing graphic designer and is also one of my webmaster colleagues.
Gutenberg Ninja updates complete – for now
I’ve completed all of the core updates to the Gutenberg Ninja tutorials to cover the WP 5.5 changes.
That amounted to 35 tutorials, plus their Quick FAQs and Skill Builders.
The new Astra section is now live too.
And there is a new tutorial on the new Block Patterns.
So, that completes all of the tutorial updates I can do for now.
We’re going to have to wait for the rebrand of Atomic Blocks into Genesis Blocks to see what new things they may offer. But my quick look at the current Atomic Blocks is that they are the same as the current tutorials, so I’m leaving those until this rebrand happens.
Now that the new Bing Webmaster Tools have been released, it’s time for me to put my attention on the DIY SEO course and make a whole new set of tutorials for it.
I’ve got some updates for the Google Search Console section coming too.
So, course members should look for those update emails in the coming weeks.
Don’t overlook important notifications
In site audits over the last couple of weeks, I’ve seen all manner of important notifications getting overlooked at the top of the site owner’s WP Dashboard.
That’s not hard to do since so many plugins now slip in huge amounts of text in those notifications.
Worse, way too many of them don’t stay dismissed after you close them.
So, site owners just get in the habit of putting them all on ignore.
Unfortunately, that also makes them miss super important notifications, like the one that came with the Yoast SEO 14.0 update that you also needed to take an extra step to update your database.
I also see purge notifications from caching plugins that go unheeded.
Folks, it’s super important that you read those notifications and take those actions in a timely manner.
If you dismiss a notification and it doesn’t stay dismissed, complain to the plugin developer.
If we all start screaming about it, then maybe the nuisance notifications will cease and we can see the important messages a lot easier.
And maybe you won’t have as many headaches with your site not working properly if you can address the important notifications in a timely manner too.
Exponential growth for clients
This past week I’ve also been working more closely with two more of my webmaster colleagues on projects for myself and for my clients.
In fact, I’m doing the last site audit for one of my clients right now and she will be moving on to a monthly maintenance program with one of those webmasters as her site and online business are growing beyond her ability to keep up with everything.
She first came to me when her site was only 1 year old because she knew the value of investing in getting the speed and security right early on.
She also jumped into my DIY SEO course right away too.
And her analytics have shown a straight upward trend ever since.
I love losing clients due to them growing so fast that they have to hire help!!!!
Next, she’ll be jumping into my Gutenberg Ninja course and working with her new webmaster to design a new theme that’s super fast and pretty.
And I know she is in good hands with it because that webmaster knows everything I know about speed and security. She’s been doing this a long time and has been in my Webmaster Training for years too, which makes it super easy for her to keep up with all of the site tech changes.
Client interviews coming
Folks, this kind of growth is not an exception to the rule with my clients.
Most of them report a significant increase in traffic from both the site audit fixes and DIY SEO course.
We’ve been letting a few of my recent site audit clients soak with those changes for a few months so we can gather more data on just how much their traffic and revenue have improved.
And now we’re getting ready to do live chats so you can hear it directly from them.
I’ll keep you posted when we get the live chat schedule ready so you can join us and ask questions, if you like too.
This week I’m wrapping up 4 more site service projects for clients and bringing on 4 new ones.
Thank you to all of my clients who are taking that “time is of the essence” clause in our contract seriously and getting your parts done quickly.
Everybody on the wait list appreciates it too!!!
New requests are still coming in every other day, so if you have a site project you want to complete before the holidays hit, now is the time to get that request in.
No more “one quick question” emails
This past week I also had a surge in emails from folks that I believe are new followers. Most of them have started with “I just have one quick question” or such.
Folks, I get an email every 7 minutes, 7 days a week.
Those requests for free help turn into 4 hours of non-billable time a day.
I can’t do it.
Even taking a minute to reply that I can’t do it takes time.
So, I may have to start automating those replies.
I sure hope you understand that it’s not that I don’t want to help you.
It’s that I can’t afford to do it for free anymore, nor do I want to set up any type of payment system for such things at this point.
This is especially true for the more techie questions. I don’t support the general public, as I have zero idea what your tech skill level is, what host you are on, or what else you have going on with your site.
I can’t take on the liability of giving you a generic answer beyond what is already in the tutorials that I make public.
If you’re qualified to do those steps, then everything you need is in the tutorial.
If you still have questions, then maybe you need to hire help for it.
Or, if you intend to make a business of site tech, consider taking my Webmaster Training that covers the site tech and teaches you how to be safe with making changes on the backside.
Remember to say thank you
And you know what’s even worse about these “one quick question” emails?
Rarely does anyone ever say thank you for the individual help they get.
I remember years ago when Joost de Valk used to be a lot more snippy with folks posting support questions on social media. And one thing he said really stuck with me.
He said, “There are users and then there are clients.”
Don’t be one of those usury people. Say thank you when you get the help you need.
That also includes leaving a comment on a post or video tutorial or such to let the creator know that info helped you. Such things are way more encouraging than you can imagine.
This past week I also started clearing my plate of projects so that I can participate in several collaborations that have come up during the summer.
The first one is working with a client on all of her different video SEO needs.
This is on a site with recipes and ads. It’s actually a complex integration for all of the different types of videos and their placements that need to seamlessly coordinate with one another on the SEO level.
I’m excited to be working with her, as all of this research and testing will go straight into my new Video SEO course that I’m developing for release later this year, or early next.
As mentioned previously, I’m working with Victoria Gazeley on new graphics and optins.
And I’ll be working with two of my Webmaster designers on more theme revamps for my sites.
One of them is going Astra and Gutenberg and will have a complete rebuild.
The other will remain Genesis and go totally Gutenberg.
And this week I have meetings with marketing specialists to help me develop new sales funnels and ads for my courses. I’m going to be treating each of them as niche sites now.
Plus, over the weekend I had a nice chat with one of my clients about how we can collaborate on new projects for my Heartwood Art site and for her site. It will be a joint effort that will benefit us both.
I have to tell you, it’s great not to be a one-woman-band anymore and to start outsourcing and collaborating more often. I’m liking this new norm!!!
And I would encourage you to do the same.
If you’ve been at this a while, consider getting into, or even starting, a new mastermind group. Or get a blogging buddy. Having someone to chat with and bounce ideas off of is very refreshing and inspiring. It can help take you out of your rut and open you to new ideas for growth.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
While we are in between these major WP updates, now is a good time for you to upgrade the PHP level at your host to version 7.4.
See my tutorial for how to make this change yourself if you are on hosting that has cPanel.
And in the Transcript section below the video you will see my recommended Option settings for both shared and VPS hosting.
If you are on a host that does not have cPanel, or has their own customized version of it, you will need to reference their tutorials for help with it.
And FYI, cPanel has changed their interface slightly from what’s shown in the video. Where you find the link to the Options is a little different.
Plus, you only need to change the SQL settings if you have a database connection issue after the update. Don’t just change them without checking that first.
And be sure to see the disclaimer at the top of this post about which hosts my tips work on.
New custom PHP build at SiteGround
One of my site audit clients who is on the new custom control panel at SiteGround got an email that they now have a new custom PHP build that is ultrafast.
This is a different thing from just setting the PHP version.
So, set the version to 7.4 first and check your site for a couple of days.
Then if you want to try their new PHP build you can. Let us know how it goes.
If you didn’t get that email, then it’s likely this is not available for folks still on the cPanel accounts at SiteGround.
Generic Update Notifications Link to WP Support
Ah, so now we know why the WordPress Support team wants to curb support for paid plugins.
You may recall that I reported on that in last week’s Tips Tuesday and about what happened with one of my clients who was using the free version of Yoast SEO and had to get the paid version to get further support for what the free version broke in her database.
Well, one of my paid plugins auto updated, and I received a generic notice from the site letting me know that.
It also has a link to the WordPress Support Forum should I need any help with issues that update created.
Of course, there is no help in the free forum for this paid plugin, mainly because there is no free version of it to begin with.
Here’s a screenshot of the email I received from the site.
I’m betting they get so insanely overwhelmed with hits on this that they kill the practice.
And I bet hosting companies are thrilled to see it because they are the ones that normally get the support call when a plugin goes bonkers – and it’s not actually their job to support such things – even on expensive, fully managed hosts.
They may take a whack at it, or help roll you back to a previous version, but they can only do that on free plugins, not paid ones, as they have no access to a previous version.
And you can easily do that yourself for the free plugins with WP Rollback. See my tutorial on the method you need to use every time you do plugin updates.
We want minor updates, not major ones
Some of your plugins are already set to do auto updates on minor releases.
Those would be like going from version 2.1.0 to 2.1.1.
Those usually have bug and security fixes and you want them to come in automatically.
But what we don’t want, for the most part, are auto updates on major releases.
Those would be like going from version 2.1 to 2.2.
The new auto update feature in WP 5.5 allows you to elect which plugins and themes auto update on major releases.
But, it should not affect minor release updates, in theory.
And I’m wondering if we will now start getting these email notifications for all of those minor release updates too.
Plus, I wonder if more plugin devs will start making the settings for auto updates for minor releases easy to find. Most of them slipped that in on us, and opted us into it, without fanfare.
This is why it’s a good idea to read the release notes on each plugin prior to updating it. You can find those in the View Details link in the description of each plugin.
If an update is available, the plugin is highlighted in your Plugin Admin page. And the View Details link will produce a little pop up window with the changelog.
So, this is getting a little confusing as to how each plugin, and then how WP itself is handling updates.
We’ll have to watch and see how it plays out with each of our plugins.
Y’all may recall from recent Tips Tuesdays that the changes to jQuery in WP 5.5 broke a lot of sites.
Those of you who are BlogAid News subscribers got special instructions for how to do the WP 5.5 update and what to do if your site did have one of these breaks.
And I told you that changes with this were not over yet.
Joost de Valk took lead on helping to identify plugins with high install numbers that broke due to the WP 5.5 update.
And that led to the 5.5.1 update that backfilled some of that code for the time being.
Here’s the skinny on why we are jumping through these hoops and why it is a good thing.
jQuery is a coding language, and like all of them, it evolves, just like why we have to upgrade our PHP version at our host to remain compliant with coding changes.
Well, WP has a super old version of the jQuery language in the core, and it needs to be updated.
And so do all of the plugins that rely on that core code.
So, in WP 5.5, they removed the jQuery migrator that bridges the gap between the old and new versions. That exposed all of the plugins and themes that need to be updated because they broke.
WordPress came out with a plugin that puts that bridge back until plugin devs can revamp their code to bring it up to speed.
Near the end of the year, with the WP 5.6 update, they will roll in the latest version of jQuery. We’ll be looking for a slew of plugin updates right behind that. And for those who had to use the plugin bridge, you’ll want to remove it and see if all is well.
That’s because in the spring of 2021, with the WP 5.7 release, they will be removing that bridge permanently.
So basically, they are giving developers and site owners about 9 months to get up to speed with all core code.
Go ahead and break it!!!
Yes, it’s a lot of hoops to jump through. But revolutions are messy. And this is all a good thing for us.
I’m thrilled that WP is getting over their stance to be so insanely backwards compatible out of fear of breaking things.
I saw go ahead and break it!!
Force plugin and theme devs to keep their code current.
If their stuff breaks, encourage site owners to move on to better themes and plugins that are keeping up.
In the end, this will be better for all of us as it will shake out the crap stuff that we really don’t need to be using anymore.
Moving away from the freebie mindset
And if developers have to work harder to keep up with more frequent coding changes, I’m betting that we will start seeing a drop off in free-only versions of plugins.
That’s actually a good thing for everyone.
This entire freemium ecosystem needs to come down.
Plugin devs are going broke trying to keep up with the changes and the support.
Hosting companies are going broke trying to keep up with support on things they don’t even truly offer support on, like WP plugins.
The freebie mindset of site owners needs to cease.
If you plan to make money from your site, then you need to get in a business mindset and expect start-up costs beyond hosting and domain.
Developers and site service providers need to be paid for their time and expertise.
And site owners need to start respecting that time and expertise by not taking for granted all of the insanely helpful plugins and services they get to use.
Keep in mind that many of these plugin devs are sitting in their bedroom office just like you are.
They don’t have unlimited time and resources, just like you.
And they need some patience and understanding for what they are having to deal with in all of these changes and support too.
Even making these free things available for a $5 fee helps with the site owner freebie mindset problem.
Site owners will have skin in the game.
They will also be less prone to throwing a bunch of plugins on their site just to try them.
My site audit clients can tell you first-hand how many conflicts and bloat that causes from all the orphaned files, folders, and database tables those deleted plugins leave behind.
And maybe it will encourage site owners to properly vet a plugin for speed and security first too.
Plus, it may make more site owners interested in following folks like me who devote all these non-billable hours into vetting vendors and their wares.
I would love for my site audit business to go down radically because site owners are doing things well the first time out of the gate and they don’t need so many past mistakes cleaned up.
READ: Moving from a Newb to a Money Making Mindset to see why this change is in your best interest.
And then re-read my earlier notes about the client who invested in all of this early and very quickly recouped it to the point that she can now hire out her site maintenance and other tasks.
Then ask yourself how much money you are making compared to how long you’ve been at this and see if your mindset is what’s holding you back.
Is it time for a change in perspective about what’s important and what’s worth paying for to run an online business that makes you real money?
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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