Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Why you need to get your site spring cleaning booked now
- Free webinar this Thursday to see the power of Gutenberg
- Why there will be a one week delay you won’t mind on starting the DIY SEO workshops
- Why I’ll be making the data from my speed tests public this year
- Who built all of the themes I’ll be using in those speed tests
- Why the Toolset Blocks commitment to Gutenberg spells the death of page builders
- What’s coming next to Gutenberg
- Are you regularly checking your feedback data and why it’s critically important to do so
- Is keyword research totally dead now?
- Big congratulations to Mediavine on winning 2 Google Certified Publishing Partner Awards
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 7pm ET / 4pm 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.
Oh my, the first few weeks of 2020 have been like riding a rocket for me!!
How about you?
I did a major re-organization of my workflow in November and it made December my most productive month in years.
As I mentioned in my 2019 Year in Review post for BlogAid, I’ve got very ambitious goals for 2020 and I’m off to a good start with making them happen due to this new workflow.
Winter is always a super heavy season for site services. Everybody just has to get through the holidays and then they have a little break before they get all caught up in spring activities, so this is when they like to do things to improve their site.
That means I’m diligently working through the projects on my waiting list and onboarding as fast as I can.
Right now I’m booking into March so if you want site services this spring, like a site audit or migration to better hosting, best get on my list now.
My motto for 2020 is show and tell with an extreme emphasis on the show part.
So I’m delighted to be offering my first webinar of the year this coming week.
In fact, I’m crazy excited to show you the power of Gutenberg.
You will flip when you see what kind of layouts and styling you can easily do now.
The free webinar is:
Thur Jan 16 at 12pm ET / 9am PT
And you must register to attend live and/or have access to the replay.
The seating is limited, and so many folks have registered that I’ve asked all of my peeps who are already in the course, affiliates, and webmasters to watch the replay and free up seats in the live session for those who have never seen the power of Gutenberg.
So, be sure to join the Zoom meeting a few minutes early to ensure you claim your seat.
The Q&A is only available in the live event.
I was planning to begin our Quick Start Challenge this week for the DIY SEO course.
It ensures everyone has the basics taken care of before we start our live workshops.
That’s a daily email with one quick thing to check in your:
- Yoast SEO settings
- Google Connections like Analytics and Search Console
But, I came across 2 new issues with Google over the weekend and I need to check into them and update the tutorials if these things are not actually a bug.
So, we’ll get started on this series as soon as I have confirmation and info either way.
I know y’all had rather wait and do it right the first time than do it twice.
And, I’ll have the live workshop list out as soon as we begin the Quick Start Challenge too, with dates on the first two workshops so you can plan to attend.
Speed and Plugin Tests Starting Soon
If you’ve been following me for a while you know that every winter I start my annual speed and plugin tests.
And you also know that I usually only make the data of my speed tests available to my Webmaster Training members.
Well, the 400+ page report of raw data will still be available only to them.
But I’ll be making summary posts available to the public this year.
I told you I was serious about more show and tell!!
The first set of tests will be on a new full list of caching plugins to see which one really does make your site faster.
Several of them have changed over the last year and several new ones have popped up in the last two years. So, I’ll be giving all of them a fair shake this go round.
New Themes for the Speed Tests
I want to send a huge thank you to fellow webmaster and designer Michelle Phillips of Codefetti for making three identical sites for these speed tests using three very different theme platforms including:
And yes, that speaks volumes to the deep experience and versatility Michelle has with designing themes for her clients.
I’ll be using the Genesis theme for the first round of tests as it is what so many of my clients are using, and it will give a good load for the caching plugins.
Later in the testing cycle I’ll be putting these themes in a head-to-head test.
I can already tell you that Astra is going to win that race. These new tests are just to see by how much.
So, if you’re thinking about a theme revamp for 2020, seriously consider Astra.
And seriously consider asking Michelle to help you with it.
In fact, you can get some of that help right now in her fantastic Astra post series.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Phase 2 of Gutenberg is well underway. This will expand it from a content editor to a full theme builder.
And this is why I’ve been telling you that the death of page builders is drawing near.
While most of the major ones are trying to keep their identity and either compete with Gutenberg or run their own things alongside it, like Divi recently announced, at least one company has read the writing on the wall and gone full Gute.
The Toolset page builder has totally committed to Gutenberg and has launched Toolset Blocks.
Besides the dynamic content it brings to the editor, it also allows creation and control of theme elements like:
- Content templates
- Custom archives
- Custom search
I will be testing this new block suite plugin deeply. But even if it works well, I won’t be advocating folks jump over to it just yet.
There is yet a lot of change to come to the WordPress core code in Phase 2 of Gutenberg development. And I really think we need to see what they do with that, especially since so many things are going to come out of the Customizer and go to straight blocks for layout and design.
That’s going to cause an explosion of new theme development.
And I think it’s too early to jump on any bandwagon right now, else you may get roped into a way of doing things that gets the rug pulled out from under it as things progress.
I know this because I have a block suite plugin in the Gutenberg Ninja course right now that I included to give folks ideas of how complex block layouts were done, but showed them how to do it another way with native Gutenberg blocks.
I’ll soon be removing that set of tutorials and doing the same thing another way with the standardized set of blocks we now have since WP 5.3.
So, we’ve already seen some early devs, who jumped the gun on pushing the development of Gute, get the rug pulled out from under them when the core code went a different direction.
And that’s part of what you get in the Gutenberg Ninja course – someone who is deeply vetting what is being recommended, and advice on what to use and what not to use and why so your choices don’t come back to bite you in the butt down the road.
Since before its release in WP 5.0, there have been two versions of Gutenberg – what’s in the WP core and what’s in the Gutenberg beta plugin.
That double version will likely continue for at least all of 2020 and likely into next year.
In WP 5.3 they rolled all of the Gutenberg plugin functions at the time into the WP core, and I advised everyone to get rid of the beta plugin after that update.
Plus, all of the tutorials in the Gutenberg Ninja course are based on what’s now in the core of WP and not the plugin, and I plan to keep it that way and update the course as functions roll into the core.
But, I still keep the beta plugin on my test site so I can keep up with all of the new functions and changes, and I’m very excited about a few of the latest ones, and I know you will be too.
New functions in the 7.2 version of the Gutenberg beta plugin include:
- Add a new Buttons block for placing more than one button in a row. 17352
- The ability to add links to Media & Text block image, which we sorely need. 18139
- Navigation block: Support changing the font size, this is new and part of Phase 2. 19127
- Gallery block: Add images size selector, which I’m looking forward to testing for making interesting collages. 18581
And I’ll have more for you on all this as that stuff rolls into the WP core.
Are You Regularly Checking Your Feedback Data?
One of the other big re-organization tasks I had to do was totally revamp my analytics spreadsheets, not only for Google Analytics, but for the new reports in Google Search Console too.
And now that I have Heartwood Art on the SEO map, I need to do deeper tracking of it for those two things, plus YouTube, and of course Pinterest.
I spent all day Sunday doing the spreadsheet revamp so I can go way deeper into the data.
And I do mean all day.
But it was well worth it because that feedback is going to totally drive the major content revamp I have planned for BlogAid, as well as the new content I’ll be creating for Heartwood Art.
To be honest, BlogAid starting declining on Google search for all of 2019 due to three major factors:
- Old content not being kept updated
- Lack of new content
- Too much news hidden in only Tips Tuesday
The same is happening to BlogAid on YouTube as well.
Since so many new clients initially find me from looking up how to do something on Google, I have to make a content revamp a serious priority for 2020.
And a big part of where to start has everything to do with the data of what’s working and what’s not working anymore and that goes way beyond just Google Analytics.
Are you checking your data for feedback?
If you’re not, then that’s like being a cook and never once tasting the food you prepared, and having no idea how the folks you are serving it to responded to it.
And worse, you have no idea what they are ordering elsewhere that you could prepare.
So, do seriously consider making 2020 the year you see the true value in gathering feedback.
I guarantee that will make it seem like less of a chore and more like a tasty treat of inspiration.
I’ve been saying this in the DIY SEO course for the last two years – keyword research has been replaced by intent research.
Google’s AI is very powerful now and it tries to guess at the searcher’s intent with their query. It no longer just looks at a string of individual words.
Even Google’s own John Mueller agrees that there is still some room for keyword research, but it is becoming less and less important.
See this SEO Roundtable article for more on both what Google and Bing have to say about keywords and their role.
Congrats to the nice folks over at Mediavine!!!
At this year’s annual Google Certified Publish Partner Summit they were the recipients of not one, but two prestigious awards. The first was the 2019 Customer Satisfaction Award and the second was for the 2019 Highest Health Score Award – which was a perfect 100.
Not only that, but their Vice President of Publisher Support, Nicole Johnson, gave an impressive Lightning Round talk about how they onboard clients in a way that fosters a true partnership.
A LOT of my clients are with Mediavine for their ad network. And those who used other agencies ended up coming back to Mediavine. They say nothing beats their support and the pay is great.
I’ve worked with the dev team at Mediavine as well as having the pleasure of private meetings with Eric and Amber and I’m so impressed with their total commitment to their advertisers and bloggers alike – and their continual striving for perfection when it comes to helping folks run ads in a way that is both a good speed and end user experience while still being profitable.
So, kudos to the Mediavine group and your well-deserved awards.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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