Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- 38 new Gutenberg Ninja Tutorials
- Why you need to consider moving to a better host even if you don’t think you’re having trouble with the current one
- WordPress 5.3 RC1 has been released and when we can expect the full release
- An update on the change of plans for Phase 2 of Gutenberg
- A complete guide to starting a WordPress maintenance business
- Where to get the training you need to do site maintenance work
- How to prepare a theme for the release of WordPress 5.3
- New custom setups on 3 popular Genesis themes
- Super updates in the latest Genesis community news report
- Why Google is sending warning emails on the new breadcrumb report
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’ve been a tutorial making maniac again this week with new Gutenberg Ninja tutorials.
Plus, I’ve moved 3 clients to better hosting, and done massive cleanup on over 10 sites this week. Whew!!! And, I got another couple of pallets torn down for the lumber and I’ll tell you how that played into my BlogAid week in a moment.
By this weekend I was up to 38 new or revamped tutorials, including the Quick FAQs and Skill Builders. And I’m still going!!
Besides the astonishing advancements made in the Gutenberg plugin over the last 3-4 months, all of which will be rolled into WordPress 5.3 in November, I’ve learned a lot of neat tips and tricks by working with Gutenberg on Heartwood Art that I want to share with you.
So, jump on over to my post from yesterday with details on all the new goodies for working with images and all the neat things you can do with columns for related posts and more.
Plus see what’s coming down the pike in the next two weeks with more examples and templates you can swipe for landing pages and reusable blocks too.
If you’re already in the course, I’ll be sending out an email just as soon as I complete revamping this first section. And then I’ll send emails as I get the new sections expanded. So, look for those to start later this week.
Move to Better Hosting
I hear this all the time from site owners in defense of staying at their junk host, like Bluehost, “I’ve been using them for years and never had a problem.”
All I can say is, “Come get a site audit and I’ll show you the problems!”
And that’s exactly what happened with 3 of my current clients.
The audit revealed all manner of issues with their current hosting setup, including goofy stuff the host did in an attempt to fix something.
They also saw just how poor the support was from that host when I started asking questions about that setup and trying to straighten it out.
Plus, 2 of them saw just how impossible it was to even work on the backside to clean things up. With one client that had 5 sites, we had a whole other WordPress installation in a sub-folder on one site that nobody could identify what it was and why it was there. And it was goofing with the live site and making it impossible to login, or even hold a new login and such too.
And another one of those sites had the goofiest redirect setup I’ve ever seen that the host did. Took way more time to straighten that out than any of us really wanted to spend on it, but it’s right now, and fast too and the site owner is so glad not to be fighting these battles with the host and trying to figure out all of that goofiness herself anymore too.
If you want a fast, secure site, and the non-techie education to keep it that way, then come get your site audit and we’ll get you squared away and/or get you to a decent host where we can square it away and you’ll know how to keep it like that.
Getting a Good Sweat On
Some of the work I’ve done in the past couple of weeks to help clean up sites has been so rough and I’ve been putting in so much overtime to keep all the plates spinning that I just had to take off early a couple of nights and go do something physical instead of so mental.
I got a bunch of pallets nearly a year ago and decided to start tearing them down for some rough wood to use in my upcoming art projects on Heartwood Art. https://heartwoodart.com
Oh lawdy! These things are industrial strength pallets that were never made to come apart!!!
Talk about getting a good sweat on!!!!
I had to take a pallet buster, a 3’ crow bar, a regular crowbar, and a sawsall to them.
Lesson learned about thinking heavier pallets would yield heavier and better wood. Plus, I discovered the new place I live is surrounded by pallet builder companies and they have cheap, unused boards for sale that are a mix of soft and hardwoods.
So, I’m just going to cut down the rest of the pallets that I’ve got and not try to pry the main structure boards apart anymore, and then start buying the unused boards for art projects from now on.
But, those pallets did serve their purpose in getting me out of the office and doing something physical, and for that I’m thankful.
I know many of you are coming into the heart of your busy season right now too.
And I hope you take care of yourself and walk away now and then and do something entirely different to help you rejuvenate.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
The first Release Candidate is out for WordPress 5.3.
An RC means that they have stopped adding anything new and are just focusing on any bug fixes as folks who are testing report them.
The final release is due to roll out Nov 12.
I expect we’ll see an RC 2 with bug fixes before then.
I’ve been using the nightly releases of 5.3 on my Gutenberg test site where I’m making all these new tutorials and I haven’t found any bugs yet. But then, I don’t have that site loaded with the standard compliment of plugins I normally use either. And it’s on a standard WP theme. So, that’s not a deep test.
But, it does have all the functions of the Gutenberg plugin rolled into the core and I’m able to run without the plugin, which I will be advising we drop right after we update to WP 5.3.
They are throwing in a LOT of updates from a LOT of angles into this release, so it’s not all about Gutenberg by any means.
SEE: my video walkthrough of What’s New in WordPress 5.3 for more details on what you can expect, and why we won’t be the first folks to update.
You can also see the full Field Guide to WP 5.3 for more technical details on all of the mass changes.
We are squarely in Phase 1 of Gutenberg, which is the new text editor.
Phase 2 was supposed to be about bringing blocks to other sections of the site, like widgets, sidebars, menus, and such.
And it still is.
But, so many theme developers have embraced Gutenberg that they have actually advanced well past the Phase 2 plans.
And the WordPress developers have taken notice and adjusted their plans too.
Now they are looking at a far more comprehensive Phase 2 to make Gutenberg a full site editor that completely unifies the entire editing experience.
I think that’s super smart, especially considering the rapid development by third party vendors.
But that’s also why WP development has to go slower than these 3rd party developers.
A theme or a plugin might impact 1 million site owners who choose to use that product.
WordPress impacts 75 million sites in total.
And those are all levels and types of sites to consider.
So, a theme that is mainly geared toward foodie and DIY bloggers has very different considerations than a site that runs a full e-commerce store or a behemoth news site that has multiple contributing authors.
So, we will continue to see rapid major advancements by 3rd party devs with both themes and plugins that far outpace the core Gutenberg development.
And that has a lot to do with what I choose to cover in the Gutenberg Ninja course too.
I have tutorials aimed at what my followers need to know to build real-world blocks that they have to have for the types of posts and marketing they do.
But I’m super excited about this change of focus by the WP devs and I think they are on the best path with Gutenberg development based on feedback from both what end users need and what 3rd party vendors are creating.
So, go read the update post from the WP devs to see more of what I’m seeing with the way this thing is going and why I’m so excited about it.
Are you a designer who wants to branch out or expand more into a full site maintenance service?
Then most definitely go read this post from the nice folks at ManageWP.
Get the Webmaster Training You Need
And if you need to learn how to do the technical side of the things they mention, then come see my Webmaster Training for Designers course.
It’s made specifically for designers and covers everything from setting sites up securely in the first place, or securing an existing site, to doing full HTTPS conversions, plus a full Performance section on how to make sites fast.
And, you’ll learn how to do deep site audits just like I do.
It will most definitely impact how you do your designs now, and you’ll learn what slows down a site.
Even if you don’t intend to take on site maintenance, you can still earn more money, just like you’ll see in the testimonials about how other designer/webmaters were able to set themselves apart from the pack and offer more services, including one-off services like site audits or security or performance.
Plus our free Facebook group is a gold mine of help. And we regularly hire each other for specialty work too.
This is a must-read for all theme designers, especially if you have custom styles for Gutenberg blocks.
WordPress is breaking with tradition for maintaining backwards compatibility when it comes to block styling. And honestly, this early in the game with Gutenberg, I think that’s a good idea so they can get off what will lead to a broken road and get on a good path with the naming conventions and styles and such on the backside. It ensures that styling remains with the theme, not with the block, and that’s the way it should be.
And, this is also why I have limited the specialty block plugins and tutorials in my Gutenberg Ninja course to those that I believe are in alignment with core WordPress features and/or are keeping up with the changes. Some of the one-off plugins by single developers are just not keeping pace. Those that are coming from agencies that have other paid products to support the development of their free plugin offers seem to be keeping pace.
So, I’m vetting the plugins I recommend and cover on more than just function. If we’re going to use these things, we need to know they will be around for years and that they are actively being maintained.
Course Maker Pro, from BrandiD, plus Magazine Pro and Monochrome Pro from StudioPress have all had a major update and contain different setup configurations with dummy content that you can add right at installation.
This gives you a major head start on customizing the theme for your needs.
Now you just edit what’s there instead of starting from scratch.
This is an extension of the type of changes Genesis has been making all year. They added 1-click generic setup features to many of the themes. And now they are adding specific setups for individual themes.
That should make it way easier for folks new to Genesis themes to get started.
Go check out the post for more info and details on the things added to each theme.
The nice folks at Genesis have started a new monthly series with a roundup of what they are up to plus what other 3rd party Genesis developers have contributed or released.
In this second edition of the series, there are a couple of highlights I want to point out that I think you’ll find interesting.
- Genesis 3.2 beta is available and will include: native Open Graph support (yields to Yoast), lazy loading images in Chrome, updates to the markup API, and more. They didn’t mention a potential release date, but if history holds true, it will likely be right around when the next WP version releases. I’ll have more on what’s in this release soon.
- Bill Erickson, a long-time developer and trainer on Genesis design, has released a Genesis+Gutenberg Guide that is a must-read for all Genesis designers. You definitely want to jump on this Gute train now while it’s still easy to learn, and before folks start charging for this info.
Both Google and Yoast advise the use of Breadcrumbs to supplement site navigation for both the visitor and for bots crawling the site.
Breadcrumbs are those little links at the top of some pages indicating the click route you took to reach the page you’re on.
While they are helpful for corporate-level sites with deep linking, I’m not a fan of them for most bloggers.
We tend to change things around too much and it just confuses Google.
Same with setting up a parent/child page structure. It just doesn’t work well for bloggers.
Recently, Google has included a Breadcrumb report in Search Console.
On top of that, it has started sending emails with warnings if it finds issues with the schema markup in that breadcrumb structure.
It is especially concerned about any empty fields on rich data types.
This would mostly affect recipes and maybe products too, if you run an e-commerce site.
The best way to fix this is to look for what’s creating the breadcrumbs, like:
- Breadcrumb plugins
If you’re a blogger, seriously consider turning them off, especially if your content is no more than 3 clicks deep to get to each page or post.
Otherwise, you’ll need to fix whatever the issue is, and that may include contacting the developer of the thing providing the breadcrumbs, or filling in all of the missing fields.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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