Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Gutenberg course launching this week
- Where to get a discount on the Gutenberg course
- Whether it’s safe to update to WP 5.2 or not
- How to ensure you have a complete backup solution
- What’s up with GoDaddy purchasing CoBlocks
- Why you need to get on the Gutenberg train
- 2019 Hosting Benchmark report is out
- Testing results for speed and SEO on the GeneratePress theme
- New features and SEO in WP Tasty and WP Recipe Maker plugins
- New speed reports in Google Search Console
- Updates and sessions coming to the DIY SEO course
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 open Q&A time for what caught your attention in this week’s tips or whatever you’d like to discuss about your site success. And, I always have breaking news for the day too. So come join us live for the party.
To say I’ve been a video making maniac this past week would be an understatement!
Gutenberg Course Launching This Week
The core of the Gutenberg course tutorials are complete, including most of the specialty blocks for better styling and function.
So I will be doing a special early bird release this week for my Webmasters and Site Audit Plus clients who will receive a deep discount.
Gutenberg Specialty Blocks and Themes
This week I’ll also be reviewing several themes that were created specifically to use with Gutenberg.
And those tutorials will complete the course.
I’ll be releasing it to the public as soon as I have those ready.
BlogAid News Subscribers Get a Discount
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You’ll get my posts plus special notifications on course and services discounts, like when the Gutenberg course becomes available at a special grand opening price.
And that’s how I let you know about critically important site news too.
So, be sure you’re subscribed.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Is it safe to update to WordPress 5.2?
That’s a good question.
I haven’t heard anyone screaming about issues yet.
But I have heard grumblings in the dev communities about the new security features.
Plans are to take some of the new features out in version 5.3.
So, it’s a flip of a coin about updating.
I don’t believe it will break your site, but I don’t really know what potential hole may be opened with the security.
I’m going to go ahead with the updates so I can monitor.
I wish I could be more definitive with a suggestion for everyone, but the crystal ball is a little cloudy on this one.
All I can tell you is what I’m doing and you’ll be in the same boat I’m in.
I can’t stress enough how important it is that you ensure you have a complete backup solution.
Be sure to see my Backup Checklist so that you are positive you are getting everything you need to restore your site fully.
That includes files outside of WordPress, like your .htaccess and robots.txt that are part of your HTTPS and site security too.
Plus, you don’t want to lose all those verification files for things like Pinterest and such either.
Last year, managed hosting giant WPEngine purchased both Genesis, the makers of the framework and StudioPress themes, as well as Array Themes, the makers of Atomic Blocks.
In a copycat move, GoDaddy has recently acquired CoBlocks, ThemeBeans, and Block Gallery.
Both companies are looking to offer a full Gutenberg solution for their hosting clients.
I tried CoBlocks while I was writing up the Gutenberg tutorials for block suites. I wasn’t too impressed and don’t plan to do tutorials on them at this time. However, they are one of many block suite plugins I’ll be listing in the course that you may want to check out.
Get on the Gutenberg Train
And these moves should be the writing on the wall for you about how fast the switch to Gutenberg train is flying down the tracks.
Several companies are doing whatever they can to better position themselves for the massive change in the WordPress ecosystem that is coming.
Designers, wake up and get on this train!!! We’re talking about Gute a LOT over in our private webmaster Facebook group these days.
Knowing how to use Gutenberg and designing for blocks is your future.
I look forward to this report from Kevin Ohashi every year.
And I truly appreciate the time and hard work he puts into it.
In fact, I learned how to do speed testing from Kevin’s methodology, and that’s what I apply in my site audits and webmaster training too.
I encourage you to read the full report, but here is a summary of the hosts my clients use and some that I researched before moving my own sites to a new host.
SiteGround received an honorable mention on all levels it participated. But, it is not in the top winners. But their prices are up there with the winners. So, take that, and the goofy way they configure their servers when your triple renewal price comes around and see if you don’t want to check out something else.
A2 Hosting fell short in every level they participated due to issues with load handling. And that’s precisely why I moved off their servers.
Green Geeks and WPX Hosting were in the winner’s list, and were two of the hosts that I checked into during my research. They are good, but a little pricey.
NameHero is where I moved last month and I’ve been happy there so far. They did not participate in the study and I’ll be talking to Ryan, the owner, about doing that next year, as I think they will have a good showing.
If you’re looking to change hosting, my affiliate links are on the Resources page. And thank you for using them!!!
I also offer a migration service to help you have smooth move, and you may need that because NameHero offers custom nameservers for free, which is a super bonus, but does take an extra step to register. And if you’re coming from SiteGround, you’ll encounter their goofy setup on the database and PHP logic that needs to be put back to standard when you move. You won’t encounter that goofy coming from other hosts like A2.
See my Migration Checklist for more on what’s involved with a move to a new hosting environment.
GeneratePress Theme Speed and SEO Tests
Thank you so much to webmaster Lucy Davies of Cheese and Chickpeas for meeting with me live and setting up my test site with the GeneratePress theme.
We discovered that the more modules you turn on, the more CSS and JS files it adds.
I ran tests and compared it to the Genesis Sample child theme.
Even without caching, and fully loaded up with all CSS and JS files possible, it was faster and lighter than Genesis.
And with caching, it had a perfect score on a fully loaded post. So that was super impressive.
I also tested the SEO output. GeneratePress natively outputs microdata schema markup, just like Genesis. And that will conflict with Yoast SEO 11.x.
But, they do offer a filter to turn off the theme’s SEO. You would place it in your theme’s functions.php file.
I retested with that filter and all was well and Yoast took over the schema markup.
Now, I also saw on a support thread Lucy sent me that they still have one SEO output issue they are working on as of last month. I just didn’t see that particular item in my tests. So do check on that thread for any additional site elements you have that may be affected.
But, this is exactly what I meant by Yoast leveling the playing field for more themes to compete with Genesis.
I don’t know what it’s like to design on GeneratePress, but with all the buzz it’s getting, perhaps it is an alternative to Genesis and Divi that folks can look into using.
So, I’m taking all these test numbers with a grain of salt in regard to this point.
WP Tasty and WP Recipe Maker updates
When Yoast SEO 11 rolled out, I predicted that other plugins, which also output schema markup, would be smart to tie into Yoast.
WP Tasty has new schema markup that also integrates with Yoast SEO 11.x. And good thing too, as their markup fell short in my initial tests of the best recipe plugins to use.
WP Recipe Maker also released a big update recently, but it was mainly for the recipe input interface. I heard it through a few folks for a loop at first.
I’ll be retesting the schema on both of these plugins, as well as all others I tested and will be updating my post on it as soon as I can.
This is the 5th new report in GSC in less than a month.
And all of this change has made GSC super buggy in both crawling and reporting.
I’m hearing folks scream from all corners.
And some SEO pros are saying they are just now fully recovering from the big de-indexing issue that took weeks to fix.
You can get the skinny on the other new reports in last week’s Tips Tuesday.
New DIY SEO Course Updates Coming
If you’re seeing new issues with either Yoast SEO or in GSC, please be patient.
Some of them will work themselves out.
And that’s why you’re not hearing me report on all of it too much either.
None of us have time to chase our tails on bugs that will resolve themselves.
I’m going to give all of this another week, maybe two, and then I’ll be updating the DIY SEO course with tutorials on the new reports.
I’ll also be getting with members in that course to check any issues that seem to remain and we’ll get to the bottom of them.
There are some things already in the GSC reports that we know to ignore.
In fact, there’s quite a bit that is a complete waste of our time to even look at, much less investigate.
It’s not helpful info. It’s an overwhelm of useless info.
And I’ll do my best to help us all sort through it.
So, look for bonus sessions, new tutorials, and maybe even new workshops coming to the course too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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