Hello Happy Site Owners! This week’s tips include new events coming up at BlogAid, HostGator goes down again, your Snippet Preview, site security plugins, what’s coming in G+ Communities and why you might want to start one, a great Hangout On Air to watch, and 33 questions that will improve your site, so let’s dive in. Listen to the podcast.
New Events Coming
As most of you know, I quit my day job a couple of months ago, but before doing that, I squirreled away some extra savings for the last several years to help me through the annual summer slump that hits almost everyone in the business of site creation. I was going to use that time to be a farmer and plant seeds for new projects that I can now be more available for, and to set up systems to work to keep a steady flow between client work, promotion, and creating tutorials and trainings.
Well, there may be no summer slump this year. I’ve had several wonderful conversations this past week with folks who I’ll be partnering with to bring you even more goodies. The fact is, this industry is just too broad now, with too many changes for any one person to keep up with. And I’m delighted that it’s working out for me to team up with other great folks who specialize in other areas of online success in ways that we completely complement each other and can work together to create some awesome programs.
I’m VERY excited about a couple of them and you’ll be hearing all about them as they draw near.
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More Video Tutorials
I’m still in video tutorial making heaven as I revamp the BlogAid Video Tutorial Library. I’ve got over 30 new videos for you and found a lot of neat little tricks as I was making them. I’ll have some blog posts with just those soon.
Even if you’ve been using WordPress for a while, I promise that you’ll find something you didn’t know that will change your site for the better. I can stand behind that promise because 80% of the clients who train with me don’t know the fundamentals of WordPress and many have serious issues with their site setup too.
And I’m throwing all manner of tips and tricks into these videos as well that go way beyond the mechanics of simple how-to tips. This is the stuff that will make you and your site successful.
I intend to make this the gold standard of video libraries on the web for
WordPress, SEO, authorship, MailChimp and more.
And I need your help. If you need affordable training, or you know folks who do, send them on over to the library. You get over 5 hours’ worth of instruction for just $1 in the WordPress Basic library alone.
If you’re a designer or developer and hate training your clients on the basics, send them on over.
Same for coaches who want to focus more on strategy and less on the actual site stuff.
And all of you social media trainers who help folks with their sites on the side, how much could your clients benefit from watching videos and learning at their own pace?
And if you need a geek to speak, I’m available for that too.
Okay, enough with the not so subtle self-promotion and on to this week’s tips.
The big news this week is that Hostgator is down, yet again. It seems to be trouble with their servers in Provo D.C. area. So, if that is where your site files are, you’re probably experiencing intermittent up time and email disruptions.
If you’re tired of it and ready to move, here’s your Migration Guide for A2 Hosting, which is my preferred vendor.
I will also say this. No hosting service is immune to disruption, A2 included. It just seems to be happening a whole lot more frequently these days with all hosts owned by EIG. Just a few weeks ago BlueHost was having severe downtime too.
When you do get ready to switch, I also suggest that you check your PHP level. Both BlueHost and now HostGator have upgraded to PHP 5.4. A2 is still on version 5.3 for the time being, but I hear they have plans to upgrade all servers in the near future. You can ask the nice folks on the A2 Guru Crew to update your account prior to migration from these other servers. Might save you some trouble if you have specialty plugins that require that level of PHP.
The WordPress SEO plugin has been updated to version 188.8.131.52. One of the enhancements was reintroducing the ‘Strip the category base (usually /category/) from the category URL.’ option. So, if you use that, you may want to check your settings. This could definitely impact your SEO.
Plus, Yoast has a new post about the changes to the snippet preview. You may recall me reporting in a previous Tips Tuesday that Google changed their font for titles in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and now they only display about 55 characters. Well, the snippet preview in Yoast’s plugin still said you had about 70 characters.
Now it issues a warning if you go over 55. But, I did see that he made some changes to it in this latest update because something in there was actually breaking the preview. So, I’m not sure what it shows now, and if it is only in conjunction with the focus keyword, advanced SEO combo for checking things. I never use that stuff, and if you want to know why, you’ll have to come to my next webinar on it. I’ll show you how it graded a post that was on the front page of Google for a month.
Also, has anyone else noticed how frequently this plugin is updating now? I’ve seen a couple of posts on G+ and on WordPress groups about it. Some of us are just waiting a week to update because sometimes there are at least two rev changes in that time.
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Contact Form 7 updated
They fixed the misuse of Akismet 3.0. It was marked as deprecated. So, if you have been getting spam on your contact form, that may be why. And did you know that this plugin natively supports Akismet integration with just a few simple lines of code? Yep, that’s one of those super tricks I found while updating the video tutorial on it.
The WordFence plugin has been updated to 5.0.6 and the beta of 5.0.7 is available for testing. I don’t use WordFence. And not because it doesn’t work pretty well. It does. There are multiple combinations of ways to help protect your site from a variety of attacks. This is one tool in that chest. WordFence does a lot of things, but it doesn’t do it all. And I prefer to hard code anything that I can and not rely on a plugin if possible.
There is one thing about WordFence that I both love and hate. The notifications. I think they’re great for showing site owners just how much their site is under attack every minute of every day. But, that’s also an indication of how many of those attacks are hitting the server that your site files are on. And all of those attacks and notifications are chewing up your allocated resources. It’s far better to stop the attack prior to it reaching your server, and there are low cost ways to do that.
Read my post on How Site Performance and Security Work Together
But, those notifications are also reported to WordFence HQ. and those folks do an awesome job of staying on top of that monitoring and even helping hosts that are under attack by telling them the origin. And that is truly helpful. It’s sort of like GPS monitoring. They pick up everyone using it in an area and report traffic slowdowns to everyone. And like those GPS things, you won’t get that info until you’re already in that congested area.
If you’ve caught the Canva craze to create your images, you’ll love this round up by the uber helpful +Illeane Smith. She pulled together links for several tutorials and videos that will show you all kinds of tips and tricks with Canva, and easy ways to get started if you haven’t tried it yet.
Speaking of images, I mentioned this briefly last week, but it’s important and bears repeating. I want you to be super careful about a new feature that rolled out on G+. If the images and setup on your site are just right, then they will trigger huge, full-bleed images in the G+ News feed. To my knowledge, it only happens with posts and requires certain schema markup. You definitely don’t want to go tricking out your markup just to get this feature.
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+Martin Shervington was kind enough to gaze into his crystal ball for us and render a prediction on the use of G+ Communities for businesses. He cites two main uses, which is internal for the business itself and second, to build relationships and develop loyal fans.
What I really want you get from this post are the 10 reasons he gives, including how Google Search favors its own and promotes content from public Communities in search.
And if you’re struggling to figure out what content to create that folks need, he says that private Communities are a super source for ideas. They foster a lot of discussion and you can glean a lot of insight about the questions folks have that you have the answer to, or can create an answer to that is authoritative. And sharing your content into one of these niche groups could build your authority and viral-ness in a hurry.
HOAs to Watch
+Denise Wakeman and +Stephan Hovnanian are two of my fave folks and they teamed up for an Hangout On Air that’s worth watching. They talk a lot about what it takes to get noticed online, including strategies for using big images or not, and the difference in your everyday posts on social media compared to what you need to do to promote a launch.
You may remember in last week’s Tips Tuesday me talking about the new big image features on G+ and chasing the latest gimmick. Well, I think Denise has tried just about every promotion strategy anyone has ever come up with plus a few she just made up. She’s got nearly two decades of this under her belt and Stephan is a rising star on G+ who has earned his spot. So definitely a conversation worth listening to about what works and why do it.
Site Success Tips
You may remember last week that I just had a chat with you in Tips Tuesday with some rather thought provoking questions about what you’re doing with your online business. Well, Marko Saric has taken that up a few notches with this post.
And this past week in that HOA I just mentioned, I heard Stephan Hovnanian say that if you want folks to tune into your channel, you’re going to have to take yourself seriously. And I think these 33 questions posed by Marko will help you pinpoint areas where you can do just that and have even more success.
And that’s what I want to leave you to ponder for this week’s Tips Tuesday. Feel free to ping me on G+ with tips you know will be helpful to folks, or news I cover. It really does take a village to keep up with all of the changes and I appreciate the folks who I follow for sharing such wonderful tips too. And please do leave a comment on the blog, on iTunes, or on Google Plus. I love hearing from you. Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.