Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Why where you host matters so much, even which country
- The junk that can come over during a host migration
- Top 4 ways to turn off Gutenberg and when to do it
- Why you must upgrade your PHP level before the end of the year
- The next Google Search Console Live Lab on Thursday for Coverage Report Exclusions
- The big voices calling for a delay in the WordPress 5.0 release, and how long we’ll be waiting
- Matt Mullenweg’s open Q&A about Gutenberg and WordPress at WordCamp Portland
- WP Rocket has 3 fantastic features, but maybe you shouldn’t use them, see why
- Google PageSpeedInsights has revamped their report, and it still misses the mark
- What’s in the new Google Search Console Property Sets feature
- A nice guide to getting started with FooGallery, which is one of my fave plugins
- What the heck happened to Pixabay?
- Best Email, Chat, and Social Media Tools for 2018 and beyond
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Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live later today at 3pm ET / 12pm PT for the party and an interactive Tips Tuesday recap and breaking news discussion on the BlogAid Facebook Page. You can also catch the quick recap later that evening on the BlogAid YouTube Channel.
Where Your Host Servers Are Matters
This week I’ve been helping a couple of clients move around multiple sites.
One is consolidating about 20 sites down to 3. We finished that part of the project and now moving on to site audits for the remaining ones. This is in anticipation of moving to a better host provider too, and possibly a better location.
The site owner is in Australia, as is her host. But most of her clients are in the U.S. So, she was thinking of a U.S. based host, but that might not be the best move.
With Cloudflare, it doesn’t necessarily matter where your host server is. Your site will be delivered from the visitor’s nearest mirrored location. But, that’s only for what it has cached.
So, the first U.S. person to visit will get a slower page load of non-cached page elements, but everyone else visiting from that mirrored location will get the faster cached version.
While that’s true even if your host is in the U.S., the non-cached versions directly from the host are still going to be faster from a U.S. based server.
So, on one hand it makes sense to move to a U.S. based host.
On the other hand, when you’re logged into the site as an Admin, you are pulling directly from the host at all times. So, having the hosting in another country is going to make it slower for her to work on the backside.
There is a thing called Railgun to help with this, but it is an extra expense.
So, there’s a lot to think about with a move like this and what’s best for everyone.
The Junk that Comes Over with Host Migration
This week I’ve also been helping a client move 5 sites from individual cPanels at her host to a new WHM (reseller) account at A2 Hosting (aff link). Getting them all under one umbrella is going to make them easier to manage and give her a whale of a lot more headroom for hosting resources too because she moved to a Managed VPS server.
That’s a great package if you have one or two big sites that get all the traffic and the other sites get only a little traffic. The full hosting resources are available wherever they are needed, unlike a shared reseller account where every cPanel has hard limits on resources.
The old host had her main site so locked down with minimal resources that we couldn’t even run a backup. And the site was not that big.
We had the exact same problem when we moved to A2 because it was a cPanel migration and all those directives from the other hosting environment setup came along in the move.
I had to delete and modify 20 files to get all that junk out of there.
Now her backup runs in about 3 minutes, including sending the files to AS3 for storage.
Once I got the list of what files to remove or edit, I could make quick work of it on all the other sites that came over.
We’re doing audits on all of them and getting the security locked down, plus putting every site on Cloudflare to protect the new IP addresses.
That’s going to really reduce the drag on the new hosting resources too.
All those bots that were hitting directly on the old IP will find no place to go now, and all the bad bots hitting on the domain will get kicked to the curb due to all the new IP firewall rules we set up.
And yes, there is already a noticeable improvement with speed, even though we didn’t tweak on that. She was already using WP Rocket. We just cleaned up the hosting side of things to get the additional boost.
All of this just goes to prove that where you host, and how clean your hosting account is, plus proper security does in fact, directly impact your site speed. It’s not all about what you can do on the front end or adding plugins. A lot of it is on the backside.
And that is precisely what a full site audit shows you.
And that’s why getting help with your host migration pays off too.
I hope you had a chance to read my post from last week on all the ways I’m recommending to turn off Gutenberg when WP 5.0 roles out.
The news is that they have delayed the rollout for a week, which puts it after Thanksgiving.
And, they will be bundling the Classic Editor plugin in the update, and this is the top way I suggest most site owners do this.
So, do read the post for all the ways to ensure you choose the one that best suits your needs as either a DIY site owner or a webmaster.
But, hold off on doing anything until I give the green light.
Make sure you’re subscribed to BlogAid News and you actually open those emails in a timely manner, so you stay on top of what to do and when with this critical update.
For my Site Audit Plus clients, you’ll get a special email and post in our Facebook group, and maybe even a livestream there, with details and so you can ask questions.
I also hope you’ve had a chance to read my post from last week on upgrading your PHP version before the end of the year.
This is another thing you need to stay right on top of.
My Site Audit Plus clients and I enjoyed a live session on Friday about it, mainly to get the info out about when to do this upgrade, and what version to jump up to. Plus we had a nice open Q&A too, and folks asked me to put together a disaster plan series of posts for them. I’m working on that and will have it in your member site area as soon as I can.
It’s great to have a place to reference for when things go wrong so you don’t panic.
Deleting Cache Tutorial Coming Soon
Right now I’m putting together a post for everyone on how to delete cache everywhere when you make deep changes to your site, and for troubleshooting. Look for that tomorrow.
Next Google Search Console Live Lab on Thursday
Last week I met live with my DIY SEO course members for our first lab on the new Google Search Console interface.
Our next Lab is already posted and you’ll want to jump in now and do that prior to our live session this Thursday.
This one is all about the Coverage Report and that’s where you’re going to find all the goofy stuff in the new interface, and most all of the stuff that Google is going to email you warnings about too. So, we are really looking forward to this one.
Making Progress on the Woodworking Site
This past week I did a livestream into my Site Audit Plus client group to get ideas about possibly rebranding my carving site. And boy, did they ever come through with good ideas.
I’ve decided to keep my current domain, but I purchased another one and already have it forwarded to the site, and it will be the rebrand name.
I also jumped on several social media platforms and tied up that name wherever the main name was already taken. This week I’ll be grabbing that new name up on every platform I can think of, even if I’m not going to be active on it.
That’s something you might want to do too, and grab up your real name while you’re at it as well.
New Payment Processor for Member Sites
This past week I’ve been working closely with WishList Member support to find a way around the bug at PayPal that caused most of the folks who got in on the sales earlier this month to not get redirected back to the registration page and not get immediate access to their tutorials.
I believe we’ve found a work around and I’ll be testing that out this week ahead of my big holiday sales.
It’s not exactly a good time of year for PayPal to have a bug that they are taking their own sweet time fixing. So, we’re not waiting!!!
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
WordPress 5.0 Release Delayed One Week
There is mounting concern in the dev community that WP 5.0 is not ready for prime time.
The voices have gotten louder about pushing the release off to the alternate date of January.
Joost de Valk (of Yoast SEO) lead the charge with a post on his personal blog that calls for delay in WordPress 5.0 release.
He’s a huge voice in the WP community and this finally got the attention of the powers that be. Joost loves what Gutenberg will become, and has already made major updates to his SEO plugin to be ready for it. But as he points out in his post, Gutenberg broke on him while he was writing the article. It’s just not ready.
Right behind that came a post from WPTavern that agrees WP 5.0 is not ready too.
And note at the bottom of that post the uptick in minor updates every 2 weeks once WP 5.0 does roll out.
This, more than anything else, is why I strongly discourage anyone from updating to WP 5.0 anytime soon on their production, money-making site.
We’re going to let the dust settle for up to a month or more before updating.
If any security releases come out in that time, they will be backward compatible to WP 4.9.x.
Keep in mind that WP 5.0 is not just about Gutenberg. There will be other coding changes too, and we just don’t want to introduce those to our production sites right away either.
So, it’s not just about turning off Gutenberg and doing the update.
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WP and the lead dev on Gutenberg, finally heard the screams and decided to delay the release of 5.0, but not to January. He only pushed it back one week.
So, RC1, which is the first Release Candidate is expected on Nov 19 with the final release slated for Nov 27.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
But at least this pushes past Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Webmasters and designers and devs, you’ll definitely want to have a look at the whole video of this open Q&A with Matt at Portland’s recent WordCamp. It’s about way more than Gutenberg. It’s about where all of the web is going and the role WP plays in it.
Version 3.2 of WP Rocket has just been released and they add 3 new stellar features, but you need to be careful not to set up a conflict with them, especially if you’re one of my site audit clients.
New Preload System – this is great, but you don’t want to use preload if you’re using Cloudflare. It has taken over that function.
Facebook Pixel Add-on – anything that comes from the outside world can slow down your page load speed because you can’t cache it locally. This new WPR feature takes care of that for your Facebook Pixel. You don’t need to make changes to your FB Pixel tracking code. Just turn on the function in WPR. Be sure to see the post for more details.
Heartbeat Tab – A few years ago, WP turned up the auto save frequency, but it is too high and takes a toll on your hosting resources. WPR has added a way to have more granular control over turning it down.
You do not want to use this feature if you are a site audit client. I hard coded that function for you. And, you don’t want to use it if you already have a heartbeat control plugin. Or, you want to get rid of that plugin and do it through WPR.
And for my Site Audit Plus clients, you can see a post in your member area for all the common site audit fixes we did, just as a reminder.
In an effort to give you more info about your site speed and other issues, Google PageSpeed Insights has totally revamped their report.
They succeeded in giving you more info.
They failed in making it more useful or even more accurate.
In my speed test this past winter, I hit a tipping point where the faster I made a site the worse the scores got.
So, have a look if you like, but don’t rely on what it tells you. And don’t bother with trying to get a good score there.
READ: How to Test Your Site Speed Accurately to get real info you can use. But do be aware that this is only part of the story. As I mentioned early, lots of things on the backside of your site and at your hosting come into play with site speed. That’s why you need a full audit.
Google continues to tweak on the new Search Console by adding a new Domain Property Set.
Here’s how they describe it:
A “domain property includes all protocols, subdomains, and paths for the specific domain. This is an experimental property.”
I’ll be checking into this and will add a tutorial to the DIY SEO course when it looks like they will keep it around and/or stop tweaking on it.
I just love the FooGallery plugin!!!
If you’d like to see what it is all about, check out their Getting Started guide.
And, FooGallery is Gutenberg ready right now, and they have a tutorial on that as well. So bookmark that for later.
What Happened to Pixabay?
Pixabay has been my go-to image hub for great blog post images. Today I logged in and did a search and only 8 free images came up, and most of those did not match my search.
Plus they had an ad for Adobe Stock images.
I logged out and had a look around the site later and saw many more images, but not as many as I normally see in a search.
Have they been purchased or had a change in their TOS (Terms of Service) that I missed?
What’s your go-to place to get blog images – do share in the comments.
Lead generation is a big deal, even if that is just for your newsletter optin.
The folks at ManageWP have a nice collection of what they believe will be the best tools for email, chat, and social media for you to use.
But do look into how heavy these things are on your site before you try them. I know Sumo is a resource hog.
And there are several in there I’ve never heard of.
Do you use any of them? Tell us what you think in the comments.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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