Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Update on the paid social share buttons case study and why I’m not releasing it yet
- The new Pinterest share case study has begun
- Why I’m researching new hosts
- An update and new posts for my hobby to money-making site
- Why I have to get theme performance testing done and what’s coming for the Webmaster Training
- Why it’s time to delete one of my long-standing recommended plugins
- What country is getting massive bad bots through and if these are probes for a DDoS attack
- Why SiteGround dropped showing IP addresses in AWStats
- Why you need to log out when you’re not using WordPress and the toll it takes on your site if you don’t
- A new site and property verification in Google Search Console
- Hard proof of why we all need to scream for SiteGround to give us our resource meters back
- What’s coming in the next two Genesis releases
- How to find your audience’s biggest pain points and why you should
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Busy week here filled with site audits and fixes, plus creating posts and videos.
And of course, case study stuff.
Paid Social Share Buttons Case Study Update
I’ve completed the performance and setup testing on my top 2 plugins from the Best Free Social Share Button Plugins case study report that have a paid version.
They are Social Pug and Social Warfare.
But, I’m holding off on releasing that results post. And here’s why.
Pinterest Share Case Study
I started my Pinterest-only case study.
The plugins include:
- Tasty Pins
- jQuery Pin It Button
- Pinterest Pin It Button
- Pinterest Pin It Button on Image Hover and Post
I’ll also be testing sharing from the browser.
I need all of this data on these plugins when used standalone first.
And then I’ll combine with the 2 paid share button plugins, and with Yoast SEO in the mix.
That matters more than I can tell you, as each of them can overlap the other.
So, it’s important to get a whole picture first so I can tell you about the combos and settings to use.
So, I’ll be releasing the paid plugin case study results after I have that whole picture. And then the Pinterest-only post right behind it.
That may be another week or so, as I need to ask my Site Audit Plus clients about their settings and usage.
Plus, Kate Ahl will be collaborating with me on those posts and I am so grateful for her input.
I’m also researching new hosting options. It’s time to look around and see what else is out there and ensure my recommendations are current with the best of the best.
I’m not saying anyone should leave SiteGround or A2 Hosting at this point.
I’m interviewing a couple of hosts this week and will likely be moving to one of them in the next month or so. There’s no way I’m recommending anything that I haven’t tried myself.
It could take a few months to see how it goes, and I’ll keep you posted.
Heartwood Art Update
I’m also delighted to report that I got my first video made for the woodworking site!!
And it’s on a topic that has a lot of searches.
It took me 20 minutes to make that wood rack, but it took me 2 weeks to make the post.
So, I missed all of January and February with posting on Heartwood Art, but you’ll see why in another post I published here on BlogAid that helps catch you up on the backstory of the investments in time and money, and delays that it took to get this thing launched.
I’ll have another post for you tomorrow on the research and thought process that went into making my editorial calendar. And you’ll understand why I made the first post that I did.
I believe that will give you tons of inspiration for yours too.
The main thing is, I’m launched and now it’s just a matter of working it.
Gutenberg Course and Theme Revamp Service Coming
The next really big hurdle with that site will be the theme revamp, and I’ll be the first guinea pig of my new Gute course and theme revamp service.
I hope to start on it before mid-March so I can release it before the month is over.
Theme Testing Next Up
But, before I decide which way I want to go with the theme, I also want to complete my theme speed testing so I ensure that I know what it will take to make the base I start with super fast.
I also want to get those test results out to my Webmasters.
And, in all my spare time, I’m restructuring the Webmaster Training levels.
I’ve actually just about figured out where I’m going to place what’s there. But I’m stuck with how to break up all this new theme performance and Gute stuff.
I really want to make some better standalone levels, but I can’t see a way to do that. So much of what makes a site fast is actually below the site, in the hosting.
On one hand that’s a good cross selling thing. But, it’s also a logistics issue with timeframe of subscription and upgrades.
So, it’s hard to present new tutorials if you don’t have the foundation, and I really do want to find a way to make these things as standalone as possible, and not get into an upgrade nightmare.
I’ll figure it out. Or, I may have a meeting with my Level 6 peeps to get their input on it.
Main thing is, I can’t just stay stuck here and put it on a back burner.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Delete GM Block Bots
If you had a site audit from me, then you likely have this plugin installed.
But, I’m no longer seeing the issues of ghost bot hits for why we needed it. I think the hosts are blocking bots from SEMALT and such now.
Plus, the plugin dev has been super slow to update it and it’s no longer current with WordPress.
So, make a note to yourself to just delete it. And it won’t leave any orphans.
Be sure to update your plugin spreadsheet too.
Massive Hits from Bulgaria
In site audits, across all hosts, I’ve been seeing a major uptick in hits from Bulgaria.
I don’t know how they are masking the bad bots to get through all security measures, but getting through they are.
It looks for all the world like probing ahead of a major DDoS attack.
We went through something similar about this time last year with me screaming by summer that a DDoS attack was imminent.
It happened, but most every host was able to mitigate it, meaning that traffic bottlenecked as it was being scrutinized, but the threats were sequestered and no major host went down over it.
So, our sites ran slower than normal, but they were up.
And this turned out to be the bomb that went off that nobody knew about.
Let’s hope Cloudflare and hosts and other security entities are seeing what I’m seeing and they are prepared.
No More IPs in AWStats
I’ve also noticed that the IP addresses hitting sites are no longer being shown in AWStats on SiteGround and I don’t know why. That’s a big detriment to a site audit, as we don’t know what to block.
It could be a security thing. Some hosts are not showing detailed info in the main error log anymore either.
Those things allow a hacker to get a hosting account and see what their cloaked bots are returning for headers and such.
There are raw log files, but I would need a good parser that also aggregates into the top hits. If you know of one, please tell me what you use. And there’s no guarantee that info is still available to us either.
Log Out When Not Actively Using WordPress
One of the things I look for in these logs is to see how much in resources site owners are chewing up by staying logged into their site when they are not actively working on it.
The meter is running the whole time with auto saves, and the cron ticking and admin-ajax firing.
So, be sure to log out when you’re not working on the site.
And do your content creation off the site too. That saves a lot. I do mine in Google Drive so I can access it from all of my devices.
That’s also how I do so much writing and researching from my deck, when it’s warm enough to be out there. I love my Chromebook for that!!!
GSC site verification change
Google has come up with yet another new feature in Search Console.
You can now combine all flavors of your domain into one property grouping, like:
- Non www
Here’s the official announcement from Google.
And here’s one from Search Engine Land with their take on it.
This will be rolled out over time – and is not in my account yet so I can’t test everything with it.
It will also cover sub-domains, as that is actually what www is. And I’m concerned how far that will go.
And I certainly don’t want them lumped in with my BlogAid stats on Search Console, as I consider them standalone sites.
So, we’ll see how this works out.
I’m also in the process of updating my tutorials in the DIY SEO course for verifying your site with the new Search Console interface, as it has this new feature in it already.
But, I also want to give Google time to quit tweaking on it every 5 minutes before I release those tutorials.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m researching new hosts. I’ve had my fill of SiteGround’s goofy setup on some stuff.
One of those things is the way they did their own build for the resource meters that show usage for:
- I/O – database
Since the last major cPanel update, none of that stuff works anymore.
I’ve been calling for all of us to open a ticket and start screaming for them to give us those meters again, but I bet none of y’all have done it.
Well, jump over to see this post about what it takes to track down high CPU usage for just a plugin.
This is the info you are missing.
And I can’t help you with identifying overages during site audits without it.
Keep in mind that SiteGround has super tight container hosting, meaning that if you go over your resources, your site gets shut down.
And now you have no way to see or even troubleshoot the issue.
Please, help yourself and open that ticket.
I cannot do this by myself. It will take all of us.
And let us know you did it too!!!
They are going to tell you to use AWStats. That’s not even close to being an acceptable substitute and they know it. So don’t let them off the hook with that reply.
Tell them you want the standard resource meters back so you can keep tabs on your site.
Last week I mentioned that it’s safe to update to Genesis 2.9. Well, it would be if you had it!!!
The beta has been released and I saw it on my test sites.
But, it’s not out for public release yet, but it will be soon.
And, it’s mainly just a continuation of the work they have started for more Gutenberg integration and block building, plus a better onboarding experience, and leaner code.
You can read more about what’s coming in Genesis 2.9 and 2.10 in this recap.
I’m pretty excited about several of the things they are addressing in the next few releases, including the possibility of a form wizard that asks you what sort of site you are building and including the things it thinks you will need for that in the onboarding process.
I think this will help more folks get over the question of “what’s the best theme to use for such-and-such business” too.
Almost any theme can be used for any business if you have a knowledgeable designer. But having your structure and layout determined from a few questions would be super helpful to get you started.
Some folks read blogs for pleasure. But most folks search the internet because they have a problem.
Posts that solve that problem are a big win for SEO.
I enjoyed this post on Blogging Wizard about how to go about finding the big pain points of your audience.
Those are your best bets for high-traffic blog posts.
What problems can you help solve? Leave us a comment and let us know the kinds of things your potential readers are searching for help with and what you’re doing to help solve it.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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