Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week are all about the 4 super important things on our radar right now, and they are:
- Site speed
- Making more money
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Google Speed and HTTPS Deadlines Hit in July 2018
July 2018 is the deadline for both.
This will be the 3rd deadline for HTTPS related site stuff.
The first was back in Feb 2017 for anyone who had logins or payments on their site.
Then in October it was for anyone collecting any type of info, even like emails for newsletter optins and such.
This final penalty in July will be for all sites, no matter whether they are collecting any info or not.
All sites must be HTTPS.
If you used the free way to switch to HTTPS, that will eventually bite you in the butt.
Site owners are already coming to me with issues and wanting a real conversion.
One of the things they are now finding out is that their SSL certificates are not renewing if they use Cloudflare, and the hosts are telling them it’s Cloudflare’s fault.
That’s a lie.
It’s on the server end. If your host uses Varnish, it does not properly terminate SSL. The Nginx proxy is required to be a layer on top of Varnish to terminate it properly.
That’s also why so many hosts, including most of the EIG owned ones, either don’t offer free SSL certificates, or were super late to the game with offering them.
That will give you an issue even if you fell for letting them talk you into a $100 for an SSL certificate. I’m so mad at the hosts that have played that trick on clients instead of telling them the truth!!!
And there are more issues that are going to bite folks in the butt over this as we go.
Not to mention all the stuff that changes with HTTPS. They are making this stuff up as we go.
I’ve already issued 3 video tutorials to my HTTPS clients for minor tweaks that they could do themselves in under a minute. No need to hire anyone to help with it.
What you do need to hire is someone who is keeping up with all this stuff.
And, while there is still time, get your site off any type of host or plugin trickery for HTTPS. Or, get away from only having half your data journey encrypted if you are relying solely on the part from Cloudflare to the browser. The data traveling from your host to Cloudflare is ripe for a man-in-the-middle attack because it is not encrypted.
Get a real, full conversion and never worry about moving hosts or whether a plugin always works, or having mixed links in your database and too many redirects.
Plus, get all of the security headers needed for browsers to truly trust your SSL certificate.
Google is only requiring one right now for HSTS, but the rest will follow as hackers and others start spoofing SSL.
If you went the free way, read my post on the top 10 reasons not to do that and how it’s going to bite you in the butt later!!!
If the free way had worked, I most certainly would have done it for my own sites!!!!
As folks begin to hear about the latest HTTPS deadline, I fully expect to have a waiting list by April for conversion requests.
So, get your request in asap to ensure your project is complete before the deadline.
It’s All About Speed
I’m almost finished with the deep caching and speed tests that I’ve been doing for a month now. I completed the basic caching head-to-head tests a couple of weeks ago.
Last week I focused on tests that including putting Cloudflare into the mix.
And now I’m diving super deep into the settings and combos everywhere that result in the fastest possible site on each host server type.
I’m so glad to be doing these tests because servers and caching plugins and such have changed a lot in the 2 years since I last ran these types of tests.
One of the biggest changes has been to minification options in plugins. They have gotten way better, and most don’t goof with your code anymore either, which is a grudge I’ve been holding against them for a long time. So I’ve changed my tune on that with these new tests.
They also have many aggressive caching features now too. Those work, but man, are they ever tricky to implement.
So, deep speed configuration is definitely something you’ll want pro help with because it’s on a site-by-site basis. You’re not going to find generic help for this level of speed.
But, I will have posts with general tips that all sites can safely use.
Plus, you know I’m going to help educate you on other factors that you want to be careful about implementing.
My webmasters are already enjoying all the case study documentation I’m creating and we’ll be having a live session to go over everything when I’m done. And you know I’ll be making tutorials for these deep speed techniques too.
WP Fastest Cache has issued several updates and new features over the past few months. And, my recent tests have revealed info you need to know.
So, I’ve updated my tutorial on the WP Fastest Cache settings.
Be sure to READ the Rules of Thumb setting suggestions because they are host dependent.
FYI, about server types:
- If you’re on SiteGround or the A2 Swift package, your server is Apache.
- If you’re on A2’s other package, your server is Litespeed.
- If you’re on cloud, it’s likely Apache.
Do your settings accordingly. It matters.
And just like HTTPS conversions, I expect to have a waiting list by April for site audits to help folks get their sites speedy.
So, don’t delay in getting your project started, as the fixes that we identify in the audit may take a while to get implemented and you don’t want to miss the July deadline.
You Need Speed Even if You Don’t Rely on Search Traffic
Now, if you’re in that group of folks who don’t yet count on Google search for most of your traffic and you’re thinking none of this affects you, think again.
If you don’t get your site speed taken care of, and everyone else in your niche does, your site will suddenly become the least favorite to visit anymore.
Think about what that’s going to do to your revenue!
Google PageSpeed Insights is Crap
You know what the funniest thing is with all this speed testing stuff?
The faster I make the test sites, and the better the scores and numbers they get on all of the online testers, the worse the score gets on Google PageSpeed Insights.
Since they did an update on it about a month ago, it’s even more of a worthless tester than ever.
The PageSpeed score in GTMetrix is way off base with it too. Well, let me rephrase that. GTMetrix has their own version of what they consider to be the top things to check from what Google PageSpeed Insights tests. Except that GTMetrix gives you a ton more helpful info.
Since Google’s update, the scores between the two testers is radically different now. The one at GTMetrix is still close to true. While the one at Google is way off base.
We all suddenly just got a 30 point bump on Mobile, but Desktop scores have tanked. That might be because the Desktop checker is no longer even recognizing caching or minification that has been done on the site.
It was always a mess, but now it’s a hot mess, and not anything close to reliable or helpful.
Do you have a designer or VA or IT person that helps you with your site?
Do me a favor.
Tell them about my Webmaster Training courses.
All sites now have to be:
That’s what I teach in these courses.
They are made for designers and folks who haven’t delved into the techie side of things much.
And these are the highly in-demand skills that savvy site owners are requesting now.
The courses pay for themselves in one job.
And they keep you up-to-date, which is so very important now.
Plus, Level 6 members enjoy our own private Facebook group and that’s worth gold.
We all have different specialties and help each other, and even hire each other for things that are out of our wheelhouse.
Site owners are welcome into the program too, but it’s really a bit too much if you don’t setup and design or maintain sites for a living. You’d do better to hire some of this techie stuff out instead of trying to keep up with it all, because it does change regularly!!
Many of my webmasters have doubled their income by having these skills. I doubled mine in one quarter from HTTPS alone.
It’s definitely the kind of stuff that will separate you from the pack!!!
Get off the Blog Writing Hamster Wheel
I had a nice chat with one of my site audit clients this past week.
When we got to the part about discussing the fixes needed on the site, she complained that there was no way she would have time to take an SEO course and make those changes.
She was way too busy trying to crank out at least 3 new blog posts a week.
Yeah, you can work yourself silly trying to feed that beast.
But at some point, we all learn that it’s about promoting what we’ve already got more than it is about cranking out new posts just to have a new posts.
And part of that promotion is getting free traffic from search engines.
And a big part of that depends on your mindset of how your site functions, getting your SEO foundation laid, and how you promote beyond splashing new posts all over social media.
The Time is Now to Diversify Your Traffic Streams
The Pinterest bubble is popping.
Sites that have thin content with a bunch of improperly optimized images just to make folks keep scrolling are going to lose revenue in favor of faster sites that tell better stories via photojournalism.
They are also going to lose revenue from not having a plan B already underway.
You can’t just blog for Pinterest anymore.
Blogging For Search Traffic
I had a great conversation with a new Scratch to Published client who is starting a new site that will be tailor made for getting their blog posts highlighted in Google’s Featured Snippet.
In SEO terms, that is known as Position 0 and is prominently featured at the top of the Page 1 in search.
I have posts in featured snippets too, and they have been bringing traffic to my site for going on 4 years now.
And full disclosure, this new client is in the process of selling her current site for top dollar. This stuff works!
One of the live workshops we’re doing in the DIY SEO course is how to come up with blog post ideas, as well as how to format them, with the intent of getting them into a Google Featured Snippet.
Craft, lifestyle, and even Foodie bloggers can definitely get in on this search perk.
On top of that, we’ll be brainstorming ways to collect posts by topic to build rich resources that are candy for both readers and search engines.
SEO is NOT About Keywords Anymore
If you think that doing SEO on your site is about keywords, then you’re thinking like it’s still 2013!!!
SEO is not like that anymore.
In fact, many important SEO factors have nothing to do with the content that is on the page. Like speed.
Study after study has shown that pages and posts ranking in the top 10 positions for a search term don’t even have those words in their title or in the content.
Part of the reason for that is due to the sheer power of backlinks, which you can’t even control.
Another part of that is due to gaining authority on topic.
Just writing about something over and over, with the same keywords, is not enough to accomplish that.
Doubling Your Revenue
Less ads means more money.
I’m not kidding.
I work with a lot of niche bloggers that rely on ad revenue.
Those site audit clients that have taken my advice on ways to make their sites fast, and do their SEO properly have doubled and even tripled their income.
One of the speed factors is to cut down on how many ad placements they allow.
Once their site was faster, they had less abandonment.
More folks actually saw the ads that were there.
Thus, they had more clicks and made more money.
The same thing happened when they cut down on the drag with their images.
They got them fully optimized and reduced how many were on the page. And those go way beyond the content. In fact, they didn’t even change how many were in the content and still dropped 10-15 seconds off their load time.
Same with resource hog plugins.
Once all that stuff was gone, they started getting more clicks per visit.
In other words, they didn’t have to work any harder to keep increasing their traffic.
They got more clicks from the traffic they already had.
And that is the point.
Work smarter, not harder.
The Bottom Line is To Make More Money
Webmasters, get the training you need to get the good paying jobs, with savvy site owner clients.
Site owners, get the education you need to make good decisions about your site.
Everybody makes more money.
That’s what I’m trying to help you do – have the most successful site and business possible.
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That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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