Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Keyword Part 2 Workshop is this week
- New Gutenberg tutorials updated with nifty WP 5.7 features you’ll like
- New Gutenberg block suite plugins I’m looking into
- Update on the Video SEO course embed testing
- Why my site services wait list is filling up with folks leaving SiteGround
- How and why to move out of your newb mindset and into a money-making one
- More on how the cyber security situation is getting worse by the day
- hCaptcha vs reCAPTCHA vs CleanTalk vs Akismet for spam filtering
- What the new Super Bot Fight Mode at Cloudflare is all about
- How to permanently disable Full Screen editing mode in Gutenberg
- What will become of Unsplash now that Getty Images has acquired them
- How to optimize Ads on your site for CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift)
- When, and when not to purge cache on your site
Listen to the Podcast
Spill the Beans Livestream tonight
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. We spill the beans on this week’s news, breaking stories for the day too, and special info just for those who watch. So come join us live for the party.
Who I Help
All BlogAid posts and tutorials are intended to assist business-minded, hands-on bloggers and webmaster designers who are serious about making money and who want to stay up-to-date with site changes.
The “get busy with it” Spring vibe is still all over me. And I’m making progress on all fronts in new goodies for you!
Me and my DIY SEO course members will be meeting live on Thursday for the second part of our Keywords workshop and we’ll be talking about lots of keyword research tools, including both free and paid, and a new player on the block.
All of the tutorials in the Gutenberg Ninja course that were affected by the WP 5.7 release have been updated. And there are some real gems I think you’ll enjoy too, including:
- Your First Gutenberg Post
- new ways to add blocks including drag/drop
- New ways to move blocks
- Image block links tips
- Image block – text over image converts it to Cover block
- List Block
- Font sizes
- Font and background colors
- Transform from paragraph
- Buttons Block
- Multiple buttons
- Width settings
- Vertical alignment
I would also like to encourage course members to see the Gutenberg Editor Tour tutorial, which is the first one in the Basics section.
All of us get into habits with using Gutenberg and I bet you’ve forgotten about some of its handy tools and features that could make your content creation so much better or easier.
So do check them out.
Discounts for clients
And if you’re a Webmaster or site audit client in the BB Hub, or a DIY SEO course member, look on your Member Dashboard for a discount code to the Gutenberg Ninja course.
Theme Testing Team going at it
This past week the full theme testing team from my Webmaster Training members met live and everyone has decided what theme they will be focusing on from this list:
We’re all pretty excited to see the admin side of those last two themes, and what issues, if any, they may have with testing metrics.
And then we’ll all help each other get them fixed, just like we did with Genesis and Astra.
Hopefully in a couple of weeks we’ll be ready for formal comparative testing with the themes as they sit, and then with tweaks.
I’ll keep you posted on how it all goes.
All of the theme frameworks we are testing have also created their own Gutenberg suite of blocks plugins.
For Genesis, they started out with a different name because they originally came from the makers of Array themes, but are now called Genesis Blocks.
For Astra, that’s the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg.
And Kadence and GeneratePress call their block plugin by the same name as their theme, like Genesis does too.
The thing is, they are not theme-specific.
So any of these block suite plugins can be used on any theme.
Hopefully before this summer I’ll have time to test the GeneratePress and Kadence blocks. I’ve already got the other 2 in the Gutenberg Ninja course.
I want to check for bloat to see what requests they add, which can slow down your page load.
And it might be good to do a comparison post with them, since I’ll basically have all of the case study data for it.
Video SEO update
This weekend I spun up a new test site for comparing a few of the popular video embed plugins against what the Yoast Video SEO plugin says it now does for speed improvements when embedding a YouTube video.
It’s rather time consuming as I have to clean out all the orphans each plugin leaves behind before installing the next one.
And then I have to test them in conjunction with the schema markup the Yoast SEO plugin outputs too, and that’s actually pretty tough to do, since the speed improvements can conflict with one another.
So, I think I’m going to limit the testing to only the top 2 plugins because a lot of folks have already been using them to speed up page load and I really need to see if there are any conflicts with the Yoast Video SEO plugin’s new speed improvements.
Needless to say, this is just one more time-consuming wrench thrown into my plans to get this course out. But it has to be done because folks will need to know if they have to redo all of their video embeds or not, or what happens if they just delete the plugin they were using and let the Yoast plugin take over.
And you know me. I’m going to cover these site tech angles and have the data to confirm my recommendations to you.
Folks leaving SiteGround in droves
The word is buzzing in the blogging groups about the demise of SiteGround. And folks are exiting that host en masse now.
Site Services update
My site services wait list is filling up with migration/audit combo requests, the majority of them being from SiteGround.
I recalculated and think we are solidly into at least mid July now for the waitlist.
I have a whole batch of audit checkups coming up. Those are from site owners who have already been through their first audit with the mass cleanup and fixes for security and speed.
And now they just need a quick checkup for what has changed since then. I do those fixes and updates as I go and the whole thing is fast and cheap.
Keep your site current with the changes
Folks, security, speed, and HTTPS change all the time!! There is no such thing as once and done. And the pace of change is rapid now.
You must keep your site up to date.
For my site audit clients, that means getting a checkup every 12-18 months. Otherwise it will have to be a full audit again, as too much will have changed for me to do updates/fixes as I go.
Every one of my clients says the same thing, “I wish I had found you sooner!”
A freebie mindset is costing you time and money.
All of my clients are making more money since they got their site fully squared away and got into my DIY SEO course.
The whole idea of “I can’t spend money until I make money” is what is holding you back.
There is no business on the planet that doesn’t require an initial investment – and that takes more than sweat equity with a site.
You’ll wake up to this reality eventually – and then you’ll get on the real money-making road.
Worth the wait
I’ve heard folks looking for help right this minute and jumping to other techs that are available instead of getting on my wait list.
Folks, I’m booked like this for a reason – I get results for my clients.
Ask the other techs to verify how much more money their clients are making.
You can see the testimonials from my peeps right on my services pages.
New Boutique Hosting update
Last week I met live with our new boutique host to share survey results from both my webmasters and site audit clients.
We are making lists and checking them twice for the first folks who will be moving over to the new setup.
I’ll be reaching out to individual webmasters and site audit clients in the coming weeks with more details.
Just know that we are working hard to get this launched and available to you.
Cyber Security just keeps getting worse by the day
This past week I also saw crazy happenings with most all hosts, CDNs, and the whole internet on the eastern side of the U.S.
The bot attacks continue to increase, and more systems are being overwhelmed by them.
I was even looking into better comment spam filters for us, as the ones we have are letting more spam through now. But, the one all of my webmasters recommend seems to be buckling under its own weight because it does catch the most spam.
It is throwing PHP errors all over the place, and my guess is that it is overwhelmed now too, but I don’t know that for sure.
What I do know for sure is that it is heavy on your database. So, that alone gives me pause for recommending it.
Just know that I’m keeping my eye on a lot of angles with this issue, and working overtime to get this new hosting thing launched as a way to get us out of the ghetto of shared hosting.
But please know that hosts all over are getting blamed for issues they can’t control, like the main internet trunk line to them getting overwhelmed. It looks like the host is down, but it’s the highway to them that has a bridge out.
Cloudflare has had to reroute around their Virginia mirrored location for 2 weeks now because of this sort of thing.
So, boutique hosting or not, nobody can guarantee site delivery these days, especially when the issues are the internet itself burning down.
Yes, it’s that bad now.
hCaptcha vs reCaptcha vs CleanTalk vs Akismet
I’m looking for a reCaptcha alternative for contact form to get away from Google, and the v3 reCaptcha logo it puts on every page.
Not a fan of Akismet.
While CleanTalk works for both comments and forms, it’s been having PHP error issues for months. And their support has not been helpful.
Not sure I like info from folks filing out contact forms going to hCaptcha anymore than sending it to Google for reCaptcha.
What do you use to protect your site from spam, both for comments and your contact form?
That’s all the happenings from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Last year Cloudflare released a Bot Fight Mode to help cut down on all bad bot requests. It is available on both the free and paid plans.
Last week, Cloudflare released an improved version of it called Super Bot Fight Mode and it is only available on the paid plans, including the $20/mo Pro plan that me and many of my site audit clients are on.
It includes a Dashboard with a report of bots that are:
- Likely automated
- Likely human
- Verified bots, like those from search engines
What I’m super excited about is the ability to configure the bots we can block, including verified bots.
I’ve been trying to find good ways for us to block SEO agency bots like Ahrefs and SEMrush, plus the 15 new ones that have popped up in the last year.
I’ll be damned if I will allow those agencies to continue chewing up my hosting resources only to give my site’s SEO data to my competition!!
Oh, hell no!!!
Now, if you use one of those paid services, of course you want them to have access to your site, and all of your competition!!
And that’s why this new feature is so wonderful, because you can tailor it to your needs.
I’ve been using AWStats in cPanel to see these bot hits, and managing them manually is a whack-a-mole game you can’t win.
And we need a LOT of help to try to better identify the Unknown bots, as I have seen Pinterest bots get lumped into that.
So, in the coming weeks I’ll be testing this on my own sites and watching my AWStats alongside the report in Cloudflare to figure out the best settings for us to use.
And then I’ll ask for volunteers from my BB Hub folks, which is the private member area for my site audit clients, to test it on their accounts.
My highest money-making clients do data mining every day and watch their analytics and other site metrics like a hawk. So, this bot watching won’t be hard for them to do at all.
I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.
For now, I would advise not turning it on as you could hurt your SEO or your money makers with it.
Let us do the proper testing and data gathering first.
Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress, and the head of Automattic, the parent company of WordPress, decided that his strong preference for distraction-free writing should be the default in Gutenberg.
And he forced the WP dev team to include that default in a previous WP release even after they had announced the Release Candidate, which means no new changes, just bug fixes, prior to the public release.
That broke an unwritten sacred rule in the dev cycle, and nobody but Matt was happy about it.
To make matters worse, the Full Screen edit mode that delivers this distraction-free writing experience is not a user-based option that is held in the database.
Other user preferences are held there, like the color scheme of your admin pages, or how you have your screen options set for each admin page. This makes them persistent across any browser or app you use to log into WordPress.
But instead of doing this Full Screen mode thing that way, they made it a cookie in the current browser that you are using. That’s why it can jump back to that default unexpectedly.
I’ve even seen it jump to Full Screen editing mode while I’m working on a post, depending on what I click in the editor.
It makes me crazy!!!!!
And I’m not alone!!
Multiple tickets have been posted in the WP dev channel for this to be fixed and make it a user preference setting in the database. But there has been no activity with actually getting this done in over a year.
That’s why a new plugin has been released to banish Full Screen editing – period.
It’s called Fullscreen Mode B Gone and it is available for free in the WP plugin repo.
As much as I hate to have to add another plugin, I’m going to test this one out because I’m tired of dealing with Matt Mullenweg’s preference that so thoroughly disrupts my editing experience.
For those who use free images from Unsplash, you’ll want to know that Getty Images has acquired them.
Unsplash will continue to operate as a separate entity, and will still offer free images, though.
Big thank you to fellow webmaster Larry Snow for letting us know about this.
If you run ads on your site, they can impact your load speed and UX (User Experience).
The UX part is usually impacted most by content jumping around on the screen as it loads.
That’s called Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
Mediavine is well aware of this issue on some sites and has made a couple of features available to you for fixing it – at least where ads are concerned.
To be honest, Mediavine is so good with how they defer ad loading now that I have not found them to be at fault with any CLS issues for my site audits clients on Mediavine.
I have, however, found AdThrive, Ezoic, Monumetrics, and Google AdSense to cause all manner of load issues, not just CLS ones.
What me and the theme tester team have found is that CLS issues are caused:
- 90% by the theme’s mobile menu load
- 8% by first contentful paint load, including the size difference or delay between web-safe and Google fonts
- 2% by all other issues, including how your optimization plugin deals with delaying load of fonts.
And we know how to fix those issues.
So, before you turn on these optional settings from Mediavine, get an audit and ensure the ads are the problem.
We have ways to trick the testers into not loading the ads and can positively identify CLS and other Core Web Vitals issues.
And we don’t want you to negatively impact your revenue by guessing.
When to purge cache
How often do you need to purge your site’s cache?
I only do it after plugin, theme, or WP updates.
That’s because purging the cache slows down the speed benefit you get from it. And it takes a while to build all of that cache back up.
There are 3 places to purge cache, including:
- Local caching plugin
- Your browser
READ: How to Delete Cache Everywhere for more.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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