Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- How site audits pay for themselves, big time
- The best paid social share button plugins to use
- The big changes coming to the Webmaster Training program
- Why I’ll be focusing on the new design block suites for my upcoming Gutenberg course
- 2 new posts in the Hobby to Money-Making Site Series on how to create an editorial calendar and all about branding
- Whether or not you want to do basic tips posts on your site
- Why I’m seeking advice and tips about Amazon affiliate links
- Why you need to update Chrome immediately
- The conflicting replies SiteGround gave folks about rebuilding their resource meters
- A super scary hosting security issue that very likely affected you
- What’s up with a lack of, or delayed emails for comment notification from your site
- A check on how many plugins you have
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live later today at 9pm ET / 6pm 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.
Busy week here of site audits and case studies.
I’m actually just about caught up on my backlog of site audits, so if you’re thinking about getting one, now is a great time. We’ll get started right away.
Site Audits Pay for Themselves and More!
And I’m celebrating with one of my clients!!! We finished up 7 months of site work. She had 18 sites and all of them had serious issues. We trimmed the content down to the 3 main sites and did some serious revamping on them.
The fantastic news is that she shot up in Google rankings and started earning way more money in just the first 3 months. And that paid for all the rest of the work and even started putting more in her pocket.
This is not an atypical result for my clients. In fact it’s pretty normal.
And now that we’re finished, she’ll start pocketing double the income she was making, plus having lower hosting costs. And she is still growing fast with visibility, which will only increase her income.
She was also able to request interns from her local university to help with new case studies, and she is free to focus exclusively on that, instead of the mess her site was in, and that will take her up another notch.
A faster site that is secure and easier to maintain, and makes you more money is what a site audit can do for you too!!!
And, I’m celebrating the completion of my paid social share button case study!!!
I tested the top 2 plugins that had paid versions from my best and worst free social share button plugins case study.
They were Social Pug and Social Warfare. So jump on over to the post to read all about them.
Pinterest Share Post Coming Soon
Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media has been away on a mastermind retreat. So, we’ll be meeting next week to go over my findings for Pinterest sharing.
We’ll be collaborating on a post together about the different pinning methods and combos to use with various plugins.
I hope we can have that post out before the end of the month.
Theme Speed Case Study Underway
In the meantime, I’ve started on my theme speed case study.
This will be for my Webmaster Training members who are mostly designers.
And I will be focusing super hard on fully Gutenberg compliant themes first.
I’m starting with the WP TwentyNineteen theme as a baseline.
Then I’ll be testing the new Genesis 2.8 demo theme, which I have on my Gute test site right now if you want to have a look.
And then I’m anxious to try the new Genesis Revolution Pro theme that was specifically made with Gute block design in mind.
Carrie Dils has a super write up on it, and how to do the backend design for the home page.
I also have several webmasters who have volunteered to set up a Divi theme for me to test too.
In fact, one took a Divi theme and recreated it on Genesis. So that will be as close to an apples to apples test as we can get. That one is a widget-based homepage, and may be the only one of those I get to in this round.
All of this testing will help my webmasters create super fast base themes for their design clients. And speed is what it’s all about these days.
Big Changes to the Webmaster Training Coming
I’ve also finally figured out how to reorder the tutorials in the Webmaster Training courses. Some things in there are no longer as relevant or needed and I want to make room for all the new info coming too.
I’ll be closing the site for new subscriptions during that revamp, and the site may go into maintenance mode for short periods on occasion too.
So, fair warning on disruptions.
Ahead of those changes, I’ve been updating several of the tutorials. I had to touch all of the Cloudflare tutorials, as they have made significant changes to the settings and offerings, as well as to the interface in the past few months.
It will take me 4-6 weeks to complete the revamp, if not a little longer, as there are things on the backside I have to revamp too.
Gutenberg Course Focus on Blocks and Theme Design
As I predicted, Gutenberg block creators are not waiting on WP to start making a full theme builder.
There are 82 Blocks and counting for Gutenberg, and several of them are full block suites that will help you design your own homepage, landing pages, and more.
I’ll be starting with the Atomic Block suite for my theme speed tests, as those are the ones Genesis is using and recommends.
Plus, Genesis and Atomic Blocks are both owned by WPEngine now, and they are committed to ongoing development of both.
So, while there are lots of blocks, it will be at least a year before we see the cream rise to the top among them, and which ones will continue to have long-term backing and development.
We can’t afford to build our sites on blocks that may not stay current with WP or may not be around in a year or two.
Also, more and more established plugins are creating blocks specifically for their use – like a Mailchimp optin block. I’ll be looking for those during my tests and course creation too.
Ultimate Speed Tests
With all this combined test data, and Gutenberg building, I will have all the info I need to start testing fully loaded sites for speed.
I plan to load them up with all the theme and plugin stuff y’all use so they are real-world tests.
Those tests will likely run all spring. And you better believe there will be all manner of posts on it.
Tell your designer buddies what’s coming
I sure would appreciate you sharing all this super info, and what’s coming to BlogAid, with your designer buddies so they can follow along in Tips Tuesday with the news too.
Big win ended up being a big dud
Oh, and I wanted to follow up on that big win thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. I was invited to what was billed as a who’s who of the internet to collaborate with everyone.
Turns out that it was just a collection of a single product’s affiliates, and that’s all they really intended to do with the group, which is keeping everyone informed about their affiliate news.
So big win went to big dud pretty fast. I actually feel baited and switched over it.
I don’t have time for ill thought out groups with no real focus. Way too busy getting my peeps the info they need to waste time on that.
On a lighter note, I was thrilled for the warmer weather to hit late last week! I started on the build of my mitre saw station. And I hope to finish it over the next couple of weeks.
Last week I finished a video of my temp station and how it helped me think through the final build plans. But, I’m holding on to that post until after I finish the build, as I refer to the completed work in the video.
And, I’ll be making in-depth posts on each part of the build as I go too. Then I will have those to reference in the completed project post.
I see so many DIY posts that only have the full build, and thin instructions on each step.
Doing it the way I’m planning will really help first-time woodworkers and DIYers think through their designs and give them full details on building each step.
And, all those posts will give me a whale of SEO depth and authority on topic too, plus a way bigger footprint online, including social media. Not to mention driving up time on site and seeing more of my money-making offers.
READ: How I Develop an Editorial Calendar for a New Blog for more details, with 15 specific post ideas I have for just this one topic.
All About Branding
I also created a new post in the Hobby to Money-Making Site series here on BlogAid for the branding I used for BlogAid itself and Heartwood Art, including something I was surprised to see get rave reviews and tons of engagement.
Basic tips posts are in demand
Most of us forget what it was like to be at the very beginning of learning to do whatever it is that we blog about.
And while finished product posts draw folks in, there are always newbies in the space too. So, don’t overlook their needs, if that is a good fit for you.
I was tickled by a meme posted on Facebook by Marilyn Lesniak of a grandmother saying to her granddaughter to boil 2 glasses of water.
The meme had two glasses filled with water sitting on two gas stove burners.
And that’s why Marilyn wrote a post on boiling water.
While that may sound silly to some of us, there are folks who are just learning to cook. And if Marilyn makes the basics available, they may get locked into her site as their main reference for cooking.
That’s also why I’m doing the basic woodworking tips posts too.
There are a LOT of new DIY woodworkers and home decor folks looking to get into the niche, plus just more folks interested in becoming makers these days. So, there’s a lot of potential eyeballs there for me on the wood site.
When not to do basic tip posts
Now, you may be wondering why I don’t do posts like that on BlogAid.
I used to, and lots of them.
But, newbie site owners are no longer my target audience.
In fact, I left a Facebook group over that this week. I had joined because the owner was promoting a Pinterest or Instagram quick course. But she also covered basic blogging things in the associated Facebook group too.
And it turned out to be one of those groups that has horrible advice for new site owners, like how to do a 1-click WordPress install and put all manner of resource hog plugins on the site.
Y’all know I can’t read stuff like that in peace.
So, I ended up leaving because she is talking to a whole other audience than what I cater to.
They can’t hear what I have to say.
You couldn’t hear it either until you had been blogging for a year or two and woke up to the reality that you needed to spend more and learn more to get your site up to par. And that’s when you found me because I post about the kind of stuff you’re ready to learn at that point.
Just as if I were doing a fine woodworking site, I wouldn’t want to post the kinds of basic tips I’m creating for DIYers over on Heartwood Art.
And if you’re doing gourmet dinners, you don’t want to post how to boil water like Marilyn did. She caters to weeknight, home food folks and things just about anyone can make, including beginner cooks.
So, when making your editorial calendar, think about who you want to attract and stay in that lane. Over time, if that changes, then change the focus of your posts.
How do you do Amazon affiliate links?
I’m also getting ready to start adding Amazon affiliate links to the woodworking site.
I’ll be linking mainly to the tools I use for a project. But, because tool models change every year or so, I most certainly don’t want to have to modify individual posts constantly for dead links.
Since I’ll be using Gutenberg on that site soon, I thought about creating reusable blocks, so when I update the one block, it will change on every post.
But even that will get out of hand across 50+ products.
So, I thought about using a carousel type thing to show images of the tools, and then have that link to a shopping page with the actual Amazon links.
I also looked at several Amazon link plugins that help you manage all this, including alerting you to dead links.
That’s important due to the tools changing models every year or so.
Instead of linking to a certain model, maybe it would be best to just link to a category/search page for that type of item. So, instead of a particular Ryobi circular saw, maybe link to a page with all models from that manufacturer.
With all the plugins I looked at, I suddenly became aware that I don’t know anywhere near enough to vet them.
I know there are a lot of Amazon Affiliate type courses, but are there any that talk about integration with your site at this level?
I’d also be interested in hearing how you deal with the Amazon links on your site too.
I definitely want to do my homework and try to avoid a massive time suck down the road, or losing money over dead links.
I appreciate y’all pointing me in the right direction with this.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
If you haven’t done so already, update your Chrome browser on your computer and mobile devices right now.
A big security issue was found on it last week and is currently being exploited.
I shared this tip on the BlogAid Facebook page the day it happened. So be sure you are following me there to get the latest news.
SiteGround is rebuilding resource meters – someday, maybe
Thanks to everyone who answered the request in last week’s Tips Tuesday to open a ticket with SiteGround and complain about not having your resource meters.
Two folks got the same reply – that SiteGround had zero intention of rebuilding those meters.
But, another person got a reply that they do plan to rebuild them, they just don’t have a timeline on it.
Here’s the last thing I’m going to say about it.
SiteGround has container hosting meaning that if you go over your resource limit, they will shut your site down.
You have no way to see the overages and no way to test that you have fixed them without these meters.
You can’t help yourself, nor can I help you with it.
I’m done with the goofy builds and ways of doing things at SiteGround, and the extreme frustration of Tier 2 support where you have to touch a ticket 4 times just to get them to understand what you are trying to do.
And this is one of the primary reasons I’m interviewing other hosts this week. I’m also fed up with A2 Hosting not being able to keep the servers up and running, or at constant speeds either.
I’m looking for a better home for all of us.
It may be 4-6 months of me being on the new host before I have new recommendations. So, I’m not asking anyone to move yet. Stay with the devil you know for now.
No matter how much site security you apply, there is no such thing as a 100% secure site.
That’s especially true if the attack comes from within the host server.
I want to thank webmaster Ingrid Moyle of Heart Harmony Communications for the heads up on this inside attack that affects just about every host you and I and all bloggers are on.
The vulnerability was in cPanel, which is a software all of these hosts run, and it allowed hackers to be Peeping Toms on all data transferred to and from the sites.
I imagine we are going to be hearing about lawsuits in the near future over this.
The security hole has been closed, and I doubt there is any easy way for us to find out what data was leaked from our sites. And don’t expect hosts to be too forthcoming about any of this either, for fear of lawsuits against them too.
Lack of, or delayed emails for comment notification
Several of my Site Audit Plus clients posted in our Facebook group that they have seen a serious delay with receiving emails that a comment has been left on their site.
This is with folks using just the native WP comments and those using comment reply notification email plugins too.
While it may seem that a plugin update, or the plugin itself is causing the problem, that’s not likely it.
The problem is more likely to be how you have your site email setup.
That includes whether or not you are using a domain-related email address, such as @blogaid.net, or a Gmail account, such as firstname.lastname@example.org.
And, it likely has to do with your email settings at the host and whether it is using a local send or remote exchange.
And, it likely has to do with whether that email has a proper SPF and DKIM record or not, and if those things are also set at Cloudflare.
On top of all of that, it likely has to do with the default email address the plugin is using too.
So, there’s a LOT to troubleshoot.
And hosts may be cracking down on sending emails from unverified addresses.
This week I met with one of my site audit clients that is having issues and we made some changes. We want to test those before making more changes, if needed.
I’ll keep you posted on what we find.
But, with this many parts in play, I can already tell you that there won’t be a single fix that works for everyone, as everybody does their email setup differently.
How Many Plugins Do You Have?
I rarely do a site audit that I don’t flag at least half of the plugins on the site.
They are either:
- Resource hogs
- Or are making up for a lack of knowledge in how to use WordPress, or changes to it
I’d like to invite you to make a list of all your plugins in a spreadsheet or tables in a Word doc or such.
- The plugin name
- What it does
- A link where you can test it if it displays something
And then start a list of any plugins you delete. That way we can look for orphaned files, folders, and database tables during your site audit.
If you are already a site audit client, you’ll find a tutorial and spreadsheet to download in your private member area on the BlogAid Learning Center. That’s the same member site with the DIY SEO course.
My site audit clients get a whole bunch of tutorials like that for free, plus our private Facebook group. So your help and support goes way past the audit and fixes.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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