Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- How much free site help from your host is costing you
- Live site audit and speed session for Webmaster Level 6 members
- How to renew your Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate on SiteGround if you use Cloudflare
- A new aggregate speed index from Google PageSpeed Insights
- Examples of the slimy SEO industry tricks that you’re competing with
- An update on the recipe plugin schema markup tests
- How to get more social shares on your blog posts and why this is good for SEO too
- How to jump on Google now letting us verify the Knowledge Graph it carries on us
- A site speed case study that shows you how to improve conversion rate
- The big news with a new online shopping sales tax law being passed
- 10 super unique blogging tips that will break you out of your rut and give you a fresh mindset
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Site Audit and HTTPS Conversion Update
I’ve been spending some long hours at my desk working on site audits this past week.
We had to move several clients to better hosting first and they weren’t smooth transitions.
We discovered that HostGator is now pulling the same stunt as Bluehost and they are making it impossible to get a cPanel backup for quick migration. It has to be done manually.
Stop Asking Your Host to Fix Your Site
But the biggest reason the transitions went sideways was because of all the junk in the account that was created by the host.
It was very evident that the lack of the ability to install proper security at any EIG owned host was behind all of this.
When your site gets chewed up with bad bot hits and your host limits your account for overages, meaning your site gets shut down, they only have 2 remedies for you.
One is to purchase a bigger hosting package.
Nothing is fixed. You’re just paying for more room for the rats to roam.
The second option is what I saw in these audits.
They throw an ineffective kitchen sink into your .htaccess file, and even throw in extra .htacess files all over.
What a bottleneck that creates, and it still doesn’t fully protect your site.
In fact, it works just as poorly as many of those big behemoth security plugins you’ve probably heard of.
Folks, your host knows hosting. They don’t know WordPress sites. And they certainly don’t know about performance and security with them.
Get with a good host.
And then hire a qualified person to get your entire account secure and fast.
Getting free help is THE most expensive thing you can do.
Not only do folks end up paying more for hosting, but then they end up paying for all the problems the host created to be taken out.
Fixing it right in the first place is WAY cheaper.
Today I’m meeting live with my Webmaster Level 6 peeps to review the site audits they have done and answer questions.
It’s a great way to learn how to make sites way faster and safer, and live sessions really help you get through the learning curve faster too.
If you want to learn how to offer the same services that are the bread and butter of my biz, I’ll be more than happy to teach you how.
And it will improve your design and site maintenance business in ways you can’t imagine, plus make you more money because you have skills that other designers don’t.
I take you step-by-step through all the techie stuff on the back side. You won’t fear it anymore.
Hey, if you’re on SiteGround and use Cloudflare, heads up.
They made a change at the host and all Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate renewals need to be put on the new system.
If you use Cloudflare, and I hope you do, then your certificate won’t renew properly anymore.
You need to do a manual renewal to get it on the new system.
I’ve got a super quick and easy tutorial for you.
And you can do this right away. You don’t have to wait until the next expiration date.
Keep in mind that these free certificates renew every 90 days, so do jump in and check when yours expires next and just knock this out so you can put it on ignore again. And you only have to do this once.
I don’t know for sure if this change at SiteGround is related to this new feature from cPanel with their New SSL Certificate Hooks
But if it is, we may have this renewal issue at other hosts too.
I’m checking in with A2 to see if they’ve had a rise in support requests for renewals when folks use Cloudflare and ensuring they know about it too.
I’ll make a new tutorial for A2, if that is the case.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Well, it looks like they’ve added another useless tool to Google PageSpeed Insights.
This one gives you bar graphs with an aggregate score of how fast your whole site is running.
Every one that I have tested so far shows about the same graph.
30% of the site is fast, 30% is average, and 30% is slow.
What the heck are you supposed to do with that kind of generic info?
READ: How to Test Your Site Speed Accurately if you want real data that you can do something with and see the real speed drags on your site.
The SEO Industry is Slimy
This past week I started giving my DIY SEO course members a peek into just how slimy the SEO industry is.
That included a firm like what one of my clients had used that charged a minimum of $2,500/mo to do gray and black hat SEO tactics.
Yes, they did work, for a while.
And then Google caught on and their ranking dropped lower than whale poop.
It has taken a year to recover from the damage that was done by that agency.
I also sent my peeps a copy of the kind of emails I get all the time from cheaper SEO agencies that promise the moon.
It’s all about backlinks and they come from nasty silo sites the agency built to perform one function, and that’s send out these crumby backlinks.
It will fool Google for a little while, but then the bottom will eventually drop out and you’re site will be in a world of SEO hurt.
But, those two things are not the real slime of the industry and I’ll be sharing more of that with my peeps in the coming weeks.
The point is to open eyes to what you’re really competing with on the internet, and to get super duper serious about using all the white hat SEO tactics you can, and using them consistently.
And then doing your best to get in on whatever Google is craving for everyone to do, where that is feasible.
Testing Recipe Plugin Schema Markup
I want to thank my buddy Marilyn Lesniak of Marilyn’s Treats for her time and expertise in helping me test the schema markup for recipes that Google is calling for so you can get into the index for Google Assistant.
We did find a paid plugin that has all the right schema and is so nice in so many ways.
We’ll be setting up a test site and checking out more plugins in the coming weeks and I’ll have results and details for you as soon as I can.
Even though the goal of this article on WP Explorer is about getting more social shares on your posts, I think all of these recommendations work super well for SEO too.
It’s all about writing engaging, authoritative content.
So, go give this post a read and you’ll pick up some tips and ideas to improve your posts as well.
I don’t know if this helps with SEO or not, but I did it.
Google is now allowing folks a way to verify the Knowledge Graph of you. I found mine and all it knows about me is that I’m the author of a book that was featured in Publishers Weekly.
So, I did the steps outlined in this post from Search Engine Roundtable.
It’s a wee bit tricky.
Be sure that when you log into a couple of accounts that you own to prove that you are who you say you are, that you’re ready to take screenshots of them.
And be sure to go to the page with your profile so you get the right URL. In other words, make sure the link you give them will take them to your profile page.
I’m looking forward to being able to make suggestions for updates so they get a link to BlogAid in there.
This is a nice case study on speed from the folks over at Blogging Pro. It gives you some data on how much money you are losing from a slow site, plus tips to speed it up. And no, this is not about shaving 0.1 seconds off either.
And their suggestions for speeding up your site backup the same things I’ve been telling you in my speed post series too.
The one thing I want you to keep in mind when you are reading this post is that all of the online testers are giving you desktop speed results.
Mobile speed will be 4-8 times longer.
So, even if you can get your desktop speed down to 2 seconds, mobile will be at least 8 seconds.
And this case study shows you how much traffic and conversion you are losing if it’s even higher than that.
This is huge news for those of us who charge for goods and services online, and for everyone who makes online purchases.
It looks like the days are over when we can get out of charging or paying sales tax online.
You’ll want to read the whole article for yourself.
And then watch the news for what next steps your state takes with this.
I live in TN and they are watering at the mouth over capturing all that revenue.
Here’s what I think about it.
My state does not have a state income tax. But, they have one of the highest sales tax rates in the country.
An online purchase sales tax is something normal I can pass along to my purchasers instead of raising my rates to cover my higher cost of living, especially if they introduce a state income tax. And, it may even lower the high sales tax a bit and bring it more in-line with other states.
I think this has been a long time coming, and I think it will be a while before they iron out all of the details. One of the options that may be on the table is a federal sales tax that is collected on all online sales, and then the profits by percentage are doled out to the state of origin. I’m not sure if that’s a good idea or not, but may be necessary to keep it from becoming a state-by-state circus of rates.
The bottom line is that you should keep an eye on future news about this.
Well, this post was fun. It’s from blogging coach Janice Wald and you’ll find it over on the Basic Blog Tips site, which is run by my uber helpful tip buddy, Ileane Smith.
Janice has a whole list of unique blogging tips to get you out of your rut and open you up to ways of freshening up not only your posts, but your whole mindset and experience with creating them.
And, she gives you some super social media tips mixed in too.
Well worth a read.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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