Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- The peek at the big win I’m celebrating this week
- New Hobby to Money Site series of posts
- An update on my paid social share button case study
- A HUGE thank you to the plugin case study sponsor that came through in a big way
- Whether it’s safe or not to update to WordPress 5.1
- What you need to check if you see a new warning in WP 5.1
- Whether it’s okay to update to Genesis 2.9
- What’s in the release schedule for WP 5.1.1 and when it will hit
- What WP vulnerability was patched after 6 years
- Much needed proposed updates for Dashicons that will make our sites faster and score better with Google
- An image SEO workshop this week
- What we can all learn about ADA compliance on our sites by watching someone use a screen reader
- A super tutorial for using XSplit VCam for green screen videos
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.
Thank goodness the rain has stopped for 5 minutes!! It’s nice to see the sun again!!
And it has been warmer which means I’ve finally started building things in my shop.
Celebrating a BIG Win!!
I have another reason to be so happy, but I can’t give you all the details publicly yet because they are not finalized.
I jumped into a livestream in my Webmaster and Site Audit Plus client groups to let them know what’s going on.
But publicly, all I can say for now is that my plan to make BlogAid THE clearinghouse for big data case studies is working and drawing a lot of attention from developers and hosts and others.
This new thing I’ll be doing will help me talk more inclusively with the big players so that they all can benefit from the case study data and cooperate better with each other.
That’s what we are having to do – we have to make all these various things play well together.
So, hopefully this will be a much better way to do it compared to chasing down fires to put out after the fact.
If somebody like me is doing the case testing with all the various combos, that benefits everybody.
I’ll have more details for you when everything is finalized.
Hobby to Money Site Series
I may not have been blogging yet on Heartwood Art itself this month, but I did get out 2 posts this week in the new Hobby to Money Site series of posts on BlogAid this past week.
The first post gives you the back story of what big exposure led to the decision to flip this thing into a money site, and how I did it in such a way that I can still have a hobby.
The second post gives you a peek at the up-front investment I had to make to get started.
I really appreciate everyone’s feedback on this new series. It’s very encouraging!!
I’ll be cranking out a few more posts in a flurry for a bit longer, to get everyone caught up to present day. And then I’ll be posting as time and circumstances warrant – probably monthly.
You can get a peek at present day on the @HeartwoodArtCreations Instagram channel.
First 3 Builds Going
As I mentioned, I’ve been in the shop building stuff. But they were jigs and things I needed to test out before posting about them.
And working with all of my new tools has given me even more posting ideas.
Documenting those in the moment is a good idea because I’ve already got 40 other post ideas to get to.
I hope to get at least 1 post out before Feb ends. It’s a video too, so that should get my YouTube channel going. I tried to make it Sunday but it was too windy outside. It’s a thing I made for my SUV to help haul lumber. So I’ll have to wait for a less windy day or figure out how to do it with limited room in the garage.
I hope to go hard at it with posting from here on out, as the weather continues to improve.
I can’t make money if I don’t have posts to drive traffic to, right?
Paid Social Share Button Test Update
The free Social Share Button test results post was a big hit. Thank you to everyone who has shared the post with their buddies. And a special thank you to Amy Andrews for including it in her Useletter.
This week, Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media and I will be meeting to go over what I’ve found in the paid social share button tests.
And, she is going to bring me up to speed with all the different ways folks share pins too.
Boy, does that matter!!!!!
You would not believe what I’m finding in just the first test, which is on Social Pug. That report is already 41 pages long and I’m betting it will get longer after my meeting with Kate.
Plus, the plugin dev has reached out to me and was actually already addressing some of the issues I found. How timely that the next release of the plugin will be out in a day or two and I’ll be circling back to test it again.
I’m also testing 2 other plugins – Social Warfare and Easy Social Share Buttons for WordPress found on Code Canyon. There is one with a similar name that’s free, but that’s not the same plugin.
I’ll also be testing all of these plugins in combination with Tasty Pins and various other Pin It type plugins. Plus, I’m testing all of them in combination with Yoast SEO, as it also provides OG tags and such.
Huge Thank You to Our Plugin Test Sponsor
I want to send a HUGE hug and thank you to Manny Oliverez of Favorite Grampy for providing licenses for Social Pug, Easy Social Share Buttons, and Tasty Pins!!!!!!
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate the love and support shown in this super generous act!!!
And we all benefit from it!!!
That’s all the news around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
WordPress 5.1 is Safe to Update
WP 5.1 rolled out last week and I haven’t heard any screams, so I’m calling it safe to update.
And see last week’s Tips Tuesday for all the stuff that rolled out in 5.1 that I’m keeping my eye on.
Now, I know all of my site audit clients are at some flavor of PHP version 7.x.
But if you do the WP 5.1 update and see a warning in your Dashboard that you are on too low a version of PHP, that means your hosting is set below PHP version 5.6, which is the minimum WP is requiring now.
But, that level is actually too low for security.
So, if you have never checked your PHP level, or this is the first time you’re hearing about this, be sure to see this post on how to check and change your PHP version and why you need to.
As promised, WordPress will continue to do minor updates, mostly for long overdue bug fixes, as well as Gutenberg enhancements every two weeks.
You can see what’s coming and when for WP 5.1.1 in this post.
The expected final release date is March 7.
And I can’t believe they are already assigning these minor version numbers. Didn’t they learn anything from calling the 5.0 release so far ahead of time?
What if there were bugs in 5.1? A minor release of 5.1.1 would be needed. But now that has already been assigned to specific items. Geez!
I guess they’ll run into that issue at least once before it dawns on them they should not pre assign numbers to a release.
The Hacker News site recently released a post about a vulnerability that has been undetected in WordPress for the last 6 years. Well, now that this report is out, every hacker on the planet will be trying to exploit it. So, ensure you’ve updated to the latest version.
And if you’re still hanging below WP 5.x, I don’t know if this patch goes back to WP 4.9.x or not. Most do, but I haven’t tested for it.
If you are staying at a lower level due to Gutenberg, see my post on how to use TinyMCE Advanced instead of the Classic Editor plugin to turn it off and go on your merry way with keeping WP current.
Genesis has rolled out version 2.9.0 and I’m not hearing screams about it either. So calling it safe to update now too if you have received notice to do so. Some folks haven’t.
Most all of the updates are enhancements to the new base theme and Gutenberg stuff that came in version 2.8.
I have my Gutenberg test site set for all beta releases, so I can’t wait to get in there and play with the new stuff. I’ve been impressed with all of it so far.
Gutenberg Course Coming
I also can hardly wait to start on the new Gutenberg course coming in March. But I have to finish up these social share plugin tests first. And then I want to do theme testing for my webmasters before I switch gears.
Hey! Webmasters and designers, you definitely need a heads up on this.
Dashicons have been natively supported in WP since version 3.8.
And they are a good substitute for FontAwesome icons as they are way faster for page load.
In fact, that’s one of the big changes we made during the BlogAid theme revamp last summer.
We used Dashicons for all the social media follow buttons everywhere.
But, the issue with Dashicons is that those little vector based images are not scalable, meaning they don’t always look good when scaled in size for use on desktop and mobile.
The more modern format is SVG – which stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. And Google likes those more too.
Keep in mind that the images that load on your site are not just the ones you embed in your content. They also contain your logo and anything you have in a sidebar widget or such too. And that also includes the images for your social share and social follow buttons. You might have those in sidebar widgets, or optins at the end of your content, or in your authorbox, or on your About page too.
Some folks are using icons for what’s called “material design” in widgets on their home page too.
So, this is a really big deal and I’m thrilled to see WP addressing it.
What the article says is that instead of totally revamping Dashicons, they are going to build on what they started in the Gutenberg base.
This, and what they are doing with blocks is the way forward for WordPress and we will all want to be on Gutenberg eventually.
These are very exciting times, even if they are a bit challenging. This is what it’s like to live through a revolution. In the end, it will be worth it, at least as far as I can see from here.
In last week’s DIY SEO workshop we covered SEO for Pages and a little bit on SEO for images.
This week we’ll be taking a deeper dive into images, including how they also affect speed.
And then next week we’re going to be doing Part 2 of this workshop on SEO for images in plugins.
And the week after that we’ll be diving into SEO for blog posts.
There are plenty of video courses and all the workshops have replays, and we’re not even halfway through those. So you will have no trouble catching up.
ADA Compliance Tips
In the last several Tips Tuesdays I’ve been talking about how important ADA compliance has become for our sites. ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act and it’s super important to ensure that everyone can enjoy our sites.
In this post you can see someone actually using a screen reader and the challenges they face on some sites.
So many of y’all have asked about my green screen setup for Tips Tuesday and BlogAid Today livestreams where I have my browser or a PowerPoint slide behind me.
I use Vmix for that and I’ll be sharing my setup in a post someday, along with the new video setup for my shop. But I’m still working on them in my new place and with new equipment, so not ready to share yet.
However, this is not the only way to do it.
In fact, my buddy Krishna De covers all kinds of ways to do video things.
And in this post, she specifically covers using XSplit VCam for great green screen effects.
I was especially happy to see her challenge with it vs using the built in thing with Zoom. I use Zoom for my meetings and have not been impressed with their thing to knock out the background.
It looks like XSplit works better in Krishna’s test. So I’m going to try that.
I had been researching ways to do client interviews and right now I’m going to give up on livestreaming them as I can’t put another learning curve for OBS using Zoom on my plate right now.
But, I sure can easily use Zoom to simply record the interviews and publish them to YouTube and Facebook!!
And I want to change out my green screen setup now that I’m in my own house and can put holes in the wall for a drape instead of the frame I have. That will let me get it out of the way and just use the nice wall color for a backdrop instead of it being green.
But, if I can do that with XSplit, that will save me the time and money of making a removable drape.
The best part is, you can use just about any solid color backdrop. So if you have a blank wall, you’re in business.
It’s an easy and cheap way to have a super video effect and Krishna has the full tutorials for you in her post too. So go check that out.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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