Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- WordPress 5.4 will be out in one week
- New Gutenberg Ninja tutorials in the works
- New DIY SEO workshops in the works
- The difference in caching and optimization plugins and the order to do things to speed up your site
- How and why to prepare your computer for a sharp rise in cyber attacks
- Why to prepare your connected devices to prevent hack attacks
- How to prepare your site for a sharp rise in DDoS attacks
- How to change your Zoom settings to block trolls from showing porn in your public meetings
- My take on how we’ve been doing for the past week
- How sites and traffic have been doing
- How the blogging industry as a whole has been doing
- What I see coming on the other side of this situation
- Why makers are on the rise
- The new opportunities that abound
- An invitation to dream a little dream of the new world order that’s coming and your place in it
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. It’s a great way to get the deeper story on what’s reported in Tips Tuesday. And, I almost always have breaking news for the day too. So come join us live for the party.
Who I Help
All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower DIY site owners who are not on hosting that is restrictive in what you can and can’t do with your site and hosting setup.
I hope you are well and safe and settling into a new normal for the time being.
The tips this week are rather short, but super important.
And with so many of our lives disrupted from usual routines, I think now is a good time for us to have a little chat and I’ll share with you what I’ve been seeing happening with my clients and bloggers in general. Plus a look into my crystal ball about what’s coming.
WordPress 5.4 set to release in one week
The newest version of WordPress is slated to release on Tuesday, March 31.
If it follows the regular pattern, it will likely start rolling out that evening.
We will not be the first to update to it, as there are several changes that we need to see how they play in a broader set of sites with different configurations and plugins first.
I am already testing it and in the process of making a What’s New video and post for you that I’ll be releasing later this week.
There are several new Gutenberg functions coming in WP 5.4 that I’m super delighted to see!!!
I’m in the process of updating tutorials in the Gutenberg Ninja course for us this week.
If you’re not already on Gutenberg and you are wanting to try it out, this course takes you step-by-step through it.
And then takes you way past the basics into creating your own snazzy custom page layouts and such too for things like landing pages, home pages, optins, and so much more.
If you are in any BlogAid course or you’re a site audit client, be sure to look for your discount in your respective member area too.
We’re currently in a two week break from the live workshops for the DIY SEO course.
I wanted to give time for everyone to get caught up on the live workshops we’ve already done.
And, I needed the time to finish up new tutorials on keywords and ranking that we’ll be doing as we get ready to deep dive into content and on-page SEO for the remainder of the workshops.
I’ll have a new schedule for you by next week, so you can mark your calendars.
I’m delighted to share with you that I finished all of the speed tests on the free caching and optimization plugins!!
I’ll be releasing those test results later this week, I hope.
And to start off this series of speed posts, I released one last week on the difference in caching and optimization for speeding up your site.
There are plugins that do nothing but caching.
And then there are plugins that do nothing but optimization.
And then there are plugins that do both.
Plus, there are things you need to do to speed up your site too, and I list what those are and the order that you should do them.
Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Prepare your computer for a sharp rise in cyber attacks
With so many new work-from home setups happening now, hackers are drooling themselves to start a new round of cyber attacks aimed at unsecured home computers.
Those attacks will primarily include:
You need to ensure your computer’s security is up to date.
And you need to be super extra careful about opening suspicious email or clicking links in emails even if they look legit.
Always go directly to the company’s website and log in from there instead of clicking a login link in an email.
And here’s a post from Wired that talks more about the Corona virus cyber attacks and how to stay safe online.
Prepare all connected devices to prevent hack attacks
Besides your computer, you need to ensure that all of your SMART devices are properly secured too.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is ripe pickings for hackers.
Your IoT devices include:
- Cell phone
- Internet and wifi router
- Smart TV
- Smart speaker
- Home security system that is connected to wifi in any way
These devices can be hacked and used as cannon fodder in a DDoS attack.
DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service
Basically, a hacker can use any device connected to the internet to clog up an internet highway so that no traffic can pass through.
They have taken down Twitter and Facebook and other social media sites already this year and are ramping up for more.
And none of us can stand to have our social lifelines cut right now, so do your part to help keep the internet safe.
Be sure that all of your devices have:
- All the latest hardware and software updates
- Secure passwords that you have recently rotated
Prepare your site for a sharp rise in DDoS attacks
There has already been a rise in DDoS attacks.
There’s even been a call for an ethical hackers group to be formed to volunteer time to put a stop to the DDoS attacks that are already happening, and to prevent future ones.
Keep in mind that your site could be hacked without you ever knowing it.
Hackers make more money if they can slip in under the radar and silently steal email addresses from your commenters and those who fill out your contact forms.
They would also like to make use of your hosting resources without you knowing to help give them computing power for these DDoS attacks.
Get a site audit if you have not already had one and let’s get your site secured and running fast.
If it’s been over a year since your site audit, come in for a checkup, as all manner of security things have changed in the last year. That includes 20+ changes at Cloudflare.
If you’re using Zoom for public meetings, you need to check your settings.
Trolls are looking for publicly posted Zoom links now and are showing porn on them.
See the post for the settings you need to check or change to prevent that.
Free Help and Resource Tips
The nice folks over at MetaBox have collected up all of the site-related resources that are being offered for free or at a substantial discount right now.
Be sure to go see this list and check out what’s there.
Most of them center around folks new to working in remote teams.
But there are also courses for folks who are just getting started with WordPress and such too.
And even if you’ve been with WordPress for a while, you might find those interesting.
A Check on How We’ve Been Doing
How we’ve been doing for the past week
I’d like to take a moment to share with you what I’ve been seeing in my business and with my clients.
This past week everyone was scatterbrained.
I don’t think anyone could focus on anything.
Mistakes were being made by vendors, me, and by clients.
Communications were unclear or required more touches to get all the info.
This week, things seem a bit clearer.
Perhaps folks are getting used to the new normal and are turning away from panic laced news and trying to find some solace in establishing new routines, including time to clear their minds.
How sites and traffic are doing this past week
It’s been a really mixed bag.
For me and the webmasters I’ve heard from, it’s been business as usual for the most part.
We’ve only had a few clients postpone projects so far.
For my clients, some are still doing incredibly well with traffic.
They include those in niches for:
- Mommy blogs for activities with kids
- Life-work balance
- Crafts – have been a mix with some doing well and others not so much. It seems to depend on whether folks already have the supplies on hand or not, or if they are brand new to it or not.
But, my travel industry clients have called it a blood bath.
I can’t even imagine how hard it is to watch your traffic plummet after all the hard work you’ve done. Just know that it will come back, so don’t give up on it.
How the industry has been doing for the past week
When all of the social distancing edicts started coming out, I started seeing all manner of advertising for course discounts to learn something new and folks saying to spend time working on your site.
Those hit me funny, and what I’ve seen is that folks just could not focus on their sites for a while, nor were they in a vibe to create or start a new project or such.
But, I think that was true more for folks who already had an established blog, or a source of income that was not hit due to the virus or shutdowns.
I had a conversation with one client who tried to order a new mic for her podcast and they were sold out because so many folks are trying their hand at it.
I’m also getting in new clients who want to start blogging and get going on the right foot with it so they can avoid those expensive mistakes found in so many new blogger courses to get on Bluehost and other such nonsense.
As my seasoned blogger clients can attest, even if you know what you’re doing it can take at least 6 months to get any traction on a new site.
So, a lot of money is being spent by folks getting into this game right now, and I hope they are not too disappointed when they realize just how much there is to learn and do, and how long it will take to see results – like 2 years or so for most of them.
What I see coming on the other side of this
One of the things that has struck me in all of this is just how different things would have been if this had hit 10 years ago.
We already have plenty of folks now working from home.
And we already have plenty of folks who are homeschooling.
Plus, many universities offer online courses already too.
It hasn’t been especially hard for IT departments to set up telecommuting infrastructure for office workers, or for them to setup virtual meetings.
A lot of young folks are more into communal type living and don’t care much for owning property, like a house or even a car.
That’s why Lyft and Uber and Door Dash have grown substantially in the last few years.
And buying everything online has become the norm, even buying a car you’ve never driven.
Now that even more folks are being exposed to this way of life, I think it will move from a trend to a new normal.
And as I’m seeing more shows on self-sustaining living in Alaska becoming more popular, I’m thinking that there are more and more folks gravitating toward an authentic life that they make by their own hand.
Makers are on the rise
Last week I was talking to one of my clients who used to write for a regional magazine that’s like Town and Country.
I was telling her my art plans for Heartwood Art and that I’m going big with it in that I’ll be making center piece of the room decor with a high level of craftsmanship and it will have a price tag to match.
She said this is the year of the artisan and more and more designers and home decor folks are looking for one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces.
I believe a full quarter of my small neighborhood includes full-time makers and others who work from home by choice.
As a matter of fact, I was planning a neighborhood meetup with them before this social distancing thing hit. And while we could do it virtually, I think the first meeting needs to be in person, so I’ll wait.
My point is, I think folks who are suddenly at home now are going to start considering a new way of life that allows them to be more in control of their schedule and still have meaningful work to do.
I don’t think most folks are willing to take the financial risk of becoming an entrepreneur, though.
But, I do believe that more folks will consider moving in that direction, or at least consider a side gig of it.
I’m mentioning all of this because I think there are a lot of opportunities available, especially for those of you who are already established.
How can you pivot to be in the flow of the growing trends?
How do you think this current situation is changing folks?
What can you offer beyond the current coping skills needed to get through the first part of this, and help folks move into a new normal?
What will the new normal be a year from now based on the changes folks are going through today?
How can you diversify your income streams so that a single hit can’t obliterate your revenue?
I pivot BlogAid every six months
I bet most of you never noticed.
Even with all I’m doing with Heartwood Art, you just see it as a natural progression, and how it’s informing BlogAid to help me help you.
BlogAid is a completely different business than it was 5 years ago.
My income streams are entirely different than they were then.
And 3-5 years from now, they will be entirely different from my current offerings.
My client avatar has completely changed multiple times in the 15+ years I’ve been doing this too.
Dream a little dream
I’m inviting you to look into your crystal ball and imagine the new world order that is coming.
Where is your place in it?
Where can you look for emerging trends?
What rut are you in with what you currently do that could stand to be either freshened up or dropped completely and replaced with a current trend?
I believe we are beginning to numb to the panic and we’re ready to start changing vibes to come out of sheer survival mode.
We’re starting to notice that we can do this and we will adapt.
And we’re looking at what’s really important to us as we change our habits and ways of being.
So, if you can, dream a little of how life could be different for the world and where you’d like to fit into what will be.
Write it down and let it simmer with you for a while.
And when you can, start walking in that direction.
It doesn’t take major leaps and bounds.
It’s one step at a time.
And you can do this.
If there is anything I can do to help you, just let me know.
That could be a consult, a new course idea, more group meetings to put the power of our village to work, or whatever you need.
I’m here to help.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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