Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Keyword SEO Part 1 Workshop this week
- WP Fastest Cache has a new integration method for Cloudflare
- 7 new GTMetrix tutorials for Webmasters
- Theme testing update
- Why not to blame Genesis for poor speed
- Why there is a mass exodus from SiteGround going on now
- New, better hosting update
- Live session to get to the bottom of caching issues like not seeing changes in Preview
- How to make it hard for scrapers to grab your content
- How to find and remove stolen content
- WordPress is dropping support for old Internet Explorer versions
- Which is the worst browser to use for working on your site – besides IE
- A primer on Full Site Editing from the man known as the spark of Gutenberg
- What Chrome 90 using HTTPS as the default means for your site
- Why there’s more to HTTPS than just getting that S at the end
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 vibe of Spring continues to energize me – mostly because I get more time out on my deck with the dog while doing so much of my reading and research.
Plus, after 10 years of paying others, I decided to start mowing my own yard again.
And it’s so good to get that mental downtime and do something physical that is away from my desk.
And this week I’m preparing to open my woodshop back up after the winter break and I’m looking forward to some physical activity there, plus the different kind of mental activity of engineering things and figuring out how to do it. I love that part of it so much!
All of this helps keep me balanced from the work and sometimes heavy stress of dealing with all the site related changes we are going through these days.
Are you feeling energized these days too?
What new things are you putting that energy into?
Lots to cover today
This week’s post is a longer post than usual, but we have a lot of important things to cover.
Our live workshop for the DIY SEO course is on Part 1 of Keywords is this week – and there is an exciting new player on the block that we’ll be checking out in Part 2 next week.
The week after the Part 2 workshop we’ll be covering Ranking Factors – and I’ll be including more on the role Core Web Vitals play this time too.
Then we’ll take a break before we switch gears into the rest of the workshops that focus directly on your content, including how to create a Content Silo.
It’s never too late to jump into the course!!! Replays are always available.
I have once again updated the WP Fastest Cache tutorial with a more secure way to do your API integration with Cloudflare.
And it includes a way to remove your current integration that uses your Cloudflare Global API key, and then shows you how to create a Token with its own API key and add that instead.
And we all appreciate Emre, the dev, for looking out for us with our site security.
So, put this on your to do list if you haven’t done it already.
Woot!! There are 7 new GTMetrix tutorials in the Performance section of the Webmaster Training course.
They include how to read all of the metrics plus there are 2 that focus directly on mobile testing, which you can only get in the paid version.
And this is what I use during site audits too so we can see all of the Cumulative Layout Shifts and other Core Web Vitals issues as they appear on mobile devices, which is the exact way that Google is indexing your site now.
Theme Testing Update
As I reported last week, 2 more designers from the Webmaster Training have joined the testing team and everyone has chosen the theme they want to focus on.
We’ll be doing head-to-head testing on:
Now that all of the new tester tutorials are available for both WebPage Test and GTMetrix, we’ll be meeting live to bring everyone onto the same page with the issues we’ve already found and creating documentation per theme, so everyone on the team has access to the fixes and specifics about how to test for them.
From there, everyone will go off playing with their own themes. And hopefully by mid April we’ll be ready to set up for the formal testing and see how each theme compares with the others, and what it takes to make them as fast as they can be.
Better themes for all
FYI, the most recent Genesis Shapers Meeting they discussed making improvements to some Genesis themes to deal with the Cumulative Layout Shift that impacts Core Web Vitals.
And since we have one of the top Genesis designers on our testing team, I have zero doubt that this push came from the exact issues we found during our initial testing.
That’s how powerful this group of testers is and why this testing is so important.
The case study info is being given to the theme developers and we are having a direct impact on improvements these vendors can do to make their themes better for all users.
Don’t blame Genesis as a whole
I will go on to say that the Genesis framework has no CLS or any other Core Web Vitals issues.
Some of the child themes do.
And Genesis will only be improving the child themes that they make and can be found on the StudioPress site.
But, there are other 3rd party themes featured on the StudioPress site, and it will be up to those designers to improve their theme’s CWV.
My whole beef with Genesis is that they don’t mandate standards for 3rd party themes.
You have zero idea what you are buying with those 3rd party themes.
You have no idea if they are fully compliant with:
- Core Web Vitals
On top of that, you may have no idea if they require a paid plugin to get all of the features.
I like Genesis and have used them for years.
But, I also have a designer for my child theme that is qualified in all of this compliance and keeps my themes in line with them.
So, don’t poopoo Genesis just because your 3rd party child theme is bloated, slow, and out of compliance.
Get a better Genesis designer who can start with a compliant base and just skip StudioPress and other 3rd party designers from the start.
Plus, if you take my Gutenberg Ninja course, you won’t even look at those widget-based home pages anymore because you’ll be able to build your own home page using all blocks.
This is why you should get a designer who has their own compliant base, and why your design costs will be so low.
Mass exodus from SiteGround
My wait list for any site service like migration and/or audits is solidly into July now and growing every day.
That’s for 2 main reasons.
First, there is a mass exodus from SiteGround happening right now. They just keep shooting themselves in the foot with every change they make.
I had already limited what I could do there for you by stopping all HTTPS conversions.
And now we have proof that even if you turn off all of their caching through the SG Optimizer plugin as well as what you can access in their custom control panel – that it still outputs server-side caching – and you have zero control over it.
That directly conflicts with any better browser caching you want to put on your site to speed things up, like the combo caching/optimization plugins we use.
READ: Caching vs Optimization for what each of these distinct things do for your site speed, and why you need both.
So now, any audit request I get where they list SiteGround as the host, I have to tell them the limits of what I can audit and the limits of what I can do to speed up their site.
Then I suggest they get the Migration/Audit combo service, which saves them money on both.
And that is exactly what they are signing up for – in droves right now.
I have about 5 folks who have contacted me who are making up their mind about what they want to do. And every day they wait to reply to me and get confirmed on my wait list, it pushes them out by another week of waiting.
Yes, I’m getting that many requests!!!
My competition is referring folks to me
The second reason my wait list is getting so long so fast is because my direct competition is sending folks to me, as he is no longer taking ad-hoc services like this.
He is only offering it through a membership or subscription to his monthly maintenance service.
And here’s why I think he has to do that.
Several folks went to him for “done for you service” and they had zero idea what he did.
When all of that started breaking, they came to me. And once I saw what he did, they had to go back to him to remove all that stuff – and for free too.
The methods he used are trickery that don’t hold up over time. If you change themes, or if a plugin changes how it does stuff, or you remove that plugin, then all hell could break loose on your site.
And worse, you have zero way to cooperate with those fixes because you have zero idea what was done.
This is precisely why I don’t offer “done for you services”.
What I offer is a DIY site owner education and we are partners in the fixes.
You know exactly what’s going on with your site and how to keep it fast and secure once we get it that way.
None of my clients are techies and none of them have trouble doing their parts or keeping up with the changes. They don’t have to hire me to do every little thing anymore. They can do it themselves, and they never miss a Tips Tuesday as that tells them exactly what to do and when.
And they rarely to never need to contact their host for anything anymore either.
New Hosting update
The hosting I’ve been recommending to you is better than where you were.
But, all big box hosting is failing to keep clients fast because of the new generic security measures they have to throw on the servers to combat the worsening bot attacks.
That’s the primary reason SiteGround is tanking right now.
And some of the things the other hosts are doing to keep the speed up are actually backfiring and part of the problem. Like turning off ModSecurity on some sites and assigning PHP resources too high.
So, I’ve been working with another host to provide my clients and webmasters our own space that is setup to my specifications and has a much more tailored setup than any big box host can provide.
I sent out surveys to both my site audit clients and webmasters with questions to assess their site size and hosting package needs.
Me and the host are now going over those results so they can prepare the servers to meet those exact needs, and for the first group of folks who will be moving there.
And there will be qualifications and requirements to get on, and stay on this new hosting, chief of which is that you stay current with your site audits so that your site remains optimized.
Think of it like moving from the ghetto of shared hosting and into a neighborhood with an HOA. Everybody has to keep their yards mowed so that nobody has snakes that could compromise the server and everyone on it.
And the cost is going to be within a few bucks a month of the hosting you’re already on. That’s because these will be lean machines and the host doesn’t have to pay for software that none of us use, like Softaculous for 1-click WP installations and such.
I’ll be sending details to my peeps as soon as we have all of our documentation worked out and the first servers are ready for you.
More tutorial updates
This week my whole focus for tutorials are the Gutenberg updates for what came in with WP 5.7 and the Video SEO course.
I’m almost finished with writing up the video embed tutorials and we’ll start testing as soon as I can set that up for our volunteers.
And while we’re doing that testing, I’ll loop back to the other 2 sections of the course and start actually making those tutorials and posting them to the new member area for the course on the BlogAid Learning Center. That’s where the DIY SEO course and the Gutenberg Ninja course already are.
That’s all the happenings from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Goofy Shit Tips
Can’t see edits in Preview
Last week I started this new section where I reported all the goofy stuff folks are encountering now as they blog.
This past week I’ve heard from more of my site audit clients that they can no longer see their changes after they hit Preview in the post editor 2-3 times.
What I’ve also seen lately with site audit clients who are newer to WP is that they are navigating WP in a bad way.
Look, everybody is self-taught with WP. I used to teach a course on how to do all of this stuff, but nobody wanted to pay for it after YouTube got saturated with tutorials, so I dumped it as I could no longer afford to keep 80 videos updated with WP changing every 5 minutes.
So, today we’ll be doing a live session with my BB Hubbers, which is a group and member area perk for site audit clients, and I’ll show how I navigate WP and we’ll see how everyone in the group does it. Maybe we can find a root cause that way, or at least compare notes and rule more things out.
But I can already tell you that if you are still on SiteGround, they are the biggest part of this problem.
Beyond your browser, your computer can also hold stuff in cache.
And it can be purged too.
It’s called Flush DNS.
Now, this is not something you should need to do on a regular basis.
But it is something you may want to try to help with this Preview issue.
WP Beaches has a post for how to Flush DNS on any type of computer with any type of OS.
Find yours in the list and give it a try.
I’d be interested to know if it works for you.
Flush router cache
Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can hold cache in its hub and/or in your router.
While you can’t flush their hub, you can flush your router.
You’ll need to check with your router vendor for instructions on how to do that.
And I’d be interested to know if it works for you.
Are you tired of having your entire post scraped and used on other sites?
Then read this post to see if you’re making it easy for scrapers to rip you off!!
And see easy ways to put a stop to it.
Scraping your content has become big business these days.
WP Beginner has a super nice article on how to check to see if your content has been stolen and published on another site.
And then they cover the steps to get it taken down.
I also included a link to this WP Beginner post in my article too.
It’s about time!!!
WP has announced that it will start phasing out support for old IE versions 11 and below starting with the next release of WP 5.8.
The fact is, all of my site audit clients have already dropped this support by setting their minimum TLS version to 1.2 in Cloudflare.
That is the minimum called for by Chrome too.
That’s because any version below that cannot work with the current encryption methods for HTTPS.
Keep in mind that the S of HTTPS is for applying encryption to your site’s data as it travels back and forth from the host to the visitor’s browser. This is to keep peeping Toms from reading the data as it travels and grabbing things like your visitor’s email address when they subscribe to your newsletter.
So, any browser that can’t deal with the newest encryption keys can no longer be supported.
Maybe you should have a look at your Google Analytics and see how many of your visitors use older versions of IE. If there are many, it would be worth your time to send an email to everyone on your list and tell them why they need to switch to a modern browser.
You want to do this sooner rather than later as the next WP version release is only a few months away.
And you may want to send a reminder to your peeps in another month or so if you don’t see that they are changing browsers.
Safari is the worst browser to use for site stuff
FYI, I know a lot of you are on Macs or Apple devices when working on your site.
But, Safari is the worst browser to use for working on the backend of your site.
Please use Firefox or Chrome.
Now, you will want to still view your site in Safari, as Apple devices are likely the number one cell phone folks are reading you on.
Just don’t use if for working on your site as it can’t interpret WP admin areas properly too many times.
And if you are having a Preview issue, as mentioned previously, trade browsers and see if it persists.
WordPress hosted an interview with Matias Ventura, who is known as the “spark behind Gutenberg.”
I heard Matias speak live at the WordCamp US where Gutenberg was introduced and was blown away by it.
This is definitely an interview to watch or read to get a grip on the multifaceted nature of Gutenberg as more than just an editor now, and all of the different development processes going on with it to make WordPress a Full Site Editor, the basis of which started rolling into the WP core with the release of 5.7
A few Tips Tuesday’s ago I mentioned a plugin from Bing that makes it easy for you to automatically ping their search engine any time you have a new post or update an old one.
I had planned to add a plugin tutorial for it to DIY SEO course because Bing just doesn’t have the crawl resources that Google does and they want our help with this.
And that’s good for us.
Well, now Bing is petitioning WP to include a native way for bloggers to connect to search engines securely via an API, just like this plugin does.
Even if WP devs agree to this, it could take a year or more to happen.
So, I still intend to add a tutorial for the Bing plugin as soon as I can.
I sure am glad to see this change!!!
It has been 6 years since Google declared that all sites should be HTTPS.
And they have been beating that drum ever since to not only get sites converted, but to ensure they have all of the required HTTPS security headers.
And now they are putting more teeth into it.
When Chrome 90 rolls out to the public in mid April, it will assume the HTTPS protocol when none is specified.
That means when someone types blogaid.net into their Chrome browser’s URL, it will automatically send them to the https version instead of the http version that then gets redirected to the https port.
I sure hope all browsers follow suite to cut down on the insanely high number of redirects we get now, mainly from bad bots trying to enter our site via the unsecured port of http.
There’s more to HTTPS than the S at the end
Four years ago, when I was working myself silly to get everyone’s site properly converted to HTTPS to meet Google’s deadline, I held webinars to tell folks why a full conversion was needed.
There’s more to it than just tricking the http links to redirect to https.
All of the links in your database need to actually be converted to https.
That’s not just your permalinks. It’s also the links to all of the images embedded in your post, or any other internal content links you have in the post.
You need a proper forced regex for those redirections, not hidden virtual ways at the host.
Plus, you need 5 HTTPS security headers – 3 of which Chrome is now requiring.
During those webinars some folks laughed at me saying if you used free trickery, like the Really Simple SSL plugin, that it would later bite you in the butt.
Well, here we are!!! And I told you so!!!
READ: Top 10 Reasons NOT to Use Free HTTPS for details on all that you are missing with host or plugin trickery.
READ: Top 7 Myths About HTTPS Conversion if you are confused about the difference in free SSL and free HTTPS conversion. They are entirely different things. A free SSL certificate is fine. Free HTTPS trickery isn’t.
Plus, those HTTPS security headers are now part of your Core Web Vitals metrics too.
READ: Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know and Do for details.
Combine HTTPS conversion with an Audit or Migration Service
And now you know why my wait list is 4 months and growing. So many site owners are finally waking up to these facts about speed and security and I’m one of the few folks who has been preaching it for years, and offering services to get and keep your site ahead of the curves.
If you need help with getting your HTTPS up to par, then seriously consider combining that with a full audit and/or an audit/migration combo.
Remember that I can’t do HTTPS conversions at SiteGround anymore. So, that’s another reason to get away from their trickery as it’s hurting your Core Web Vitals now too.
I want to send a huge thank you to all of my clients and webmasters who listened back when I first made the call for HTTPS conversion, and who keep coming in for their audit checkups so that they have every new thing Chrome requires well before the deadlines and them giving penalties or lower rankings for not having it.
Y’all are staying calm through all of this while everyone else panics because you jumped on it early.
And you never miss a Tips Tuesday so that you are always staying well ahead of these curves.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
Gimme some love!!
Share this post with all your blogger buddies and blogger groups to support all the free info and help you get on BlogAid – and help your buddies too!!
Subscribe to allBlogAid Posts via email so you never miss anything!
Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources and I’ll see you online.