Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Schema Markup live DIY SEO workshop this week
- HTTPS changes coming in WordPress 5.7
- Why you need to get a real and full HTTPS conversion
- Why I’m revamping the Webmaster tutorial section for Performance and postponing the HTTPS tutorial revamp
- What’s up with the letter you may have received from Amazon S3
- Why you may need to reclaim your site on Pinterest and a better place to put that code
- Why you need to check your HTTP3/QUIC setting at Cloudflare
- Changes to the Squoosh online image optimizer and why it is my fave tool
- A list of the best niche YouTube channels to follow
- What was in the email I sent to all of my site audit clients
- Details on the new speed tests I’m doing with plugin devs and designers
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.
And if you haven’t done so, I strongly suggest that you see the replay on last week’s livestream as it has very important site security information.
Who I Help
All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower business-minded, hands-on bloggers who are serious about making money with their sites and who are on hosts I can work on.
We’re moving into the bitter cold winter month here where I live. So very little deck or shop time for me these days. I call my deck my sanity room and I work and read out there with the dog as much as I can. But not this week with 20 degrees for the high!!! And that means a lot more desk time for me – and I have PLENTY to do there, which I’ll tell you about in a moment.
But first, I want to remind my DIY SEO course members that our live workshop on Thursday will be for checking the baseline schema markup our sites are outputting.
This is a new workshop in the course and comes directly from what I found when researching video SEO and the tests I ran for that on my site and those of my clients who volunteered to help with the testing.
Our schema markup was all over the place – and I found a huge issue on BlogAid that was radically impacting the markup on my blog posts.
Now, since this is a new test, we’re doing it as a live workshop so we can see each other’s test results and address the issues we find.
That’s the true power of this village. By all of us sharing what we are running into, and finding the fixes together, I can add all of that info into the course.
I did the same thing a few years ago when Google Search Console gave us the new Coverage Report.
I didn’t have errors to look into, but several of the course members did. And digging into those and finding the fixes is how we have all have the nice screenshots and fixes listed in the course for everyone to benefit from.
The same is going to happen with the video SEO course too.
So, this is not just another video-only course where you’re on your own with trying to apply generic tutorials to your site. We all have the power of the village behind us with our workshops and private Facebook group for asking questions and sharing more info too.
Email sent to all site audit clients
As you saw in last week’s Tips Tuesday, I’m in the process of making big changes to the way I do biz at BlogAid.
And I sent an email to all of my site audit clients last week, not just those in the BB Hub, with more details on those changes, especially with regard to site audits.
The flat rate for the site audits are now $275, which is actually the minimum of what it costs me to provide that service.
Everyone who is already on my wait list will get it for the rate offered at the time they signed up.
I also drew a line on waiting too long between site audits.
Any audit that happens after 18 months will no longer be eligible for an audit checkup, which includes me updating security, HTTPS, and other changes as I go and is done at my hourly tech rate instead of the new flat rate. They are faster and cheaper than a full audit. And getting that checkup every 12-18 months is required to keep pace with the ever-increasing rate of site speed and security changes happening now.
Any audit done after 18 months will be at the new full audit rate, as there will be way too many changes for me to have to check, and I can’t implement them as I go due to the increased complexity of what those changes may impact. The fixes have to be done in an orderly fashion, including changes that the site owner will need to make.
Plus, I’ve found that after 18 months too many site owners have made major changes to their site for it to be a simple checkup too – like changing themes or plugins and such. That’s especially true for the folks who have taken my Gutenberg Ninja course and switched to an entire other way of running their site that is way less bloated and faster. Or, they have too many outdated plugins and themes or ways of doing things that will limit how much speed we can get on their sites.
Plus, I’m doing even more checks in the audits now, like checking your schema markup output as well. So, the flat rate for it had to go up, and there has to be a line on ensuring that you are keeping up with the rapid pace of change too and not falling so radically far behind.
Deep speed testing for plugins and themes underway
One of the reasons that my wait list has gotten so long, which is currently into May and still growing, is that clients are now willing to pay more and make more changes to their site to gain all of the speed improvements they can.
That is in large part due to Core Web Vitals looming as becoming a ranking factor in May.
It used to be that site audit clients were so insanely happy with the radical speed improvements they got from their first audit that they decided to stop there and not dig any deeper into more speed tweaks.
That’s just not the case anymore.
Site owners are a lot more willing now to get rid of additional bloated plugins, pay for better optimization plugins, and even change their theme, if that is the problem.
Those jobs take longer because we are delving deeper.
So, because of this new interest in squeezing all we can out of their site speed, I’ve had to start doing way deeper testing into the cause of the speed drags, and other Core Web Vitals metrics, like Cumulative Layout Shift and Total Blocking Time.
That gets directly into how their theme is coded and how the caching/optimization plugins reorder the output.
I’ve called on my top 2 webmaster designers to help with these tests, as they are also getting job requests for more speed and need to know how to tweak the themes to achieve it.
We’re delving deep into both Genesis and Astra themes, as well as the optimization parts of plugins such as WP Fastest Cache, WP Rocket, and others.
I’ve literally had to stop onboarding some site service clients until I have more of these test results and theme answers, as I will need to bring those answers and advice to several of the currently open, as well as upcoming projects.
So, this is a front-burner, top-priority case study and all other work I had on my plate has to be worked in between these tests – like the video SEO course that I was in the middle of writing.
When I have paying clients knocking on my door, I am going to answer that bell. And, I have to answer that bell for the sake of my webmasters too, to help them get these great paying gigs as well.
And I know that all the site audit request folks that are currently on my wait list will not mind it taking a bit longer so that I’ll have those answers for them when we open their projects.
And it may be that some of the new suggestions I have will also work for clients who have had audits in the last 4-6 months too, and will be something they can implement on their own. I’ll know when I finish my tests.
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Oh my, this may be a new can of worms.
Four years after Google required all sites to be HTTPS, WordPress is finally getting around to making an easy way to convert the links in your database from http to https.
The problem is, everybody with sites older than four years has already found a way to do it.
And most have used some form of trickery like a plugin, or similar such thing via their host.
And much of that trickery does not actually convert all of the links in your database – it just redirects them to https.
I have zero idea what fresh hell this is going to cause those folks because I don’t know how WP is going to detect what’s going on with the database.
Best as I can tell, it’s going to have a look at the 2 canonicals you have listed in your General Settings and go off that.
But some of the trickery that folks are using have those overwritten in a bad way, via the wp-config file, and not in the database.
When I do a full HTTPS conversion service for my clients, I find all manner of mixed links with http, https, www, and non.
I have zero idea how this new feature is going to deal with all of that either.
And it may not add the HTTPS regex needed to force redirects from all non canonicals into the single canonical which also funnels them through the encrypted HTTPS port on the server.
Plus, it’s not going to add the 5 HTTPS security headers you need, 3 of which Chrome/Google is requiring for Core Web Vitals now.
So, we’ll see how this goes.
Get REAL HTTPS Conversion
Here’s my take on it.
I’ve been saying for the last 4 years that going the cheater route with HTTPS would bite you in the butt.
For the entire first year of me saying that, some folks just laughed at me.
Guess what – you can kiss my grits!
I was right 4 years ago, and it took you all this time to catch up.
And thank you to all of my clients who did listen and have been enjoying the benefits of being far ahead of the curve on this.
So, while everyone else is panicking over Core Web Vitals security scores, or their database being totally FUBARed over trying the new native WP way, my peeps will be calmly going about their normal business and not worried about it.
READ: Top 10 Reasons NOT to Use Free HTTPS Conversion if you’re still not convinced.
And then get on my wait list to have your site fully converted to HTTPS the right way. And if you want the rest of your Core Web Vitals checked, get a site audit first and combine the services to save money and really get on the good side of Google.
FYI, I don’t run an emergency fix-it service, and I’m not the maid. If you think you want to try doing an HTTPS conversion yourself and goof it up, don’t call me. I do it right the first time, which is cheaper, and less stressful for everyone.
Webmaster HTTPS tutorial revamp postponed
I had the HTTPS section of tutorials in the Webmaster Training course scheduled for a full revamp in February.
The reason I wanted to do a full revamp is that we are just not running into all of the same issues we had when I first made those tutorials and themes and plugins were breaking during conversions.
Now we have all new sets of HTTPS trickery to deal with, and/or all of the missing components like HTTPS security headers and such.
And, the script I was using to do conversions on the database links has gotten flaky and I’m using another method now that has worked flawlessly in the 2-3 months that I’ve been testing it.
But, in light of what’s coming with regard to HTTPS in WP 5.7, which is due out on March 9, and due to the need to revamp the Performance section as I do these new super deep speed tests, I believe I’ll postpone the HTTPS tutorial revamp until we see what issues crop up as folks start using the native WP way in 5.7.
Letter from AWS / Amazon S3 (AS3)
If you use Amazon S3 for storage, you may have recently received an email from them about changes to their service coming in March.
The way I read it, the change is mostly to their SSL certificate and such.
To my knowledge, and as much sense as I can make out of what AWS sends us, I don’t think it will impact backups if that is all you have at AWS.
To be honest, I can’t really tell if it will goof up delivery of the podcasts and video tutorials for my member sites that I store there too.
AWS has never been very clear in any of their documentation, so I’m taking my best guess at this, folks.
Please let me know if you have a different interpretation.
Reclaim Site on Pinterest
I’m hearing that many bloggers are presented with a “set up profile” screen when they log into their established Pinterest accounts.
Also hearing that they have to reclaim their sites.
That will mean putting in the new verification code or .html file.
First – check how you have your site verified now and remove it.
Next seriously consider adding the verification script into your head area.
Works the same for verification scripts.
While some themes also give you a way to add scripts to the head and footer areas, I prefer to do it with this plugin. That way when you change themes you don’t have to remember to move those scripts over.
Last, if you decide to add the .html verification file instead of the script in the header, be sure to include that file in your backups.
Turn on HTTP3/QUIC at Cloudflare
The new HTTP3 with QUIC protocol has been in development for at least the last 4 years. It will make the internet so much faster.
And we have been enjoying it from Cloudflare for about the last 2 years, wherever it was supported.
There was a small issue with it over the last couple of months and Cloudflare made the setting grayed out.
It’s back on now.
I checked my sites on Cloudflare, under the Network tab, and it was on, just like I had left it when they had grayed it out.
But, you may want to jump into Cloudflare and check that it is on for you too.
Changes to Squoosh
Super image optimization is the biggest bang for the buck you can get for speeding up your site load time. And no image optimization plugin is going to do as good for you as properly optimizing prior to upload.
For the past couple of years I’ve suggested that folks use the online Squoosh optimization tool.
But, several of my site audit clients have recently reported that they are having issues getting clear images when using the online Squoosh image optimizer since they changed the interface.
Instead of setting quality around 75% or so, they are having to go up to 95% to get rid of the fuzzy. Now keep in mind that these are folks with nice cameras who have been taking shots for years and using this optimizer for a long time too, so I don’t think this is user error.
We love the Squoosh tool as it has the latest compresession algorithms and modern file formats like MozJPEG, which Google testers will accept as equal to using WebP.
Plus, those images have a Progressive render, which is super important for speed.
I’m inquiring about any news of changes to the compression algorithm but we are not finding any news about it. I’ll let you know if we do.
READ: Why Squoosh is My Favorite Image Optimizer for details and a tutorial on this fantastic tool.
List of best niche YouTube channels to follow
ProBlogger has published several posts lately with the best YouTube channels in different niches to follow.
Some of my clients are in these niches and making videos already. And more of my clients are wanting to start adding videos to their marketing and monetizing mix too.
So, I thought you might be interested in seeing what top YouTubers are putting out there and maybe it will give you some ideas for the kinds of videos you could make, regardless of niche.
And that’s important.
It’s a good idea to watch what other genres and niches are doing to get ideas.
Let me tell you why I know that to be true.
Back when I lived in Dallas, it was known as the jingle writing capital of the U.S.
I took a workshop on how to make it in the jingle composing world that was led by the guy who wrote the Feature Film intro for HBO and many more music snippets and jingles like that which you have likely heard.
He suggested we all listen to what’s happening in music genres outside of the one we wrote for the most. And he cited the kids who were the first to bring Hip Hop to Christian music and made a fortune doing so. They also busted the doors wide open for other genres to crossover into Christian music and they created a whole new classification called contemporary Christian music that is still making billions of dollars for artists and labels to this day.
So, even if the list I have linked for you here is not your niche, it’s still worth your time to have a look at what’s tops in these niches and see how you can bring that flavor to your videos.
- 10 Best YouTube Channels for Side Hustle Ideas
- 10 Pet YouTube Channels Aspiring Bloggers Should Follow
- The Best YouTube Cooking Channels
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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