Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Tips for doing your own content revamp that make it so easy
- The SEO of deleting old content
- An update on the recipe plugin schema markup tests
- A site audit client story about how great it feels to know what you’re doing
- The hoohaa around the WordPress 4.9.7 security release and who I’m mad at about it
- How and why to turn off auto updates for WordPress, and what you have to be super vigilant about afterward
- What’s in the Genesis 2.6.1 recent release
- It’s confirmed! The Google speed update rolled out July 9, and what this really means for your site
- Why a voice app for your site might be in your future
- The reality of keyword research and why I don’t teach it
- 5 ways to get your blog post to go viral
- Why a writing style matters for your blog – and how to improve yours
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live tonight at our new summer hour of 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.
New Theme Design and Content Revamp Underway
This week I’ve been using every spare minute to work on my new theme revamp.
I set up a sandbox and the designer has been going to town on the look of it while I’ve been steadily working through all of my content.
I started with the most important pages that are linked in the main navigation, ensuring their content is current with my offers and who I serve, and making it easy for folks to find all the rich resources on the site.
My About page has been totally revamped to be clearer with what I do, and who I do it for. I want to thank all of my site audit clients in our private Facebook group for giving me feedback on it.
Plus, I’m thrilled to say that I have a good start on a new Helpful Posts page. Its a list of hand-curated posts that I link to often, and have some of my most popular and helpful tips and tutorials. I’m still working on it, and appreciate your feedback about any posts that helped you that aren’t listed there yet.
To help me with the rest of the pages, I used the WP All Export plugin to spit out a .csv file of just the pages.
It’s a painless way to get a grip on all of the content you have on the site and you can easily sort the report into just what you want to see too. Plus, working with it in a spreadsheet makes it so easy to track what I’ve revamped and what’s left to go.
It even included pages I have saved as a draft, which no other site crawler report can do.
See my tutorial on how to use this super handy plugin to help you revamp your content too.
During this content revamp, I’m revisiting the first workshop of the DIY SEO course https://learn.blogaid.net we did earlier this year, where we covered Technical SEO.
And a big part of that included getting familiar with the errors that Google Search Console lists for your site, including 404 errors. We covered how to export those from Search Console to a spreadsheet and methodically fix them.
Since I’ll be going through that process again this week prior to deleting more old content on my site, I thought it would be great to also circle back with the course members and see how they are doing with that process.
So, we’re having a Flash Challenge on Wednesday to help folks re-check how much Google has finally dropped off their 404 list from the changes they made to their content 6 months ago.
Yep, it takes that long because Google takes its own sweet time with dropping a link from their crawl schedule.
I think it’s a good idea for me to get a fresh list of current 404s before I start creating more of them by deleting some of this old content, because I probably won’t be redirecting much of it to other pages.
For a taste of what I’m talking about with deleting old content, and more super SEO tips and myth busting, see my interview with top level SEO consultant Brian Weiss of Stone Temple Consulting.
It’s a great primer to ensure your SEO tactics are not stuck in 2013 too!!!!!
Recipe plugin schema markup update
No, I haven’t forgotten about the recipe plugin schema hoohaa. Marilyn Lesniak and I are already testing plugins for the schema markup they output. But, several of the plugins are being revamped by the devs right now over this. So, we’re waiting for the latest versions to roll out before finishing our tests.
So, hang tight with the plugin you have right now and we’ll have more info for you as soon as we can.
This past week, two of my site audit clients reported seeing an error anytime they wanted to save or publish a post, or when they wanted to delete a comment.
The error called out the hooks.php file in the Cloudflare plugin.
The fix was to step down to PHP 7.1 at the host.
This happened across two different hosts.
And the really odd thing is, me and LOTS of my clients are running PHP 7.2 and Cloudflare and not seeing the issue.
I wrote a post with more details on the errors and the fix. But I still don’t know why it’s happening. I’m just glad it is not widespread.
Empowering DIY Site Owners
My job at BlogAid is to empower DIY site owners to manage their own sites.
And one of my site audit clients absolutely made my day this past week.
She started out as a total non-tech that always had to hire someone for site fixes and such.
That all changed once she got a site audit and started reading everything I post.
Last week, she saw my post on How to Renew Your SSL Certificate on SiteGround, but she put off doing it right away.
And sure enough, her certificate expired.
But instead of panicking and calling on someone to help fix it, including the host, she read the error carefully, recognized that it was connected to her SSL certificate, and remembered my recent post on it.
Took her all of 4 minutes to fix the problem herself.
And she is feeling super empowered now too!!!!!!!!!!
That just makes my heart sing!!!
She’s still not a tech, but she’s no longer scared of issues with her site, and she knows she can handle them herself with just a little guidance.
That’s exactly what successful DIY site ownership is all about!!!
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Thanks to the folks at one of the behemoth security plugins, there was an unexpected security release of WordPress this past week.
I am no fan of that security plugin nor their disclosure policies. They couldn’t even wait a few hours for everyone to update before they publicly released the news.
And every hacker in the world follows them for that reason.
Of course, they protected their paying clients two days prior to releasing the news.
But if you’re on the free version, you’re not protected for another 30 days.
What a shitty thing to do, and they do it all the time.
And I’m sure the folks at WordPress don’t appreciate having their hands forced to release an update like this.
In fact, it caused a lot of confusion.
Right now, they are trying to preserve the next few “minor” releases to prepare for the big 5.0 Gutenberg release.
In fact, they already had major plans for what would be in 4.9.7.
And when this unexpected security release had to roll out instead, the info from WordPress about it pointed to stuff that was supposed to be in the next release.
Now they corrected that and all that stuff will be in 4.9.8.
I even had to record a do over in my BlogAid Today announcement on the BlogAid Facebook page and YouTube about it, so I’m pissed.
So, here’s what was supposed to be coming in the next release, that has been bumped to 4.9.8.
It will have a Try Gutenberg notice at the top of your admin pages.
Don’t do it!!!
We’ve got a plan to put Gutenberg on ignore when it gets here around August, and I’ll have more info for you on it at that time.
This release will also have some privacy enhancements.
I’ll be checking those when the beta rolls out around July 17th and will give you a heads up with screenshots or a livestream or video or such.
Because of all the goofs and hoohaa happening with the last several “minor” updates, plus the hoohaa that is probably going to come in the next several releases, I’m advising my followers to take full control of all updates.
And I’ve got a super easy way for you to do that with a tutorial on the Easy Updates Manager plugin.
Here’s the catch.
If you do this, then you will no longer get notices on your site or via email that WordPress updates are available.
Auto updates for minor versions, such as this recent security release will not be done for you as they have in the past.
So, you have to be hyper vigilant to follow me to get these notifications, and do the updates when I let you know it is safe to do.
Your best bet is to subscribe to BlogAid News where you’ll get my blog posts, plus the rare occasion when I send out a newsletter with important site info like this.
The BlogAid Facebook page is where I do livestreams when breaking news happens. Be sure you Like, Follow, and turn on notifications so you get those.
For important stuff like this, I also publish a replay of that livestream on the BlogAid YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe and turn on notifications there too.
For my site audit clients I share my livestream from my page to our private group, so be sure you are active in it too, else Facebook won’t show that in your regular stream.
And I share and post into the private Facebook group for my Webmaster Training Level 6 members too.
In other words, I’m doing everything I can to ensure you always get important site success info. It’s up to you to ensure you are hooked into me some kind of way and that you actually read it.
Right behind the WP 4.9.7 release came a Genesis 2.6.1 update notice.
There were just a few bug fixes in it, like:
- Fix compatibility issue with breadcrumbs in Yoast SEO.
- Fix issue with extra slashes in settings when using Customizer.
- Fix PHP 7 issue with non-static methods being used statically.
- Fix empty string warning in skip-links.js.
And I haven’t heard of anyone running into issues with the update, so it is safe to do.
Google said they would start making speed an SEO ranking factor this month.
It’s now confirmed that it’s rolling out as of July 9.
So, watch your analytics and Search Console info.
If you start dropping rank and organic traffic on mobile, you’re site is considered slow.
If you rise in rank and traffic, then your competitors have slower sites than you do.
And the bottom line of all if it is, as the pain of this starts to hit site owners, and they start making their sites faster, visitors are going to become less tolerant of slow sites, especially on mobile.
So, one way or other, more folks are going to start bouncing off your site if it takes too long for them to see what they came for.
It may not matter whether you get your traffic from search or not.
Forget having a mobile app created for your site. This will be the app to have.
It’s a voice app, and this one has an SEO challenge.
This is the 2nd SEO app for Google Assistant that I know of. The other is from Stone Temple Consulting.
Every year in the DIY SEO course, someone asks about a good tool for keyword research, and why I don’t talk about it much.
If you’re going to play the SEO game based on that strategy, then you need to play it every day, and use paid tools like the Cognitive SEO one I have linked above, or Ahrefs, or SEMrush, and others.
It’s like day trading on the financial market.
Keyword popularity and ranking shifts every day. And note at the bottom of the chart on Cognitive SEO how many algorithm changes Google has made – just today. Was 35 when I checked.
You are FAR better off doing everything you can to get your SEO foundation squared away like I teach in the course, and creating useful content that makes you THE go to person for that info, and building authority and tribe.
That also requires having a fast, secure site and a pleasant User Experience (UX).
And then get into the habit of reading your Google Analytics deeply on a regular schedule, so you see what folks are liking, and create more of it.
Then, and only then, are you prepared to jump into this keyword game.
In fact, every day I see reports from SEO firms that charge $2000/mo stating how they put the site on a solid SEO foundation first, then went after the keywords and backlinks.
The trouble with hiring an agency to do that first part of the service is, you as the content creator are left in the dark about how to keep it going.
That’s what the DIY SEO course is all about. You know how to square away the foundation of your site, you know what’s going on with Search Console and how you’re doing in search and what the errors and warnings are. And you know how to max out all 14 levels of SEO on each post you create.
If you hired an agency to do all that for you, then you could never keep it going yourself.
Plus, you could use all the keywords you wanted, and still never rank well.
With SEO, knowing what you’re doing behind the scenes counts as much as writing good content.
Once you write that super, authoritative content, you want everyone to know about it. And, that includes making it so good that all of your peeps share it.
Here’s an excellent post from the folks at Blogging Pro to help you do just that.
The tips in the first section are all about how to write amazing content and they are so good.
Well worth the read.
And if you need a few more tips to create amazing content that gets consumed and shared, check out this post on Blogging Wizard.
Finding your voice takes time, but what I’ve found is that folks are super attracted to a unique personality that comes through in the prose.
I know for sure that my no-nonsense, get to the point, easy to understand teaching voice is what attracts and keeps my readers. They tell me that all the time.
Telling a good story is an art. You’re taking folks on a journey.
Write like that and you’ll keep folks all the way to the end of your posts.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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