Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- The next 2 live sessions this week for the DIY SEO course on Technical SEO and rank tracking
- What’s up with so many things breaking right now
- Investing in your business for site success
- How you might be doing more harm than good to improve your site speed
- Why hosts are now contacting me for partnership opportunities
- Why I’m celebrating pinning to Pinterest
- What happened I when tried a new way of creating posts and videos
- Where and why to use the sponsored tag on your links
- What’s in the new Astra Themes 2.0 beta release
- The huge leap Genesis is about to make toward full Gutenberg support
- My take on a new bulk block converter plugin
- A follow up on the Chrome 80 third party cookie tracking changes
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.
Replay of Livestream
We had our first live workshop last Thursday on Technical SEO for the DIY SEO course.
And today we will be meeting for a bonus session on it so folks can ask more questions from the homework they did.
Then this Thursday, we’ll have our next regular workshop on how to track how well your posts are doing in search, including where Google ranks them.
We live and die by our tech
What kind of crazy alignment have the planets been in lately?
Seems like everything is breaking!!!
One of the most important tech features I use in my biz is the automation that allows my clients to book our live sessions. It connects my online scheduler, which is OnceHub, to Zoom for the meeting. And it also auto populates on my Google calendar. Plus it sends the Zoom meeting info to the client as well as sending reminders that the meeting is coming up to both me and my client.
I had totally forgotten just how much time that integration saved me until it broke a couple of weeks ago.
The breakdown was caused by Zoom making a change to their API and my scheduler could no longer talk to it. The scheduler is what does the bulk of the work.
I believe they have it all fixed now, at least via a temporary patch.
But, it brought my full attention to how much that integration is worth paying for.
Invest in Your Business Success
Speaking of business expenses, the bloggers that I see making the most money treat their site like a business and their content marketing like a job.
I’m talking about my $5k-$10k a month money making clients.
And they started this investment when they started their blog, and didn’t wait until it was earning money.
They invest in their business with regular site maintenance things, like a site audit and yearly checkup, just like you would have the oil and tires rotated on a commercial vehicle every 5,000 miles, or have your heat and air unit serviced annually.
Stop Guessing About Your Site
And those successful bloggers don’t guess about what’s going on with their site speed and security either.
Recently I did an audit where I flagged 30 of 38 plugins on a site and it was evident that someone had just listened to every piece of free advice out there and thrown things on their site without having any real understanding of what any of it did.
There were direct conflicts everywhere.
The first thing we have to do is remove all that junk and clean things up, and then run new tests to see what the real problems are.
Armed with actual data we have a shot at making the site both secure and fast, as those two things go hand-in-hand now.
If you still have the freebie mindset and you’re just following whatever the crowd says is good to do, you’re likely doing more harm to your site than good.
And you’re getting nowhere fast. Or getting somewhere, but nowhere near as far as you could go if you had any cohesive idea about what you were doing.
READ: Moving from a Newb to a Money Making Mindset for more on this.
Get a Site Audit
If you’re ready to stop working so hard for your traffic and making the most of the traffic you are getting, then let’s do a site audit for you and ensure it’s a super fast and good user experience for the folks who do come to your site.
They will be a lot more likely to visit more pages and to come back and see you again too.
Hosts Contacting Me for Service Recommendations
This past week I’ve had a couple of hosts reach out to me to see if we can work together.
That includes hosts where I can’t even do a site audit, like the fully managed ones that are super restrictive with access and what you can change.
They are losing clients because folks want to work with me and don’t really care which host they are on, as the one they have is nothing spectacular. And they are willing to move to a host where they can get more help.
The bottom line is, I’m getting results for my clients, and those hosts aren’t.
That’s because hosts know hosting, not WordPress.
And while the host plays a part in speed, that’s not all there is to it.
So, the ones who reached out to me want to keep clients on their host and partner with someone who can make things fast from the site side.
I agreed to chat with them and have not heard back from the first one in over a week.
And I’m still waiting on a reply from the other.
So we’ll see how this goes.
Celebrating My First Pin
Speaking of newb stuff, I made my first pin this week from my new Pinterest strategy for my woodworking site.
Now, that may not sound like much to most of you, but it’s a major event for me.
I got into a high $$$ Pinterest course this past fall and was totally lost. I felt like an 8th grader in a college course.
But, I finally got the basic understanding of what I needed to do to get the proper foundation laid last month, thanks to a village meeting with my Site Audit Plus clients.
However, this is the busiest time of my year and I simply didn’t have room on my plate to do the base work to put that plan into motion.
Every day of January that went by I became more and more aware of how much money I was losing for the whole year by not having that plan in place and working it.
I actually tried to hire 2 folks to help me, but neither panned out.
So, I let my speed tests go for a week and hunkered down to just get it done.
And now I’m on my way with it, as I made the first pin from that new strategy last week. And I’ve made one new pin every day since.
I still have a long way to go with this. But now I have a base and a plan to work from.
And that makes me feel confident that I will make this happen.
Plus, that high $$$ course is changing, based on the feedback I gave, as well as similar feedback from others, to cover more of the basics. So, I might just stay in it and get the good out of the investment now.
And the SEO I put into action immediately when I began posting in earnest in June of last year is really rocking now. It does go to prove that it takes about 6 months for your SEO to really kick into gear, though.
And this year, it will be a case study of how Pinterest can generate massive traffic.
So, I’m excited to see how those 2 do, plus my videos, which also have the right SEO on them and are really rocking it now too on both YouTube and Google.
Trying New Things
I’m also dedicated to doing at least one build a month for my woodworking site. I got my first January build post released and got the second build done.
It’s too cold to be in my woodworking shop right now, so I’m taking this time to work on the post for that second build.
I tried something new this time, with filming the whole build.
Instead of one easy post and video, I ended up having to split it into a 5 part series.
Now, with the big builds of my mitre saw station and workbench, I meant to split it up like that.
It’s great for SEO and lets me get way more titles and videos out there to have a bigger SEO footprint and a nice content silo for those topics.
But the split of posts and videos on this recent build was unexpected and it has taken way more time to produce than I had planned.
However, it also illuminated ways that I need to improve the Heartwood Art site.
I’ll have a new post in my Hobby to Money Making Site Series for you with more details, as I know many of you are following my progress there with great interest.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Search Engine Roundtable reported last week that Google’s John Mueller has come flat out and said that you should include the sponsored tag on your affiliate links now too.
Honestly, that’s the way I read we were supposed to use that tag when Google first introduced it last year.
My Ultimate Links for WordPress Guide has videos to show you how to manually add that tag, and what all of the tags mean.
But, some folks took Google’s guidelines about it to mean that it should only be used for links on sponsored posts.
Now it’s clear from Mueller that what I initially read about it is the way they want you to use it.
And, if you read the Search Engine Roundtable post above about it, they will say nofollow is used for links to untrusted sites. That was a very poor choice of words.
You should use nofollow on any of your affiliate links.
Plus, you need to stop opening links in a new tab.
See my guide for more on why.
Astra Themes has totally revamped their Starter Themes package by rebuilding it completely.
I have to say that with coming from a Genesis background, the way Astra does child themes and these starter themes was very confusing to me.
I’m used to installing the Genesis framework and then having to install a child theme to change the looks. If I don’t like it, I can uninstall the child theme.
But with Astra, you have to create a child theme. And then install these starter themes, which are not themes at all. They are just different styles applied to either your child theme, if you created one, or the master framework theme.
Like Genesis, they also install their own content, and none of that comes out when you change to a different theme or style.
So, I’m interested to see what they’ve done with this new 2.0 beta release and see if it relieves the confusion.
I’ll have a review of it in the Gutenberg course when it gets closer to the public release.
I was very intrigued by the last topic of discussion from January’s Genesis Shapers meeting.
They will be releasing a plugin that might eventually develop into Genesis 4.0. Guys, that’s the core framework.
It will be an entirely block-based theme.
That’s a HUGE leap for Genesis to consider making the core of the framework entirely block based.
That means no more widgets anywhere.
That kind of commitment from the leading theme framework is a big indicator of just how fast we are adopting Gutenberg as a WordPress user community, and why this is most definitely the way to go for our future.
And that tells me it’s going to be a big year for my Gutenberg Ninja course.
Are you in yet?
If you are in, have you applied to be an affiliate yet?
New Block Converter Plugin
Last week I wrote a post about whether you should convert all of your old content to blocks once you switch to Gutenberg.
A few days later, WPTavern published a post about the new Bulk Block Converter plugin that does this en masse on your site.
Now, Gutenberg already had a built in tool for doing this type of conversion. But you have to open each post or page to use the tool on that post or page.
The new Bulk Block Converter does it for the whole site. Or, you can select which posts and pages you want it done on.
For huge sites, this bulk operation may be tempting.
But, my bet is that the plugin is built right on top of the code that is already in the core for doing it on a per page/post basis.
And I’m betting it doesn’t do any better a job of converting than the built in tool.
Unless you have the simplest of formatting and styling on a post or page, you’ll be doing some manual tweaking of it.
So, I don’t advise that folks try this in bulk.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s irreversible once converted?
Affiliate Marketing Tips
Follow Up on Chrome 80 Cookie Changes
A couple of weeks ago I published a post about the 3rd party cookie tracking changes that would start rolling out in Chrome 80 when it released on Feb 6.
And in that post I told you about the one action you need to take to make your 1st party cookies comply, which was to update to PHP 7.3.
Well, it looks like some hosts are implementing an additional change by installing a blanket SAMEORIGIN directive on the server side of things.
Some plugins are breaking over this.
I don’t see many hosts doing it, thank goodness.
Lyrical Hosting is doing it.
And A2 Hosting is another host that is. And that’s just one more reason to leave them. They’ve screwed this up, as well as the HSTS security header that Chrome requires for you to get on their preload safe site list. Neither of these things should be implemented at the host level in this way.
They are tricky and will make things break.
That’s why we need to do them at a site level, or even a case-by-case basis.
I was reading Mediavine’s follow up post about this. And I see they are taking a direct approach to deal with implementing the cookie changes on the ads themselves, which is the right way for them to go with it, and not try to implement a blanket thing at the site level.
I’ll have more for you as I continue to research what else we can or need to do for our 3rd party code, like the Facebook tracking pixel, YouTube’s tracking, and more cookies as I have the info.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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