Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- The big plugin hacks and how to protect your site
- Full review, tips, and settings on the latest version of Social Pug
- The triple high cost of a site hack repair compared to preventing it
- The delightful surprise from my site speed tests that you’ll love
- How my new hosting interviews are going and when I’ll be moving
- Why I’m focusing squarely on my audience for the wood working site instead of money
- Why we’re skipping a week in the DIY SEO live workshops
- Why I’m not backing down on my position for what it takes to learn site security and performance
- Sitemaps come to the new interface on Google Search Console
- What’s up with Google Date Algorithm tweak and how it affects your content revamps
- How to optimize Pinterest for discovery in 2019
- What’s in the latest Genesis 2.9.1 release
- Why MailChimp parted ways with Shopify and why you need to care
- 9 ways to stay inspired and avoid blogger burnout
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live later today at 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.
Whew what a week!!!! Did y’all make it okay through all the hacks and meltdowns?
I did, but I was fried by Friday so I took some time off from being at my desk this weekend. I got in a little shop time and then helped my neighbor clear the back lot of fallen tree branches. We had a big bonfire on Sunday.
Social Warfare Hacked
Probably the biggest news this past week was the hack on Social Warfare.
I was teaching my DIY SEO workshop when it happened. But my Facebook stream was lit up with notifications to ensure I saw it.
Of course, I jumped right on the news to do my job as the voice of reason and try to keep folks from panicking, and on what to do until we had more info.
Top of the list was not to delete the plugin but to simply deactivate.
And number two was to give the dev’s a minute to come out with a patch, which they did in just a few hours.
I am so grateful to hear that my site audit clients didn’t panic like I saw 100s of other folks doing.
This is where investing in your education as a DIY site owner pays off.
They came right to our private Facebook group to get the news and my advice on what to do next.
I also saw huge blogger groups catch fire with saying this was their last straw with Social Warfare and that they were switching to another plugin, with Social Pug being the favorite among all mentioned.
And I feel so sorry for the folks that had a knee jerk reaction and deleted Social Warfare before the patch came out.
Social Pug has an import tool to migrate all of your custom images and descriptions and such from Social Warfare. I’ve heard a couple of folks with really large sites say that process can take a few hours. And you need Social Warfare working to do that import, as far as I know.
So, if you are wanting to switch and need to check out Social Pug, I have a full review, plus settings and tips, on the recently released version 2.6, which is the one I used in my case studies of both the best free and best paid social share button plugins.
This new version will allow you to drop 3 other plugins.
So, even if you’ve been using Social Pug for a while, you’ll want to read up on the new features.
Get Serious About Site Security
Social Warfare most certainly was not the only plugin to get hacked this past week. And most definitely not the only one to have a serious vulnerability that was caught and patched before it was hacked in the wild.
In fact, there are at least 15 plugins a week that have vulnerabilities found. And then there are issues found in WordPress itself now and then. In fact, the recent 5.1.1 update had a security patch in it.
Go see just one of the sites I follow for reported security issues to get a real idea of just how frequent these issues are.
I think you will find it eye-opening, to say the least.
Folks, it’s time to get super, duper serious about your site security.
Watch the Facebook livestream I have embedded here for the next steps you need to take.
Most of my peeps rest easy knowing their sites are secured to the max with things like the Cloudflare Pro plan. And that $20/mo is not even half what many site owners are paying to get their hacked sites repaired right now.
Keep in mind that when hacks like this hit, most places go up from their minimum charge of $250-$300 to double because of the surge of requests. And some charge an extra $100 for express service to get to the top of the queue. That pushes your repair even further down the line.
So, think about how much it will cost to have to throw down everything and deal with a hacked site, and being down for days, and then undoing all the damage with Google.
That will suddenly put the price of a site audit and Cloudflare Pro into perspective for you!!! It’s way, way, way, way cheaper to prevent an issue than to fix it after it’s already on fire.
Site Speed Tests Nearly Done
Of course, reacting to all the hack and meltdown news put me behind on my site speed case study tests, as it took all the rest of Thursday and Friday to deal with those things. But I’m nearly caught up and will likely finish the speed tests for heavy plugins today.
I’ve been delightfully surprised by the premium version of WP Fastest Cache!!!!
When I ran these same tests last year, it was just edged out by WP Rocket.
Well, that certainly isn’t the case now!!!
I’ve still got more testing to do on it, especially with the lazy load image options and such, but I’m very impressed.
And I’m very grateful to the dev of WP Fastest Cache for sponsoring the tests again this year with free licenses for the plugin.
WP Rocket also finally offered to donate free licenses too, but it’s been a month of back and forth with them over it to get them and I’m actually starting to lose more money in non-billable hours than if I had just bought another 3 license set. So, I hope they come through with a final solution soon or I’m making other arrangements with one of my clients who has an unlimited license that I can borrow.
Last Host Interview This Week
As I mentioned in last week’s Tips Tuesday, I’ve already interviewed 2 other hosts. And I’ll be chatting with another later this week.
And then I hope to be moving my sites before the end of the month. I had already gone monthly with A2 Hosting and I want to avoid paying for another month if possible.
But more importantly, I want to get fully settled and test everything out so I can finish these ultimate speed tests on all 3 host types.
And, I need to know all is well with resources before I open up the new Gutenberg class that’s coming.
I am in no way asking anyone to move their hosting at this time.
I’m reporting what I’m doing, as it’s time for me to check out other options.
And I will be the first guinea pig.
It’s going to take time for me to vet a new host, perhaps up to six months.
But, if you need to move from a tripling renewal price, or just to perhaps have hosting that may be a little better, you’re welcome to join me in the test. I’ll be releasing where I’m moving next week, likely.
Heartwood Art Update
As I mentioned earlier, I took time off this weekend to get into the shop.
I’m deep into the build on the new mitre saw station, finally.
Sunday, I published the first in a new video and post series on it.
And then yesterday, I published a new post here on BlogAid in the Hobby to Money Making Site series about why I’m focusing entirely on traffic right now and why I decided to hold off monetizing the site.
So, expect as drastic an uptick in posting on Heartwood Art as I can manage.
We’ll be skipping a week on workshops in the DIY SEO course for a couple of reasons.
We just finished up our page and post SEO set of workshops and we’re getting ready to switch gears into special formatting, followed by doing a content audit.
Those page and post SEO workshops have easy homework, but of course, most folks have a lot of posts they want to apply that info to. So, we’re giving everyone an extra week to get a solid start on that, and for others to catch up with where we are, since so many folks have been off on spring break and such lately too.
The other reason we’re taking a break is for me to get a few of the tutorials up to speed with changes on the new interface at Google Search Console.
They’ve been rolling out a new property interface as well as making changes with sitemaps and such too.
So, I’ll be digging into those things this week and will get out new tutorials as soon as I can, as those things will be deprecated in the old version soon.
This is one of the reasons folks stay in the course year after year. SEO stuff changes all the time. And I want to ensure they have the latest info.
I sent out another survey to my webmaster Level 6 peeps about exactly what they would like to see for performance testing, as they said that’s the one thing they want to know the most about. The replies were pretty stunning. Most folks have not taken the time to see the tutorials that are already in the performance section.
So, I’m looking into ways to break up the info into challenges to help encourage folks to do butt-in-seat stuff in smaller chunks.
But, I’m also going to be straight up with designers, and even site owners for that matter.
There is no shortcut to security and performance.
You can’t just throw plugins at it.
Every site is different. And you HAVE to do an audit to see what the drags and issues are on each site.
Without that, you’re just throwing darts in the dark.
So, stop wasting your time and getting zero results and actually test that the things you’ve done to improve the site are actually working.
That goes for your local caching plugin, image optimizers, and any other speed up method.
Don’t assume its working. More times than not it’s actually doing more harm and not even touching the real issues.
Faster sites make more money – period. It’s a service that pays for itself. Learning that skill is a service that makes you money too.
And I’m not backing down from that position.
I work with clients, both site owners and designers, who are serious about making money. Not folks who are just doing it as side income and never want to grow into a living wage. And this is what it takes – investing in your success.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
As I mentioned earlier, GSC has finally brought full sitemap control to the new interface. You can read more about it here and I’ll have new tutorials in the DIY SEO course soon.
Another update Google is rolling out is a major tweak for how they pick up dates to show in SERPs for your posts.
We talked about this a little in our Blog Post SEO Workshop in the DIY SEO course. But, I know a few peeps who are currently running tests on this and we most certainly will circle back to it during our content revamp workshops.
I don’t typically cover Pinterest, but this post is worth mentioning because it goes into the basics of how all of the different Pinterest algorithms work.
A searcher can start on Google when looking for something and very often end up on Pinterest to find it.
I frequently see Pinterest’s own promotions come in at the top of Google SERPs.
So, this post on SEMRush is definitely worth a read to get a handle on how all of this works, and how to make it work for you this year.
The latest version of Genesis is out and it is safe to update.
With all of these hack things floating around, I wanted to read the changelog before letting y’all know. Turned out to be a minor bug fix.
And I’m ticked that the link to the changelog in WordPress goes to a 404. Had to go to their GitHub version to find out what this was. There was nothing on their blog either.
Thanks so much to webmaster Larry Snow for sourcing that info.
And, I want to thank Larry again for the heads up on the news that Mailchimp will no longer be partnering with Shopify.
So, if you use those two things together, definitely read this post and see Mailchimp’s strong objections to how their client’s info is shared by Shopify.
If you do choose to use an alternative integration, just be aware that they agreed to Shopify’s data share request and you have no idea how your info will be dealt with.
Earlier I mentioned that all the hack meltdowns fried me and I took off a day or two.
And, I also mentioned in my hobby to money-making site post about all the fun I’m having with Heartwood Art and how that is spilling over into BlogAid.
So, I found it interesting to see those two things mentioned in this post on Pro Blogger in their 9 tips to stay inspired and avoid blogger burnout.
Some of y’all are like me and have been around a long time.
But fortunately with BlogAid, and right now with Heartwood Art, I never have to worry about what to blog about. That’s certainly not true for all bloggers, especially those with a lot of evergreen content on just a few topics.
It can be really hard to come at them from a fresh angle.
Some of my lack of inspiration comes from having to say the same thing over and over for years, like getting serious about site security and folks still blowing it off until there is a major fire where either they get hit or bloggers they know do.
I don’t just want to do my woodworking site, I NEED to do it to help stay fresh.
So, go read this post that was inspired by a Pro Blogger podcast and see if it refreshes you too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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