Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- What we’re finding in site audits
- Update on resuming Webmaster speed tutorials and live sessions
- What’s coming down the pike for the DIY SEO course
- Alternatives for Social Warfare
- Why you may want to consider switching to NameCheap as your domain registrar
- Why you need to check your Yoast SEO settings for Media Attachments immediately
- Why that Yoast SEO bug was not solely responsible for a drop in rankings for some folks
- A super post on product photography that all craft/lifestyle/foodie bloggers will like
- The importance of photojournalism and entertaining on your blog
- A whole bunch of helpful image tips, including a way to test them for speed
- Why video is so important to bloggers
- Tips about embedding videos on your site
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live tonight around 8pm ish ET 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.
Get My Head Back in the Game
I don’t know about y’all, but it’s taken me a few days to get back into the groove of what I was doing prior to GDPR mania.
But I am getting back in the swing and am squarely focused on speed at this point, to help my clients and webmasters meet the Google July deadline.
What We’re Finding in Site Audits
I’m super busy with client site audits for speed.
Many of the recent ones required moving to better hosting first, due to extreme security issues on the host where they were. And they had no idea any of that was going on.
One had 60 suspicious FTP accounts and a half-ass job by SiteLock that was actually goofing the domain redirects for www to non. Guys, please stay away from SiteLock, as they are this side of criminal in how they do, and it actually makes things worse on your site.
We got it all checked and cleaned out and their sites got a speed boost by just moving too!!
During an audit chat on Saturday with a client, she was thrilled to see 6 ways we were going to boost her speed. And all of it was quick and easy stuff. Only 1 of them had to do with caching.
Plus, she was thrilled to hear that a couple of the changes will actually make posting easier and faster for her too.
Another site audit client had bunches of live test sites under one cPanel that had been forgotten about. Those are all major security issues and can chew up your hosting resources so fast with all the bad bot hits and other security holes. That affects the one main site that you do want to run fast.
Two of my clients had a bunch of dangerous leftovers from when they had previously switched from Bluehost to SiteGround.
Don’t think for a minute that your host cleans all that stuff out.
And don’t think for a minute that Bluehost, or any other host, deletes all the stuff associated with your previous account immediately either. They just make is so you can’t log in. And all those files and database and FTP accounts and such are still sitting there, with the keys to your site kingdom on them until that host gets around to wiping the server of dead accounts.
One server hack and your current site, at a new host, is toast too.
Cleaning all that out, and changing your master security keys are part of the migration service I offer.
It’s all about keeping your site at the new host safe!!
Webmaster Speed Tutorials and Meetings
Prior to GDPR mania, I was also right in the middle of bonus training sessions for my Webmaster Training members on how to conduct a site audit and speed the site up.
We’re going to jump back into that this week.
I would invite all webmasters to review the last live session and to see all the updated Performance Tester videos to help get your head back into it as well.
I’ll be asking my Level 6 Webmasters what types of live sessions or additional help they need so they can make their client’s sites faster too.
If you’re a designer, or offer site maintenance, this is the kind of training you can’t afford not to have. Securing a site fully and making is fast are the hottest skills that savvy site owners seek. Those skills also make you super productive when site issues pop up too, and help reduce your liability as the person who is tasked with keeping the site safe.
What’s Coming for DIY SEO
And members of my DIY SEO course don’t think I’ve forgotten you for a minute.
You should have received an email from me last week with all the new stuff coming down the pike this summer.
And, I have a secret surprise for you that will be super eye-opening about gray-hat and black-hat SEO, which will give you an extreme appreciation of what it takes to rank using only white-hat SEO tactics.
It will also make you get super duper serious about putting all of those tactics into play on every post.
It’s real easy to watch tutorials and attend workshops and get all hyped up about how to do something. It’s another thing altogether to actually put it into practice.
So, I’ll be having some refresher challenges for you that are very focused, and will help you get into good SEO habits and mindset.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Alternatives for Social Warfare
I hope all of my peeps that are still using Social Warfare got through the update hoohaa okay.
I know a LOT of folks dropped them because this plugin has had a long history of update issues and this was the last straw, especially for those on the paid version.
I’ve put out posts to my peeps asking about their choice for an alternative.
Many have gone to the simple plugin I’ve been using and recommending for a couple of years now, which is Scriptless Social Sharing
It’s super lightweight on your site, which makes it way faster.
Now, it’s not a direct replacement because it doesn’t have all the whistles and bells that Social Warfare does. And that’s actually a good thing.
One of those missing bells is showing share counts.
Honestly, that’s a strategy you might want to revisit for so many reasons.
- First, none of the counts are accurate anymore.
- Second, counts come from the outside and can’t be cached and slow down your page load.
- Third, it doesn’t make folks want to share your content more. They share it because it’s good content they want their peeps to know about.
If you use Social Warfare because you’re a heavy Pinterest marketing person, then consider getting the Tasty Pins plugin to use its Pinterest features instead. It’s way better for SEO, as it lets you split your Pinterest description from your regular SEO meta description. That way you can still throw in all of your hashtags and such too.
Now, the Scriptless Social Sharing plugin has a new Pinterest related feature. It shows up in the sidebar module of the Text Editor page.
I haven’t had time to check out exactly what it does, but that may be worth you having a look at it too.
I may have to switch from GoDaddy due to this happy news from NameCheap.
This was a super timely news release that coincided with GDPR stuff.
GoDaddy charges $9, I think, for that privacy guard that you need so your account info is hidden from spammers. That would normally be public info listed in WhoIs, which is the service that holds the records of domain owners.
NameCheap is making WhoIs Privacy free for life.
That privacy is a must have, well, unless you like getting spammed via email, phone, and snail mail.
And, it helps keep your domain from being hijacked too by making it harder for hackers to prove they are you.
GoDaddy and NameCheap are the industry standard domain registrars I recommend the most. And saving this kind of money across as many domains as I have would be worth the switch to me.
So, I think I might turn off auto renewals and make the switch as each of those domains comes to the end of their time at GoDaddy.
If you do transfer, your DNS settings should move intact, but you may want to confirm that with NameCheap. If you had a site audit or HTTPS conversion by me, your DNS is pointed to Cloudflare, not the host. Be sure to see the Site Info docs you downloaded for the DNS settings at your host and at Cloudflare, in case you need them.
There was a bug in the Yoast SEO plugin back in March with both the 7.0 and 7.2 versions.
It may have changed your setting for Media Attachments to No. It should be set to Yes.
If you followed that tutorial in the DIY SEO course then you previously had this set to Yes and hopefully the glitch didn’t goof you up.
I also have to wonder if this was partially responsible for some of the emails we may have received from Search Console and/or any odd reports we have been seeing there too.
And, it could have been partially responsible for a drop in rankings if images are the lifeblood of your site, like for pro photography and art sites.
Joost de Valk issued a super heartfelt apology, especially since he wrote that part of the code for the new version.
I’ve read reports of some folks going overboard with their reaction to this, saying that bug costs them Page 1 rankings and a few thousand dollars and that they’ve lost faith in the plugin forever.
That’s so crazy.
Any plugin, theme, or even WordPress itself, your host, and all the way up to the DNS resolver all of us use, could have a glitch that costs us big.
I don’t think it’s about faith, I think it’s about unrealistic expectations that all this complex tech will always run flawlessly.
And I’ve personally about had my fill of usery people who expect the world for free.
Instead, I want to send a huge thank you to Team Yoast, and to Joost de Valk himself for producing a free plugin that has given our sites so much benefit for so many years. And, thank you for the whole team being flown to practically every major WordCamp in the world, every year. And thank you for all the free work you do in the Make WordPress Core team to ensure the base code we all rely on meets minimum SEO standards and continues to improve.
If you were affected by this bug there is a link near the bottom of his post for a Search Index Purge plugin that will de-index all of those attachment pages as fast as possible.
You don’t need to install this if you checked your settings and the Media Attachment was still set to Yes. Only if you checked and it was set to No.
See his post for more info and instructions and clarifications.
If you’re in my DIY SEO group, that would be the best place to post your comments about this.
If you are a media heavy site and your rankings started dropping in March you might ought to check this post on SEO Roundtable.
Barry clarifies that the Yoast bug was not the only thing in play.
There was also a new penalty issued by Google that squarely hit sites with thin content.
If you have tons of images but little text to go with it, that would be you.
And I’ve got a few more image suggestions for you in a bit too.
The main point being, you can no longer just think about Pinterest. You have to start giving some very serious consideration to SEO with your content.
That’s especially true if all your eggs are in the Pinterest basket. That thing has turned into a massive roller coaster ride and you need to get your backup plan in place for generating traffic from other sources.
That’s one of the big reasons why I started the live workshops in the DIY SEO course 2 months earlier than normal this year.
It was to give time for folks to get an extra leg up and to get a jump on these SEO changes.
It’s not too late, and all the replays are there for you.
Plus, we’ll be circling back to check on everyone’s progress in a few months too.
Haters Gonna Hate
There have been some pretty nasty posts about all this recent SEO stuff, especially by SEO pros that already hated Yoast.
Be careful about being swayed by that.
There are plenty of high-level SEO pros who do not use the Yoast SEO plugin. They use many other methods instead, some of which would make most of my peeps feel like slime balls to do.
But those other methods, including some that are gray hat and black hat SEO tactics do work.
So, don’t just dump Yoast SEO and jump to another SEO plugin and think you’ve accomplished anything worthwhile. It takes way more than a plugin to rank well.
I know all of my craft and lifestyle bloggers, and even foodie bloggers will pick up new photography tips from this sweet article by the folks at Shopify.
Some of y’all already take magazine quality shots.
But for the rest of us who need to learn how to make our shots better, this post is loaded with great info that is well beyond just the camera.
I’ve even seen some nice shots with phone cameras these days.
What is your setup? And what kinds of things do you shoot?
The Importance of Photojournalism and Entertaining
I’ve spoken to this point before, but it certainly bears repeating.
Image reduction and optimization are the biggest bangs for the buck you can get for site speed.
More image tips:
- Only a fraction of your images are Pinterest worthy, so don’t make all of them that huge size.
- Do some 300×300 side-by-side images or a collage that is 600×300 that looks like side-by-side images.
- Do you really need 15 shots of the same baked apple pie? If you’re thinking that keeps folks on your site longer, you’re mistaken. They are more likely to be frustrated that your site takes so long to load and that they can’t scroll past all that same-same fast enough to get to the recipe.
- Tell a story with your images. Show us the whole process.
- Consider splitting your project across multiple posts. This has several benefits. You’ll be able to share way more process/story telling images. You’re folks hooked on the project. You’ll have more traffic. And then do an all-in-one post at the end for the quickie view of the entire project, and link back to all those in-depth post for more detail. After you do that all-in-one post, you can link all the prior project posts to it as well. That’s awesome for SEO too.
I used to do series posts like this on my carving site with great effect. In fact, it got me a paid tutorial in a prominent carving magazine and a book deal offer. Plus, the carvings sold before I even finished them.
Once I get into the new house, I’ll be reviving that site and changing it over to include all the home decor stuff I’ll be building too.
And I’ll be going back to sweeten up the older posts on that site as well.
Have you gotten into doing video of some sort for your site promotion?
It’s THE hottest and best thing you can do to not only get more eyeballs, but to become more personable and entertaining to your audience.
And that doesn’t have to mean doing talking head videos either.
Donna Merrill has an excellent post about all the ways you can use video, and super tips for getting started, plus ideas to expand the ways you may be using it now.
Definitely worth a read.
I can put a real dollar figure to how much videos, of all kinds, has boosted BlogAid.
It can do the same for you too!!
Embedding Videos on Your Site
There are several ways to incorporate more videos on your site too.
But you need to be careful about speed considerations when you do these sort of embeds.
The most popular embed, of course, is from YouTube.
And I think most folks use the easy oEmbed way to do it.
oEmbed is supported natively by WordPress and gives you the ability to just drop in a link to the YouTube video, or a Tweet, or Instagram, or about 20 other 3rd party URLs.
But, you have to be careful about all the heavy script stuff some of those things bring with them when using the oEmbed way.
So, it’s cool, but test your site speed before and after you include one of those.
There are ways to make your video look less YouTube-y. And most of those settings can be configured by using iframe code instead of oEmbed.
And an iframe can get a speed boost from Lazy Load settings, which create a placeholder image of the first frame until the video is clicked. That’s going to save you a lot of drag on page load.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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