Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Best and Worst Free Social Share Button Plugins test results are in!
- Where to find the full 120 page case study report
- The best settings for Scriptless Social Sharing
- An update on the next case study for paid share buttons and Pinterest buttons
- A new post series on turning Heartwood Art from a hobby site to a money maker
- Who’s helping me have a ball on Instagram Stories
- The best mount for your phone or tablet to do video
- A whole bunch of tips on the serious changes coming in WordPress 5.1
- UpdraftPlus just got faster for our backups
- Where to find more ADA Compliance testing help
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.
I have been cranking out posts like crazy this past week.
And wrapping up with site audit fixes and HTTPS conversions for clients that started in January.
So, if you’re on my wait list, it won’t be long.
Woohoo!! I’m delighted to announce that the case study on the free social share button plugins is complete. The post came out yesterday.
There were some clear winners and plugins to run away from. Plus, one honorable mention that I’m keeping my eye on.
How does the plugin you’re using stack up?
Go see the post for the full skinny.
And as always, I make my full reports available to all Level 6 Webmaster Training peeps. It’s in the Bonus section.
This was a 120 page report with a spreadsheet of all the results, screenshots of all the tests, and lists of the exact requests each plugin created. Plus, it has a list of any orphans that were left behind so they can fully clean out deleted plugins.
NOTE: There has been an update on this post to get the button text on mobile.
If you’re using the top winner of the social sharing button plugins, Scriptless Social Sharing, then you’ll want to see my post on it for making easy changes so that it is as fast and good looking as possible on your site.
This was the only free plugin that had built in Pinterest support too.
I love it and use it on BlogAid.
Paid Social Share Button and Pinterest Plugin Case Study Underway
I’m moving right into the next case study with the paid version of the winners in my free social share button tests, plus one extra that doesn’t have a free version.
I let y’all know that none of the devs stepped up to give a license for the tests, and that I’m a little strapped for cash this month due to the woodworking stuff.
So, one of my sweet webmasters, and long-time site audit clients, offered to sponsor the tests and donate licenses for 2 of the 3 plugins.
He has asked to remain anonymous for now, otherwise I’d be smooching all over him here.
I’ve also reached out to the Tasty Pins folks for sponsorship, but haven’t heard back from them.
The fabulous Kate Ahl of Simple Pin Media will be helping with these tests. I’m really looking forward to working with her.
Ultimate Speed Test Update
I also heard back from WP Rocket about sponsoring 3 licenses for my ultimate speed test. They may be interested in sponsoring the tests. I’m waiting to hear back.
And I’ve also reached out to WP Fastest Cache. They sponsored my tests last year, that I didn’t get to publish because everyone lost their minds over GDPR and then my house hunt stuff got into full swing.
Heartwood Art – New Post Series
In last week’s Tips Tuesday livestream, I mentioned that I’m considering starting a new post series on turning my hobby site into a money maker instead of hiding that journey here in Tips Tuesday.
The response was very positive and so I’m doing it.
Look for the first post tomorrow that has the backstory of why I’m changing that site.
The next post will have the strategy that went into my first purchases, my editorial calendar, and more.
And I’ll have a lot of posts coming out in a hurry to get that series caught up to present day.
I also hope to have my first builds and next posts up on Heartwood Art later this week too, as it will finally be warm enough to get back into the shop.
Thanks for the decorating advice
The first use I had of my new Ryobi drill was putting in wall anchors to start hanging my artwork up in the new house and I was so happy to have a cordless drill to do it!
I was even more thrilled to find a screwdriver bit tucked into a clip on the battery. Made that chore quick and easy!!
I’ve got some ideas for building a garden spot in my breakfast nook.
And I posted a pic on the BlogAid Facebook page asking for advice.
Thanks to all of my decor peeps for chiming in on that!!
I can’t wait to share all of the things I have in mind to build for my new house.
Loving the New Deck
Me and Zak are so enjoying being out on the new deck!!
I can’t even begin to tell you how much that has improved my quality of life.
It’s been too cold to stay out there as much as I would like, but that’s about to change.
And I’m thrilled that the weather is no longer as big a factor in my life and I will soon be able to do what I want, when I want with regards to both of my businesses.
Stories on Instagram
I signed up for a challenge from my good buddy Terry Johnson who is a digital marketing strategist.
It’s all about getting good with Stories on Instagram.
So, look for me @HeartwoodArtCreations having some fun with Stories this week.
And I want to apologize and send a shout out to my buddy Aaron Roth of Arkon Mounts for mispronouncing his brand name in last week’s Tips Tuesday livestream.
I guess I was thinking of some place in Ohio with saying Akron.
He makes the best mounts for your phone and tablet and they are super duper for livestreaming and making videos.
So go check those out.
That’s the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
This week’s tips are going to be pretty heavy on WordPress because I see a trend that makes me pretty happy and I want to share it with you. And there are some things that have caused me a little concern.
Keep in mind that I also teach webmasters and a lot of devs follow me too, so some of this is a little techie for DIY site owners, but you need to know what could be affected on your site with this upgrade.
The WP devs finally have pulled their heads out of Gutenberg exclusively and are now rapidly addressing issues in WP core.
Thank goodness, as there is some buggy code in there, and long-standing issues that they have constantly punted until later.
They did 160+ bug fixes in 5.0.2, and a few more in 5.0.3.
But, the upcoming release of 5.1 next week has some biggies.
In fact, they’ve written a whole field guide for devs about it.
Here are a few of the highlights of what we can expect.
The devs had planned to release an ambitious Site Health system in 5.1, but there has been some controversy about a security issue it could introduce to our sites.
So, as far as I can tell, they have pared it down to a PHP warning that will alert site owners when they are running anything below PHP version 5.6.
This new mechanism also has a way to report fatal errors caused by the switch.
Now, I don’t know if this is part of the proposed security issue hoohaa or a pared down version. We’ll see.
So, while all this will help, they are missing the mark by not advising that folks need to go all the way up to 7.1, as that is the bottom of the supported PHP versions.
I can see where they are trying not to break sites by advising such a radical jump up.
But at the same time, they are not doing site owners, and host servers any favors by advising folks only go up to something that is no longer supported.
Somebody’s going to have to draw a hard line, make the hard decision, and own up to the fact that WP should have started doing this push 2 years ago when everyone else had the fire lit to do it.
In the article about it, they say this is only the first step in enforcing the use of modern PHP versions for end users, and plugin and theme devs.
We’ll see how long it takes them to get current.
All I can say is – it’s about damn time.
I do have a way to set a test site to a lower version of PHP and I’ll be testing this with the 5.1 beta.
If you don’t already know what your host’s PHP version is, see this post for all the help you need to check and change your level.
WP Cron improvements
Changes to the WP cron are coming in 5.1 too.
Cron is the internal clock on your site, and this has needed help for a long time.
It’s the thing that keeps up with your scheduled post publishing and your backup schedule and more.
There are two posts for you to read on this.
The first is an overview of the changes to the Cron API.
The second post has more detail on what’s called the PHP-FPM and how that works.
I expect that most of us will see the effects of these changes on our backup plugins.
And I will be testing my 5.1 beta site for this on UpdraftPlus.
He saw the need for WP to move away from the PHP coding language and more toward being fully JS based.
The problem was that not many devs were as fluent in JS as PHP, but that has changed in the last two years.
So, now the core WP devs are ready to implement changes in how WP itself handles JS at a deep level.
This post is Part 1 of the future plans for JS in WP.
So, these changes have very serious implications for site owners.
Does this mean the death of free plugins?
All we can hope is that the devs of the plugins and ads we use are keeping on top of this.
But, between this and the fire to get current with PHP levels, I’m betting that some plugin devs will throw in the towel this year and next.
It’s just going to be too much to rebuild their plugins from scratch.
Plus, we’ve already started seeing this impact on some theme devs with complete reversals of how they include extra features in their themes.
I have no idea how this will impact popular theme builders.
All I can say is that I believe we need to prepare ourselves for paying for more of what we use and stop expecting everything for free.
And that’s also why I’ve dedicated all of 2019 to doing case studies and revamping the Webmaster Training.
We NEED deeper info to stay ahead of the curve on plugins, themes, SEO, ADA compliance, speed, and so much more.
I hope to make BlogAid that clearinghouse resource for site owners, designers, and devs.
The WP core devs are changing the way plugins report when they are loaded.
If not done correctly, it will cause a performance issue.
I’m not sure how to test this yet, but will be keeping an eye on it and digging in when I can get more info.
Lack of Resource Use Data at SiteGround
Last year, cPanel made a major update that affected the way it reports host resource usage for things like:
- I/O for database calls
Who knows why, but SiteGround put their own goofy report mechanisms over these standard cPanel things and they no longer work.
I used them to chase down plugins that were running wild and chewing up too many resources.
But now I can’t see any of this info.
Considering that SiteGround has container hosting, I think this is a lawsuit waiting to happen.
If you go over your resource limit for your hosting package, they shut you down.
But you now have no way to see and verify the overages and no way to test the fixes.
I’m asking that all of you on SiteGround open a support ticket and demand to have these reports turned on again.
It’s going to take all of our voices to get it done.
I can’t possibly do this alone and them hear it.
More Miscellaneous Changes
I don’t know how much these next big changes in 5.1 will affect our themes and plugins, but I want to call them out so they are top of mind if things break.
Improved Taxonomy Metabox Sanitation
This may affect custom post types such as those found in real estate themes and products for e-comm sites.
If a plugin is bringing info in from the outside world and not properly connecting to the REST-API in WP core, then a notice will go up that it’s being done wrong.
I’ve already seen a similar error when checking out a newish plugin to help a client troubleshoot. And I’ve reported it to the plugin devs.
So, we’ll see what fresh hell this brings when 5.1 releases.
It’s all an effort to get some quality control going for our plugins. So, while it’s a pain for us, it’s a good thing in the long run.
The latest release of UpdraftPlus promises to make backing up our sites faster. Any help we can get with bigger sites is a good thing.
They didn’t give any real details on how it makes cloning a site faster, but mostly designers use that function, and their time is your money. So, that’s a good thing too.
More Tests for ADA Compliance
In the past several Tips Tuesday’s I’ve been reporting on the need for themes to ensure they are ADA compliant.
A few weeks ago I linked to a test site that is good for end users.
This week, I’ll be creating a whole new section in the Webmaster Training course for more on ADA compliance.
This is something every designer must know from here on out.
This is part of the full revamp I’m doing on all the Webmaster Training sections to bump up coverage on emerging client demands for Gutenberg, speed, and ADA compliance.
This also will become a part of my theme case study that’s coming later this spring too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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