Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- A new livestreaming setup I’m using for Facebook
- New safer and updated settings to my Zoom meetings
- An update on client service work schedule
- All the new Gutenberg Ninja tutorials that have been released
- The correct date when our DIY SEO course workshops will resume
- Why I have to take a day off and ways I’m recharging my batteries
- Why we think WordPress unexpectedly updated when updating plugins
- Tips for how to do your updates
- Why you need to check and set your own site favicon since the WP 5.4 release
- Big changes to how Lighthouse and Google PageSpeed Insights calculates your score
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It’s been an insanely busy week around here!!!!
Last week I was unable to do the normal livestream of the Tips Tuesday recap. It kept pixalating and stopping. So I just recorded it and uploaded to Facebook and YouTube instead.
Turns out that Facebook’s new user interface makes it impossible to just go live easily now.
So, I had to take an hour or so to figure out what happened and how to use their new Live Producer interface. There are no tutorials out there on it either.
I’m just lucky that I already used vMix to do those livestreams because it’s the only way I can find to do it now with the new interface.
So, we will go live tonight for sure.
And, I can now use vMix to go live in Groups again too, which is a bonus so I can show me and share my screen, not either or.
Just takes a little more time for the setup than it used to.
I don’t think it has affected streaming live on the mobile app, just from desktop.
It is more secure now, though. So, may not be as convenient, but is safer.
I used my first test of streaming with vMix into my site audit client group. And I invited them to share what’s going on their world because that’s a safe place for us to tell our stories.
You know, it’s not complaining when things change that disrupt our lives and we need a place to say how that makes us feel with other folks who get it. Sometimes that’s not our family or friends.
So, I appreciate everyone who has shared there, and feel free to share whatever you need as it arises. There’s nothing too petty or small if it affects the way you normally gain some solace.
Zoom meeting settings updated
I also had to take a little time to update my Zoom meeting settings due to all of the issues with it that have been widely reported.
I’ve been using Zoom for the past 2-3 years for all of my client meetings and for the private classes, like the DIY SEO live workshops.
So, I want to be sure that all my peeps are safe.
And they have made the necessary changes to the app you download too.
So, we should be all good now.
Onboarding New Site Services Clients
This past week I onboarded several new clients from my waiting list that have hosting renewals coming up in the next few weeks. They are combining audits with migrations to better hosting, and that is saving them money.
But we are under tight deadlines, so I’m limiting my site service work to only these projects for the rest of this week.
If you are on my waiting list, you’ve already heard from me if your project is coming up soon, like next week. Some of those projects are pretty big, so they will likely be most all I’ll be working on through the end of April.
And then I’ll be caught up on the waiting list, unless more comes in, and I expect it will. I’ve only got one or two projects for May right now.
So, if you want a site service such as an audit or HTTPS conversion or such, now would be the time to contact me so we can assure your place on the schedule for this spring.
Gutenberg Tutorials Being Updated Like Crazy
I’ve been a tutorial making manic this past week and I have all of the standing tutorials for native Gutenberg functions updated to the WP 5.4 changes for my Gutenberg Ninja course.
This week I’m making all of the new tutorials for the new native Gutenberg functions that rolled in with WP 5.4.
And I sure do like all of the features we have and the other interface changes they made!!!!
And I thought I had found a bug with the new Buttons block and had opened a trac ticket for not being able to center align it. The button itself is in a Buttons block wrapper, and you have to select that wrapper to do the alignment. But, since I had already opened the trac ticket, I’m betting they will be updating how that is setup and I’ll have a few tutorials to update once again when that rolls out.
Such is life with a Gutenberg course, though.
I also discovered that we are not stuck with the new gradient presets, as I showed in the What’s New in WP 5.4 video walkthrough. So that’s good. And it’s great that one of my followers left a comment letting me know that on the YouTube video before I made those tutorials.
DIY SEO Workshop Updates
I think I miscalculated when I said what the new startup date would be for resuming the live workshops in the DIY SEO course.
The next one will be Thu Apr 16. And I’ll be sending out the new schedule to everyone as soon as I can.
I’ve heard from so many of you that you can’t even think about working on your sites right now and to take my time with getting started again.
But on the other hand, I had folks get into the course last summer and I sure do want to get the new workshops going so they get to see the new info before their renewal comes up again.
I had taken down those workshops for on-page SEO when we started the new workshops, as the info was dated. I hope next time I can leave those live a little longer due to so many folks now having renewals in the summer.
SEO stuff changed so much this past year that I did what I thought would be the least confusing for everyone. And I sure didn’t want folks to do all of that on-page SEO work and then have to redo it completely again.
So, we will get going with it again soon.
I Need a Day Off
From November to April is my normal busy season. But this time around, busy season started last July when I ran my first-ever big summer sale. Besides big saves for folks on courses, that’s when my site service waiting list got 8 weeks deep and I’ve been carrying nearly double the client load compared to normal for a lot longer than usual.
While I’m crazy grateful right now for the work, I’m also glad to come back to a normal client load and to be able to clock out at a reasonable time, and maybe even take a day off now and then. I’ve never been real big on taking time off.
I like that show Life Below Zero a lot. Those folks make stuff happen every day because their lives depend on it. And they enjoy what they do. Even if it’s a day off from regular chores, it’s still a hunting trip and they’re still out doing something. Then they get to sit by the campfire and eat what they caught and relax wherever they hiked to. Then they hike back.
I’m wired sort of like that too.
So, I’ll be doing something every day, it just won’t be sitting at my desk for 12 hours.
And no, I don’t have time to start a new woodworking project yet, but I am getting in some physical activity time with slowly rearranging the whole garage. There were some storage areas already there. And then stuff I stored in there from the day I moved in 1.5 years ago. It’s time to start rethinking that space and how I want to make use of it. So, that’s what I’m doing to keep my body in motion for at least an hour every day now too.
Take a Little Time to Recharge
Yesterday Zak and I went out into the back meadow and picked up broken limbs that had fallen during the winter. It was such a wonderful, sunny, 70 degree spring day.
My nice new neighbor that moved in during the holidays has agreed to mow it for us, as that meadow is shared by 3 neighbors. I offered him money for doing it, but just like the previous neighbor, he won’t take it.
So, picking up the sticks that would harm the mower is the least I can do to help.
And it was so good to be outside doing it, and Zak enjoyed doing something other than taking a walk too. Little breaks like that for a few hours at a time is usually enough to rejuvenate me and why I don’t require full days off normally. But, now and then it’s also good to have a whole day to piddle.
As I write this, I’m so grateful to be out on my deck and enjoying a little bit of spring with all of the green coming forth and birdies singing. I call that space my sanity room and I’m happy I can be out there barefoot when writing posts and doing research reading and such. So, I’m still working, but the change of environment has been so helpful to bolster my spirits.
I know many of you have your hands full of more to do than normal now too.
And I sure hope you can find a way to do things that rejuvenate you, even when you can’t take a full day off.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
The tips are short this week, thankfully. I scanned through all of the important news items and there isn’t much in the way of critical updates this week. So we’re going to keep it short and light and I know a lot of you appreciate that right now.
WP unexpectedly updating when updating plugins
I’ve had two Site Audit Plus clients report that when they went to update a plugin, their WordPress version updated along with it.
The first client who reported this updated another site and said she has UpdraftPlus paid version set to take a backup prior to updating plugins.
It should only backup the plugins folder and the database.
But, this time it also backed up the core WordPress files and then the plugins folder and the database.
And then it updated WordPress plus the plugin she chose.
So, that may be the issue.
I have not had time to test it.
Backup and Update Tips
Here’s my advice about how to do your updates.
WordPress and many of our plugins now have auto updates turned on for minor releases. Those are mostly bug and security fixes. And we do want those to auto update.
Those will also generally bypass any kind of backup prior to update, and that’s okay too.
So, here’s what I would do.
Turn off backups prior to updates if your backup plugin has that option.
And then do updates in bigger batches but less frequently, like once every week or two, unless there is a critical security issue that needs immediate attention on a plugin or theme that does not have an auto update capability.
Do those batch updates within a day or two after your full backup has already run.
See this post for the method to use when updating plugins with WP Rollback installed.
That way if a plugin update goes goofy you can immediately rollback to a previous version.
Then purge all cache after the updates – that includes your local caching plugin and Cloudflare.
Then check your site right then and then again the next day to ensure all is well.
Set your favicon
One of the new features in WP 5.4 is providing a favicon if you don’t already have one assigned.
I was happy about that because I see a real speed drag in site audits when no favicon can be found. It searches and searches and then finally resolves to a 404 not found.
Well, turns out that it takes almost as long for the WP generated favicon to load. So, it’s not that much of a speed improvement.
So, you’ll want to be sure to upload your own favicon instead, if you haven’t already.
Many themes provide a way to do this now via the Customizer, so look there first.
I believe Genesis themes require a 512×512 pixel image, which seems nutty to me, as the favicon actually displays as a 16x16px image in browser tabs and in Google Search results. I’m not sure where the bigger images display outside of the Google Knowledge Graph.
If you don’t have a way to upload that image via the Customizer, check with your theme developer to see how to do it.
And you’re welcome to add a comment here about what you found. That helps the whole village.
The Lighthouse tester used by Google PageSpeed Insights has changed the way they calculate scores.
I’ve only had time to scan the changes, but they look good to me and bring the scores more in line with real-world speed and issues.
This change also comes about after I had already finished my head-to-head speed tests on the free caching and optimizing plugins. Dang!
I’ve got those results, and clear winner.
I just need time to finish making the public post for you.
And I’ll have to dig into these new scoring calculations and take a new baseline before I start testing the paid plugins and other speed tests I’ll be doing later this spring.
So, the final outputs may change with score, but I believe the overall testing results will hold.
The main thing is, if you’ve taken past PageSpeed Insight tests, and you take a new one now, don’t be fooled to think that your site is suddenly somehow faster or better now just because your ultimate score improved.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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