Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- New surveys are out for BlogAid groups
- An update on what I found in my play time with Gutenberg and Genesis
- An update on my theme revamp services and Gute classes
- Why I’m investing so much into my new woodworking business right up front
- What I’ll be using for client interviews and livestreaming soon
- How you can help with my new share button case study
- An update on using Google reCAPTCHA v3 with Contact Form 7
- A reminder to delete the new WP theme after updating to WP 5.x
- What’s coming in the first meeting of the new WordPress Governance project
- A peek into what’s in the new Genesis 2.8 beta theme built on Gute blocks
- Why we need to pay attention to Beyonce getting sued over what’s missing on her site
- Tips on your image Alt Text for Google and Pinterest
- How Beaver Builder is changing in the post-Gutenberg era
- How some site DIY and ignorance can cost you more in the long run
- How to avoid HTTPS gotchas down the road
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live later today at 3pm ET / 12pm 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.
Oh my gosh!!! This has been the slowest site news week ever!
Isn’t that great?
No fires to put out and let’s hope it stays that way for a while.
Surveys Are Going Out
Check your email if you’re in a BlogAid course or group.
I sent surveys out to my Webmasters, Site Audit Clients, and the DIY SEO course members.
I made these so they are totally anonymous, with few write ins.
The deadline for response is Wed, so please do get them completed, as your feedback is so critically important to helping me help you even more.
I’ll be sending out additional surveys in a week or so with write-ins so you can give more feedback about what you like, what you don’t, and what you need more help with.
Playing with Gute
I hope everyone in the WP 5 / Gute Workshop enjoyed getting to play with Gute.
I heard from several site owners that they really like it, and like me, are chomping at the bit to use it.
That workshop closed yesterday, and I’ve got more classes in the works, in case you missed it due to the holidays.
Gute and Genesis
I met with one of my designers on Friday to chat about what’s coming down the pike with Genesis.
You can see the Genesis 2.8 beta theme that is built entirely using Atomic blocks for the home page over on my Gute test site right now.
It won’t stay that way long as I have other themes and blocks and such to test this week.
And I’ll have more on what’s coming from Genesis in just a bit.
New Theme Revamp Service and Gute Classes
I’ll be meeting with another one of my lead theme designers this week to discuss Gute with themes beyond Genesis.
Once I have that info, and the results from the current surveys, I’ll finalize my new offers for help with theme revamps to use Gute.
Some folks will just want to have their current theme updated, and some folks are at the point where they are just ready for a whole new theme anyway.
But, we’re all having to hold up just a bit as the current WP version has a couple of bugs, and we are waiting to see what’s in the final release of the new Genesis 2.8 version.
So, all this is still a few weeks away from launch. Just know that it is coming and hang in there for a wee bit longer.
Investing in My New Biz
As y’all know, I’m turning my hobby carving site into a money-making woodworking site.
On Jan 1st, I ordered several power tools, as I needed to wait for the new tax year.
The first one arrived last week. It’s my new Makita mitre saw.
Because product models change every year, I wanted to do a video review of it right away.
I set up my old iPhone 5S and some studio lighting in the shop, and it did okay. But I can’t see posting that as my first YouTube video. It’s just not good enough.
I looked into getting a new phone, but I really only use my phone for phone calls and Google Maps. I use my iPad for everything else.
And, I would need a better lenses, external mic, and apps to make it all work well.
I found all that cost prohibitive.
So, I decided to invest in a good mirrorless camera that can do video and still shots at a much higher quality instead. It’s a kit that also comes with a good external boom microphone. And it can deal with the lighting I have in the shop better too, plus a much better field of focus.
I also got a new pressure washer and a floor scrubber attachment, as you can’t spray with high pressure inside the garage due to splash. The floor is in too bad a shape for me to feel okay about showing it in my first videos too.
So, between that and the power tools, I’ve sunk a good $1500 into the new biz.
But I know that’s what it will take to produce the quality things I want to put out.
And, the tool buying was strategic as well, including where I purchased.
I got the Makita chop saw on Amazon so I can leave my video review there as well.
And I’ve purchased Ryobi powered hand tools from Home Depot because both of them sponsor posts from DIYers like me.
Plus, both of them have big hashtag followings on Instagram.
The first things I plan to build are all the workbenches and tables I’ll need in the shop.
There are several big DIYers that have a brag page where I can upload the thing I built from their plans, even if I tweak them.
This past week I’ve spent time learning how to use Google’s SketchUp program to make my own plans. They just changed over to a web-only version and there aren’t many beginner tutorials on YouTube for it. So, I’m deep into making them.
As you can tell, every move I’m making is strategic and will help me hit the ground running as I launch this thing.
Even though I’ve had some start/stop pauses with this, and having to back up to do more prep work, I know I’ll get more eyeballs from everything I’m doing, and that’s before I even start blogging in earnest.
It’s all about building my audience base and traffic right now.
And I’m really liking Instagram for that!!!
I couldn’t find a good way to use it for BlogAid. Using for Heartwood Art is giving me all kinds of ideas now, though!! So go follow me there as @HeartwoodArtCreations
My Recording and Livestream Setup
Speaking of doing video recordings, several of y’all have asked about my green screen setup for doing the Tips Tuesday and BlogAid Today livestreams.
I hope to be doing a post on that in the next few months, as well as my new setup for the shop video recordings.
And, I’m 100% dedicated to doing client interviews in 2019. I wanted to do them so badly last year, but my whole 2018 plan got blown up with all the site fires and the house hunt stuff.
I’ve decided that I don’t really like any of the 3rd party livestream services available right now. I miss Blab so much!!!!
So, I’ve got Zoom, and that’s what I’ll be using for the recordings.
I’ve also heard that OBS has changed a lot in the past year and is not such a resource hog anymore. I’ll be checking into using that as a way to livestream Zoom to Facebook, so folks can attend live.
But, no matter what, I’ll be doing the interviews and posting the recording everywhere.
Share Button Case Study – Gathering Info
I’m in the process of gathering the starter info for my new case study on the best social share buttons to use.
I’ve asked my Site Audit Plus clients for their input on which plugin they use and why, and if they use something special for Pinterest and why.
You’re welcome to leave a comment here on the blog, or anywhere you see this post online about what you use too, so I’ll be sure to include it in the tests.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Hey, did you see my post last week with a tutorial to fix the error message on Contact Form 7 about updating to the latest version 3 of Google reCAPTCHA?
Well, that caused a little reCAPTCHA logo to appear on every page of our site, which we all hate.
Alex Miller was kind enough to reach out via the comments on that post with a plugin to revert back to the version 2 reCAPTCHA.
And you can use it, if you want.
But over a year ago, the form stopped redirecting folks to a thank you page.
So, I’m thinking this plugin has been super for many years, but I think there are more modern ways of doing it.
I’ve got a new case study on my to do list for checking out all popular form plugins.
I did a little search on them last year and found that many either don’t have the field customizations I need, or they chew up the database with the form info. I just need it to send me that info in an email, not hold it in the database.
That’s both a security and GDPR issue too.
So, we’ll see what recommendations the case study yields as soon as I can get to it.
Delete TwentyNineteen Theme
If you’ve upgraded to WordPress 5.x, the TwentyNineteen Theme came along for the ride.
Be sure to delete it and any other unused themes you find.
Each one is a potential security hole.
Y’all may remember my report on WordCamp US 2018 back in December where I mentioned Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s presentation. It ended with his announcement of a new WordPress Governance Project.
He’s all about bringing more voices to the table that represent a broader user and developer base of WordPress, and mapping out its future in a more cohesive way.
They are holding their first Slack meeting on Jan 15th, if you want to get involved.
As I mentioned previously, I’m testing the new Genesis 2.8 beta theme.
But, there are more changes than that in this upcoming release.
One of the biggest is a new onboarding process.
It can be very intimidating to install a new theme devoid of content, especially on the home page.
Several 3rd party themes have an importer for bringing in sample content that populates all of the special features of the site, including the home page widget.
But, that then becomes a lot of content all over the site that you have to delete later.
And some of them don’t bring in the sample images due to copyright issues.
On top of that, if you have migrated your full site to a sandbox and want to try a new theme, you definitely don’t want all that dummy content loaded in there too. It doesn’t delete your current content, but with all your content, it makes it tough to locate all the new stuff to get rid of it.
And because the new themes have block-driven home pages instead of widgets, the standard importer is not a good fit.
So, they are making a major change to it.
One of the other new features with it is the ability to load only the home page content and not the blog posts.
Considering that most all of that is just text, it doesn’t really matter if you delete it or not.
You just edit to suit your content needs.
So, this is definitely a big win, and one of the reasons that I’m encouraging folks to hold up just a bit with switching to Gute and/or doing a theme revamp.
This one new theme beta, and the things they are developing for it are not quite ready for prime time yet.
And neither is the current version of WordPress.
There are still bugs and issues in both.
But, we’re getting closer!!!
Last year, the pending release of WP 5.0 caused some WPdrama over lack of proper usability compliance with Gutenberg.
In fact, the lead on the usability team resigned over it.
Gutenberg does not meet ADA compliance, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act.
This is something you need to pay close attention to in 2019 no matter what theme you use and no matter if you’re using Gutenberg or not.
It’s also an SEO ranking factor that is growing in importance.
And this, among so many other reasons, is why it is worth paying a designer for your theme.
A good one will know about this type of compliance, as well as Google’s directives for its Mobile-First Initiative.
Usability is big deal and you need someone who keeps up with the regulations.
So, go read this post on why Beyonce is getting sued for her site not being ADA compliant and take it to heart about the importance of things as simple as putting a good Alt Text description on your images.
Consider Tasty Pins for Pinterest Image Descriptions
Google also uses your Alt Text on your images to derive a title and infer its content for Google Images.
So, Alt Text plays a key role in your SEO.
I’ve seen folks throw in all kinds of description and hashtag stuff for Pinterest into that spot.
Don’t do that!!!!
There’s a nice plugin called Tasty Pins that is made specifically for adding an additional Pinterest description.
It is a paid plugin that is worth it because this way you can have your cake and eat it too.
It is my firm belief that Gutenberg signals the end of life for all page builders currently on the market. I honestly don’t think most of the will be around in 5 years, maybe even less.
I read through this interview with the makers of Beaver Builder on the WPTavern site.
The way I take it is that they are scrambling to stay alive in a post-Gute world and they plan to appeal to a more “elite” group of site owners with special needs.
To me, they seemed to acquiesce that Gute will have the mass appeal, and that their product will become specialized.
I personally can’t see how they are going to survive more solutions being built directly into Gute and Gute-centric themes.
So, if you’re currently using any theme builder, no matter how much they scramble to meet needs, go ahead and plan for a theme rebuild within the next year or so.
How DIY and Ignorance Costs You More in the Long Run
I’ve said all along that these theme builders were an amateur’s dream and they would come back to bite you in the butt.
Here we are.
Folks on themes built with shortcodes are going to pay way more to change over to a Gute-based theme than folks who went with Genesis.
In fact, it’s going to be crazy cheap for Genesis site owners to extend the life of their current themes for at least another year or two and still make use of all that Gute offers.
If you think you don’t have budget for a pro design, think about how much you’ve already spent trying to avoid that, including:
- Initial cost of the theme builder
- Your sweat equity
- Possibly hiring help to finish the design
- Cost of coming out of it
You’re not saving a dime.
You’re spending more.
And, you are losing money on:
- Lack of base SEO
- ADA compliance
- Slow page loads due to extreme bloat
- Missed conversions due to lack of knowing why themes are built the way they are
You have not done yourself any favors.
Designers – you have not done your clients any favors by building themes for them using a theme or page builder either.
If anything, you’ve roped them into a more expensive mess that will have to be addressed soon, and they may not come back to you for that fix, as their trust factor may have been eroded.
HTTPS is another one of those things that I’ve always said will come back to bite you in the butt if you try to cheat and do it a free way.
Every other site audit I do for a new client shows those issues, especially with:
- Lack of security headers that Google will be enforcing more and more
- Lack of a proper CSP (Content Security Policy) where they are losing their HTTPS status due to mixed media
If you used a plugin for HTTPS, or just Cloudflare, or some free way at your host that did not involve actually converting your database and putting all the proper redirects and other items I just mentioned into play, guaranteed, it will come back to haunt you.
And the way you’re going to find out about it is under duress and/or a deadline.
Make your plans now for getting that taken care of this year in a calm way where you can budget your money and time.
My long-time followers got on this bandwagon early and have been enjoying the benefits of it for 2 years now.
Ask any of them how much peace of mind is worth when everyone else is panicking to meet a new deadline and they are just calmly going about their usual routine, knowing it’s already done.
That is an empowered DIY site owner.
And that’s what I’m here to help you become, and stay that way.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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