Hello Happy Site Owners!
The podcast is going to be a little longer than normal because there is just so much to tell you about this week.
- Spiffy Up Your Site Challenge Wrap Up Show
- What tutorials would you like to see added?
- New class client sites launching
- What’s in the latest Yoast SEO update
- How to ditch the inline link adder
- A new testimonials plugin from Thrive
- What’s in the major Ninja Forms update
- My fave brute force attack prevention plugin getting an update
- A clue that Headway Themes may be going under
- What’s in the upcoming Genesis 2.4 release
- Google’s new non HTTPS warning coming in Chrome soon
- Google cracking down on linkbacks in widgets
- Yoast tells us when to use a 301 and 302 redirect
- How XML-RPC affects WordPress Security
- Jon Morrow’s advice on how to build a massive blog following
- UptimeRobot adding new IPs to ping your site
Listen to the podcast
Wow, there’s so much news to let you know about this week! But first, I want to remind you of the live series I’ve been running.
I hope you’ve been enjoying the mini challenge with me to get 3 major areas of your site all spiffied up and ready for busy season.
So far we’ve covered:
- Home Page
It’s taken me about 30 minutes a day to get those areas of my site squared away, and I’m already seeing more clicks from it.
In case you missed it live, you can catch all the replays and show notes here
Upcoming BlogAid Live Show
Wed Sept 14 at 1pm ET / 10am PT
On the BlogAid FireTalk channel I hope! They’re having a few network issues with replays, so we may switch over to Facebook Live for this one. Be sure to follow me on the BlogAid Facebook page for the latest updates on it.
Join me for our final wrap up show on the mini challenge. It’s going to be on FireTalk so you can come on the show and let us know how you did and/or more easily ask your questions in the comments.
Video Tutorial Inventory
Then I’ll be making a list of the new ones I want to add, and most of those will involve a new set of tests and reviews on plugins for contact forms, social share buttons, and local caching.
So look for those to be added all through this month.
And, let me know what you’d like to see added to the courses. Feel free to leave a comment on the blog post or anywhere you see Tips Tuesday online.
I’m also delighted to tell you that we’re in the final phases with three of my 1-on-1 training clients and their new sites will be launching soon.
Confidence in knowing what you’re doing and that everything is completely right from the get go is such an amazing feeling and just adds to their excitement for the launches.
If you’ve had a site for a couple of years and just not getting where you want to be with it, consider how much you may be suffering from self-taught syndrome and get some real help with putting a solid foundation under your site.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
The latest 3.5.0 release of the Yoast SEO plugin has a lot of sitemap related updates. One in particular caught my attention, which is that it “explicitly checks for public post type status when creating sitemap.” I’m wondering exactly what this checks. For example, is it checking whether the post is set to public or private? And does it automatically exclude that from the sitemap?
There used to be a time when you could publish a post for public view and then easily exclude it from the sitemap. I do that a lot with special sales pages. But now I have to get the post ID and open another section of the plugin settings to exclude it from the sitemap. Not sure why they took away the user friendly way of doing it.
There were a bunch of enhancements to the bulk editor, and about 15 or so bug fixes in this update too.
I know most of us hate involuntary change. And when that occurs with some function of WordPress, I try to just use it for a while until it becomes normal.
But this new inline link adder thingy is driving me crazy.
It may be a usability standard issue, but I like to make links in Tips Tuesday open in a new tab for folks. My viewers tell me they like it.
And this current inline link adder thingy makes me have to click 4 times to do it. Once to make the link, another two clicks to make it open in a new tab, and a fourth to get rid of the inline link box.
So, in one of my advanced groups, I heard about a plugin that disables it. It’s the Advanced WPLink plugin. And it allows you to easily call in classes from your style sheet, like for buttons and such too.
I’m going to give it a try. If you do too, let me know how you like it.
Update: I discovered that there is a sweet link creation tool in the TinyMCE Advanced plugin that does this beautifully, so am using that instead of adding another plugin.
Shane Melaugh just keeps adding to the list of stellar plugins from Thrive. This time it’s a testimonials plugin called Thrive Ovation.
Hurry, he has a pre-launch half off sale that expires before Wednesday!!!
I really would like to add testimonials to my site, but finding and figuring out how to use the plugins was such a time suck. Not anymore. I took advantage of his discount and I’ll be digging into the plugin soon. So look for them to appear on BlogAid in the very near future.
That’s a big deal.
Last year, WordPress CEO Matt Mullenweg, shared his vision of the future of WordPress that relied entirely on JS coding.
The guys at Ninja Forms were already taking that approach, and now, a year later, have something wonderful to show for it.
The new interface features a drag-and-drop builder and runs on an API for processing. There are also improvements for selling products and other advanced features.
Ninja Forms is one of the contact forms on my list to make new tutorials on. I’ve liked the plugin for years, and met the devs in person and they’re great guys. But, this plugin was overkill for most of my clients who only needed a basic contact form. But, I’ll be including the basic setup of it in my tutorials just because it’s so stellar. And it’s built to be future-proof now too.
In our private Facebook group, one of my Level 5 Webmasters Jeanne asked if the Login Lockdown plugin was still on my recommendation list, since it had a warning in the plugin repo that it had not been updated in 2 years.
Yep! It’s most definitely still one of my fave plugins for Brute Force protection.
This happened a few years ago and the dev made a minor change to something that didn’t matter much, in the documentation or such, just to get rid of that warning. He built that plugin right the first time and it doesn’t need upgrading.
Thanks to webmaster Cyndi for checking with him in the plugin’s repo forum. He is currently updating it and should have that for us soon.
So, by all means, keep using it, and don’t let that warning bug you or keep you from installing it as a super lightweight brute force prevention tool.
Now, if you have some other plugin providing the service for you, then be sure to check for conflicts first. You don’t want two plugins fighting to do the same thing.
And if you are a VA or Designer and want to know more about site security, performance, and have a great place to get help from other webmasters, check out the Webmaster Training site.
If you’re still using a Headway theme, and gosh, I hope you aren’t, this may be a sign that they are about to go under. A former employee went public, stating that users have not been receiving support for some time, and employees are not getting paid.
Headway has not been a viable theme for a few years. They were a pretty good DIY theme for a while, but Thesis kind of took over that business. And then Thesis came out with a hard to use update and that was pretty much the end of it.
Divi, from Elegant Themes, seems to have taken over the mantel for DIY theme builders at this point. So, if you’re bent on rolling your own still, that would be the way to go.
And I’ll just add this one little thing. None, not a single one of my money making clients uses a DIY theme builder. Not one. And I don’t even design my own anymore. These days, it’s a specialty service and there’s no way you’re going to know enough about the trends and usability standards to design something that performs well and converts high for you. DIY theme building is an amateur’s dream. Not an online marketing pro’s dream.
Genesis has a major update coming in a couple of weeks. From the notes, it looks to me like most of the changes are to bring some coding and documentation and looks on the user interface up to spec with current WordPress coding standards.
I don’t think the bulk of it will even be visible to you, or require any coding changes to your child theme to keep it compliant with the new changes.
Keep in mind that is the beauty of using a child theme. The framework can be updated to keep pace with WordPress, and not affect your child theme.
But, that’s also the drawback to using a child theme. Eventually, its coding becomes outdated and new WP features don’t get passed through your theme.
We saw good examples of that with the addition of schema markup. When WP and Genesis started supporting it a few years ago, most Genesis site owners received no benefit because their child theme didn’t also support it.
That’s just one of the reasons why I do a site overhaul at least every two years. Trends, and my messaging or offers change by then too. So, it’s good to keep pace with everything.
The next Chrome upgrade in Jan. 2017 will start displaying warnings to viewers if they are logging in or sharing a credit card or other sensitive info on a non https site.
This is Google’s next step in its push to make the web more secure.
Here’s the thing, it doesn’t make it more secure. It simply encrypts the data. That means that hackers who are monitoring the transmission can’t see the data as it goes down the line.
So, when I look for a new banana nut bread recipe, the hacker can’t see the ingredients. Yeah, that’s what we need.
I believe there’s going to be a huge pushback from site owners when Google decides to take this the next step further.
But for now, those of us who have member sites, or other sites where users have to log in, better plan to convert.
And that’s the real issue, converting an existing site. It’s not as easy as some of the tutorials online make you think. In fact, it can be a real bag of cats.
I’m chatting with my e-commerce team members now and I’ll keep you posted on what I end up doing with my two member sites.
If you’re using a plugin that has a widget which advertises a link back to itself, then Google is going to smack you for it.
The problem is, most of the plugins that have this type of involuntary advertising go to low ranking sites. And Google doesn’t want them getting backlinks from good sites with reasonably high rank anymore. It goofs up their algorithm.
So, to put a stop to it, they are going to penalize the site advertising the link, which is you!
You can see examples in the post I linked for you above.
Before you go ditching that plugin, see if there is a setting in it to turn off the linkback first.
If you’re deleting old posts, you’ll want to see this article from Yoast about whether to use a 301 or 302 redirect for it.
I would like to add a couple of really important tips for you about this.
First, as he mentions in the post, you really ought to consider adding some type of redirect to similar content if you can.
DO NOT send everyone to the home page of your site in lieu of sending them to a 404 page. That’s the very worst thing you can do, and there are several plugins that automate that type of redirect for you. Don’t use them!
If you aren’t going to do a redirect, then seriously consider a custom 404 page. Have a look at the one on BlogAid for ideas. It’s way better than just slamming the door on your visitors, and gives them other things to look at on your site. And it won’t mess up your SEO, like sending folks to your home page will do.
For the past 2 years I’ve been strongly advising site owners to turn the XML-RPC input/output layer of WordPress fully off.
Here’s a post on BlogVault reminding us of why that is so important. It’s a major security risk, especially during a DDoS attack.
Read my post Disable XML-RPC in WordPress to Prevent DDoS Attack for what turning it off may affect and how to completely disable it.
Content Marketing Tips
If you don’t know who Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger is, you probably haven’t been blogging for long. And I suggest you get familiar with him because he knows a thing or two about building huge followings.
Donna Merrill recently interviewed him and gleaned 3 ways to build a massive blog following.
It’s super good reading, especially if you go beyond being a tip collector and actually do what he suggests.
My favorite uptime monitor service, UptimeRobot http://uptimerobot.com/ has added a new set of IPs to ping your site. You’ll want to add these to your firewall whitelist in places like CloudFlare and perhaps your host. There is a way to add a whole block vs adding them individually and I’ll be making new video tutorials on how to do that in CloudFlare and cPanel for my Webmaster Training members.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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