Hello Happy Site Owners!
Tips this week include:
- New SSL Course Nears Completion
- BlogAid Member Site Availability this coming week
- What we’re talking about in the SEO Workshop
- Big changes to VaultPress packages and bundles
- What to watch out for when updating to WordPress 4.7
- What caught my attention in the recent State of Word address
- Changes coming for future WordPress release cycles
- Your site username being leaked
- 7 maintenance mode plugins compared
- Retina creation and support coming to FooGallery
- Simple Social Icons introducing scalable vector graphics
Listen to the podcast
I’m delighted to share that the bulk of the new SSL Course is complete. All the overview, checklists, conversion tutorials, and initial test tutorials are ready.
I’ve been converting test sites to HTTPS like crazy and refining the tutorials.
If you’re a designer or technical VA who care takes sites, knowing how to convert them to HTTPS will be the hottest skill set for 2017.
Most of my webmasters are already getting requests to flip sites for the current clients, and all new sites are being built for HTTPS from the get go.
I’m also delighted to say that my tutorials make conversion quick and easy and use zero plugins. Plus, I cover settings that make the delivery of your site content more secure too.
So, if you’re overwhelmed with all the moving parts and info about converting a site, this course will help you breeze through it and have absolute confidence that you know what you’re doing.
Webmaster Level 5 Chat
I’ll be meeting live with all of my Webmaster Level 5 peeps this Thursday to discuss the new tutorials and learn from them what types of things they run into with converting sites. It’s a really rich village for webmaster help and we all learn from each other.
BlogAid Member Site Availability
This coming week I’ll be flipping both the Site Success Courses and the Webmaster Training Courses member sites to HTTPS. It shouldn’t take too long, but if the site is acting goofy for you, just wait an hour and come back.
Those of us who have sites with logins on every page are racing to get this done before the end of the year before Google flips the switch on the new, more prominent Chrome warning for insecure sites when you have to enter a password.
SEO Workshop is Going Great
And I’m thrilled with how well the SEO Workshop is going. Folks are getting so much out of the classes and checklists each week.
And we did an impromptu session this weekend and dove into a few client sites.
Yesterday we met and there were lots of great questions asked that I’ll be diving into research on this week and adding to the course too. Plus a lot of discussion on images and Pinterest too.
Next week’s workshop will be all about SEO on blog posts and I’m really looking forward to it.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
On Friday, VaultPress announced big changes to their package plans. First, they will be cheaper. Woohoo!
Next, they will require JetPack. Boo! And that will also be bundled with Akismet. Boo!
I had a bit of a knee-jerk rant about it on Friday. You can see that video here.
And I posted about it in one of my advanced dev groups. There were 115+ comments on that thread and it’s still going. And it included comments from folks at Automattic who make these plugins.
I’m a card-carrying JetPack hater and think it is a bloated mess that belongs only on WP.com. It has gotten better in the past year, but there was nowhere to go but up.
Here’s the problem. If any of those modules are turned on by default during installation, they are likely going to stay that way. Hence, unnecessary bloat on the site and potential plugin conflicts.
If folks actually go turn all those modules off, then great, at least I hope.
If WordPress really wants to gain more market share for self-hosted sites, then this is just backwards thinking to keep tying these services to WordPress.com. They need to decouple them, if anything.
Will I stick with VaultPress? Probably. Price is going to trump just about every other consideration. Plus, it is a good backup service.
And you bet that checking for extra JetPack modules will now be added to my site audit checklist for what is slowing down a site. I guess I should thank them for seeding my business for next year, just like Pat Flynn does when he recommends Bluehost.
If you haven’t updated to the latest version of WP yet, you’ll want to see this quick video tour I made of the new features.
I’ll be updating my sites this week.
I’ve heard from my webmasters that have already updated that it’s best to purge your local caching plugin first, or maybe also deactivate it until after the upgrade.
Have you upgraded yet? Please leave a comment here or wherever you see this post and let us know how it went for you.
At the recent WordCamp U.S. Matt Mullenweg gave his annual address about all that WordPress and the WordPress Foundation has accomplished in the past year, and it’s a lot of good things.
You’ll want to scan the post for yourself, but overall, a big takeaway for me is that Matt recognizes that WordPress has to fundamentally change to move forward.
He also states that making sites HTTPS and able to run on hosts that support PHP7 is a big deal. In fact, WordPress is only going to recommend hosts with native Let’s Encrypt support. I would imagine that having PHP7 available will fall into that recommended list soon too.
The whole idea behind these changes is to make WordPress a faster interface for every other thing to run on. And I believe that’s a great idea.
And then Matt followed up his State of Word address by giving an interview to Brian Krogsgard on Post Status.
They chatted mainly about changes to the WordPress release cycle and what the new REST API Endpoints in core will bring to the platform. Do give it a listen. I’m about halfway through and definitely worth hearing about what’s coming.
Speaking of the new REST API Endpoints, WordFence came out with a post yesterday that tells how they can be used by hackers to sniff out usernames of everyone who posts on your site.
Hate to burst any illusions, but the username has always been one of the easiest things for a hacker to find on your site.
That’s why it’s so radically important that you use a super duper strong password and rotate it on a regular basis. That, and a brute force shield, like Login Lockdown, is your only protection from hackers breaking through the front door of your site.
If you’re building a new site, it’s a super good idea to throw a maintenance mode plugin blanket over it so bots of all kinds can’t find it. Yeah, you can check that box to discourage search engines, but there are way more bots than that out there, and you don’t want them gaining access.
My buddies over at FixMyWP have a super post comparing 7 maintenance mode plugins that you’ll want to check out.
The nice folks at Foo just announced that FooGallery now has retina creation and display support. That makes your images so much sharper on monitors and devices that support retina displays. I really do love Foo plugins and looking forward to seeing this update on my carving site where I use that gallery plugin.
Genesis is about to push out version 2 of the Simple Social Icons plugin. They’ve revamped it to include scalable vector graphics (SVG). Plus, they’ve added several more popular icons too. So, be sure to watch for that update if you use that plugin on your site.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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