Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Content Audit Workshop this week for the DIY SEO course
- Why I’m doing more video SEO testing for how Google handles video schema markup
- The results of my new speed tweak testing
- Why the internet burning is throwing off your speed testing
- New and helpful results in Google PageSpeed Insights
- Why I use a variety of data and testers for site audits
- New Astra theme and UAG plugin beta testing
- Are you sure you can fully restore your site?
- Why the number of Inodes you have is more important than traffic numbers when choosing a new host
- New standards are here for all block-based themes
- What breaks we are expecting with WP 5.8, and why it’s okay
Listen to the Podcast
Spill the Beans Livestream tonight
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. We spill the beans on this week’s news, breaking stories for the day too, and special info just for those who watch. So come join us live for the party.
FYI, the replay is posted to Tips Tuesday later so you can catch it anytime. But we have more fun at the live party.
Who I Help
All BlogAid posts and tutorials are intended to assist business-minded, hands-on bloggers and webmaster designers who are serious about making money and who want to stay up-to-date with site changes.
I’ve been relaxing more this week as part of my self-care. Now, I bet many of you instantly pictured me lounging around on my deck with Zak. Nope! I relaxed this spring by clearing 600+ square feet of bramble out of the woods behind my house. And now I’m mowing my yard, or building something in my woodshop, or even cleaning the house floor to ceiling.
I literally crave a full body workout every day now!!!
It is so relaxing to me! I feel better and rest better due to getting all of the day’s stress out of my mind and body. And I find it so enjoyable to be able to see and enjoy the results of what I’ve done too!!
What do you do to relax?
Content Audit Workshop this week
We are deep into our content SEO workshop series in the DIY SEO course.
Over the last 2 weeks we focused on our Page and Post SEO.
And now we are getting into our 3-part series of Content Revamp.
If you’ve had a blog for a while, you most definitely need to make as much time for revamping your existing content as you do with creating new content – maybe even devote more time to the revamp.
As all of my $10k/mo bloggers can tell you, spending your time data mining existing content performance is worth every minute you spend on it.
You work hard to create the best content you can. And that feedback from both Google Analytics AND Google Search Console is so important to see how well that content is performing and how you can make it perform better.
In the 3-part series we begin this week I’ll show you how to:
- Do a full content audit
- Make a content revamp plan that does not overwhelm you
- Implement that plan in a way that improves SEO and does no harm
Some of my highest money-making clients have been in the DIY SEO course for years now and they can tell you that going through these workshops every year is so worth it.
Content maintenance never ends on a blog. And having workshops to help you focus your efforts really pays off.
It’s never too late to get into the course and get your content working harder for you to bring in THE most traffic it can from search engines.
Site Audit Clients – get in the BB Hub NOW!!!!!!!
If you are a site audit client, be sure you register for the BB Hub member area.
That puts you on our special email list to get updates on tweaks and fixes that I don’t make publicly available that you need to implement asap.
And, you get special invitations for case studies and our upcoming mastermind groups too.
You will also get the link to our BB Hub Facebook group where you can get free support from the whole village on anything site related that you need, even if it is something I don’t cover.
So, be sure that you are getting all your perks, and that you are on the email list and get all special announcements too.
More Video SEO Testing Needed
I want to thank all of my volunteer testers for the Video SEO Booster course.
I’ve delayed launching it further as there has been news on how Google handles the VideoObject schema markup when you have more than one video on a post, which a lot of my volunteers already do, or will have.
This does not involve your video ads, though, as they have no extra schema markup.
But it definitely will involve any video in your recipe or how-to blocks/cards.
So, I need to do a bit more testing with this new info to see what results I get compared to what others think Google does with the markup.
I also have quite a bit of news on YouTube Shorts and why we do want to use them, plus one critical setting that you must have turned on so you don’t get ripped off with any of your videos.
Because these things are going to be a flash in the pan, I’ll be creating a new section in the course for them.
So, I appreciate your continued patience with the launch delay.
But you know I’m all about due diligence to give you tested info and tutorials, not just stuff based on rumor.
And I’ll be calling on my volunteers again to help with the new testing soon too.
New Speed Tweaks
Last week you may recall that I reported spinning up the test sites for the new theme tests and I found a couple of new speed tweaks for us.
I’ve been implementing those tweaks on all of my sites and on all site audit clients with open projects since.
They only have a minor effect for sites that are on Cloudflare. But, we’ll take every bit of help we can get with speed!!!
Internet burning throws off speed testing
I also delayed doing any more theme testing last week as one of my main helpers with it was on vacation and I could not dedicate at least 3 days in a row to do nothing much but testing.
Due to the worsening cyber security situation, dedicating time to do all testing back to back is what it will take for me to be sure that I have consistent data for all tests.
I literally have to run a baseline each day now to see how the internet is functioning for the test site locations before running tests for site audit clients.
And I have to check whether their hosting is caught in an attack before I run tests now too.
Yes, the worsening cyber security situation is that bad!!!
So, if you think you want to run your own tests and do your own speed tweaks, just know that even the pros are having a hard time getting accurate results some days. And we don’t want to chase our tails trying to fix something on the site that isn’t actually broken.
New test results in Google PageSpeed Insights
GPSI has been one of THE worst performance testers ever since it came out.
And now, after the Core Web Vitals thing was supposed to have initially rolled out, Google has finally started giving us some results that are useful in chasing down LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift).
I’ll be making a new tutorial on it for my Webmaster Training folks soon.
Why I use a variety of data and tester sources
My site audits go WAY beyond what you can see with just online speed testers.
The audit starts at the hosting.
I find all of the security issues and conflicting directives that directly impact server performance.
You can’t afford to have bad bots chewing up all of your hosting resources like CPU and memory. Those things should be reserved for human visitors.
And then we remove all of the resource hog plugins too.
I also remove all the bloat from the database that no cleaner plugin can touch.
All of your content is held in the database.
Think of it like a messy closet that has a bunch of junk in it you don’t even use.
How long does it take you to find something in there?
Now, what if you have a very organized closet with only the stuff you need?
It’s super fast to find what you’re looking for.
And it’s the same with your database.
Then we get rid of any type of image optimization plugin, because they don’t even work well, and they are creating double the bloat of images on your disk space at your host too. And we give you a FAR better way to do image optimization.
Those things alone add up to more speed.
And then we look at all of the online testers to see what else is dragging speed down, including a bloated theme.
I use all of the following testers, because each one gives us different clues:
- WebPage Test – for desktop testing so I can see the maximum number of requests
- Google PageSpeed Insights – which runs on a Moto phone with a Fast 3G connection so I can see load chains – which is the most useful data from this tester that most folks never even look at
- GTMetrix Mobile – which is only available on the paid version so I can run on an iPhone with a wifi connection, like most folks use it, and it has the BEST video framing for catching CLS issues
- Mobile Friendly – which is also a Google tester that runs on a MOTO phone with a Fast 3G connection, but it is Chrome on steroids and helps us find mobile menu loading issues
- WebSite Pulse HTTP Header Check – to see the info that is being delivered to the visitor’s browser, like caching everywhere including server-side at the host, the local caching plugin, caching at Cloudflare, plus it gives me the real TTFB
- SecurityHeaders.io – for another look at just your HTTPS Security headers – you should have 5 of them
So, if you think a real site audit by a real pro is expensive and you can easily do it yourself, think again.
There’s a lot more to optimizing a site fully than just getting a good score on one or two free testers.
That’s all the happenings from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
New Astra Theme and UAG Beta
I was thrilled to be contacted by the BrainStorm Force team to ask for my webmaster’s help with testing the beta release of the Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg plugin release.
They also gave us access to a beta of the Astra theme too.
And while I appreciate their cutting edge features, none of us appreciate the fact that too many of the releases of both over the past year have been so bug ridden that we are scared to update them.
I had reached out to them a couple of months ago to allow me and my webmaster designers to get advanced copies of beta releases and help them test deeply. We can give them a comprehensive report that way too.
I’m delighted that they have taken us up on the offer!!
And I hope this helps put them on track for stable releases from now on too.
Of course, we can’t test under all host, theme, and plugin combo conditions, but we’re going to do all we can to help them!!
But, they gave us very little lead time for the testing and it’s likely that they will be rolling out the final versions today. I let them know that all of us are backup with work and need more than a week or so notice. So, maybe we’ll be able to help them more next time.
If you are a site audit client, look for an announcement in our BB Hub Facebook group for when our favorite Astra designer says that she has done the updates and gives us an all clear.
Are you sure you can fully restore your site?
Your backup is your single most important site security measure.
And I’m shocked how many folks are relying solely on their host’s backup. Those things are not guaranteed, even if you pay extra for them.
You definitely need at least a month’s worth of your own backup that is stored off the hosting.
Plus, you need more than just your WP files and database too.
There are at least 2 files below WP that are critically important for your site security and HTTPS and speed.
Plus, you may have verification files outside WP too for Google, Pinterest, and more.
Are you sure that your backup is getting everything you need to fully restore your site?
READ: WordPress Backup Checklist to ensure you’ve got everything, or if you need to make some improvements to your backup strategy.
With the worsening cyber security situation, you definitely don’t want to learn this lesson the hard way, after your site goes goofballs, and while you’re already under duress.
Inodes, not traffic, determines host package needs now
Hosts used to list their different packages as suitable for a certain number of visitors.
But that was always a best-guess, and was based on an unsecured and unoptimized site.
My site audit clients always get 3-4 times more traffic than that because they don’t have tons of bad bots chewing up their hosting resources and their lack of proper optimization on images isn’t taking up tons of disk space.
But many hosts have dropped that bogus traffic guess altogether and have started listing what they really limit you on, which are Inodes.
An Inode is basically a connection to a file.
So let’s say you have a post with one image on it.
That means you have 2 Inode connections – 1 for the post and 1 for the image.
Let’s say you have a foodie post and it has 15 images in it.
Now you have 16 Inode connections.
And if you do have a foodie site, and you’re filling that post up with multiple images of the same, finalized meal with fluff content in between just so you can run more ads, you’re not doing yourself any SEO or reader favors either.
If you’re going to use up your Inodes on images, at least consider using them as photojournalism to detail the step-by-step process of making the dish.
For bloggers who have been around a while, you have tons of content and tons of visitors.
And every visitor creates concurrent Inode connections.
That adds up super fast!!!!
And that does not even include all of the bots crawling your site either.
You can’t see those bots in your Google Analytics, so that’s not a real indicator of the hits to your site.
For that, you’ll need to go into your server logs. Hosts with cPanel have easy to read logs such as AWStats. And this is one of the big reasons I check that in site audits too. We need to see how your lack of site security is REALLY chewing up your hosting resources.
But, it’s not just bad bots chewing them up.
Besides all of the bot crawls from search engines directly, we also have crawls from SEO vendors, like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and about 15 more.
Those are chewing up our Inode count too, and it’s just one more reason why I’m looking into the best ways to block them before they ever reach the hosting, like doing the block at Cloudflare or such.
The problem with all of this is that we can only see how many Inode connections have been made in the previous 24 hour period. There is no easy way for us to get an average over time.
The nice folks at WP Beaches posted a tutorial to see how many Inode connections you have across all of your directories. I left a comment there to see if this can be modified to track Inode connections made across a date range.
This way, when I’m helping clients choose a better host, we have something real to go on.
I’ll keep you posted on what I find with all of it.
In the meantime, seriously reconsider how many images and such you have in your posts too, not only to limit the Inode connections, but more importantly, to make a better user experience for your readers and maybe even keep them on your post longer to see all of the steps in the process. That will help you with SEO like crazy too.
Boy, am I ever glad to see this!!!!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reporting that a big chunk of the new Full Site Editing code will roll into the WP core with the next major release of 5.8 in July.
This is the start of expanding Gutenberg from being just a block based content editor to it being a full block based theme editor.
Until now, no one knew for sure what Full Site Editing would look like.
This past week, Automattic, which is the parent company of WordPress, officially released the theme that will carry the standards.
The new theme name is Blockbase.
And WPTavern has a nice article on Blockbase and the new standards it sets for Full Site Editing.
I’m hoping that all theme developers will use this as their template and design off it.
That’s going to radically help us, as theme designers and end users, with styling conventions in the Customizer and such too.
Breaks expected in WP 5.8
Because so many of the new Full Site Editing conventions will change the WP core when version 5.8 releases, we are expecting breaks when we update to it.
The main break we expect will be to the widget areas of our sidebars, as all themes handle those differently.
WP has already made a Classic Widget plugin for us to use temporarily, until all themes can come into compliance with the new coding standards, or until we switch to a theme that is compliant.
I’ll have more for you on this as the 5.8 release draws near.
BlogAid News subscribers are the ONLY folks who get my WP upgrade tutorial that is a step-by-step guide on the order to do things with each major WP release.
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That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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