Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- The radical differences in what the managed part of managed hosting means at different hosts
- Spring 2020 site quick checks are underway
- How to check if your SSL certificate has a bug and needs to be reissued
- One more reason not to use the WebP format for images
- The amazing hero support I get at NameHero hosting
- An update on how I’m changing the summary reports for my caching plugin speed tests that will result in easy-to-read graphs for us
- WordPress 5.4 RC1 is out and what that means
- 100 new Block Templates have been released on Gutenberg Hub
- On op ed on how much longer page builders can remain competitive in the block era
- Another proof that Google is crawling and indexing PDFs and why to get them off your site
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Who I Help
All tips, advice, and suggestions in this, and all BlogAid posts and tutorials, are intended to empower DIY site owners who are not on hosting that is restrictive in what you can and can’t do with your site and hosting setup.
My internet was down and knocked me out of 3 days of work last week.
So my house is now squeaky clean and I got several items checked off my honey-do list.
But, I’ve been playing a lot of catch up since the internet got reconnected.
This week I have:
- 5 HTTPS conversions
- 3 site migrations to NameHero hosting
- 4 site audit client projects to fix the speed and security issues we found
- More caching plugin speed tests
While that outage was happening, and because of the tornado devastation in Nashville, I started a post about making a contingency plan for when you can’t work in your business or website for everything from short periods, to extended periods, and even when you’re permanently unavailable. I hope to get that out to you soon.
And I was able to get a few other posts written.
There was a time when most all shared and VPS hosting was setup the same way.
Those days have been over for at least 5 years.
Hosting setups and services vary widely now.
And changing from one host to another is not easy like it used to be either because of those insanely different hosting environments.
That’s precisely why so many folks contact me to help with their migration.
Yes, the host does their part for free, but there’s so much more to it now.
Read my guide on how to migrate your site to a new host and you’ll see what I mean.
Plus, all hosts now advertise that they offer managed hosting.
But what does that mean, exactly?
Read my post on What is Managed Hosting?
You will be amazed at the radical differences and sheer variety of what each host manages.
ModSecurity and Google Analytics Code Posts Coming
I have a couple more posts in the works and coming soon about ModSecurity and how it is keeping folks from adding their Google Analytics code later this week too.
I’ll tell you the trick for adding your GA code and why not to turn off ModSecurity, even if your host suggests it.
Spring 2020 Quick Checks Underway
This past Sunday the Spring 2020 Quick Checks began for my Site Audit Plus clients.
They will get an email every Sunday for the month of March to do a super quick check on their site to ensure everything is working and up to snuff for all their spring and summer traffic.
This past week we started with checking our optin. And we’ll go through checking areas of the site like our sidebar and other things we rarely look at on our own sites.
Things get out of date and we forget to change over for the seasons, or things break, like our contact form and we never know unless someone reports it.
So that’s why we do these quick checks.
Check if SSL has bug and if it needs to be reissued
Last week one of my fellow webmasters, John Sawyer of The Small Business Website Guy posted in our Webmaster Training group that Let’s Encrypt had some sort of bug in a series of SSL certificates that it issued.
It sent emails out to those affected.
But they also made a site where you can test if your SSL cert had the bug and needed to be reissued.
I posted it to my Site Audit client Facebook group and none of them had the bug.
If you want to test your site, be sure to input just your raw domain, like blogaid.net, no https or www or such.
One more reason not to use WebP for images
In last week’s Tips Tuesday I talked about why you want to use next-gen image formats, and the online image compression tool that lets you save in those formats, and why not to use WebP images.
Since then, two folks reported in a Facebook blogging group that when WebP images were served on mobile they could not be saved to Pinterest if using either Grow (formerly Social Pug) or Social Warfare.
So, that’s just one more reason not to use WebP images and do it the way I suggested in the other post.
Hero Support from NameHero Hosting
This week I’m helping one of my site audit clients migrate off SiteGround Hosting and over to NameHero Hosting.
And during this change she also wants to change the domain extension on one of her sites from .co.uk to .com.
Normally that would require setting up an add-on domain, creating a new site, and then migrating the original site into it while converting all of the links in the database to the new extension.
But, since we are moving hosts, I contacted NameHero and they suggested letting them handle the changeover during the host migration.
That is above and beyond support!!!!
To say that my client is already super impressed and thrilled with her new hosting would be an understatement.
And I’m thrilled not to have to jump through a bunch of hoops setting up an add-on domain at the original host and then doing a bunch of virtual pointing to trade it over to the primary domain during the host move.
NameHero is making it way easier and cheaper on everybody, and boy do we ever appreciate that level of service!!!!
Speed Tests Update
I had hoped by now to be finished with my caching and optimization plugin speed tests.
But as I mentioned in recent Tips Tuesdays, lots of opportunities have fallen into my lap with this – like the chance to do an audit on a host I’ve never seen that is on my list for my head-to-head hosting tests. And, like audits on client sites that were using some of the optimization plugins I’ve never tried.
So, I’ve been taking a lot more time to investigate these things on live sites while I had the chance.
I also met last week with one of my webmasters who is a whiz with spreadsheets.
I want to create bar graphs so we can all easily see which plugins are doing the best and worst.
This past week I started adding data from the summary reports of the plugins I’ve already tested.
Wow!!! I love spreadsheets!!!! They can do all of this heavy lifting of calculating the differences in the plugins for me.
So, I need to back up with how I’m gathering the summary info. And I’m looking into how to best layout the data so it can be broken into different graphs.
All of this foundation work is slowing things up for now, but it will make it way faster for me to do the rest of the tests on everything, not just the caching plugins.
So, once I get through this part, I hope to sail along with it and get some posts out for you on it.
Plus, if there is a combo that’s faster than the one I’m using now, I need to know about it so I can help my site audit clients switch over to it too.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips from around the ‘net.
The first Release Candidate for WordPress 5.4 is out.
A Release Candidate means we have moved out of beta testing and no new things will be added.
They are just doing bug fixes now before the public release which is scheduled for March 31.
That also means that I’ll be testing it out starting next week.
And I’ll be updating my Gutenberg Ninja course with all of the goodies that are coming in 5.4.
Wow, this is exciting.
Kamal at Gutenberg Hub has launched a collection of block templates that you can just copy and paste into your site.
There are 100 templates to choose from.
There are a few that require extra CSS to be added for the block, but that’s pretty easy to do right there in the block itself. But, if it’s a block you want to use over and over, it would be best to have the CSS added to your theme.
I’ll be reviewing these blocks for my Gutenberg Ninja course and see if they are different from the multiple custom blocks I already have in there or on the drawing board for things you can create yourself.
But, I think this speaks to where blocks in general are going. It’s sort of like a cross between page builders and plugins.
We’ll see lots of these for free. But betting it won’t be long before we see lots more paid block collections too, especially for landing pages, along with the extra CSS code to make them work on any theme.
Before you do a copy/paste of these blocks, see my 8 Pages You Can Create with Gutenberg post.
All of them were created on the same theme and without any additional CSS.
It’s super easy to create these things yourself, no template required.
And you’ll know how to modify every aspect of them to suit your needs too.
Interesting post on WPTavern this past week that asks if page builders will remain competitive now that Gutenberg is here.
And it’s very interesting that the author chose to focus primarily on Elementor.
Speculation and rumor has been running pretty wild in some site groups about the direction Elementor will be taking in the near future since it got a major infusion of investor cash recently.
Some folks speculate that it will move into the hosting arena and offer one-stop-shopping in reverse of what WPEngine did when they purchased Genesis/StudioPress.
I’ve spoken about this in Tips Tuesday a few times in the past year and it is my opinion that page builders are already dead to WordPress end users. They will always go for the cheapest solution and that is going to be Gutenberg. The only thing holding that up is that most site owners have no idea just how powerful Gutenberg is now.
When I show folks the 8 Pages You Can Create with Gutenberg post they just flip out.
And that’s precisely why I did a free webinar on it back in January and have more planned for this year.
One of the other things I’ve said often in the last year is that page builders are hanging on because so many designers use them and they are lax in learning Gutenberg.
Those designers have an allegiance to a system they already know.
End user site owners have no such allegiance.
So, while I agree with the WPTavern post that page builders will hang around for the next couple of years, it’s not because they are the best way to go anymore.
It’s because uneducated new site owners are going to trust the advice of a designer who is not keeping up with the times and is more interested in kicking out sites on a budget from what they are already fast with.
Once an end user pays for a design, they are hesitant to do a redesign for at least a couple of years.
In my opinion, they’ll be sorry they didn’t get educated first.
But, that’s true of everything with site ownership, isn’t it?
Get PDFs off your site
As I’ve been mentioning all year, we have proof that Google is indeed crawling and indexing the PDFs on your site, even if you have them disallowed in robots.txt.
And here are new PDF screenshots on Search Engine Roundtable that also proves it.
I’ve been telling my site audit clients for at least the last 3 years to get PDFs off their site as they are a bad bot magnet. That’s a security issue. They think money is attached to these things so they crawl, then steal them and put either the PDF or the link up on Torrent sites.
Now, with Google indexing them too, the whole PDF could show up in search.
If your PDFs are part of an optin, not only get them off your site, get the links to them off your site.
Those links should only be included in the welcome email after folks opt in.
And store the PDF on AS3, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
If you just have to have a PDF on your site, then change the link to it to a shortened one, like a Bit.ly link, and make it nofollow.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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