Hello Happy Site Owners!
Tips this week include:
- HTTPS and WWW or Non: Which is Best to Use?
- Plugins affected by SWFUpload being removed from WP core
- An easy way for you to get rid of old plugins on your site and why you need to
- Plans for large scale testing for the Gutenberg Text Editor
- Update to WP Fastest Cache settings
- What’s new in Yoast SEO 5.4
- What’s up with the new WP site Equifax is using for affected clients
- Why there’s no need for forced HTTPS regex code on converted sites
- What you need to know about the new SVG image type for better SEO
- 6 awesome tools for running social media contests
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This week I’ve got a few things for you to jump on soon and a little crystal ball gazing of what’s coming down the pike to keep you ahead of the curve.
HTTPS conversions have been the story of my life this past week.
The latest wave was full of previous site audit clients whose site foundation was already up to par and they are well educated site owners who flew through the pre conversion checklist. So we were able to get a record number of conversions completed.
I’ve already started on boarding the next wave of both audit requests, to be followed by an HTTPS conversion and just straight conversions too.
We’re shooting for a target date of Oct 1 to complete conversions that were already on my waiting list as of last week.
We don’t know the day in Oct when Google will start rolling out the new non-secure warning in Chrome.
So, get your HTTPS request in now, as we may still get to it prior to that roll out, or soon after.
Most of my clients are using their HTTPS conversion as an opportunity to drop www from their site URL too. Both changes to the link can easily be done in one swoop.
Keep in mind that on mobile, no one wants to type in extra characters.
So, www is falling out of vogue and now is a great time to drop it.
But, changing your URL like this can cause redirect chains if you’re not careful.
Read my post to get a better understanding of what happens when you change from www to non, especially with HTTPS involved.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Heads up if you use any of these plugins:
- MailPoet 2
- CodeStyling Localization
- WP All Import
- Profile Builder
- Gallery Grand Flagallery
They may not work in the very near future.
The underlying SWFUploader library has not been supported in 6 years and was deprecated in WP 3.3. That’s what these plugins use.
Now they are about to remove it from the WP core entirely.
There are about 30 even older plugins that rely on this library too.
No date has been given for when the SWFUploader will be removed from the WP core, but I wouldn’t delay in getting these plugins changed out for long.
And, if you have plugins that old on your site, you’ll probably have an issue updating to PHP 7 as well.
I’ve got a nice series of posts for you that will make it easy for you to check your plugins and make the switch.
This is one of the 4 non optional site upgrades you must do this year.
- PHP 7
We must be coming near the end of initial development on the new Gutenberg text editor. The core dev team has a planning meeting scheduled for how best to do mass testing. I’m keeping a super close eye on this and plan to have a free webinar or such around it, if possible. Just depends on what they come up with for a scalable test.
Either way, I plan to do some type of training because this is a huge game changer and will impact all WordPress site owners in a radical way.
You know I’ll keep you posted with as much advance notice as possible.
BlogAid News subscribers will be the first to know. So make sure you’re on that list.
You can see the latest 20 or so updates to Gutenberg in the weekly roundup from the devs. It’s getting pretty impressive what all the new text editor can do.
I’m seeing more folks in WP groups and forums report that they are not seeing their latest blog posts on their home pages or archive pages.
Turns out the problem is indeed WP Fastest Cache.
I mentioned this in Tips Tuesday last week too, and updated my post on that plugin’s settings.
So, be sure to revisit that post and look for the update notices on new suggested settings for New Posts. That will take care of the problem.
Yoast is continuing with his master plan rollout of improvements for his SEO plugin. In this latest release, there is an improvement to the premium version for redirects. You can now both import and export a .csv file of all your redirects.
While that’s nice and handy, I’m still advising folks to use a dedicated redirect plugin instead of doing them in this one.
My favorite is the Redirection plugin.
And be sure to turn off both the log files so they don’t chew up your database.
I see some folks using the 404 logs for tracking those. It’s way better to do that in Google Search Console.
At the very least, set the logs to clear weekly. It will help with your site performance.
Poor Equifax. First, their main data collection servers got hacked, exposing all manner of personal info to hackers.
And now the WordPress site they set up to handle requests from affected folks is under fire for not being secure enough too.
The problem isn’t WordPress. It’s the free SSL certificate and the fact that where the info is being sent to can’t be verified, as it’s not on their primary domain.
Now, this is the legit site, and your data is encrypted, it’s just that the security community is making a stink about this, not to mention that some folks love WP drama.
Just be careful of which site you use to check if you’ve been affected by this data breach and ensure that it is the one, and only one, that Equifax itself set up for this purpose.
On another note, some folks aren’t feeling very reassured by the agency Equifax chose to offer free protection for anyone affected by this breach.
My personal info was hacked on an insurance site years ago and then again on another new insurance site a few years later. So, I just assume all of my info is already on the black market and it’s worth it to me to pay for a reliable and trusted fraud agency to protect me. I’d suggest you do your own research and find one that you feel comfortable with and get on it.
No Forced HTTPS Regex Code Needed
The latest several HTTPS conversions I’ve done at both SiteGround (aff link) and A2 Hosting (aff link) did not require any forced HTTPS regex code to be added to ensure all visits to the site go through the encrypted HTTPS port.
So, if you’re a webmaster and doing conversions for folks, check the redirects about 5-10 minutes after the conversion to see if you need the code.
I’ve tested older conversions where the regex code was added and still getting mixed results when it was removed.
My guess is that Apache has rolled out another undocumented update that is causing this and it’s not on all host servers yet.
You may recall that I reported on this as an anomaly at SiteGround a month or so ago, where a client had migrated from another host just prior to the conversion. I’m betting he was on a server with the newest hardware and software. We were unable to replicate the anomaly on my test account there.
And then I ran into it again on a conversion this past week where a client migrated to A2 Hosting, and again, on an updated server.
And now I’ve seen it on 3-4 conversions where the clients have been at their host for years.
Undocumented Server Updates
I went round and round with 3 hosts over regex working differently on servers that had different Apache versions earlier this year too.
And, I went round and round with them over new Comodo rewrite directives above every redirect in .htaccess only to find that it was an undocumented update in the cPanel software.
It takes someone like me getting into those files daily to spot such changes.
Even the hosts don’t know about them.
HTTPS, security, and performance stuff is changing every day.
This is where investing in Webmaster Training really pays off.
You know what’s going on in the first place, and you keep you and your clients ahead of the curve with the changes.
If site owners pay you to set up and/or maintain their sites, you owe it to yourself and them to get with a program that keeps you up to date.
Not to mention how valuable our Facebook group is for answering questions and helping you get unstuck on troubleshooting something too.
Speaking of getting ahead of the curve, SVG graphics are strongly preferred by Google these days, and that’s likely why this format is gaining popularity so quickly.
If you’re a designer, you need to learn about these now so you’ll be ready when they are natively supported in WordPress.
Read through this guide from the nice folks at Torque to see what’s involved.
I’m not advising folks to make this switch just yet. There are some duct tape / chicken wire ways of doing it right now, but that will change in the near future. There’s no point in jumping through too many hoops to be bleeding edge with this for most of us.
I’ll keep you posted on when this needs to get on the radar of DIY site owners.
But you may want to scan through this guide too, just so you know what’s coming.
Do you run social media contests? It’s a great way to get more engagement from your peeps that follow you on those platforms.
You probably already have a favorite tool to help you with that.
But you may want to check out this post on Blogging Wizard with 6 tools for running a contest and see if any of them have features that will spark more interest or be easier for you to manage the event.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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