Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- A fun video tour of what’s new in WordPress 4.9
- DIY SEO course updates
- A preview of what will be included in the next SEO Workshop
- An update on the new Google Analytics and Search Console Courses
- What’s up with SSL certificates that can’t auto renew
- Why WP-Spamshield was pulled from the WP plugin repository
- A new jpg compression tool in the works
- Why designers hate Gutenberg but shouldn’t and what site owners need to know about this
- A new guide on local SEO ranking factors for 2018
- 4 ways to shift your thinking to focus on your audience
- 12 types of awesome visual content for your blog posts
- How shopping on Instagram will dominate this holiday season and why Pinterest folks need to care
Listen to the Podcast
Watch the Live Recap and Breaking News
WordPress 4.9 is slated to roll out today. This is a major update and will not be automatic, meaning that you’re in control of when you do the update.
Be sure to see my quick video on all of the changes.
FYI, BlogAid YouTube subscribers got a sneak peek of this video and post when I uploaded it Sunday night.
There were several widget updates you’ll really like, including those featured in the video I made a couple of weeks ago, which we’ll talk about in a moment.
And there were several important changes to the Customizer. Now, even if you aren’t making much use of that yet, be aware that these are a precursor to the more revolutionary changes to WordPress that will likely start with version 5.0, when the new Gutenberg Text Editor is set to roll into the core.
The main changes you want to watch out for in 4.9 revolve around what came out of the core code and widget related plugins you may be able to drop.
Widget Changes in 4.9
The lowly Text Widget received more love in 4.9. Now it has both a rich text editor and an Add Media button. So, you may be able to ditch plugins that provided those two things.
The Text Widget now directly supports shortcodes too, so look for any plugins you can drop for that function as well.
Audio Video Changes
The MediaElement code has had all jQuery dependencies removed.
This may impact audio and video plugins that you use.
The Video Widget, along with the Text Widget, now support all oEmbed partners directly. That means you can directly add links for more than YouTube and Vimeo. So, look for plugins that have players from other video sources and such that you may be able to drop now.
Now that WordPress 4.9 is here, you can make use of all the image widgets I demonstrated in this video, including the new Gallery Widget.
Definitely use these instead of widgets or code from Pinterest, Instagram, or other social media platforms, as those radically slow down your page load speed.
And, I think you’re going to love how they look and how fast you can change them out to keep the look of your site fresh and seasonal too.
DIY SEO Course Updates
As I reported last week, I’m jumping all over the revamp of the DIY SEO course tutorials.
All of the Yoast SEO plugin tutorials have been updated.
This past week I started the remake of the Google Connections tutorials.
Google has changed its interface for Analytics.
And, we have HTTPS to consider now too.
So, it was time to revamp those anyway.
Next, I’ll be jumping on the scripts for the new Google Search Console videos. But, I may only take screenshots for some of it right now, as they will have a new interface rolling out soon. They just finished the Beta testing and surveyed the testers. So, I’m going to check on how long folks think it will be before that comes out and make my decision of when to start on the videos then.
That will complete the updates on all the tutorials in there now.
New SEO Workshop in January
And then I’ll start on updating what’s going to be in the next SEO Workshop.
This is a 6 week live course and you can’t afford to miss it!!
There are major changes happening with Pinterest and other social media networks that are going to impact your bottom line.
That’s why it’s so crazy important for you to start diversifying your traffic streams and why you must get serious about your site’s SEO.
A full 80% of my site audit clients have the Yoast SEO plugin installed but not configured.
That’s doing more SEO harm than good.
And they’ve given zero thought to their on-page SEO beyond Pinterest thinking, or doing SEO like it’s still 2013.
My Yoast video course will get you squared away with it and your technical SEO.
Then this workshop will get you up to speed with your on-page SEO and more.
I’m expanding the workshop in this revamp to cover how to format posts for Google’s KnowledgeGraph and for how to make the most of deleting old posts and redirects, or revamping old posts too.
You will be able to get the workshop as a standalone course, but it is now included in the whole DIY SEO course too.
I hope to have the course with the Workshop and the new price back open for purchase in the next week or so. Definitely by Black Friday.
BlogAid News subscribers will be the first and get the biggest discounts.
New Google Analytics and Search Console Courses
Toward the end of the year I’ll start creating the 2 new DIY SEO courses because you asked for them.
In HTTPS conversion pre-checks, I see way too many site owners that don’t even have these 2 things hooked up right.
No wonder folks who went the free way with HTTPS are seeing their Analytics get all goofed up or a sudden bunch of crawl errors for Googlebots.
It’s not like Google made connecting these things easy to figure out or anything!!!
How to do the hookups is already in the course.
The 2 new courses will be on the basics of using Analytics and Search Console.
If you’re wondering if your Google Connections are correct, and if the HSTS header qualifies you for the Chrome preload list or not, see my After HTTPS Service. We can take a look at everything in a live session and get you squared away.
WP Rocket Tutorial Update
Last week I mentioned that I had to stop cold on the WP Rocket tutorials to do unexpected testing on something I found with WP Fastest Cache.
It looks like the HTTP and HTTPS versions of posts and pages are both being preloaded. That’s not good.
I’ve got a new test site setup for it and it will take some time to gather the data on WP Fastest Cache first. And then I’ll install WP Rocket and see if it’s the same or different.
I don’t expect to have those tests and tutorials and related posts done by the end of the month now. So, look for them in December or after.
Just know that WP Rocket works very well right out of the box now, so maybe that will give you some peace with using it for now.
SSL Certificate Can’t Auto-Renew
Webmasters, one of my clients forwarded me an email she received from her host stating that the free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate could not auto-renew.
I’ve heard of folks having issues with that, especially when CloudFlare is involved.
But I never had the details on it until now.
It looks like hosts issuing the certificate while the site was HTTP, and before CloudFlare was involved is the issue.
It returns to the HTTP link to try to renew and gets redirected to the HTTPS link, which it won’t use.
That’s my best guess according to the info in that email that was auto-generated by the host.
I’ll be checking deeper into it, and checking with a few hosts to see how they get around this with Auto SSL, which is made by cPanel and is the mechanism used to do the auto renewals and such.
This particular client is on InMotion hosting and they may do things a little differently there with it than A2 Hosting (aff link) or SiteGround (aff link), which are the hosts that most of our clients use.
I’ll keep you posted on what I find.
Ever notice there aren’t a whole lot of women speakers at local WordPress Meetups or WordCamps? Well, the WordPress foundation wants to change that!
They are offering a new Diversity Outreach Speaker Training program. And they are asking for volunteers to run the groups.
I was the first speaker at the first WordCamp in Nashville a few years ago. And I’ve been on stage in one way or another most of my life. So, I threw my name into the hat to volunteer with helping facilitate one of these groups. I’ll keep you updated.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Looks like there’s a little passive/aggressive drama in the WP plugin world this week.
WP-Spamshield got pulled from the repo because it was deleting code from other conflicting plugins.
I didn’t have time to dig into which two plugin devs got into this game with each other. I just know that it was one of the security plugins. And since that put folk’s sites at risk, the WP grownups put a stop to it by removing WP Spamshield. I believe it’s back in the repo now that it had a time out and has learned to play well with others.
The Yoast SEO plugin does this kind of thing in a good way, and is the way these other plugins should do it.
It gives you a warning box at the top of the admin page if it detects a potential plugin conflict. For instance, it will flag if you have the Google XML Sitemap plugin installed.
That way you are alerted and you can take care of the conflict and update your Google Search Console with the right sitemap, as well as the path in your robots.txt file or such too.
Team Yoast doesn’t want you goofing up your SEO over a plugin conflict. So, kudos to them for doing this the nice way.
FYI, I typically find half of the plugins to either have conflicts, be resource hogs, or just outdated during site audits too.
We can actually review your plugin list during a live session if you don’t want a whole audit.
Mozilla, the folks who make FireFox, are funding development of a new image compression standard.
It’s called MozJPEG and it looks very promising.
Like most compression algorithms, it’s not made to be standalone code. It’s made to go into plugins and online interfaces. So, don’t look for this to be something you can add to your toolkit as is.
Properly optimizing your images prior to uploading them is the biggest bang for the buck you can get to speed up your site.
Read: Image Optimization Guide by Mary Iannotti and be sure to optin at the bottom to get even more tutorials with other image compression tools.
Next year we’ll be on the lookout for this new MozJPEG optimizer, as well as new SVG image tools, which is Google’s new preferred format. It hasn’t caught on as well as they had hoped yet, which probably means they will be giving perks to those who use it. They are already taking off 15-20 points from Google PageSpeed Insights for not using it.
I came across an interesting post last week by Bobbi Reyda where she lays out the premise that designers and devs shouldn’t hold on to the notion that site owners can’t be trusted with more control over their page layouts. Devs and designers should embrace the spirit of what the Gutenberg text editor represents, which is more layout choices.
Webmasters, I can hear you laughing and saying “fat chance” and “yeah right” about now.
But, that is the very world we are running headlong into with the WordPress revolution that has already started.
Site Owners, it will be more important than ever for you to have a real grip on WordPress and design fundamentals going forward.
That’s especially true with UX (User Experience) becoming a rising SEO ranking factor now too.
But, so many site owners scream for more control and the ability to design sans hiring someone, that a thriving niche has sprung up with page and theme builders.
WordPress itself is going to meet that call starting next year too. So, here we go.
I’m already planning workshops and tutorials to take us through this transition period next year so that you don’t get all twisted up in the novelty of what you’ll be able to do soon.
In the meantime, I suggest everyone jump over to this post from Bobbi and see where you fall on the Gutenberg hate scale.
Do you rely on local SEO for foot traffic?
Well, this Local SEO Guide post has some good and bad news for you.
They say that Google hasn’t really been tweaking on these algorithms all that much and all old tricks still work. That also means that old trickery tactics still work as well.
Here’s the guide’s synopsis from – Andrew Shotland:
“The data suggests that Google, while attempting to shift to more engagement-based and locally relevant factors for its Local algorithm, is still susceptible to the traditional organic SEO tactics. The immaturity of the Local algorithm combined with the power of a focused SEO effort can yield outsized benefits for smart location-marketers. This study illustrates the foundational building blocks of a Local SEO campaign with the goal of helping marketers prioritize their investments in tactics that will move the needle.”
So, if your biz counts on local SEO, well worth reading this guide.
Webmasters, if you specialize in helping folks with local SEO, I sure would like to hear what you think of this.
Content Marketing Tips
“The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem.” ~ Captain Jack Sparrow
The same can be said for your site.
Most of its problems with attracting audience may be due to a shift you need in your thinking about what attracts an audience.
Michele Linn has an excellent post on the Content Marketing Institute blog that will help you shift your thinking in 4 ways. It will help you focus your content directly on your audience.
While you’re there, check out this post with 12 examples of creating awesome visual content.
I know many of you have lots of camera pix in your posts. Maybe shake that up a bit with some other types of visual interest.
I’m looking into adding GIFS to my posts. It’s a super way to do a tutorial that would otherwise benefit from screenshots instead of one long video. The GIFS would be useful in places where showing you how it’s done would work better than a screenshot and a bunch of text.
Pinterest power users, listen up.
You’ll want to see this Convince and Convert post about how Instagram is going to dominate holiday shopping this year.
It’s time for you to seriously consider diversifying your traffic stream.
I’m not kidding.
The faster you start growing audience on something besides Pinterest, the more ahead of the game you’ll be if that bubble ever pops, and some day it will, maybe sooner than you think.
It’s also why you can’t afford to wait to whip your site SEO into shape too.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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