Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- Your last chance to get a huge discount on my DIY SEO course
- What I’m testing in the WordPress 5.0 beta release that just came out
- When WordPress 5.0 will be available for everyone
- The new feature in UpdraftPlus that excites me
- New speed warning emails from Google Search Console and how to test your site speed
- Foodie theme updates getting out of hand
- The new theme maker WPEngine just purchased and what this means for our future with Genesis and Gutenberg too
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live tonight at 9pm ET / 6pm PT for the party and an interactive Tips Tuesday recap and breaking news discussion on the BlogAid Facebook Page. You can also catch the quick recap later that evening on the BlogAid YouTube Channel.
Boo y’all!!! Happy pre Halloween greetings. I’ve been having a good time decorating my front porch. It’s not much, but it’s enough to let the kiddos know they can get candy here. There are a lot of kids in my new ‘hood, so this should be a lot of fun!!
The new Google Search Console tutorials are now live in the DIY SEO course, and I raised the price.
Yesterday I sent a $70 discount to all BlogAid News subscribers. That flash sale ends Thursday.
But you can still get in on the sale!!!!
I’ll be sending out a reminder on Thursday for the last chance to get this price before it’s gone forever.
So, subscribe now and you’ll get that email.
And tell all of your blogger buddies and groups to get in on it too. And thank you to everyone who has!!
Meeting Folks IRL
My new place has made me come alive with creativity again, which is the whole reason I breathe air.
And, I’m putting down roots and making the effort to join community groups and be with new folks In Real Life (IRL). And that feels great!!!
Plus, I noticed on the Facebook page for my new ‘hood that there are several makers, crafters, and mommy bloggers here. So, I think I will reach out to them and maybe start a new group for us. I’m very excited about the possibilities of that, and maybe growing it city-wide.
Blogging can be such an isolating way to make a living. We all enjoy our online buddies, but there really is no substitute for meeting with like-minded folks live.
I’m still working on getting my office lighting and sound squared away so it’s easier for me to go on camera and look and sound good, but in spite of that, I think I will start holding more live groups sessions with my clients again.
That’s in addition to the new live flash challenges for the DIY SEO course that start in mid November and the live workshops coming in January.
It’s just good to have more open, and casual chats now and then too. Folks pick up all kinds of tips and inspirations from them.
What are you doing to ensure you have some live connections with folks that keep you inspired and revved up for your blogging?
Let us know in the comments, or anywhere you see this post online.
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
It’s coming for real, now. WP 5.0 beta was released last week. And that made it jump to the very top of my testing list.
And what I’ll be testing are the 14 ways to disable Gutenberg. I’m not kidding. There really are 14 ways to do it, last I checked.
There was no way to adequately test them against the Gutenberg plugin. Now we’ll get to see how they fare on the real deal.
And you know I’ll keep you updated on the best way to turn Gutenberg off prior to the official release.
We don’t want any hoohaa with our sites, especially in the busiest part of our season, right?
Along the way with these tests I’ll have posts you can share with your blogger buddies.
There are literally millions of site owners who haven’t even heard a whisper about Gutenberg and they will be screaming bloody murder when this update rolls out.
So, I hope to make it easy for you to share solid resources with everyone and help more folks get through this in the calmest way possible.
And don’t you feel good being so far ahead of the curve for your site right now!!!!
WordPress 5.0 Release Schedule
Depending on what testers find in the beta, WP 5.0 is slated to release around November 19. Yep, right on top of the holiday week.
And while devs and folks who maintain sites are screaming about that, I think I know why they are doing it.
The other release date choice, and the one that most devs wanted, was January.
But, that makes it miss the upcoming WordCamp U.S. in early December.
I was there last year and Gutenberg was the focus of both keynote addresses by Morten Hendriksen on Friday, and Matt Mullenweg on Saturday.
I’ll be there again this year to see what the community jeers and cheers are over Gutenberg, and to hear what’s coming down the pike for us with the second phase of Gutenberg as a full theme builder.
I am super excited about a recent update to the premium version of the UpdraftPlus backup plugin.
There used to be no way to set up a more frequent database backups apart from the file backups. Now there is!!
This is fantastic news for transactional sites, like e-commerce and member sites.
You would most definitely want to backup the database on those daily, or as frequently as you have transactions, like twice a week or such.
It’s so much faster, and less strain on your hosting resources to be able to just get the database where that transaction info is held than to have to run a full backup.
That’s especially true if you have an image heavy site, as those are the big resource hogs for not only backing up, but sending to your offsite storage.
Is Your Backup Getting Everything?
A couple of months ago I did a Quick Check for my Site Audit Plus clients to ensure that they were getting all the files they needed in their backup.
The free version of UpdraftPlus and VaultPress leave out some critical files that are below WordPress.
And then you also have all of your site verification files for Pinterest and other platforms that get left out too.
READ: How to Backup and Restore Your Site with UpdraftPlus Free Version if you’re using that or VaultPress, as it has tips for downloading those extra files manually on a regular basis.
Or, consider upgrading to the premium version of UpdraftPlus. And I appreciate you using my affiliate link that is in the post. That helps support all of the free and helpful info you get here on BlogAid.
It’s been about a year since Google PageSpeed Insights started displaying actual speed data in their test results, which is actually pretty funny when you consider the name of the tool.
It’s real data they gather from visitors who use the Chrome browser to access your site.
And it’s taken all year for Google to gather enough info on most sites to even display that speed data. Most of us are still seeing a box empty of data, saying they haven’t collected enough yet.
And the data they do show is just as useless as the rest of that tester. It’s basically a bar graph that shows super slow, medium slow, and fast page percentages. Well, without knowing which pages are what, you can’t really do anything with that info, can you?
But now Google has taken it an extra step and they have started sending emails to site owners with too many slow loading pages.
More info about it is in this SEO Roundtable post, but here’s the part that I want to quote for you.
“Speed is a ranking factor for both mobile and desktop search results. While we don’t disclose the exact factors used for ranking, we recommend using a variety of metrics to understand your site’s performance, including first content paint, time to interactive, and first input delay.”
Okay, here’s what that translates into – the perception of speed.
You can actually get away with having a long full page load time.
But what you have to pay close attention to is how long it takes for a visitor to:
- See anything at all – which includes first input delay, or Time to First Byte (TTFB) and first content paint
- See what they came for
- Scroll or interact with your page
READ: How to Test Your Site Speed Accurately with WebPage Test which is my workhorse tester. And I give you tips on how to make sense of the data for the specific things they are calling out in that email warning.
Also keep in mind that these speed testers only tell half the story.
A site audit shows you all the drags on your page load speed. In fact, you can see examples of that in last week’s Tips Tuesday where I shared clients who had faster sites with just a few fixes, even before we got to the speed tweaks.
And the best thing about an audit is that is it’s a major education that will help you keep your site running super fast all the time.
Foodie Theme Updates Out of Hand
One of the reasons folks flocked to the foodie focused themes created by Feast Design, and made them the top sellers on the StudioPress community theme space, is that they had so much recipe-related functionality built right in, with few to no extra plugins required.
Well, that’s backfiring on them now.
The whole beauty of child themes is that WordPress and Genesis can update and that never touches the theme. Same with plugin updates. They can keep pace with WordPress and not affect your theme.
That’s also the bane of child themes.
WordPress could come out with new support for something, like they did for schema markup several years ago. And Genesis can follow suit and have built-in support for it. But, your child theme would not support those new functions.
I remember paying about $200 to have my theme upgraded to support schema markup, and I started reaping the SEO benefits immediately.
But now, with these foodie themes having so much built-in functionality, every time there is a major update to WordPress and Genesis, the theme has to be updated too.
That’s costing site owners a bundle, as a theme update can wipe out all of their theme customizations.
So, while it may be attractive to have a theme customized for your niche, you also need to be careful of it destroying the whole reason you want to use a child theme in the first place, especially if you paid to have it customized.
And, this makes a few extra plugins look like a better idea, doesn’t it?
If you’re in this boat, and suffering from the frequent updates to your theme this year, please do let us know how it’s going for you. I hope you’ll attend our live recap tonight and share your thoughts too.
I want to thank fellow webmaster Larry Snow https://larrysnow.me/ of Strategic Marketing Solutions for the heads up on this next news.
You may recall earlier this year that I reported WPEngine bought out StudioPress, which included Genesis and their child themes.
Well, now WPE has bought out Array Themes. They are pretty much a block theme builder that is focused on e-comm sites but they claim to not have as much bloat as other theme builders.
But, I think the bigger acquisition here was the Atomic Blocks the Array Themes folks created. They were specifically built for use with Gutenberg.
You may also recall a month or so ago my sheer relief in reporting the news that Genesis is going full steam ahead with Gutenberg support and may even jump ahead of Gutenberg Phase 2 and become a full-fledged theme builder.
All of this tells me one thing – WPEngine is strategically positioning themselves to be the dominant leader in the community for WordPress/Gutenberg support, as well as hosting and themes.
I will likely never endorse their hosting, as it is mainly geared toward hands-off site owners who are willing to pay more to not have to contend with anything remotely technical on their sites. And I focus squarely on helping DIY site owners on a budget who are willing to learn and do as much as they can on their own for speed, security, and SEO, and then have someone trusted to turn to for the super techie, one-off stuff, like me.
But, one way or another, WPE is going to get our money with the themes, or Gute blocks, or something.
That’s super duper smart of them!!!
And, it shows a long-term commitment by them to be an even bigger voice and player in the WP ecosystem.
As a long-time Genesis user and advocate, that makes me very happy.
So, let’s all just get through this WordPress 5.0 update as calmly as we can.
And our future with Gutenberg looks very bright.
We’ll jump on that ship once it matures a bit more. I’m thinking closer to 2020, but with these major advances by the big players, we may get a lot closer a lot faster. I’ll be keeping my eye on it for you.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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