Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- See what’s new in WordPress 5.6 that rolls out tomorrow
- A potential issue with the new WordPress Toolkit settings in cPanel
- The important State of the Word Keynote address will be live streamed on Dec 17
- How to promote your content with audiograms
- Why some folks can’t update UpdraftPlus and the action we are taking with support
- How to get ready for Core Web Vitals becoming a ranking factor soon
- A reminder that HTTPS security headers are a Core Web Vitals metric
- My take on the new Crawl Stats Report in Google Search Console
- Why we’re not happy about GA4 being the new analytics default when new sites are added
- Genesis calling for Full Site Editor beta testers, and what this means for the framework
- Reminder there is still time to get in on the BlogAid Holiday sale discounts
- An update on the big SEO issue at BlogAid that has been fixed
- The new schema markup tutorials coming to the DIY SEO course over this
- The YouTube milestone reached for my woodworking site
- A great opportunity for you to get more eyeballs on your post with my Share the Joy post on Facebook
- Why I want to hear your thoughts about the MeWe social media platform
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join for tonight’s livestream at 8pm ET / 5pm PT on the BlogAid Facebook Page. It’s a great way to get the deeper story on what’s reported in Tips Tuesday. And, I almost always have breaking news for the day too. So come join us live for the party.
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 serious about making money with their sites and are not on hosting that is restrictive in what you can and can’t do with your site and hosting setup. If you have any doubts about what type of host you are on and if the tips I give will work there, see this post on What is Managed Hosting?
What a wild week it has been around here!!
Site services work has been a little crazy, but there have been all manner of wins to celebrate too.
Multiple client projects got stopped in their tracks as the site owners decided to change direction a bit. Most of those were site audit clients on SiteGround hosting. And once they saw all of the goofiness there, and just how tangled they were with the odd ways this host does things, they decided to move to a better host.
And some projects required the site owner to check with a 3rd party service they were using to either make changes with it or how to best get rid of it. And sometimes those vendors were not so quick to reply.
So, all projects still on the wait list are going to be at least a week later than I may have previously let you know. I try to contact folks on the list when it looks like we are about 1-2 weeks out from doing their projects. So, if you haven’t heard from me, it means your project is still further down the list.
And, I believe that I’m going to start adding 1-2 weeks more to my guestimates from now on too, as that is the reality of how open projects are going – they are taking at least a week longer than I had originally anticipated.
And a quick reminder that holiday discounts are still available, including just a few more spots for site audits, as I had limited that discount to the first 10 folks.
We won’t be performing that service until at least late January, and you don’t pay a dime until after we do the audit and have our live chat to go over the report.
So, if you want to get your site fast before winter is out, now is the time to get on the list.
Gutenberg Webinar Wrap Up
Thank you to all who registered for the free Gutenberg Webinar last week.
I answered all of your burning questions and even did live demonstrations to show just how powerful Gutenberg has become.
And I’m thrilled that many of you took advantage of the extra savings on the course presented in that webinar too.
And I’ll be running another webinar come spring so you can see the state of Gutenberg at that time.
BlogAid SEO issue fixed
I’m thrilled to report that the big SEO issue on BlogAid has been resolved.
You may recall that a few weeks ago I started with the nice folks in the free plugin support forum. They were close to identifying the problem, but no cigar.
So I took advantage of the Black Friday deals and got a discount on the Yoast SEO paid version, which allowed me to make use of paid support.
They did find the issue, and it was quite easy to fix. We do believe that it was just a glitch and not a widespread bug.
But, this issue, along with some of the issues we found with Astra and recipes and such during my deep tests for the upcoming video SEO course convinced me that I need to create new tutorials for these checks and put them in the DIY SEO course.
I’ll also list a few troubleshooting tips there too.
FYI, the DIY SEO course has a big holiday discount, and we will be starting our live workshops in mid January.
Woot!! I’m thrilled to share that the Heartwood Art YouTube channel hit the 500 subscriber mark.
Not bad for just 29 videos, the bulk of which were uploaded last year, plus not updating consistently.
But, subscriber count most certainly does not tell the whole story!!
Those videos are sending bunches of traffic to my site.
And they drive up my time on site metric and drive down the bounce rate like crazy.
So, I’m pretty happy with all of my metrics and will be showing them off in the upcoming Video SEO course for sure.
Over on the BlogAid Facebook page I’ve started a new fun way for the whole BlogAid Village to get to know each other.
It’s called Share the Joy – Post your post – where I invite you to share one of your blog posts to get a little extra traffic love, and to find new and interesting peeps for you to follow too.
The only rules are that you don’t share products for sale or affiliate links or the like.
I’d like to give a hat tip to Denise Wakeman for this idea. She ran a wonderful Brag About Your Blog Day on her Facebook page and it had a ton of great shares.
We’ll do it again soon, and I’m not going to put this on a regular schedule. So, be sure you Like, Follow, and turn on notifications for the BlogAid FB page so you see when the next Share the Joy day happens.
BlogAid is on MeWe
Are you on the MeWe social media platform?
It started out as an alternative to Facebook, but protects your privacy better, and there is no algorithm dictating what you see. You see whatever you follow.
I got my personal profile there earlier this year.
And this past week I set up pages for both BlogAid and Heartwood Art.
Pages cost $1.99/mo, which is a bargain. I’d have to pay 1000% more than that to get decent reach for my pages on Facebook.
Now, I know there has been a lot of political news about MeWe lately, with some politicians and radical groups jumping on the platform because those folks are getting censored on other social media platforms.
And that has caused some bloggers and business owners to shy away from MeWe, as they don’t want to be associated with that.
Here’s what I’m thinking.
MeWe does not promote that stuff to anyone. You don’t see those groups when you sign up.
And you don’t see anything in your news feed that you don’t follow.
And at some point, I’m thinking the news cycle that is currently running about MeWe will eventually pass, and more folks will continue to jump away from Facebook and onto MeWe.
Time will tell if I’m right about this or not.
But I am glad that I got my site names claimed already.
So what do you think about MeWe?
That’s all the happenings around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
WordPress 5.6 is slated to roll out today – Dec 8.
We will NOT be updating to it yet.
But, you will want to see my video tour of what’s coming, and why it may break sites.
Plus, you’ll see all of the new Gutenberg editor features.
When it is safe to update to WP 5.6, I’ll be sending update instructions to my BlogAid News subscribers.
You’ll get the order to do the update steps so that you can ensure it does not break your site, and/or specific steps to take if it does cause any of your plugins, or even your theme, to malfunction.
So, be sure you’re on that list.
WordPress Toolkit minor update directive turned on by default
You may recall a few Tips Tuesdays ago that I reported a new tool in cPanel at your host called the WordPress Toolkit.
I think it’s an okay tool for those who manage a bunch of client sites on a WHM, or reseller hosting account.
But, I don’t think it’s all that useful for folks who have just one site.
Well, I migrated a client over to NameHero last week and in my post-migration checks, I saw a new directive at the top of the wp-config file for control of minor WP updates. It was put there by the WordPress Toolkit.
I contacted the host and discovered that all new hosting accounts will include this new cPanel tool and that it will be rolling out later to existing hosting accounts, but we don’t know when.
I went in to check the WordPress Toolkit settings and there is no way to turn this directive off. It’s either set for minor updates on or all updates on.
This could cause a major conflict for some site owners who are controlling their updates other ways. And we have no idea how it’s going to interact with the update settings that are in WP 5.6.
So, I asked that my host support ticket be escalated up to the server admins to sort this out.
But ultimately, this is going to be a battle between cPanel and WordPress.
And if you are on another host, you may want to check with them to see if the WordPress Toolkit will be rolled into your hosting package.
Due to CoVid, there won’t be a WordCamp U.S. gathering this year.
They usually happen in December, and that’s when WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg gives his big State of the Word keynote address.
This year, it will be streamed live on multiple platforms on Dec 17.
So, do put this on your calendar now, as it is an important way to learn about what’s happened in the WP world this year, and a look at what’s coming for 2021.
Have you heard of Audiograms?
If you do a podcast or videos, then you really should have a look into this post from visibility coach Denise Wakeman.
She gives you easy steps to turn a bit of audio into a super easy to make video that you can promote in lots of places.
And the best part is, you don’t have to even create a new audio clip. You can repurpose one you already have from an existing podcast or video.
But, you can also create one anew if you like!!
I’m certainly going to be checking into this!
Can you update UpdraftPlus?
You may recall in last week’s Tips Tuesday that I mentioned Imunify360 tightened the security rules for the ModSecurity tool in cPanel at our hosts.
One of those new rules trips a security wire when you try to save your settings in the UpdraftPlus plugin.
And I told you that I had contacted UpdraftPlus support about this, to give them the exact rule and give them a chance to fix their end of it before they get deluged with support tickets.
Well, they basically blew me off saying this was an edge case because I was the only person reporting it out of their millions of users.
I replied that UDP settings are something that most folks set once and forget.
And that these rules had just recently been changed. So, there hasn’t been much time for folks to run into this issue and report it yet.
And when they blew me off again, I got mad.
I asked all of my site audit clients and webmasters to try to save their UDP settings and if they saw a failure, to report it to UDP, so I won’t be the lone voice anymore, and maybe they will see this is the tip of the iceberg on a problem they need to address sooner rather than later.
And here’s why that is so critically important.
Because the quick fix for this will be for the host to simply turn off ModSecurity entirely, or turn off that rule.
That’s a HUGE mistake.
It opens your site up to all manner of security holes, and even the host will not be able to help you defend your site because they just took down their own shield and warning system.
READ: What is ModSecurity and Should You Turn it Off for details.
READ: How to Temporarily Turn Off ModSecurity so you can save your UDP settings and then turn ModSecurity right back on.
As of Monday when the podcast is recorded, UpdraftPlus has started responding to folks who posted in the free forum. They are asking if ModSecurity is turned on at the host and if turning it off fixes the issue. My peeps are telling them yes to both – and going on to say that they don’t want to turn ModSecurity off permanently, and don’t want the host to turn off the rule that is getting triggered either, which will leave a security hole on the site.
So, we’ll see what they come back with.
THIS is the power of the village and I am so grateful to all of my peeps who jumped into helping with this.
Help me spread the word
Folks, host support has to come up with a quick and easy solution for site owners. So do plugin devs.
They don’t care if they totally gut your site security doing it.
They care if you get a quick fix and can go on about your business.
So, please do help spread the word about all of this in your blogger groups so they don’t unknowingly rip the security rug right out from under their own feet.
And tell your blogger buddies why reading Tips Tuesday is so important, especially now with all of these changes.
THIS is how my peeps stay calm. No matter what happens, they already know what’s going on and how to deal with it, or how to get ahead of it and not have to worry while everyone else is freaking out.
Core Web Vitals Becomes Ranking Factor in May
Just a reminder that the new Google Core Web Vital metrics go into play for ranking your posts in May.
That means if you want to get your site to pass all of those metrics, you must sign up for an audit by no later than February.
It will be at least 2 months before we can start your project, and then we need time to do the fixes too.
That includes current site audit clients who want to get your 12-18 month checkup.
READ: Core Web Vitals: What You Need to Know and Do if you don’t know what I’m talking about.
READ: How to Run a Site Speed Test Accurately to see how your site is doing.
HTTPS Security is a Core Web Vital Metric
For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know that nearly 4 years ago I began telling folks that they needed to do a full HTTPS conversion instead of cheating with a plugin or how their host tricked it out.
And some folks laughed at me and said I was just trying to drum up business.
Well, when those folks look at their HTTPS security scores in an online tester like WebPage Test, as I show you how to do in the speed test tutorial above, and they see a big red F score, maybe they’ll reconsider my advice.
My clients are getting an A+ score because they have 5 HTTPS security headers.
Chrome is now calling for a minimum of 3 of them.
You can run this check on the Security Headers test site too. You should get an A score there.
READ: The Top 10 Reasons NOT to Use Free HTTPS Conversion for more.
And then see my HTTPS conversion service and fill out the form to get on my wait list.
FYI, site audit clients, if you have not been in for an audit checkup in the last 8 months, then you may be missing one of the newest HTTPS security headers that Chrome just started calling for this year. I’m adding it in during your audit checkup.
And this is why it is so important to keep current with your audit checkups. Security and performance things change ALL the time.
Google has released a new report in Search Console that helps you see what’s going on with Google crawling your site.
And it comes with the following new features:
- Total number of requests grouped by response code, crawled file type, crawl purpose, and Googlebot type.
- Detailed information on host status
- URL examples to show where in your site requests occurred
- Comprehensive summary for properties with multiple hosts and support for domain properties
I would take this report with a grain of salt for a while and just consider it a beta.
Google has had crawl and reporting issues all year.
And I expect this report to be just as buggy.
And yes, I’ll be adding a tutorial for it in the DIY SEO course as soon as I can too.
Google Analytics Tips
Google Analytics 4 is the default for new site properties
This is some dog doo doo!!!
Fair warning that all new sites added to Google Analytics will automatically be put on the new Google Analytics 4, or GA4 metrics.
And those metrics are not accurate.
Last I read, even Google said for us to still run regular analytics on our existing sites and to consider GA4 as a beta.
So, it’s shocking that there is no way to do both, or select which one you want to add, when you submit a new property.
Using a super quick Google search, I saw others were complaining about this. And here’s just one of those posts with a few tricks to try.
One of my webmasters is checking into this right now and will keep us posted. And I’ll be sharing those tips, and likely others too, in the DIY SEO course’s section for Google Connections.
In the November Genesis Shapers meeting, they asked if folks had any trouble with migrating from Atomic Blocks to Genesis Blocks.
You may recall me mentioning in last week’s Tips Tuesday that it’s time to do that now. And I have a tutorial in the Gutenberg Ninja course for it too.
Genesis is also creating a new block-based theme that will be fully FSE compliant, meaning that it will fully support the Full Site Editor as Gutenberg Phase 2 is rolled out through the next year.
In fact, the WP devs hoped to put a big chunk of that into WP 5.6, but it’s just not ready yet, so they pulled it, as I reported to you a few months ago. And I’m glad for that.
But, I’m thinking we should expect to see more parts of it in WP 5.7 in March 2021.
The expectation of Gutenberg Phase 2 is to move beyond using Gutenberg just as an editor and to use it as a full site builder. That’s why it’s called FSE (Full Site Editor) to distinguish it from what we have now, which is only a content editor.
In FSE, you’ll be able to use Gutenberg blocks for your header, menu, sidebar, and more.
It will require a full block-based theme to do it, though.
Astra themes are already jumping ahead with their own header/footer builder. It works great. But I’m wondering if we want to make use of that, as it may change radically when support for these sections hits WP core.
And this is why Astra is considered more bleeding edge and beta than Genesis.
The Genesis folks are taking a much more conservative approach.
And that’s why they asked for beta testers in the November Shapers meeting.
They are laying out the structure and foundation for an FSE compliant theme framework just ahead of some of those functions becoming available in WP core.
I don’t expect these FSE themes to be fully viable until the end of 2021, at least.
So, if you’re looking to change themes before then, you will be safe going with the frameworks we have now, and using Gutenberg as your content editor. And that will hold up for at least 2-3 years of support, if not longer.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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