Hello Happy Site Owners!
Tips this week include:
- Last chance to register for the SEO Workshop for Non Geeks
- Free webinar on the Future of WordPress Site Ownership
- GoDaddy acquires Sucuri
- 8 common security mistakes that cost you dearly
- The new WordPress Image Widget you’re going to like
- New PHP level warning in the Yoast SEO plugin
- An op-ed on the demise of DMOZ and the rise of niche content that is a must read
- Longer titles displaying in Google search
- The Medium blogging platform is going to a paid subscription
- StudioPress and CopyBlogger’s Brian Gardner’s chat with Matt Mullenweg
- The top 7 myths about HTTPS site conversion busted
- Google quietly updates Feedburner to accept HTTPS feed links
- Why I won’t be hard coding cron jobs anymore, and what I am hard coding now
Listen to the podcast
See the livestream version
Today is the last day you can register for the SEO Workshop that begins on March 30.
In this 6 week live workshop and private Facebook support group will take you step-by-step through all of the places Google indexes on your site and help you lay a proper SEO foundation.
So be sure to get in on this today. Registration closes at midnight ET.
Join me April 7
Get a peek into my crystal ball about what’s in store for site owners for 2017 and beyond.
The last one of these I did was nearly 2 years ago on Blab and I predicted the perfect storm of change we are experiencing today.
And it’s time we draw a line in the sand on running your site like it’s still 2012.
Get on top of NOW with site elements involving security, performance, visibility, SEO, and more.
Y’all know I had a private chat with Matt Mullenweg a month ago and I’ve been sort of quiet about a few things until I could check them out. Well, now I’m ready to spill the beans.
I’ll have a post for you soon with more details.
But BlogAid News subscribers were the first to know about. So, make sure you’re on that list because I’ve got more webinars coming up.
Y’all now I’m going to keep you ahead of the curves, right?
That’s all the news from around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
This is huge news. Tony Perez and the folks at Sucuri are reassuring current customers that this means business as usual for them and that GoDaddy will simply become an umbrella company.
For Sucuri, it means large scale deployment of their services, but no details have been given about exactly what parts of their service will be included on GoDaddy itself.
I assume it’s just an upgrade of what their free plugin offers, which is the malware scanner and security hardening. But I don’t think it will include the WAF, since that is also tied into their own CDN. We’ll see as time goes on.
But what I do know is that GoDaddy does not allow all of the normal security measures I set up for site audit clients. They even got called out for that in recent hosting benchmark tests too.
You can see more about my reaction to this news in the BlogAid Today video and post for March 23.
If you follow BlogAid on Facebook and YouTube, you can catch BlogAid Today in livestream too.
There’s a post on Torque with the 8 common security mistakes site owners make that end up costing them dearly. But I take exception to the first and last ones on the list.
The first one states that most hacks come through crap hosting. While I have no doubt that bad hosting is an issue, I’m not convinced the numbers supplied by WP Template that were used in this article are accurate. Other security firms like Sucuri and even WP itself paint a different picture. The majority of hacks come from out of date plugins and themes. And those are mentioned in the article as well.
I also take exception to the last suggestion, that if you don’t feel comfortable making some of the security changes at the root of your hosting account, to install one of those behemoth security plugins.
What that’s going to do is give you a false sense of security and a resource hog performance issue.
It’s way cheaper in the long run to hire a qualified geek to do it right.
Recall those sweeping changes to WordPress I’ve been talking about for months?
Well, we’re about to see one of them and you’ll like it, I think.
Adding images to the sidebar always meant either jumping through some coding hoops or getting a plugin to help you do it.
Well, a new widget may be coming in a WordPress update soon.
It’s sort of like the native Text Widget, but specifically for images.
You can see screenshots of it in this nice post from WPTavern.
The new version 4.5 of the plugin now issues a warning if you are running any PHP version below 7 on your host.
Look, I totally understand Yoast’s reasons for wanting to do this. But I really don’t think it’s an SEO plugin’s place to call site owners out on their PHP version from within the plugin. It’s not an SEO function and has no business being there.
On top of that, many site owners can’t switch to PHP7 yet because they have another plugin or two on their site that is not PHP7 ready but is crucial to their business.
Yes, we all need to move to PHP7. But to be honest, PHP 5.6 works just fine and is plenty secure and is still being supported. It’s versions below 5.6 that have no support and are not as safe to use. And too many site owners are on those lower versions.
So, I appreciate Yoast helping lead the charge on switching to PHP7. But I don’t agree with doing it this way. However, I can’t argue with the fact that it is making thousands of site owners aware that the PHP version at their host matters. So, there’s that.
There’s a nice op-ed on the SEOBook site this week about why DMOZ failed and why ranking a whole site is nearly impossible these days. It’s a bit of a history lesson in how we got to here in content marketing. And it covers the failed strategy of pumping out tons of low quality content.
Search algorithms favor authoritative content now. And that means it’s easier to rank a post or page than it is a whole site.
And there’s billions of dollars at stake in this change too.
I hope you do read this article because it does have a direct bearing on what I’ll be teaching in the SEO Workshop and why you have to change your content and SEO marketing strategy.
There’s a difference in what Google displays in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) and what it indexes. And Google constantly tweaks what it displays. A few years ago that was 70 characters for titles, and lately it’s been down to 59 characters as they tried out bigger fonts.
Well, now we’re back to 70 characters, as reported on the SEO Copywriting blog.
Here’s the thing. Write your titles as long as they need to be. Google is indexing the whole thing, regardless of what it displays. And Google will display the whole thing if your post or page is the best match for the searcher’s query. Just put the important words near the front and stop worrying about length because Google is going to keep moving the cheese on this, guaranteed.
On top of that, making page titles short so they fit nicely in your navigation is one of the worst SEO things you can do. That’s another thing I’ll be covering in the SEO Workshop.
Content Marketing Tips
Once touted as a serious competitor to WordPress, the Medium blogging platform is moving away from making money via ads to a monthly subscription service.
What I find really interesting is this quote about the type of content that will be featured in the subscription service. It will be from
“Those who have hard-won expertise, do exhaustive research, and think deeply. Those who make us all smarter. Those who maximize our understanding of the world but don’t necessarily maximize clicks — and, therefore, are at a disadvantage amongst the highly optimized algorithm chum being slung by the truckload by low-cost content purveyors.”
I find that funny because Medium is known for its tabloid level, rant type writing.
So, the unfolding of this should be quite interesting.
Main thing is, if you write on Medium as a way to get more eyeballs on your content, this move could knock that tactic in the dirt.
Do go read the article for yourself. And you might want to read WPTavern’s take on it too.
Brian Gardner is the founder of Genesis, StudioPress and Copyblogger, as well as Rainmaker and a host of other website products.
On his weekly show, he interviewed Matt Mullenweg, who is the co-founder of WordPress.
The interview has a transcript and it is definitely worth a scan. I was especially interested in the last third which was on the future of WordPress.
Matt has a unique ability to hold a both/and view about cooperation and competition. He mentions how the open source community and WordPress has to find ways to work together to keep pace with entities like Wix, which is spending $160 million a year in ads to increase brand awareness.
They also chat about premium themes and plugins, and Automattic’s purchase of Woocommerce. Plus, Brian revealed that Woo centric themes are coming to StudioPress too.
Old rumors and misconceptions abound about HTTPS. The fact is, it’s evolving every day.
See my post from this weekend about the top 7 myths I encounter all the time and be sure you’re up to date and in the know about HTTPS and converting your site.
3 popular myths are:
- I don’t need HTTPS if I don’t sell anything
- My host issued an SSL certificate but my site is not HTTPS
- A plugin will take care of all the HTTPS links
And there are 4 more in the post just like it. So go have a read.
Google Updates FeedBurner for HTTPS
Google silently snuck one in on us. After 5 years of leaving Feedburner on a dusty shelf, they quietly updated it to accept HTTPS feed links. But, I still advise that you should leave this service if you’re still using it to send your blog posts via email.
I’ll have a post for you later this week with more.
Hard Coding Revisions and Heartbeat but not Cron
Y’all may recall a few weeks ago I mentioned in Tips Tuesday that one of my favorite plugins will no longer be supported. It’s Revision Control.
I was also turning off the WP virtual cron, which is the internal clock for WP, and creating one to hit on a regular schedule instead of every time someone hits a post.
But what I found is that each hosts seems to hide the code we need to do that in a different place. And, it’s PHP level dependent.
So, while we’re in this PHP transition period, I’ve decided to leave the virtual WP cron in place unless it’s a super high traffic site, or the site owner complains about missing scheduled posts or backups, or other site functions that are cron dependent.
I’ve also discovered that all of the PHP7 compatibility plugins require WP cron to run too. So, there’s that.
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That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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