Hello Happy Site Owners and Webmasters!
Tips this week include:
- All site speed tests are complete, including YouTube video embeds and caching plugins
- Why I put off my move to a new host for a couple of weeks
- Why I’ll be hosting the new Gutenberg course on Teachable
- Reminder of our DIY SEO bonus session today to discuss Yoast’s updated SEO guide
- Reminder of our next DIY SEO workshop on Thursday for special formatting to get into voice search, snippets, and more, plus how to make lazy load work for you
- The new posts on Heartwood Art and my continued focus on video for the fastest way to turn that hobby site into a money maker
- The micro video production tool I’ll be trying
- Reminder for Webmasters on the latest survey for your client types, Divi tutorials, and Performance training
- What you need to remove from your social share and follow icon plugins
- 3 new features added by SiteGround
- Why you need to jump quickly on the Kickstarter campaign from She Podcast for their live event later this year
- A live chat from Ms. Ileane Smith and special YouTube guest on the release of YouTube Studio coming out of beta
- What’s in the WordPress 5.2 Beta just released
- The contact form just integrated into the Genesis Revolution theme
- A new post grid for Gutenberg Atomic Blocks that Genesis theme users will want to know about
- Genesis designers will want to know about the recent Shapers chat for dev environments and code snippets
Listen to the Podcast
Join me Live to Discuss Tips Tuesday
I hope you’ll join me live later today 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.
Oh what a wonderful week!! Lots to celebrate.
My new deck got stained and sealed, the weather’s nice and I have truly been enjoying it!!
And a nice surprise was the reflection in the office from the red stain. I’m swimming in a tea rose ocean in the morning. It’s very pleasant.
And that’s a bonus because I’ve had a ton of butt-in-seat time at my desk and plenty more to come.
Finished all Speed Tests
Woot!!!! I am thrilled to report that all of my speed testing is complete for now.
It took 3 months, but well worth it.
Last week I celebrated finishing all the way through the fully loaded site tests.
And yesterday I finished all of the embedded YouTube video tests, and all of the caching plugin tests.
The devs for both Social Pug and WP Fastest Cache are making improvements based on my findings. I’m thrilled that data is so helpful to them as they are helping us have the best plugins to use!!
And I’m thrilled for their sponsorship of the tests and happy to make the data available to them.
I do have a couple of questions about lazy load into the WPFC dev and I’m awaiting that reply before updating my post on settings, including those for the premium version, as they have changed.
I sure hope the lazy load stuff works out, as I found WPFC to edge out WP Rocket this time. Last year it was the other way around.
I’ll keep you posted on when I publicly release all of my findings, but that might be sometime next month because I need to do the same fully loaded site speed tests on 2 other server types.
But I’ll be getting some posts out between now and then.
I do have another set of tests to do on the Divi theme, but those results will be strictly for my webmasters.
Moving to a New Host in April
As y’all know, I’m moving hosts, and that is holding up one of the other server type tests.
Last week I completed interviews with my 3 top hosting prospects.
And I thought on Friday I had decided which new host to move to out of the 3 I interviewed, but I rechecked all of my notes and changed my mind.
And, I was just too pushed for time to get it done before my next monthly renewal at A2 Hosting.
So, I’m going to plan it in the next couple of weeks and will let you know which host and how the move goes as soon as I get there.
If you have a renewal coming up before then, and are a site audit or Webmaster Training client, please see our private Facebook groups for details on why I changed my mind and where I’m moving. Those are in the livestreams I did.
New Gutenberg Course on Teachable
One of the reasons I was in a bit of a rush last month to get moved to a new host was that I needed to get settled before opening the new Gutenberg course. But that pressure is off the table now.
Me and a few of my Webmasters have been awaiting the release of WishList Member 3.0, which was billed as a major overhaul. It wasn’t overhauled enough, in our opinions, so we are looking to try other things.
One of my webmasters is converting over to MemberPress, which is a fine plugin. And another webmaster is checking out Teachable.
I attended a summit all last week that was hosted by Teachable and I think that is a good fit for me to try. So, that’s where I’ll be putting the new Gutenberg course.
I’m going to do a limited trial release of it to only my site audit clients and webmasters to work out any kinks and get their feedback.
The course will be a monthly subscription with no auto-renewal, so there won’t be any problems with doing a full release to the public later.
Another reason I like Teachable is that it has a built-in affiliate program. And I’ve got several buddies who would like to offer the course to their peeps.
I’ve set up affiliate programs twice in the past and it’s a pain to configure and run and I never made enough sales to make paying for the plugins, much less all that work, worthwhile. Not to mention how much I had to jack up the course prices to cover all that.
At $29/mo, the basic package on Teachable is going to be cheaper than all that and site maintenance and such.
On top of it, I have both clients, webmasters, and blogger buddies who run groups that are all considering setting up a course.
This will walk me right back into teaching how to run a course like I did years ago. But now, instead of helping folks get through the tech of it, I’ll be focusing entirely on helping them:
- find more money that they were leaving on the table – that’s especially true of first-time course folks
- figure out the best way to deliver the content for their audience
- create the videos – either talking head or screen capture
Teachable has plenty of tutorials on how to use their platform, so after a consult and training with me, folks can jump right into the course creation and set it up the right way, the first time, to make the most money.
Teachable also has a certification program which I’ll be taking as I set up the Gutenberg course, so this could not be more timely.
I also looked at Thinktific and Kajabi and both are overkill for what I need since I already have a site that I do all my promotion from. And I gave Udemy a try years ago and lost a lot of money doing it compared to running it from my own member site.
So, I’m really looking forward to trying something new that seems like a better fit than what I have and what else is out there.
And I appreciate y’all taking the journey with me as it will give you an inside look at Teachable too, if you’re thinking about running your own course.
I want to remind everyone in the DIY SEO course that we are having a bonus session today to chat about the recent release of the updated SEO guide from Yoast.
It’s important to realize the two different types of folks that Yoast serves.
There’s the blogger group, like you and me, that the Yoast SEO plugin is made for.
But enterprise-level sites getting full SEO audits, is what really pays their bills.
And their SEO Guide has info for both, though they don’t always distinguish it as such.
And that’s why we’re going to have a chat about it.
Plus, we have our regular workshop on special formatting for voice, snippets, and more coming up on Thursday.
So, I’ll see y’all twice this week.
Heartwood Art Update
If you’re following my adventure with Heartwood Art, especially on Instagram, you know that I’ve got my mitre saw station build well underway.
And I released 2 new videos and a couple of posts last month about it.
The first was what working with a temporary mitre saw setup taught me about the final build.
And the second was how to drill pilot holes. Who knew there was so much to it?
I’ve held off on releasing another video I made a couple of weeks ago on making the legs, as I wanted to see how those worked out. And I’m glad I did as I have more info to add. So, that will be the next post. And I’ve 2 more posts in the wings that I’m doing the videos and still shots for now.
At this pace, I hope to be releasing at least 3 posts this month, and all of them will have video components.
Micro Videos for Promotion
I’m also compiling enough still images to start making micro videos that will be 10-15 seconds to use as promotional teasers everywhere.
I want to try the new wave.video tool for those.
And if that works out well, I think I may use them for promo of BlogAid posts too, including those Tips Tuesday reminders y’all liked so much of individual tips inside the post.
Wave is sort of like a mix of Animoto and Canva, as far as I can tell. They have templates, but they let you do a bit more design.
I tried Animoto and it was easy, but it was also cheesy, IMO.
Have you tried any of the online video makers? Let us know how that went for you.
New Webmaster Survey for Clients, Divi, and Performance
I’ve been surveying my webmasters every week lately with more specific questions about what they will find most helpful to learn.
I’m in the process of revamping all of tutorials in the Webmaster Training courses as it’s time to combine, shorten, or update the info for how their client needs have changed, and the running of sites has changed.
One of the things I asked about actually came from a comment in a previous survey about what type of clients they serve and if they care about speed.
Most site owners don’t.
Y’all do, of course, but then you’re crazy serious about making money in crowded niches. And a faster site helps you do that.
But my webmasters serve all kinds and they need to invest their training time into the things they can sell.
My speed tests also included an apples-to-apples test of the same site created by one of my webmasters in both Genesis and Divi.
We knew all theme builders were bloated and slowed down sites. But now we know by exactly how much.
It’s 4 times heavier and twice as slow. Plus, it’s missing all of the base schema markup that has to be output by the theme for your SEO.
So, I asked in the survey if folks are interested in a workshop to see how easy it is to transfer a site built on Divi to a Genesis theme.
Most aren’t so far.
While that may sound surprising, keep in mind that Divi does still have a big place in the WordPress ecosystem. It allows newer site owners to follow that pipe dream of building their own site.
And, it allows some designers to kick out lower-cost designs that are pretty.
Like I said, most site owners don’t know to care about speed and security and the kinds of things y’all have come to learn are important for the long-term health of your site and its ability to earn you money.
It took you a while to wake up to these facts too.
In the meantime, Divi serves a purpose.
As a site owner, if you’re looking to do a theme revamp, please consider Genesis if you’re not already on it and stop having the sheer-cliff uphill battle with speed and SEO that other themes cause you.
It’s one of the best investments you can make to earn more money with your site.
That’s what’s happening around here. Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Remove G+ from share and follow buttons
G+ is now officially gone.
So be sure to remove that icon from your social share and social follow buttons.
Also check your About page, author box, and author profile if you have your social platforms listed on your site there as well.
And, perhaps check your email templates for your list serve, like Mailchimp or Convert Kit.
And then any signature you may have in your Gmail or such too.
SiteGround announced several new features that you’re going to like if you use that host.
Free Backup Restores – While it’s best to have your own backups and files stored off site, sometimes it’s faster to give the host’s backup a try first. In a smart move, SG finally made the restore option free to all users on all packages. Just know that these backups are not guaranteed, but definitely worth a try in a pinch.
Staging Tool for GrowBig – (GrowBig is the middle priced plan) I need to check into this and see if it is a true staging tool or just a clone of your site – and yes, there is a HUGE difference.
A true staging site is below the public_html directory, where your site files reside. And you should be able to push/pull data between them.
A clone is a sub-directory of your domain and in the same public_html directory of your site. That is a security and resource issue. Plus, you can’t push/pull changes between them.
Also, the on-demand backup option that used to only be for GoGeek and higher has been extended to GrowBig plans too.
Advanced Priority Support for GoGeek and Higher – Any support requested initiated by chat or ticket will be assigned to the most experienced support agent available. That’s an amazing feature. It’s sort of like the options you have with some product support where you get to select the type of thing you are needing help with and your call gets routed to the appropriate agent. Not only do you have a shot at getting the right answer the first time, but the tech support staff can turn over more calls quicker, meaning you don’t have to wait as long when you do contact them.
The nice ladies over at She Podcast launched a Kickstarter campaign to pre-fund their first major conference.
Their goal is $25,000 and last I checked on Sunday, they already have over $13,000.
The conference is in Atlanta in the fall. So, if you want to go, be sure to see the pledge levels on the sidebar for special ticket and VIP passes at a discount, as I’m sure these will sell out soon.
Even if you can’t travel, they do have a media pass ticket too, so check into that.
Ms. Ileane Smith is doing a live chat on the upcoming big change at YouTube as they prepare to change us all over from the Video Manager to YouTube Studio, which has been in beta for months now.
I actually like the new one better, especially for analytics. But for long time users, they just don’t like change.
Ileane’s special guest is Tom from the Creator Insiders YouTube Channel.
The chat is live this morning at 10am, I believe that is ET. So, even if you can’t make it, be sure to watch the replay.
This is super important info if you plan to make videos a bigger part of your online promotion, just like I’m already doing, and will be doing even more so with Heartwood Art, as I’ll be monetizing that channel.
This release will include the 2 main focuses of WP for all upcoming releases in the near-future.
- Site Health Check
- Gutenberg updates
There is a Site Health Check plugin that WordPress wants to roll fully into the core.
But, some cyber security folks have voiced concern that parts of that plugin could actually introduce a major vulnerability. I haven’t heard much follow up on that since I reported it a couple of months ago.
What I have seen is WordPress being super cautious and just rolling in pieces of that plugin’s functions a little at the time.
The current 5.1 version we are running introduced the PHP warning part of the Site Health Check, to alert site owners if they are running any version of PHP below 5.6. They will be regularly creeping that level up to the currently supported version of PHP 7.1 as a minimum. They can’t possibly do that fast enough, in my opinion, as it is a major security issue to be on anything lower.
In 5.2, the WP devs are introducing another piece of the Site Health Check plugin to help you recover from a fatal error during things like plugin updates.
I believe this is the part of the plugin the cyber security folks had concerns with, and they report they have worked those issues out.
But, we already have a way to recover from faulty plugin updates.
READ: How to Restore Plugins to a Previous Version with WP Rollback for details.
You’ll find this and other great DIY site owner tips on the Helpful Posts page. In fact, there’s a link for it at the top of the site for any page you’re on.
Another big feature in this release is a Gutenberg Block Manager.
Some of the block plugins, including the ones that I’ll be looking into for the Gutenberg course, have a full suite of blocks. And that means block bloat to carry the full load of all the blocks you are not using from that suite.
The new Block Manager will help relieve that bloat and I’m looking forward to testing that out in this WP 5.2 beta on my Gute test site.
Also coming in 5.2 are Gute equivalent blocks of native WP widgets, including:
- An RSS block
- A Search block
- A Calendar block
- A Tag Cloud block
There is also a new Amazon Kindle embed block.
I’ll have a full report for you closer to the release, and after I’ve tested everything out.
Full release is slated for April 30th.
The folks at Genesis have been working hard to make the new theme on-boarding process as fast and easy as possible, especially with Gutenberg blocks.
In fact, that’s how I created my Gutenberg test site in about 1 minute.
Well, now they have integrated the WPForms plugin into that process on the Revolution Pro theme.
You can see a video of the blocks they used to create that page, and see how it can be used for landing pages too on their post.
Landing pages are something I’ll be covering in my Gute class too, as that’s a huge part of theme building. I can see us getting rid of expensive and resource hog plugins for that and our optins when we use Gute.
I tested the WPForms plugin as part of my fully loaded site speed tests.
My main concern was whether it loaded its CSS and JS on every page, even when there was no form, like Contact Form 7 does. It doesn’t, and that’s great.
But, I only used their default simple template and didn’t really dig into all that it can do yet.
However, I did notice that the free version does not come with a CAPTCHA option to foil spam bots. You have to go up to the paid version for that. I can’t see doing a contact form without it. Is that worth paying for? Not that thing alone. But I want to check out what else the paid version can do.
In fact, my next set of plugin tests will be contact forms.
Some of them chew up your database and they are all over the place with what configuration options they offer as far as the forms you can create.
So, it will be a deep set of tests and will include ways to turn off the CSS and JS of Contact Form 7 on any non contact form page, if you want to stick with that plugin.
But, the way CF7 integrates with the latest Google reCaptcha is unappealing, as it puts that sticker on every page now too. Hopefully the trick to remove the CSS and JS will take care of that as well.
I hope to do those tests by this summer. We’ll see.
The folks at Genesis are also hard at work revamping all of their core Genesis plugins and widgets to have a Gutenberg counterpart.
And, naturally, they are using Atomic Blocks to do it.
WPEngine owns both Genesis and the makers of Atomic Blocks now. And, as I predicted last year, they are going full steam ahead with that integration.
And, as I also predicted last year, they are not waiting for WordPress to make Gutenberg a full theme builder.
The newly improved Grid layout in Atomic Blocks is basically a Gutenberg rebuild of the Genesis Featured Post widget. Jump on over to the post to see a video on how it works.
And yes, I’ll be covering this in the Gute class too.
In the March Genesis Shapers meeting they primarily discussed making design and development easier.
Webmasters, this is definitely worth a read as they talk about using local dev environments, instead of designing online.
They also talk about the code snippet repository and the possibility of opening another repo where designers can leave the snippets they developed.
While there are several unofficial Genesis dev groups, it’s really nice to see them think about creating more official channels and taking an active role in helping with a little quality control of the greater 3rd party dev community.
I’ve long said that better quality control is overdue, and I see this as a step in that direction.
That’s a wrap for this week’s Tips Tuesday.
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