Hello Happy Site Owners! Welcome to the last BlogAid Podcast for 2015. I’m your host MaAnna.
Today’s tips are a wrap up of what we’ve experienced as site owners in 2015, and how to get you and your site ready for what’s coming in 2016 so you can have a stellar year. It’s a great way for you to see the trends like I do so you can get ahead of the curve for what’s next.
Listen to the podcast
WordPress Library Member Site Relaunch Project Status
I’ve been neck deep in getting the WordPress Library site revamped. It looks and works great and I can hardly wait to show it to you.
I hope to be relaunching it at the end of this week, just in time for New Year’s. And you know I’ll have some specials for you too!
BlogAid News subscribers will be the first to know!!!! So be sure you’re on that list, and be sure you open the emails. I’m going to be purging that list of all the folks who haven’t been opening the emails soon.
I’ve taken to doing unscheduled Blabs on the weekends and it’s working out very well, so I’m going to keep doing them. So far Sunday afternoon seems to be the best time, but Saturdays are pretty good too.
Read my post How I Make Money with Blab for an example of just how well it’s working, and how you can make Blab work for you too.
Tomorrow’s WPblab will be about what you can do to make your site better in 2016. And I definitely want to hear about plans you have for your site too!! So do join us live.
How to Become a Content Marketing Genius – with Ryan Hanley
Thu 1/7 1pm ET / 10am PT
Subscribe and/or watch live here
Next Thursday, my Blab guest will be Ryan Hanley, who I believe has become a content marketing genius. I’ve been watching him all year and what he’s doing is just brilliant.
This is a continuation of my series on content marketing and I hope you’ll watch the previous Blab replays with other industry experts including:
- Extend Your Content Life Cycle – 2 Blab Shows with David Kutcher and Mike Allton
- SEO and Dates on Posts with Mark Traphagen
- How to Re-Purpose Your Content Everywhere with Denise Wakeman
That’s all the news from around here.
Let’s jump into this week’s tips.
Hosting Trends in 2015
We started 2015 with hosts lowering the resource ceilings and cracking down on site owners who were letting bots run wild on their site and were prime targets for hack attacks.
Those things put the whole server at risk.
So hosts started enforcing their policies and limiting the sites, meaning they made them unavailable due to overages.
Site owner reaction was outrageous, and they naturally blamed the host. But, the problem was that the site owner had taken zero responsibility for their site’s performance and security. And this is how the host got their attention.
And to solve the problem, the hosts always suggest that the client should upgrade their hosting package.
One of my clients had been talked into paying $2400 a year in hosting. I know, crazy, right? Once we got all of the performance and security issues fixed, she was able to step down to something quite reasonable for hosting.
She’ll tell you in her own words what her site owner experience has been like. In fact, you can hear several more site owners tell you about similar experiences and how much more money they have made since their site audit too.
Emails on the host were also causing issues with both overages and security, and I’ve been encouraging folks to move their emails to a paid service ever since.
It finally got so bad, with so many issues at so many hosts, that I stopped publicly endorsing hosting altogether.
And more huge hosting changes are happening right now. Bluehost is proactively updating sites and making file and code changes without the site owner’s knowledge or permission.
In fact, they publicly announced it at WordCamp US just a month ago.
They also said that they had minimal support issues from it. That’s because sites are going down left and right and clients are moving off Bluehost. I know. I’m helping them do it! And I’ve seen the changes they’re making. It’s not good, folks.
I’m positive that Bluehost is not the only host provider doing this.
It’s up to you, as the site owner, to take responsibility for your site’s security and performance and not to leave it up to a host to do generic changes like this that may adversely affect your site.
All hosts do not allow full security measures. GoDaddy is one of them. So ensure that your host does.
And, some hosts are way faster than others too. So, you can do a lot of things to your site to help speed it up, but you’re not getting full effect because you’re just trying to overcome the drag at the host.
Plugin Trends in 2015
Plugins just got out of hand in 2015 with:
- performance issues
- and lack of updates and support
As I reported in a recent Tips Tuesday
- there are over 40,000 plugins in the WordPress repository
- half of them have a lack of update warning
- 9,000 new ones were added this year
The real problem with this big of a selection is that site owners have done a lot of try-this-try-that, which has left a lot of orphaned code, files, and database tables on their sites.
Plus, many plugins have become very complex, resulting in being slower, taking up more space and resources, and having more potential conflicts with other plugins.
We had lots of XSS (Cross Site Scripting) security issues with plugins this year too.
At the beginning of 2015 I did a 4 part series to help folks square out their plugins, including how to check for orphans.
That culminated in a free webinar to go over plugin lists live. I’ll probably do another one in early 2016.
But your best bet to clean all this up is a site audit.
See more of the plugins I dropped or changed this year, and new ones that I found that I won’t do a site without now.
And then on top of all of this, WordPress made a core update that caused a bunch of plugins to break if they were not updated properly.
We’re past that particular update now, but another is already here.
The Calypso interface is already on WordPress.com sites and is available to self-hosted sites via Jetpack. I don’t advocate using it yet. But, the time will come when plugins that have an interface you can see on the admin side of your site will need to be updated to run with Calypso.
Another change is already on us that will affect plugins too. PHP7 is here. And that’s the coding language most all plugins, and even WordPress itself is written on. Hosts are chomping at the bit to run it because it’s lightning fast. So they, and some developers, are going to push hard to make it the standard.
Watch this Blab Big WordPress Shifts Coming – How to Prepare Your Site – #WPblab Ep. 13
I would strongly suggest that you get a grip on your plugin situation now, I mean right now. At the very least, make a list of all the plugins on your site and what they do. You can download the spreadsheet I used in that 4 part series. It will take you about 15-20 minutes to get this much done.
That way, when plugins start changing over to work with PHP7 or not, you’ll have your list ready and you’ll be in a super position to get your site PHP7 ready and jump over to super duper fast hosting too.
Security Trends in 2015
The first quarter of 2015 saw a continuation of mass hack attacks.
And security reporting got out of hand with some security plugin developers and service providers making it sound like the whole WordPress world was under attack when it was only a small fraction of sites.
And then we saw a new attack vector in the form of spam bot crawlers. I spoke to a lot of devs about a cloud-based plugin solution, similar to Akismet for comment spam, and one was finally developed. It quickly made my must-have plugin list.
Attack vectors have changed since then. And they will continue to change rapidly in the spring of 2016 when the other half of the REST API comes to WordPress.
I would strongly suggest that you get a grip on your site security sooner rather than later. Don’t rely solely on a big behemoth security plugin or scanner either. They can be real resource hogs and can even introduce their own security issues.
Here’s the thing. It’s way cheaper to get your site fully secured than you think. Takes me less than half an hour to do it for my clients. It’s way faster and cheaper than trying to recover a hacked site!!!
Mobile SEO Trends in 2015
Since 2013 we had been hearing how it would be the year of mobile. Well, 2015 finally was.
And Google created mobile search too, and has been moving the cheese on that ever since.
And now Google is about to relaunch AMP in February 2016, which is going to be a parallel, stripped down mobile version of your site.
Google and site readers are super duper stuck on sites being mobile friendly now. That’s never going away. The sooner you hop on this, the more eyeballs you’re going to get.
Performance Trends in 2015
The trend toward mobile also means that now it absolutely imperative that your site perform well. It has to be fast and responsive.
The biggest performance issues I’ve seen this year during site audits are:
- non-optimized images
- bad bots chewing up system resources
- resource hog plugins
- lack of caching
- slow hosting
The problem is so bad with ads that one of the ad networks is finally making some performance changes. They will be rolling them out shortly and I’ll report how much better they become.
But here’s the thing.
If your site is not loading in under 6 seconds, your abandonment rate is 40%.
That’s a lot of eyeballs to loose.
Don’t even think about running Pingdom. It is, by far, the least accurate and least helpful in telling you what’s wrong with your site.
It only takes a few minutes to run these tests and to have your eyes opened about just how bad things may be on your site and what needs fixing. These are the same tests I run during site audits.
Regular SEO Trends in 2015
Google never stops moving the cheese.
And this year, the Yoast SEO plugin seems to have never stopped changing either. They have to keep pace with Google.
Unfortunately, that also made the plugin unstable. It’s been glitchy ever since the 2.0 update. And folks had enough and got seriously vocal with super bad reviews and plugin ditching over the 3.0 update. Yoast heard all of that, and hopefully with increasing the size of their volunteer beta testers, this sort of thing will settle down.
But, semantic search is the biggest change of all to SEO.
However, most site owners are still keyword stuffing and chasing that green dot approval in the Yoast SEO plugin. That’s going to hurt your site way more than it helps.
The worst of it is, I see site owners install the Yoast SEO plugin, and then never configure it. They just use the on-page analysis tool.
That is definitely doing more harm than good.
And two years after WordPress started supporting schema markup, I still see plenty of themes that are not HTML5 compliant.
Everybody who is up to date on how SEO is done these days is reaping the rewards.
I would strongly encourage you to seriously update your ideas about SEO because doing it the old way is not only killing your site, you’re spinning your wheels and not getting much return on the time investment you’re making with your blog posts.
Content Marketing Trends in 2015
You also need to start blogging for authority on topic or just go home, as +Eric Enge would say.
That’s what Google and readers are looking for now. They both want the most authoritative, and up-to-date info possible.
As I mentioned at the top of this podcast, I’m doing a series of Blabs on content marketing.
I’m watching the replays and taking notes too.
And I’m also putting all of this super info into action.
The online landscape is absolutely littered with garbage.
And then there’s a ton of mediocre content that is more or less “me too” stuff that simply repeats old info.
The purpose of a site is to be found, read, and acted upon.
It takes a lot more effort, and a lot higher quality content to achieve those goals now.
And if you’re not making that effort, then your competition that is, will be getting all the views.
It’s that simple.
Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
It’s time for you to step up and start putting out the best content you can create.
And then to get all 14 levels of SEO on it, which is actually easy to do when you know how.
And then do your very best to keep that content fresh and continue to get as many eyeballs on it as you can on as many platforms as you can manage.
Yes, it’s more work than just writing a post and then splattering it on your social platforms. But, that is what it takes to stand out these days with content.
Online Business Trends in 2015
There is now a super glut of non-business minded site owners online who:
- think everything needs to be for free
- are tip collectors instead of strategy makers
- are unwilling to invest in their success in either time or money
I used to hear stories about folks stumbling into an online business that unexpectedly took off for them. And they were just sharing their passion.
Those days are mostly over.
There are too many site owners who have systematized and optimized every niche you can think of now. And they are the big money makers.
Also gone are the days when you can be a total non-geek DIY site owner who is unwilling to create a site that is secure, performs at peak, and has a solid SEO foundation.
You’ll either want to learn a little more about running a site, or you need to pay more for maintenance or site management of some sort.
Cowboy site ownership is disappearing. It’s not the Wild West it once was.
But, now there are more educational opportunities than ever.
With just a little bit of money and time investment, you can learn:
- what you need to know to become an authority in your niche
- how to safely DIY your site maintenance
It’s becoming way more costly not to educated these days. Ask any of my site audit clients. They’ll tell you just how much money they would have saved, and made, had they found me sooner.
I feel the same way about my business mentors too.
I’m continually investing in my success along with you. I’m an online business owner too, you know!!!
That’s a wrap for this week’s, and this year’s Tips Tuesday.
I certainly hope that this round up has served you well and will continue to serve you all through 2016.
Please tell your fellow site owners about this podcast and post and help me help more folks become successful, confident site owners.
Drop in on one of my Blabs and say hey in person. I do love chatting with you live.
Be sure to visit BlogAid.net for more tips and resources.
And I’ll see you online!