We look at how fast our website loads and generally try to keep the load times under 7 seconds. Some people want the sites to load faster, but we do have a fair amount of content to display on the home page plus Google Analytics, a Translation widget, and we pull a couple of RSS feeds. We have often used Google’s PageInsights to get a general idea of where we can shed some weight from our site.
Today while doing a check on our site I see PageInsights has added “view treemap” button which takes you to Google’s Lighthouse. This was incredible handy to get a big picture of what is taking up the most bandwidth. Here is what we saw.
We can see the “translation” widget is too large for us to use. We are using the Google TagManager widget, that we are going to stop using since our site has a tag component built-in.
Simply turning these items off took our page score from 69 to 83. Still not in the Green; however, pretty good. Using the new “Treemap” is awesome.
This doesn’t happen to us all the time, but sometimes after importing a PDF drawing into AutoCAD there are lines connecting objects that shouldn’t be there. The lines didn’t show in other programs. This turned out to be a simple setting in our AutoCAD. We needed to turn off “linesmoothing”. Here is the article we used to fix our issue.
In AutoCAD go down to the command line and type in “linesmoothing” and hit enter. Next type in “off” and hit enter. Import the PDF again and the lines should be gone.
While working on a WordPress site we were prompted to update to 5.8, but the manually pushing the button to update keep failing. The process would start, but would run into errors and stop. We tried just manually moving the directories “wp-admin” and “wp-includes” from a downloaded zip of the latest version, but this didn’t help. We ended up fixing everything by removing a few plugins we had installed and were not using. Once this was done the update button worked fine. On screen the update got to the end and read “updating database…” and hung there, but going back to the Dashboard everything was fine. The site was updated to 5.8 and running fine.
Writing for Search Engines limits you to a certain character count, so we wondered if was better to use the Ampersand versus the word ” and “? Part of the reason is the ampersand gets converted to HTML entities and is listed as ” amp& “ which equals 6 characters. Using “and” would be ” and “ which only equals 5 characters. Will using Ampersand versus the word “and” use less characters in our search results?
Our research lead us many different articles with different ways to look at. There were a lot of old information that lead us nowhere. We realized we could use our website’s data to figure this out. What we found out is it is better to use “&” versus “and“. The HTML entities doesn’t play a part in the character count.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) make your website more digestible for Google and has been adopted over the past 5 years by the other search engines. Google currently being the most utilized search engine, and the focus of this article. The goal for AMP is to make the content delivered more quickly for mobile users by condensing and indexing the pages. WordPress adopted this as a part of their core installation, and in testing we discovered Joomla is Rich Results Ready as well. Here is some of the things we have done to improve a Joomla site to be AMPping itself up to be searched.
A great place to start is to use Google as an AMP Tester. Use the link below to access Google’s AMP tester.
The hard part about these tests are they do not work on your “home” page. There is also Google Structured Data which is the actually the important part of the indexing; however, the page will benefit by being AMP ready. The combination will get your page mobile ready for search engines, with very specified content details you want indexed. We start with the Google Structured Data (GSD) on the services pages. The first thing we did was install a free plugin by Tassos Marinos which you can download in the Joomla Extension Directory (JED) or directly from his site.
Install the component like a normal Joomla component. Then enable the plug-ins. There will 3 of them.
Then go to Components >> Google Structured Data >> Dashboard.
Click on the “Items” tab on the left, and “Article” will be the main item to deal with.
Once in “Article” item we set it to pull the “Browser Page Title” vs the “Title” because of the way we have the SEO set up. Make sure to complete as much of these sections as you can. Save your changes.
Then go back to the “Configuration” tab. Fill out as much as you can. Once you are done and satisfied you can go to the “Advanced” tab and turn on the minify of the output.
Before you minify the output look at the source code and make sure the content you want in the GSD is correct. We had an issue with “description” not showing up. We had to reinstall the plugin.
We had also installed a free AMP plugin, but it didn’t help. Just using the GSD plugin from Tassos was enough to make the site Rich Result Ready. Make sure to follow the instructions and view the source of the page to make sure the Structured Data looks the way you want it to before you request Google to index your pages. If you don’t it could be weeks before Google crawls the site and indexes it properly.
We do love the ease of WordPress except when it goes wrong. While working on a new site we got the 5.7 update notification, and we hit the button to update. Well it didn’t go like planned. We had try to update manually, and not something we have done often. It went pretty easy, and we didn’t disable the plugins before starting. We were able to get back into the site when we finished; however, the page content for all the pages didn’t show. We were left with a shell. We started with this article from WordPress.
We backed up the two directories “wp-admin” and “wp-includes” into a temporary folder we called “archive”.
Downloaded the latest package from WordPress.
Extracted the zip.
Moved the extracted “wp-admin” and “wp-includes” into our site directory.
We didn’t have move any other files or disable any plugins and we were back in action, or so we thought. We restored the site with an Akeeba backup, but the update failed again.
Our final solution was to take a copy we posted for customer review on HostGator that was able to run the update and restored this to our XXAMP development machine. Not a perfect solution, but we are building once again. There are a number of variables that are different between the hosting and the PHP versions being one of them. It looks like PHP 7.3 worked better than 7.2.
We recently used Akeeba Backup to migrate a WordPress site for testing purposes; however, whenever we after enter our credentials into the new URL’s admin area we got redirected the old URL admin area. This was frustrating because we didn’t notice at first and started experimenting on the good site. A search lead us to the following post that resolved our issue.
It is a similar issue to when you manually migrate a WordPress site. We resolved the issue by going into PHPmyAdmin and the “Options” table. Sure enough the “home” and “siteURL” were set to the old site. Usually Akeeba does a great job updating this options.
While doing a review of our site for SEO we were thrown by seeing out page URL’s shortened and three vertical dots at the end of the title. An example is our shows one of our services as just our site name, the category “services”, and then the three dots. We were expecting the specific service after that. When you click on the three dots you get a modal with “About this result Beta” and some stuff. It looks like this.
Now this windows shows what the full URL is; however, at first this is alarming. We work hard on our SEO.
At first we really didn’t find any information on this, and we expected an email in our webmastertools account. It turns out to not have an affect on the search results. Eventually we found the following article to explain the new “about this result” feature.
We never found out why it pulls from Wikipedia. Colleges do not consider Wikipedia a reliable source. Sources say Google claims this feature was developed during the pandemic to ensure users on how reliable the source is. Making web searches from everyone in the USA are getting reliable information.
We have a few customers running Vipre Anti-Virus, and we discovered this week a conflict between SiPass security system and Vipre. When we went to launch the security application the shortcut no longer pointed to the executable. The actual exe was missing.
It turned out that Vipre quarantined it. When the program got whitelisted the exe showed back up like nothing happened; however, we were now getting a an error saying there was potential virus.
Under the windows security settings everything was set for Vipre to be the Anti-virus and Windows defender was turned off. The issue was resolved after a reboot.