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Welcome to our first Lunchtime Live Q&A! Gary & Andrew will be going live on Facebook every Friday to answer your WordPress questions, so don’t forget to Like our Facebook Page so you can watch and ask questions yourself.

Gary Weis: [00:00:01] Hi folks. Gary and Andrew here from WP Butler and welcome to our first Lunchtime Live Q&A for January 11th, 2019. So let’s see what happens today. We’re effectively just going to be sitting here answering a few client questions that hopefully will be of some interest to you and what we’re attempting to do is just every week we’ll be putting on a Facebook Live and answering any questions that you may have that are related to WordPress. If you’ve got anything just contact us via the WP Butler Support Services… WP Butler WordPress Support Service Facebook page and we’ll be sure to punch them into the iPad here and address your questions on our next lunchtime Q&A.

Gary Weis: [00:00:49] So kicking things off, first one. Sarah asks “I’ve heard adding an SSL to my website is a good idea. What are the implications?”

Andrew Marks: [00:01:01] Sara thank you for your question. It is a great idea. Google has been pushing this for a long time. Asking people to put an SSL on their website subtly by essentially giving you better search engine rankings if you have an SSL. So Google has sculpted the Internet by suggesting you get an SSL on your website. Now it’s a great idea whether or not Google tells you it is. What it does it secures everything between the browser and the server. So even someone filling out a contact form, that gets secured, encrypted and sent back and forth on the Internet. But even people logging in – you don’t want to send plain text passwords back and forth. So an SSL – great idea, bottom line.

Andrew Marks: [00:01:50] The implications though. Effectively every page on your website is a discreet little unit that Google knows about, that… We talk about Google in Australia because more than 90 percent of Australians use Google as their default search engine. So we need to try and please Google as much as possible. However every URL, every page on your website is a unique URL… has a unique URL. Now, whether you used WWW or no WWW, Google would see that as two separate pages. So when you’re changing the URL of your page from HTTP to HTTPS, what you’re actually doing is giving that page a new URL and Google doesn’t know anything about that page so the potential is there for you to lose search engine rankings.

Andrew Marks: [00:02:47] Now when we set an SSL up, what we do is we redirect anyone going to the HTTP version of the URL through to the HTTPS version of the URL. And that way we set up what’s called a 301 redirect and what that does is tells the search engines that that URL has now permanently moved to this new location. So a 301 redirect tells Google that this page, this old page no longer exists; this is the new page, and Google… That’s the way Google asked us to do it and what they do then is pass any search engine reputation from the old page over to the new page. So, that’s the implication.

Andrew Marks: [00:03:33] What tends to happen is you’ll notice what we used to call the Google dance – I’m not sure if anyone calls it that anymore, but what happens is wherever you were in the search engines, you then start bouncing around. You might have been number one, and then you check one day and your number five, then number three, then number ten. But within two to four weeks you’ll be pretty much slotted back into where you were, if not that little bit higher because, like I said, Google wants you to do this and so the… I guess, the way they coax us to take that step is to promise a slightly better search engine ranking.

Andrew Marks: [00:04:14] So you won’t do it purely to try and increase your position and search engines because there’s no guarantee that. Google, for all intents and purposes, I guess the common knowledge around search engine optimisation is that the search engines look at up to 200 different indicators to determine where your page will sit in the search results. An SSL is just one of those 200 so you may not make a difference at all but it won’t have make a negative impact.

Gary Weis: [00:04:53] Just one thing to add there. The other part with this SSL is the new technology HTTP2 only works over SSL and HTTP2 is the new Hypertext Transfer Protocol so it only works over SSL and HTTP2 will give you that speed boost. So it is definitely worthwhile investigating an SSL for your website. But yes, be very very aware of those implications. Very good. I hope that helps Sarah.

Gary Weis: [00:05:26] What else we got? Craig asks “My WordPress website is loading really slow. Is there something that can be done or is it just WordPress?”.

Andrew Marks: [00:05:34] Okay. Thank you Craig. I would suggest, I guess… The bottom line to that answer is it’s not just WordPress. So WordPress itself, it can be quite streamlined, quite fast. When it’s been around for a while we tend to add bulk to it. So over the years, we add plugins to it. You might have a theme that might be a little bit out of date or maybe even not necessarily coded all that well. So there are elements that we add to WordPress website that can potentially slow it down. So yeah I guess I would like to reassure you that choosing WordPress is the right thing to do. WordPress is fine, it’s not WordPress.

Andrew Marks: [00:06:25] But there’ll be a number of things that can be done to speed up that WordPress website. So what I would do is use a speed test tool. There’s one at GTMetrix.com, There’s a Google one – testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. Running that speed test will give you an indicator as to what is slowing down the load of your website. So it may be your hosting doesn’t have the resources to load or to send the page quickly so it could be hosting related. You might have uploaded large images direct out of your digital camera and thus obviously a 4Mb image is going to take a lot longer to load than a 40Kb image, 0.4Mb image even. So they’re the easy elements. Then when you start looking into how the plugins work, sometimes – again, if a theme or logging isn’t going particularly well as going to use resources, it may use resources inefficiently. It may actually add bulk to the database. We’ve seen a lot of… We host a lot of WordPress websites and over the years, the database creeps larger and larger and larger. And the larger the database is, the more inefficient or the slower the query of that database. So that optimising the database, removing the junk out of the database is also going to speed up your Website.

Andrew Marks: [00:08:01] Now one of the best things that can be done especially for a WordPress website to speed it up is to use a caching tool. Our strategic hosting partners, WP Engine, they have a cache built into their hosting. If not hosted on one of those… On someone like WP Engine, you can get a cache plugin. What a cache is – when someone queries a WordPress page, what happens is some code runs, it accesses the database, it gets the content out, it goes and grabs the image, it goes and grabs this and that, builds the HTML page and sends it out the door.

Andrew Marks: [00:08:40] So what a cache does is has a pre-built version of that page. So when we type in a website into our browser, we send that request over the Internet. The server receives that request, has a pre-built version of that page, sends it back straight away. So it saves a lot of time in response, it saves a lot of time in processing and therefore uses less resources on the host itself, simply because there’s no query to the database, there’s a pre-built page. Now, there can be issues related to if you’re constantly updating website, your visitors may see old versions of a page for example. But the benefits well and truly outweigh the negatives when using a caching tool. So I would suggest there’s plenty that can be done to your website to make it a lot faster. We actually have a speed product in which we take a look at your website and you do what can be done to speed it up. So if you like us to take a look get in touch. Otherwise, there’s a few tools out there. As I said, run a speed test – that should give you some indicator as to what’s slowing your site down, but you can’t just blame WordPress. I would say there’s… there will be something that’s slowing it down specifically.

Gary Weis: [00:10:04] Very good. And as they always say, need more leads? You need more speed. So good advice there Andrew, thank you mate. Christine asks “Hey guys. I recently updated to WordPress 5 and now all my pages are broken. What’s going on?”.

Andrew Marks: [00:10:24] What’s going on? Christine there’s a very simple solution to that. So essentially, very recently in the end of November or start of December… I think it was November.

Gary Weis: [00:10:37] It seemed to drag on forever.

Andrew Marks: [00:10:38] It did. It was a long time coming. WordPress 5 was released into the wild. We’ve been looking at for a little while. WordPress 5 comes with a new editor called Gutenberg. So the… I won’t go into all of that. What Gutenberg is, but essentially is a rebuild of the editor. The editor in WordPress as in the same for a very long time. Now, a new editor comes out and all of a sudden things are done differently. I’ve seen this a number of times someone will update their website and all of a sudden… Especially if a page builder, for example like Visual Composer, Beaver Builder, something like that. What may have happened is you’ve made a change to the page and now WordPress thinks it’s a Gutenberg page, a new page format rather than the old page format. So the best thing to do, or the easiest thing to do, there’s a plugin called disable Gutenberg. What that does is, pulls the new editor out, re-establishes the old editor and then things should go back to normal. Now, there was a lot of fear and…

Gary Weis: [00:11:45] Trepidation.

Andrew Marks: [00:11:45] Trepidation, yeah absolutely, around the release of Gutenberg, partly for this reason. You know, “It’s going to break our website. We’re going to lose money. It’s terrible.” Since it’s come out, it’s not all fire and brimstone. It’s actually not bad. It takes a bit of getting used to. There are benefits, there are very negatives to it. However it’s the future. It’s where WordPress is going to be going. So the Disable Gutenberg plug is a stopgap that will get your website back up and running, and potentially you can leave it on there for years, but eventually when you rebuild your website or when you make a significant update to it I would suggest looking into using Gutenberg as the default editor because it’s lightweight, it’s very fast. It just takes some getting used to.

Andrew Marks: [00:12:40] So yeah, disable Gutenberg temporarily. And then once you have time up your sleeve to potentially do a bit of a rebuild or an upgrade, have a look at Gutenberg, it’s worth taking a look at.

Gary Weis: [00:12:55] For sure, have a play around I think. Tread carefully. Move forward, but at the end of the day, you can’t stop progress.

Gary Weis: [00:13:05] Mate, that’s all we got today. We might wrap it up there. Thank you, Andrew.

Andrew Marks: [00:13:08] No problem.

Gary Weis: [00:13:08] Catch us next Friday for our lunchtime Facebook Live Q&A. And again, this is Gary and Andrew from WP Butler. Check us out at WPButler.com.au. And don’t forget, if you’ve got any pressing WordPress questions that you’d like us to handle on the couch, send them via Facebook or you can e-mail us at webmaster@wpbutler.com.au.[00:13:40] Bye for now. Thanks.

Andrew Marks

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