In this episode we discussed WordPress 4.8:
OneLogin being hacked:
Half of Google’s first page results are https:
If you work in WordPress very often, you know how powerful the simple text widget can be. You can put any code in there that you want, and it’ll show up on your site. This works great for embedded MailChimp forms, and other code-based embeds. However, text widgets can only accept code and it’d be tricky for a novice to make them look nice. Coming later this week, though, you’ll be able to highlight and click your way to bold, italics, and links, just like you can on your posts and pages.
Before we get into that, though, this A Brighter Web, episode number two. Brought to you by the folks at GreenMellen, which includes me, Mickey Mellen, and some of my awesome coworkers and friends that you’ll hear in future episodes. Our goal with this podcast is to share news, products, and ideas with you, so we can all make the web a brighter place to be. These might be actual web tips, talking about strategy, WordPress plugins, and UX, or it might be productivity ideas to help you get more done, and free up your time to do great things.
Today, we’ll talk about WordPress 4.8, due out very soon, which includes new features like the WYSIWYG text widgets, a serious hacking of the OneLogin platform, Google’s increasing push toward HTTPS, some new Screencast recording options, and a WordPress focused event coming to Atlanta this fall that you’ll want to check out.
The new visual editor for text widgets in WordPress is gonna be a great addition, and it should be coming out in just a few days. It’s slated to release as part of WordPress 4.8 on June 8th, so just a few days away. Along with those great new text widgets are gonna be some new widgets for images, video and audio, and a lot of back end changes. So, you’re definitely gonna want to check out WordPress 4.8 when it comes out in a few days. There aren’t scheduled to be any major security patches with this release, so you can probably take your time and upgrade once you’re sure everything’s solid. But look for that in a few days.
We’re big proponents of password managing software, so you can have long, robust, unique, complicated passwords for all your different sites, and not have to worry about what they are. One of the more popular password managers is OneLogin, and they just had a major hack over the past few weeks. The full extent is a bit unclear, but you should pretty much assume everything in there was taken. If you used OneLogin, you should only change your password and stuff with them, but probably look at changing a lot of the passwords you use on sites that they control. Thankfully, a password manager makes that fairly easy to do, but it is gonna take some work.
That said, please don’t let this be a deterrent to using a password manager. This kind of thing does happen from time to time, but they’re very rare, and in general password managers will keep you much safer. For those that haven’t used a password manager before, it’s an application you install on your computer, or into Chrome, and it saves passwords for you on sites. Not only does it save passwords for you, but it’ll create passwords for you when you sign up for new accounts. It’ll create long, crazy strings of characters, and then save them in their software so you don’t have to remember them, but the odds of anyone ever guessing it via a brute force attack is, essentially, zero. Makes you a lot safer, and can do a great job.
While I’ve not used OneLogin, it’s very popular. Other popular ones include 1Password, LastPass is a very popular one I used quite a bit, and Google’s new Smart Lock, they have embedded into Chrome, and Android, and Chromebooks and stuff, it’s pretty sweet. Smart Lock I like a little bit better than some of the others because of the way it integrates with Android, but LastPass and 1Password and some of the others are awesome choices as well.
Next up is a bit of news that’s not too surprising, but certainly something you should pay attention to. According to Moz, more than 50% of the page one results in Google across all search terms are now on sites that are SSL powered, meaning they have https in front of their url, and they have a security certificate in place. Nine months ago, that was 30%. So, it’s rising quickly, expected to hit probably 65% by the end of the year. Google has pushed this more and more, saying you need to have a secure site, and it will affect your ranking, so you really need to get that done.
We’ll have a link in our show notes to some resources that you can use to help get your site up to speed. And while Google says this is very important, and it certainly is, the rise is likely just due to increased implementation. It’s not seeming that Google is pushing it harder yet, although they certainly continue to tout the importance of it, more that people like you and I are getting all of our sites upgraded. So, don’t fall behind, get your site an SSL certificate. It should cost you, on a decent host, nothing. It should be literally free to install. So, check that out, look in our show notes for a link, and get that taken care of.
We are big fans of screencasts. If you’ve spent much time abrighterweb.com, you’ll see we have hundreds of screencasts on there to help people use WordPress and Facebook and all those kinds of tools. And we do most of those using TechSmith’s Snagit tool. Been using that for about 9 years now, we’ve created more than a thousand videos. But I’ve been looking at some other options that have a few more compelling features. I’ll probably continue to use Snagit for some of the tutorial videos we write, but for videos for our clients, there’s a few options that I like a little bit better.
One called Loom has some very compelling features, the main one being that it grabs your webcam and puts your face in a small circle in the lower left corner. It’s not a big deal, but it makes your screencast a little more personal if you’re sending it to a client. I also like that Loom is a Chrome extension, so I can do it from my Chromebook, whereas Snagit and a lot of the others are Windows and Mac applications. Loom is available to use, but it’s still under development, which has some nice advantages for you, the least of which is that it’s completely free to use. There’s no premium option even available. There are a few premium features, the only way to unlock those is with referrals, which is a little weird, but gets the job done. And, again, for no cost, it’s hard to beat.
You can learn more about that at useloom.com. Another one worth considering is BombBomb.com, which has a really slick embedded gif feature where when you record a video and send it via e-mail, it will take the first few seconds of your video, turn it into an animated gif, and embed that in the e-mail, so when the e-mail pops up, it’ll look like your video is in there. There’s really no way to truly embed a video in an e-mail, but this is pretty close, and so whoever is receiving the e-mail will see what looks like a video, sort of, with a play button on it, they can click that, and then it will run them out to the site to play the full video. So, it’s a good way to really let people know that there’s a video in there that they need to watch. It’s a great alternative to consider. The one downside of BombBomb is, it starts around $50 per month, per user. So if you have a small team, that could add up pretty quick.
Many of you may be familiar with Brian Krogsgard of Post Status. He has a great website and blog, and a lot of wonderful resources for WordPress, and he has an event coming to Atlanta in August. August 3rd and 4th, with a lot of great speakers, including Rachel Baker, Gabe Mayes, Chris Lema, some names you may have heard of, called Post Status Publish. I encourage you to check it out at poststatus.com/publish. If you’ve attended a WordCamp or similar event, you’ll know that some of the best things you learn are from the “hallway track”. The time you spend in between sessions, talking to people, making new friends, making new business acquaintances.
That’s what Brian is trying to do here, is to bring the hallway track to the main stage. Make it all about those relationships, and getting to know people and learn, and all come out better for it. So, again, you go to poststatus.com/publish to learn about the event. The cost is $249 if you’re a member of the Post Status club of his, or $349 for non members. So, check that out, and if you’re in the Atlanta area, I’d love to see you there.
Lastly, we have our tip of the week, and this week it’s about Gmail. I’m a big fan of Gmail and the G Suite, and there’s a little feature in there that a lot of people don’t know about, where you can make different e-mail addresses out of your one address. Two ways to do that. One is with periods. You see some people that say, my e-mail address is mickey.mellen@gmail, for example. The dot is irrelevant. It can have a dot, or have a bunch of dots, or have no dots.
So, in my case, I’m firstname.lastname@example.org, but I could also be email@example.com, it’ll get to me, or it could be firstname.lastname@example.org, it’ll still get to me. You can use this to your advantage to sign up for mailing lists and other things with slightly different versions of your address, and then have filters set up to catch those. Even better though, is with Gmail, you can put a plus sign at the end of your e-mail address, and add other characters to that, and it’ll still get to you.
So, for example, I could send an e-mail to email@example.com, and I could know that’s any spam mailing list I signed up for. Or, mickmel+WordPress@gmail.com, and have any WordPress related stuff directed to that. The advantage there, again, is you can set up a filter inside of Gmail saying hey, if anything comes to mickmel+WordPress@gmail.com, then have it go into this special folder for me, and automatically categorize it. This also means you could sign up for mailing lists and stuff, you can have mickmail+mailinglist, for example, and use that to sign up for mailing lists. The e-mails still come to firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can use that to filter the e-mail with any label that I want.
So, that’s it for today. You can find me on Twitter @mickmel, m-i-c-k-m-e-l, or learn lots more about us at greenmellenmedia.com. You can learn more about the podcast, including show notes and links, at abrighterweb.com, or on Facebook, or Twitter @ABrighterWeb. Thanks for listening.