In this episode we discussed Chrome 59:
WordPress 4.8 released:
Safari and Chrome to block autoplay:
Google’s explanation of duplicate content:
Google Chrome version 59 was released a few days ago. We don’t comment on every update to Chrome, because they happen all the time, but this update has some great new features for web developers that we need to dig into. Before we get into that though, this is A Brighter Web, episode number three. Brought to you by all of us 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, to free up your time to do great things. We also want to thank our sponsor, ClickHOST.com. ClickHOST provides top-rate web hosting, at prices as low as $5 a month. Visit clickhost.com/abw for an exclusive 20% off discount for listeners of A Brighter Web. That’s ClickHOST as in C-L-I-C-K. Clickhost.com/abw.
Today we’re going to talk about the great new developer features in the latest version of Google Chrome. A bit more about WordPress 4.8 that came out last week. Some updates to Apple Safari and Google Chrome coming soon that will be great for web users and some clarification from Google regarding duplicate content on the web. Let’s dig in.
As we discussed last week, WordPress 4.8 was indeed released. This was a bigger update, so most of your sites will not automatically update to it. However, there were no security patches with it. Some great features, but no security. So no need to rush and update right away. I would encourage you to get your plugins up-to-date, get a good backup in place, and run it. But we’ve updated it on hundreds on sites. No big issue so far. The pieces you’ll really notice are the new widgets, including the wysiwyg Text Widget. That lets you select bold, italic, and links in the little text widgets. Along with video, image, and audio widgets to make it easier to add those kind of elements to your site.
Apple Safari and Google Chrome both have new updates coming in the next few months that’ll be great for web users that could be a little dangerous to us that develop sites. Both of them will be blocking additional content on websites that they don’t think are in the users’ best interest. Safari will be blocking auto play videos in their High Sierra release, coming in late June. And Chrome will be begin to block particularly egregious ads. This is certainly a great step and really continues what they already do. Google, of course, already blocks sites that they think are malicious and they all block popups.
Some are worried this could be a slippery slope though to blocking other ads in the future, given that Google makes most of their revenue from ads. People are worried that they may use this to their advantage. So far though, it seems like a good thing. Google does block some of this kind of stuff on mobile already, so having your desktop browser run that much more smoothly should be a good thing. We’ll see how that evolves in the future. And if you run ads on your site, certainly keep this in mind, as Google may block those if you have ads that are particularly annoying to users. But those of you that run normal ads, some banners, or Google AdSense, you should be in good shape. At least for the foreseeable future.
If you run a website, you’re likely familiar with potential issues surrounding duplicate content. While there’s not a penalty for duplicate content per se, if you copy content from somewhere else and use it on your site, your rankings will certainly be affected. Google’s Gary Illyes is very good about answering questions on Twitter about a variety of topics and it’s nice to hear from him, just to get some official word from Google on whatever he has to say that day. At this point, he’s clarified what duplicate content really is and we have a link to that post in the show notes. But, very simply, it’s one of two things.
Someone who takes a piece of content from one site and changes it slightly on their own site, or someone that takes content from a different site and puts it on their own site with different boilerplate text around it in the header and footer, and stuff, but the chunk of text is still the same. We’ve known Google doesn’t like duplicate content for a long time, but it’s nice to get clarification directly from them on what they think duplicate content is. And as we’ve said, it’s not a penalty. Your site won’t be penalized if you have duplicate content.
The issue is, they’ll decide where the original content came from, and then any other pages that have that same content simply won’t rank well. This could be a problem for you if your site had the original content and someone steals it from you, which is why it’s important to have site maps and other things set up on your site to make sure Google knows as soon as you publish content, so they can correctly identify you as the original author of it.
And lastly, for our Tip of the Week, we’re going to talk about blog comments a little bit. If you use Jetpack, I strongly encourage you to go into the settings in the discussion tab, and there’s an option there that allows users to subscribe to your posts and comments and receive notifications via email. It’s a simple little checkbox that can make a big difference for your users. As a user on other blogs, I love seeing this checkbox, so I can go in, leave a comment, check the box, and get emailed when someone else replies, and keep that discussion going. And it really benefits both parties.
As a user, I love it because I can go back in and keep the conversation going without having to try to remember to check back on that site or leave it open in a tab. And as a website owner, it gives your users email notifications to come back to your site again. It keeps your traffic level high and engagement strong.
So if you use Jetpack on your site already, which most of you probably do, again, go to the settings, to the discussion tab, and allow users to subscribe to your posts and comments, and they’ll get those emails. The other piece in there, it’s not just comments, but it’s also posts. People can check a box to subscribe to get your posts by email. You may have that set up via MailChimp or some other means, but making it super easy for people to subscribe in whatever way is easiest for them is always a good thing.
So that’s all we have for this week. You can find me on Twitter @MickMel, M-I-C-K-M-E-L. Or, learn more at greenmellenmedia.com. You can find more about the podcast, including show notes and links at abrighterweb.com, or on Facebook, or Twitter at ABrighterWeb. If you’re in the Atlanta area, come check out our meetup this week. We’ll be talking about using Feedly, podcasts, and other tools for staying on top of news and trends. If you’re not in the Atlanta area, we’ll be posting a recap on the site soon after the meetup, so you can check it out either way. You can learn more about that at abrighterweb.com/meetup. Thanks for listening.