We are releasing sh404SEF version 4.12 today, and I am very happy to announce that it includes vast improvements of 2 sh404SEF major features: the aliases manager and the short URLs (shURL) manager. Alias is the term we use in sh404SEF to talk about redirects. Why not call them redirects? well, it's mostly historical, but today, that old name choice is proving very useful as aliases can be more than just redirects. So what can you do now with sh404SEF that you could not before?
- Redirect a group of URLs in one go
- Either redirect or insert a canonical tag instead
And what about short URLs?
- You can now shorten any URL and not just URLs on your own site
sh404SEF has always had a strong redirect management, but redirecting a group of URLs was an often requested feature. It is especially useful to all of us who are a bit reluctant to jump into .htaccess files and have a hard time mastering those complicated redirects commands. It takes a long time to get them right, and they have a tendency to break your site while your work on them. Editing your .htaccess files is no longer needed for most of the common use cases. For instance, renaming a category or changing URL structure to simplify it can now be handled in a click.
And this was also an opportunity to allow for a very, very easy setup of canonical links: previously, canonical links had to be entered on a URL by URL basis. Now you can use the same simple rules to canonicalize groups of URLs. When is this useful? typically when products or articles can exist in multiple categories for example.
Here is a bit more detail and some screenshots:
Yesterday evening I had the honor and pleasure to be invited to speak about AMP as part of SiteGround Spain series of technical webinars. This was all put together by José Ramón Padrónón Padrón from SiteGround, and Carlos Camara, the well-known co-author of the "Introducción a Joomla!" book. Carlos is also on the sh404SEF and wbAMP translators team for Spanish. Many thanks to both of them.
You will find below the full video recording of the sessions, including the Q&A sessions with the audience. If you prefer the faster way, the slides are also available below, as slides or as a downloadable PDF. As you can guess, all of those are entirely in Spanish.
Much happening on the Accelerated Mobile Pages front these days. As AMP usage is expanding, and a little time has passed, I think we are now pass the initial problems of doing the AMP conversion, and getting more into the "industrial" phase of adding AMP to websites. Data confirming increased traffic all point to key point in success: AMP is all about the user experience. Display of AMP pages in Bing or Google results is very fast, but if users click on any link an those pages only to land on the slow-again standard mobile site, much of the benefit is lost.
In other words, we should strive to provide as much AMP experience as possible, and this is why from day one wbAMP let you display navigation menus, click through to AMP versions of other pages and navigate through pages of categories listing.
We have had to take the difficult decision of retiring Josetta, our translation manager for Joomla! native multilingual system. Despite the initial enthousiasm of the first years, when we created the concept and implemented it into Josetta, it failed to find a real audience and it has been a while since maintaining and supporting it has become a liability for us, rather than an asset. While I dragged my feet for quite some times, as Josetta really is something I love and that serves a real purpose, it just does not make sense to continue, considering the resources we have.
We have therefore decided to retire Josetta from January 20, 2017. Active subscribers will keep receiving support as per their subcription - or be refunded of their full subscription, if they so choose (please open a support ticket). However, no further update or bug fix will happen from this date on. Should a security issue occurs, we will fix it, though Josetta being a mature product we do not expect such thing.
It is important to note that this will have no effect on sites using Josetta. First, being licensed under the GPL, you can keep using Josetta for as long as you wish. Second, as it is a data-entry tool, not used in the actual display of a site pages, the Joomla! native multilingual system will carry on displaying your pages as before. Likewise, even if you decide to remove Josetta from your site entirely, now or in the future, no translation will be lost, as they are all safely stored in Joomla! itself (that was the beauty of the concept!).
Further to yesterday's post about my JandBeyond Accelerated Mobile Pages talk, here is more details about my second talk: Using Google Analytics and Search console to improve your site SEO. Both Analytics and Search console are great (and free of charge) tools to measure things and get great insight into your web site and visitors behavior, but very often it's hard to get past simply looking at the number of visitors or pages viewed per day. And then, what to do with that? which page should I change, and how?
In this talk, I try to outline a simple method we use here to help identify parts of the site that may need work, or actions that should be taken (such as working social networks, or adding more content), in order to be more efficient in day to day operation.
As mentioned in my last message yesterday (yes, we won an award!), I wanted to get back with more details about my talks at JandBeyond 2016, in Barcelona. I had the chance to speak twice, first about wbAMP and then about how to use Google Seach console and Analytics to improve your site results.
The wbAMP talk is an introduction to what Accelerated Mobile Pages is, why you would want to enable them, and how you can do that on your Joomla site. You will find below my slides for this talk: