A few new features!

I know what you’re thinking, Dom, nobody reads product blogs at 9pm on a Sunday evening.

Well to that I say to you, according to my stats, nobody the reads the product blog at any other time. so ha!.. I win…. I guess.

New Header Graphs

We’ve replaced the header text on the interface with something.. well actually useful.

We now have a graph showing you all the changes and the frequency in thee last 30 days and you can click the changes to go directly to the changelog at the correct time!

We’ve also added a few boxes which tell you danger and warning counts, they don’t link anywhere yet but they will once our next feature launches #tease

Tutorial

We’ve added a handy Tutorial section to the sidebar, this is designed to help you with some of the common tasks with Little Warden.. you should try and complete them, who knows what will happen 😉

Add URL page Tweaks

We’ve re-built the Add URL page to make it easier and quicker to use. It will also be much easier for when we add new checks later down the road 😉

Google Sheets Menu

Really? Does this really need to be mentioned in the product update. Yes, yes it does. We’ve made it easy to get to your Google sheet by adding it to the menu if you’ve generated one.


There are a few background tweaks we’ve been working on this weekend but we are very close to a feature update that we are very excited about!

Have a magical day

Dom, Heather and Scarlett

Announcing the Penguin Awards 2019!

That’s right, after the success of the Penguin Awards last year, they are back!

www.penguinawards.com

The Penguin Awards are an annual celebration of the lighter side of the SEO industry, with categories such as ‘best office pet’, ‘worst beard’ and ‘old search personality of the year’, this is one award you’ll want on your shelf

Dom Hodgson

As per last year entry is only £10 and ALL the entry money goes to our fundraiser for Martin House Children’s Hospice.

I’m really proud that last year with this and the running we raised £10,000 for Martin House but this year, I think we can beat that.

Please like, share and subscribe but most importantly, Enter!

New Feature : Embracing the Spreadsheet

If you just want to know about the feature, the scroll down to see the header, however if you’d like a bit of backstory, read on!

When I sit down and think of a new tool to build, the thought process often starts with, “what are people using spreadsheets for that could be easier with an app” and then set off to work.

Spreadsheets seem to be at the core of every company and there is usually a 3 year old spreadsheet with macros, vlookups and some magic that makes some core functionality of the business work.

However, there is a reason that spreadsheets are so universal, because they are EASY to start with, shareable, simple to learn and can grow with complexity as needed.

So when Declan Reilly from The SEO Works suggested that he manage the URLs and notification options in LW, I was originally skeptical…

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that we receive URLs from customers in spreadsheets all the time so why wouldn’t we do this.

So from today, when you go to add URLs to your account, you’ll be given the option of doing so via Google Sheets.

Once created, each sheet is initially locked down to the email address on the account but others can be added in settings.

When you click the sheet, you are given three tabs.

  • Source
  • Overview
  • Renewal Report

Source

This tab is the only one you are able to edit, you and your team can quickly add/remove URL’s, notification options and enable checks, this sheet is imported and updated every hour.

Just add a URL to the spreadsheet and it will be added with the default checks and notification options, if you’d like you can configure the checks more specifically

Overview

This tab gives you a quick heads up to any outstanding issues on the URLs and links directly to those URLs so you can configure the checks (or disable them).

This could look a bit prettier I know but we are trying to limit API commands

Renewal Report

This tab gives you a quick overview of domains and SSL certificates that are expiring.

Feedback from our testing team has been overwhelmingly positive and we are really really excited to ship this update to everyone for free now.

Next up we’ve got a few speed improvements to do on the backend and then another feature we’ve been excited to launch for a while.

Thanks

Dom, Heather (and Scarlett)

The Times They Are a-Chang(elog)in

One of the most important things that Little Warden does is keep an accurate changelog of the changes we’ve detected.

Recently though we’ve gone through a round of customer feedback and whilst the contents of the changelog are welcome, the visual aspect of the design needed improvement.

Feedback and comments such as

  • It hurts my eyes to look at
  • It’s very garish
  • It’s not easy to scan

And other more hurtful things. that I took wwwwwaaaaaaayy to personally.

BUT they were right, it wasn’t the best way of displaying the data and it’s time we gave that section a refresh, so it’s out with the old

and in with the new

This change is also reflected in the emails that we send out every morning.

This is the last update before our LittleTrip but we’ve got some really exciting features and UI changes ready to go live when we get back (It’s never good to launch a brand new feature then go on a cruise ship for two weeks)

Thanks and have a magical day

Dom, Heather and Scarlett

Patrol Report and Notification Changes

It’s just a few days till our LittleTrip but before we go, there are a few changes we are making due to customer feedback.

Patrol Reports

We’ve got some big changes coming tot he patrol report in June to make them much more actionable but for now we are going to stop sending monthly patrol reports by default, after a range of feedback we’ve found that the size of them is too large to actually be a worthwhile email to send and due to a bad design (sorry) they often get confused with Change Reports.

Notification Changes

From now on, we are cutting down the amount of times you are notified about certain items that are domain based, for example if your domain expires in 20 days, you now won’t receive a warning about it for every URL with that domain.

Why I hear you ask, did we do this ages ago?

The truth is, We didn’t realise how annoying it was until a customer mentioned it!

We are constantly trying to improve our emails and the accuracy, if you ever have an issue with them, please reply to them and Robot Dom will forward them onto us.

Thanks and have a magical day

Dom, Heather (and Scarlett)

We’re all going on a summer holiday

The first lines of code for Little Warden were written 2 years ago on a cruise ship (Disney of course) sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, our first ‘family holiday’.

Every evening, whilst Scarlett was sleeping in the cot, Heather and I would write the code for what would become Little Warden (and take advantage of the complimentary room service).

‘Well, after two years filled with code, blog posts and conferences, we need a proper break so it’s time for another cruise!

So in early May after spending some time in the Magic Kingdom, we’ll be setting sail on the Disney Magic Cruise Ship once more for some rest, relaxation and plenty of Mickey Waffles.

Now, this isn’t easy as a small team so whilst we’ve implemented a feature freeze for the next few weeks (ignoring one or two announcements this week) and we’re still committed to maintaining support channels.

From May 1st till May 28th – We will be disabling LiveChat, as much as we love this method of instant communication with our customers, it’s not possible whilst in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

Robot Dom will still be sending emails, slack messages and the API calls.

We will be checking in on the servers and support emails a few times a day so any issues / support tickets will be resolved (we’ve even paid for the big Wifi package on the ship)

So, if you want to follow our travels, I’m @ukdisdad on instagram (not a support channel)

See ya real soon!

Real Dom, Heather and Scarlett

NEW Feature! – Monitor your JS Rendered pages with Little Warden

Today I’m pleased to announce that Chrome rendering of pages is now in BETA and enabled for all customers, this will enable us to fully monitor sites rendered in React, Angular or anyone of the 100’s of javascript frameworks launched every week.

This obviously takes a bit more resource than our normal scans so at the moment the limits are US geolocations only and daily rather than hourly checks.

This has been one of the most requested features in our recent survey and so we are pleased to be able to launch this to you today.

It goes without saying that we love our friends in the industry but I want to take a moment and point out that this feature would NOT be possible without the help of our go-to website crawler Sitebulb, they shared the knowledge of their wonderful crawler tech and helped us get past some blocking bugs we’ve been having for months.

You can switch now to JS rendering by editing the URL options in settings.

Look out for more features and changes in response to the survey and if you’d like to contribute, there is still time to fill it in!

UK SEO Meetups List

(As part of a 'content marketing' attempt we are trying to produce content that the industry will tweet and link to I guess.. so here it is)

It’s almost conference season once more but sometimes you just want to sit back, have a drink and chat about hreflang with some other search people, that’s where regular SEO Meetups come in and we’ve got a list for you!

BristolSEO Meetup – Last Tuesday of the Month

Regular SEO meetup to discuss the latest SEO news and updates.

Cardiff SEO Meetup – Every Other Month

A meetup of SEOs in Cardiff, South Wales. Each event has a couple of talks, a site review and more. All welcome, whether you’re freelance, agency-side, in-house, a business owner who wants to learn how to do it yourself, a pro in another area of online marketing, or you’re looking to get a career in SEO. Events take place every 2 months.

Chester SEO Meetup – Irregularly

This group is for people wanting to learn more about SEO and Digital Marketing, meeting and networking with people with varied levels of experience.

SearchLondon – Every Month

Search London is a meet up group which aims to bring those who work in SEO, Social and PPC together. Events are organized every 8 wks and members are from a mixture of agency, client side and start ups. It is an excellent opportunity to meet fellow search professionals and catch up with the latest news in the industry.

Many speakers at Search London are
well known names within the industry who share their insights in the world of search.

Optimisey Cambridge SEO – Every 2 Months

Optimisey is a new meet up for all those that have ever wondered (or been asked) “How do I get to the top of Google?”

#DigitalMeetupPreston – 3rd Wednesday of the Month

This is an informal event held on the third Wednesday of each month where business owners and digital marketing (SEO, PPC, Content, Social, PR, Video, and Data) professionals (from the apprentice to the director) get together for a few drinks, chat and listen to a few digital speakers who send you away with a list of action points for you to implement.

Take It Offline (UK Wide) – Irregularly

The TakeItOffline Digital Marketing Roundtable is your chance to share knowledge, experience and best practice on the issues, trends and developments around Marketing. This is #ecomchat style digital questions we all have that you help answer! Our audiences our a diverse range of skills and expertise which hopefully added to your own will help you to formulate a plan better than Hannibal from the A-Team.

Lancashire SEO Meetup – Every Month

Come join us to chat all things SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) with like-minded people.

No selling, not pitches, just a relaxed meetup in a nice environment to talk to others about SEO. Geeks and non-geeks welcome!

We try to be as inclusive as possible, so please do let us know if we can help in any way.

SEO York – Last Wednesday of the Month

Our group is about Search Engine Optimisation, Website Performance and anything to do with Internet Marketing. Our meetup events are open for general networking with like-minded people in and around the SEO and Digital Marketing industry. Anyone can come along and get free advice and web marketing tactics.

Drink :// Digital Meetup Nottingham – First Thursday of the Month

Drink is a talking shop for anyone involved in digital – SEO, PPC, social, email, CRO, design, devlopment, content, affiliate – whatever your interest, come along and meet other people who do what you do every day. Share your problems, whinge about Google, chat about cake – whatever takes your fancy. We’ll have a quick presentation to share some cool things we’ve found in the digital marketing world recently, then it’s down to the chatting.

Pint Sized Marketing (Dublin) – Every Month

Step away from your keyboard and make great new connections at our monthly meetups. Join us for three short talks and hang out with marketers over a drink and bite in Dublin’s city centre – for free!

New Feature Alert* – Sitemap Change Monitoring

Well Okay, this one isn’t a new feature as it’s been live for about a month, I just forgot to write a blog post about it but you can now enable a check which will give you a diff of all the URLs added and removed from your sitemap.

We’ve got a couple of Little updates coming out in the next week or two as we prepare for some BIG changes (as hinted to on twitter) later on in the year. 2019 looks very exciting!

So XML Sitemap change monitoring check it out now!

Software for your SaaS company

As a small software company, we find it important to share the love and support other software that we use and love in the hopes that they continue to be successful, so here is the first

Little Warden’s Favourite Software (2019 Edition)

(with no affiliate links!)

Balsamiq

Balsamiq is my favourite bit of software ever (sorry Sitebulb)

Every single feature of Little Warden is designed within Balsamiq and then built in code, it’s probably the software I’ve spent the most time in (other than Sublime) over the last 10 years (infact this year will be my 10th year using Balsamiq)

Although they are moving towards a web based tool, I’ll try and stick to the software as much as I can as I love the responsiveness.

ProfitWell

A new entry for this year (well technically they all are, but we only started using it in 2018) ProfitWell is fast becoming one of the most helpful bits of software we use.

You signup, hookup your payment gateway and it gives you all the stats a software business needs to know, MMR, Churn, segments, growth trends and retention rate.

Did I mention all that was free?

They have a premium product called Retain which we are just about to start trying this week so will update next years list with how that goes.

Canva

I never learned to use Photoshop and I’ve never forgiven Adobe for killing Fireworks, Canva allows me to create quick images for instagram or facebook, page layouts for booklets or magazines and slides for presentations or videos.

Crisp

We’ve been using Crisp on Little Warden since the beginning and it’s helped us considerably for both support and sales. I’m always more inclined to trust a service a bit more if they have live chat and I always try and answer as soon as possible (even if this means answering support queries on my phone in the queue at Tesco). Crisp is one of the best we’ve used interface and product support wise.

Camtasia

If you are trying to do product explainer videos or walkthroughs, I believe there is no better product than Camtasia, it’s simple but powerful interface means that even a video idiot like me can put something together that’s pretty sweet.

Monosnap

Last year we switched from using a combination of Skitch and recordit for annotations of screenshots and small videos.

Monosnap is a free tool which fits into our workflow perfectly, the drag-and-drop ability to annotate and then instantly drop into a document makes it perfect for quick edits and suggestions for customers.

And it’s free (with a small IAP for cloud storage and other things)

Sublime Text Editor

We’ve been using Sublime since we started working with Ruby and it’s been a pleasure, it handles everything we throw at it including the occasional 8gb CSV file!

Sublime text is made more powerful by the packages and Package Control package manager meaning it’s extendable to almost any language and has powerful inbuilt IDE like features like git integration and on-demand runtimes for inline errors

Mailplane

If you are anything like me, you’ve amassed a collection of email addresses over a few years and if you are still like me, they are all GMail.

Mailplane allows you to manage all the inboxes in one application and not have to have separate browser window for each .

SQLPro Studio

We’ve only started to use SQLPro studio since November but already it’s proving to be value for money, it’s a really lovely interface to PostgreSQL and MySQL (and a load of other databases that we don’t care about.

Notable Mentions

These are products that we use often but are ‘larger companies’ and so don’t need as much publicity