New Feature – Related URLs

We are always trying to be a little bit smarter at Little Warden, we’ve several projects on the go at the moment trying to estimate which actions you want to take on a specific domain name to reduce your setup time.

Whilst we train the machines to slowly replace us, we’ve launched a stopgap feature called Related URLs

Related URLs 

Now when you go into a URL page, you’ll see an extra button (I know, I know the UX needs a bit of work but one step at a time)

Clicking that button takes you to a special page which allows you to select the type of relation to the website

Redirect URLs – These are URLs that should redirect to the root domain (such as trademark domains, geodomains and previous brand names)

Staging / Test URLs – These are URLs for development or testing of the original URL, they should not be indexable by search engines

By using these Related URLs, we can set some custom configuration on checks such as URL redirect and indexability.

We will be adding more related URL functionality as it’s requested (so keep your feedback coming)  

If you’ve been thinking about signing up to Little Warden but haven’t quite gotten around to it, take a look at our website at about midday today for a sneaky special offer 😉 

Why have 1 announcement? When you can have 3!

It’s an exciting day here at LW and we’ve got three announcements here to go! How lucky are you??

Little Warden’s new look

First up Little Warden has a brand new look and it looks smashing!

After months of planning, notes and a design brief which partly said ‘the current marketing site is bodged together, please help us’. We’ve been working with designer  Joe Rutland on breathing life into our marketing site and we are really really pleased with the result (although we highly recommend Joe, we ask you don’t send TOO much work his way as we need him to work on some more stuff for us soon)

Better Slack Integration

The Little Warden Slack integration is one of the most popular ways of being informed about Little Warden updates, today we’ve taken that one step further and are pleased to say that  Robot Dom can now join you directly into your slack room allowing you to manage almost all of the Little Warden daily jobs directly from your chat.

You can read the full Slack command list or just head over to the notification sections inside your control panel and get started!.

Domain/ SSL Expiration Calendar Feeds

A few weeks ago I was listening to the Startups for the rest of us Podcast when one of the hosts mentioned that he has a calendar with all his domain renewals on that he manages manually but it didn’t scale very well…

So we contacted him and now he uses Little Warden.

but it did get us thinking.. that’s not a bad idea at all..

So now you can head over to the renewal report page. and get a direct iCal feed to import into your calendar of choice (make sure you add it as a feed rather than a file and PLEASE don’t check for changes more than every hour) 

We’ve got some more news and other exciting things to share soon but it’s 10pm and we are going to celebrate with a cider and picking up all of Scarlett’s toys off the living room floor.

Thanks and have a magical day

Dom, Heather (and Scarlett but she is in bed)

Introducing Zapier Integration and Webhooks!

Today we are VERY excited to launch not one… but TWO of our most requested features from our more ‘technical‘ users.

Zapier Integration

We get feature requests all the time (okay, maybe once a month) asking us to ‘integrate with x’ or ‘it would be great if you could y’ and with a small team, it’s just not possible to keep up with API changes and updates (and to be honest we wouldn’t get anything done)

So we started looking at what to integrate as a third party and we narrowed it down to two websites Zapier and IFFT.. We spent a long time looking at the pros and cons of each service including userbase, our current customer’s preference, API docs, ease of integration and then looked that Zapier was free but IFFT wanted to charge us to integrate so Zapier won!

Zapier has thousands of integrations with services and with it, Little Warden becomes much more powerful one of the most common test cases we see is the ability to send notifications directly into Google Sheets, Trello, Asana or other project management tools.

We are currently in the ‘invite only’ stage which means we have to prove to Zapier that we are a real company and people want to use us but login to notification preferences now and give it a go!

Webhook notifications

Another feature requested by our technical users is the ability for us to send a webhook to a URL on any change or notification.

We send a JSON payload with the following schema;

{
  "title": "The URL status check returns a 200 status code",
  "text": "<p>The URL https://www.agenericdomainname.com should return a status code of <strong>200 OK</strong></p><p>Which it does so that's all good!</p>",
  "type": "url-check",
  "status": "all good",
  "url": "https://www.agenericdomainname.com",
  "direct_link": "https://littlewarden.com/sites/<site_id>"
}

 

That is now live with some sample code, you’ll find it under Notification Settings.

We’ve got another bumper update coming in the next week or two so keep subscribed to the blog (and awesome twitter account)

Thanks and have a magical day

Dom

Launched – a Slightly tweaked control panel

When we came up with the concept for Little Warden, we planned that each person would add the Root URL and maybe a few subdomains and so we planned the backend and frontend to match this.

Well, it turns out there is a reason that all the startup books tell you to interview your customer base before you start to build stuff. 

Turns out that Little Warden users like tracking pages as well as root domains and some of them like tracking 5000 or more pages on a single domain.

This has proved… interesting from a product perspective and whilst we’ve managed to make the product ‘work’ with this many URLs.. it wasn’t a great experience and certainly doesn’t fit in with the four keys that we try and run the company by.

Well, today I’d like to announce that we’ve launched the refresh of our internal system which means that URLs are grouped by domain or subdomain and you can quickly modify the checks and settings on a mass scale!

A change to our Search Console Importing

Today we’ve pushed out a small tweak to how we import URLs from Search Console.

The change comes down to how Google views ‘sites’ in Search Console for example;

  • http://example.com
  • http://www.example.com
  • https://www.example.com
  • https://example.com

These URLs would all be considered separate sites with GSC (or WMT as all the cool kids call it) and if we import 4 sites for the same URL then that just becomes a pain in the arse for everyone involved.

As far as Little Warden is concerned.. if you added the https:// version which renders, we check all the other URLs by default so there is no need to add them.

So from now on, we don’t import them automatically we just pick the one which renders and import that one (you can force these to be importing by switching auto sync to manual checks).

 

 

Papa’s Got A Brand New Changelog

Over the past few weeks, as well as eating cake and sponsoring conferences, we’ve been working on some backend changes to our system to enable things like hourly checking.

BUT it’s been a while since we launched anything VISUAL so I’d like to present to your our latest update – Recent Changes is now colour coded and in a timeline.

But Dom?

I hear you ask 

This is just a Balsamiq mockup of the feature and not a screenshot of the application in situ

A very good point.

and?

Well, If I wanted a screenshot of the website I’d either have to redact some customer data OR spend a few hours mocking up some fake changes on some generic websites and to be honest, not enough people read this blog to make it worthwhile and the mockup looks pretty close to the final feature

Well that makes total sense, thank you for your reasonable answer, I shall go and look at that feature now

No problem.

So head on over to https://littlewarden.com/change-history and see whats happening. This report will also update your daily changelog to make it a bit easier to see and understand.

Happy Birthday Little Warden!

About a year ago we launched Little Warden to the public. So this week we had a little party to celebrate.

(Whilst we don’t have the marketing budget for big fancy parties we can invite all our customers to, we do have enough money to buy discounted party tat from Poundland and a caterpillar cake)

What a year it’s been for us, we’ve had over 20 feature launches, some simply wonderful tweets, mentions at conferences all around the world, sponsored a podcast and a conference and spent good marketing money on stupid stuff on Fiverr.

We (Heather, Scarlett and I) would like to thank every single one of our customers for their support, feedback and suggestions over the last year, we read every single tweet, email and live chat (well Scarlett doesn’t but we read the good ones out to her) and they really do mean so much to our family.

But more importantly, it wouldn’t be a birthday celebration without presents so here is ours.

Hourly checks are now enabled for everyone!

We’ve been testing this for a while now (mainly for scale) but when you add sites now, you get the option of checking hourly instead of daily, this feature suggestion has been one of the loudest we’ve received from customers since we started and now we feel confident in enabling it to all our customers at no extra cost. (we did initially think about doing this as an add-on, but that would have been a shit birthday present) 

So what’s next?

We’ve got plenty set to launch in the next few weeks

  • A brand new website! (we had hoped to launch this for our Birthday but it turns out writing interesting marketing copy about rel=’canonical’ changes is hard)
  • Some UX and speed improvements in the application (Including the ability to mass-change checks on multiple URLs)
  • A Little Warden podcast (because what you needed to hear was more of me)
  • More Checks! (yep, the aim is to have 40 selectable checks by the end of the year)
  • More charity fundraising (like the Penguin Awards! Remember to get involved with those please!)
  • More event speaking (I’m speaking in September at BrightonSEO but I’m hoping to get a few more events in between, if you have an event and want a part time coder / part time comedian  to do a talk, get in touch.)
  • More family photos. (obviously)

So with plenty more to come, it’s time to put a close on year one.. and look forward to year two.

Thank you so much and have a magical day

Love

Dom, Heather and Scarlett.

P.S. if you’d like to get US a birthday present, there are three ideas;

  • If you are a customer, please consider sending a tweet that we can add to our testimonials page.
  • If you are a digital agency or work in digital, please consider entering the Penguin Awards, they are 100% for charity and I’d like to raise £7500 this year. 
  • If neither of those applies, we have a Just Giving page for the ‘stupid runs’ Dom is going to do this year (including one this weekend), please consider donating some scratch for Martin House Children’s Hospice.

 

 

Little Warden at #searchleeds

Last week we were proud to sponsor our first conference Search Leeds (having previously only sponsored a Rugby League Podcastand we survived to tell the tale!

This isn’t a review of the conference such as quality of the speakers, talks or even what any of the rooms looked like, as I spent most of the day on our table shilling our product to strangers but here is a bit of a run through of what we did.

With the help of Chris Lumb (as seen on Russel Howards Good News), We set up our stand for the day with various assortments of leaflets and giveaways (or as I like to call it – Conference tat)

We’d also put something a little special in each of the delegate bags, Haribo. we’ve been to enough conferences to know that everyone gives away pens and stickers.. but not too many people are willing to staple a business card to a pack of Haribo, especially not with over 1000 bags.

(I have a very very understanding wife)

But that’s the thing with Little Warden, we may not have the budget to give out Free Beer like SOME SPONSORS but we do have the budget to jump on the bandwagon and try and be entertaining.

It was lovely to speak to people about Little Warden, many of whom had no idea we existed (It’s as if my nearly 5000 twitter followers don’t immediately retweet everything I post)

Will we continue event sponsoring? I honestly don’t know yet, we spent a fair bit on tat, banner stands and tablecloths for this one so we will have to look to see if anyone signs up (hint.. please signup)

 

 

$50 on Fiverr – Viral Video (The Finale)

This is the final part in our $50 on Fiverr series, where we try to get our online marketing up to scratch by spending our ENTIRE budget on Fiverr, before we start you might want to start at the introduction.

Everybody wants to be a viral sensation these days, not everyone can get the videos of Charlie bit my finger, Gangnam Style or the newly released Royal Wedding Bad Lip Reading.

But I have a crisp $5 note (and $0.30 in processing fees) that says that we can create a viral video JUST AS GOOD.

Choosing the Seller

We actually started looking for this job when we first started the campaign, after all Fiverr has a viral videos section.

After a bit of searching (a lot of these are just a single video with the option to superimpose your logo on something which is not what we wanted at all) we found

How could you not!

I decided to break the rules of the challenge with this one and go for the Standard package and get the logo on the bottom of the ‘pie’.

Ordering Process

For once they didn’t ask us about the industry sector.

How many pies do you want? ($5 per pie)
If you have a short message, would you like it to be said before or after the pie hits?

A message or logo at the bottom of the pie is an additional $5.
A script to be said in the video is an additional $5.
Music in the background is an additional $5.

1 Pie please

Message after the pie – At Little Warden, we don’t know how to do AdWords retargetting, but we do know how to pay $10 for someone to get a pie in the face

Logo is here – https://littlewarden.com/assets/dark_logo_transparent@2x-5debe289aa4b4b9be1b0cf5e300a85fabbf75764e43074259c55734ddba061d7.png

Thank you 🙂

And then we waited.

A day later we got an update!

Brilliant, this pie in the sky idea is going to happen! We are going to be a VIRAL SENSATION!.

Then we got another update.

Wait, what? who the hell is Brad and why is he so busy all of a sudden? Are you Brads manager? did he get a better gig? someone needs him for an urgent pie to the face gig in LA and it could lead to big stuff?

*sigh* Right.. let’s start this again.

There are a fair number of pie to the face jobs on Fiverr but one stood out..

Bingo!

I won’t paste the conversation but after a SLIGHT delay, we got our video and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for

And thats the end of our $50 on Fiverr series, if you’ve enjoyed it, consider buying our product so we’ve got the money to do stupid stuff like this in future, or at least join the mailing list.

We’ve got plenty of stuff planned including a new marketing campaign in a few weeks but we’ve got to take some time to concentrate on preparing for our first birthday (and the Penguin Awards)!