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

Disneyland Paris advice for attendees of Search Y

There is an SEO conference in Disneyland Paris this weekend and I’ve not been invited to speak… Almost all of my search presentations involve Disney and this would be the one ligitimate conference where it’s relevant!

I am gutted.

But that’s not going to stop me from giving you a quick Disneyland Paris Primer to make sure you get the most out of your post conference activities

Disneyland Paris is two parks and a Shopping / Dining village, these parks are smaller than their American counterparts but still have their own charm,

The most common question I’ve been asked by speakers is “what rides I go on” so let’s try and answer that and a few other questions

Disneyland Park

Notable Attractions

  • Phantom Manor  (closed for refurb)
  • Space Mountain* – ( In the dark coaster)
  • Star Tours* – (Star wars based motion simulator)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean* – (Water base dark ride which inspired the films)
  • Indiana Jones* – (Standard off the shelf coaster, nothing special)
  • Big Thunder Mountain* – Runaway mine train, probably the best version out of all the Disneys
  • It’s a small world – if you come to Disneyland and don’t go on this… what is wrong with you.

Walt Disney Studios

Notable Attractions

  • Crush’s Coaster – (Closed for Refurb)
  • Ratatouille* – Just do this one (soon to be copied in WDW’s Epcot)
  • Aerosmith* – Indoor coaster
  • Lights Motors Action – Car based stunt show
  • RC Racer – Half pipe car coaster
  • Tower of Terror – world famous drop attraction

(These recommendations are based on a solo traveller without any children, if you are bringing kids, let me know and I’ll recommend some different plans)

Other things to notes

Fastpass

Disneyland Paris has a Fastpass system which is free to use, if a ride has a large queue, you can go to a Fastpass machine, put in your park ticket and it will give you a time to come back (the attractions above with * all have Fastpass)

You can have one fastpass every hour or so but some of the top rides run out of Fastpass quickly)

If money isn’t a problem and you are short on time, Disneyland Paris have recently introduced a paid fastpass which allows you to skip the queue on one or all the rides, once or unlimited times throughout the day.

Parades & Special Events

It’s currently Star Wars time at Walt Disney Studios park has special things throughout the day with marches from the First Order and Legends of a Galaxy Far, Far Away featuring some of the best characters from the galaxy as well as some special photo opportunites (this week it’s Chewbacca) .

Disneyland Park has it’s usual Stars on Parade parade which is well worth seeing if you have time.

Evening Shows

At the end of the evening, Disneyland Park has a ‘kiss goodnight’ show, now I will warn you, this won’t be an all singing, all dancing fireworks spectacle of its American cousins (there are people that live too close to DLP with noise complaints about that) but they have some wonderful projection mapping and water effects (without spoiling)

Walt Disney Studios usually closes earlier and at this current time has a Star Wars based show which has some impressive mapping.

I hope this helps anyone attending if any anyone would like any more advice or has any questions, @thehodge on twitter @ukdisdad on instagram

Our First Twitter Ads Test (and a weird Twitter Bug)

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s 2019 and our new year’s resolution is to double the number of customers we have (We’ve a family trip to Disneyland Tokyo planned). This means looking into alternative sources of traffic and leads, no more can I rely on “witty bantz” from Twitter or going to BrightonSEO and shouting at random people that they’ve not bought my product (this has worked in the past but it doesn’t scale) No, not this year, this year is the year we do some PPC properly. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Bing, PornHub… If there are ads available, I’m gonna give it a go. So we started with Twitter, everyones favourite way to avoid ‘proper work’ and invest in a social profile. I’ve come up with a bit of a campaign (that I’m slightly proud of) that explains clearly some of the issues we solve with LW
https://twitter.com/littlewardenapp/status/1081211253572407297
I’ve created a series of about 20 of these all with different scenarios and photos (all properly licensed of course!) So when you click to see a Tweets stats, you are given the option of “Promoting a Tweet” to a wider audience.
Once you decide to promote using this method the only options given are location and budget.
So either Twitter;
  • Will show it to EVERYONE in that location the tweet (not good)
  • They will use some Machine Learning fun to work out the best people to show it in that location (maybe good)
I knocked the money spent down to the smallest amount £50 and the campaign was on the way.
As you can see, at the start of the campaign, the organic stats for the tweet were ‘okay’ considering it was Christmas week and a Friday, not our best tweet but not bad. I updated twitter throughout the day with the spend and impressions.
https://twitter.com/littlewardenapp/status/1082271786807541760
When I saw we had two likes, I was interested in the people that this campaign was targetting to our like stuff so I popped over to the tweet and saw…. no new likes. Twitter as part of the campaign was taking credit for likes we ALREADY had.
Twitter Likes Before Campaign Started
Twitter Likes After Campaign Started
You can see our blue organic likes have turned into yellow promoted likes, this is massively worrying as without a valid explanation it means I can’t trust any of the stats that I get from Twitter. I asked a few people who I know use Twitter Ads but none of them had seen anything like this before, so we kept the campaign going but kept an eye on the stats. The final stats of the campaign and what we actually got for our £50 budget.
  • Impressions – 22,854
  • Media Engagements – 164
  • Detailed Expands – 45
  • Profile Clicks – 4
  • Link Clicks – 3
  • Likes – 0 (Allegedly 3)
  • Retweets – 0
  • Replies – 0
  • Followers – 0
  • Conversions – HAHAHHAHA
So not the best use of £50 out of the company Kitty but it was worth a try, before I put anymore money into Twitter Ads though, I wanted an answer on what happened with the likes, so I contacted Twitter Ads support.
Well I tried, but you wouldn’t believe it.. the issue box only allows 280 characters! So I tried again with a much more ‘direct’ message. I received an instant auto response with a rather worrying line embedded in the middle of it.
They want me to reply with more info… but they didn’t let me give any info in the first step which feels like a massive waste of my time and an annoying way of them filtering out queries. And even if I do that, I might not even get a response! Thanks for your money but we are too busy with other customers. I replied to the email and we will see if we get a response. Next up is Facebook. UPDATE: Twitter have gotten back to my detailed question (with images and dates) with this response that basically treats me like an idiot.
Not helpful at all, I have replied to this email with a less than happy tone. SECOND UPDATE  That’s it, as far as Twitter is concerned they don’t need to answer my question. As far as I’m concerned this isn’t good enough
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