Software we use at Little Warden (2021 Edition)

Every year, I wanted to do a “Tools we use at Little Warden post” but last year got ahead of us so here is our 2021 list nice and early. 

First of all, what did we say goodbye to in 2020

Crisp
Live chat software

We turned off live chat, it wasn’t helping sales and support queries were still being sent by email. It just meant I was constantly on edge waiting for the next notification, as soon as we turned it off there was almost a sense of relief.. Also be warned if you use Crisp, their billing system will charge you for an extra month you don’t get to use, yet no amount of fact or evidence will persuade them that it is happening..

I spent over an hour on their own livechat and just gave up in the end.

Trello

Kanban style management

We’ve just not used it as much as we have before, mainly because we’ve changed the way we do planning, we are constantly looking to improve and optimise our process and maybe one day we will come back to it (although our good friend Ned is going to take us through Notion soon)

Camtasia

Screen recording software

We’ve not needed the weight of Camtasia recently, our videos comprise of small snippets of video layered with humorous (we hope) slides, when we get into larger screencasts and videos Camtasia will return to the list I’m sure.

What are the new kids on the block

Zoom

Do I even have to explain?

TickTick

Todo list app

Yes, it’s another todo list app and while it’s early days but we are enjoying the crossplatform nature of ticktick and more importantly we have a routine of adding and checking to a ticktick list. The big question is, where will it be on next years list?

CleanshotX

Screenshot / recording software

We replaced Monosnap with CleanshotX. We were finding Monosnap having issues with the latest version of OSX and discovered CleanshotX as part of the Setapp subscription which made it a no brainer!

Barrier

Open Source Software KVM

In the office I have a four monitor setup. Two for working on with my Mac, one for the LW Dashboard (more info coming soon) / our home CCTV and one for a windows PC I use for various tasks (mostly the odd game of fortnight with friends). Barrier has replaced Synergy as the software KVM which allows me to seamlessly use the same mouse and keyboard to control them all.

Glance

Lightweight CCTV Viewer

We use Glance to keep an eye on our home CCTV system, this is especially important during the Christmas Light Season as it lets you know when people are outside watching the display!

What are the staples

Balsamiq

Amazing wireframing tool

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Balsamiq is the best piece of software I’ve ever spent money on. It has been used almost every day for 10 years and almost every feature of every project gets mocked up in Balsamiq before going ahead and getting implemented

Profitwell

SaaS Profitability Metrics 

It’s been hard to look at Profitwell for the last year but that doesn’t mean we should hide from it, they provide some excellent SaaS metrics and integrate directly with your payment platform.

Canva

Macromedia Fireworks for the web

I am a terrible terrible designer, Canva covers a lot of that and allows me to mockup graphics quickly that look good.

Sublime Text Editor

Code Editor

Once again, we’ve yet to find another editor that manages large files and has the amount of plugins and functionality that Sublime does, at one point Atom Editor was looking good but that seems to have been cast off like an unwanted child compared to Visual Studio Code

Mailplane

Multiple Gmail inbox manager

I have too many GMAIL inboxes that all need individual signatures, contact lists and histories, Mailplane has allowed me to manage them all individually for years, sometimes it gets a bit excited and has a memory leak but a quick restart and we are all sorted.

SQLPro Studio

Database GUI

SQLPro Studio allows us to manage Postgres, MySQL and SQLite databases all in one, a relatively new bit of software functionality is been added all the time and there are some key things missing (such as export options) but it’s getting there.  This year we’ve seen SQLPro Studio added to the Setapp subscription

Xero
Accounting Software

Danni will kill me if I don’t put this in here.

What is in your list? Are we missing anything? Let us know!

The Penguin Awards (work from home edition)

I won’t lie, it’s been a tough few weeks here at Little Warden, the Digital Marketing industry has been decimated by budget cuts, companies folding and staff being let go.. It’s not a fun time for anyone.

In times like this, some people hide, some people heads down and focus on work and some people create stupid projects to try and make people launch

SO WE ARE BRINGING BACK THE PENGUIN AWARDS

For the next few weeks/months however long this takes, We have categories such as Best food based isolation creation, Best makeshift home office and best zoom background! to entertain you.

We’ve also got a weekly challenge that we are doing every week (this week is to create the best rainbow!)

We realise that money is tight at the moment for everyone which is why we’ve made this one pay as you feel, you can get involved with the awards without any cost!

But of course any money donated goes to the awesome folks at Martin House.

You can enter now!

Thank you, stay safe!

Love Dom

Say Hello to Robot Dom (and the new Little Warden)

Today, we are showing the world TWO new bits of design that we are VERY proud of.

Robot Dom and our new Little Warden logomark.

Robot Dom

Since we came up with the concept of Robot Dom we’ve wanted to give him a face, we’ve tried several iterations of this but it was always one of those things that ‘We don’t know what we want, but we sort of know what we don’t want

In early January I saw down and write an design document which was probably one of the strangest document I’ve ever had to write, trying to write a brief about a Robot version of yourself and thinking about what really makes you.. You.

Because of the nature of the design (and that I didn’t know what I wanted) it was the perfect opperunity to use BeeAllDesign, created by my friend Clarke, it gives you unlimited revisions on items for a monthly fee and for someone like me who has ZERO design skills, this is perfect.

Previously I’d asked them to design the UKDisDad Logo and that turned out brilliantly (a lot of the stuff I get them to design usually has a picture of me in it.. wonder if there is something in that)

Our latest Logo, with Heather and Scarlett added.

After a 18 revisions, the team at BAD have come up with a fantastic illustration of Robot Dom and I’m really pleased to introduce him to the world

There he is, the cheeky chappy.

Over the next few weeks, we will be ‘rolling’ him out across the website and social media but we couldn’t wait to introduce him to the world.

Little Warden Logomark

The next thing for us was to grow up and have our own Logo.

For the past two years we’ve survived on a generated Icon from LogoJoy, and I think it’s served us well but to be honest, it’s never been ‘ours’.

I was speaking about my issues with the logo in the On the Side Slack, I got chatting to Rachel Shillcock and it was clear that she was the one to help with this redesign.

After a painless discovery process and a few back and forth questions, we quickly came upon the foundation of what we wanted the logomark to say.

  • We wanted to keep the shield for consistancy
  • We wanted to keep a simple design but have it unique enough that you could say ‘oh that’s Little Warden’ without having the text next to it
  • We wanted the L and W on the logo (but integrated as part of the design)

With that in mind, let me introduce you to.

And put together with an updated font (that Rachel chose because I don’t know anything about fonts)

We are really really pleased with this look and hope you’ll enjoy seeing it across the website and at events in the next few weeks.

I highly recommend both BeeAllDesign and Rachel for your design and branding needs, especially if like me, you know nothing about design.

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!

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

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
If you’ve enjoyed this post, why not signup to our mailing list or even better BUY THE BLOODY PRODUCT.

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)!

 

 

 

Introducing the Penguin Awards (the Digital Marketing awards nobody asked for!)

Today I’m taking a break from feature announcements and spending money on stupid marketing tactics and are announcing a brand new event for the digital marketing world… AN AWARDS CEREMONY!  

Still with me?

The Penguin Awards are a digital marketing awards like no other, we celebrate the best (and not so best) of the industry with the aim of raising money for Charity.

Featuring categories such as

    • BEST SEO LOOKALIKE
    • BEST OFFICE DOG
    • WEIRDEST SEO CAMPAIGN
  • THE WE’VE NEVER WON AN AWARD BEFORE AWARD

And my favourite

  • BEST GIF RESPONSE

There is at least one category for everyone and with an entry fee of just £10 per entry, we want to be overwhelmed with entries, partly because we want to celebrate and have fun with the industry but more importantly

Every penny raised goes to the Martin House Children’s Hospice. That’s right, not every penny profit. Every penny given to us will go to the charity and Little Warden is covering all additional costs (website, streaming, trophies, postage)

Trophies? You want a trophy.. We’ve got trophies.. We’ve bought the BEST trophies that a ‘trophy joblot’ search on eBay has to offer and if you win, you will be the proud owner of a preloved cheerleader trophy with your name engraved over it.

Head over to www.penguinawards.com and look at the categories and if you don’t feel like entering one then we have a special category just for you, it’s called the I really really want to win this award, award and you can bid for it on eBay in a month up until an hour before the ceremony starts.

Just a quick note from me personally to say how overwhelmed I’ve been with the support from the Digital Marketing community with this event, from a stupid idea on a drive home from a gig to a weekend landing page to now having over £2000 in donations from companies sponsoring categories in less than 5 days, things like this truly bring out the best in our industry

It is SLIGHTLY annoying that this one event has now raised more than the entirety of my running last year AND I’ve already committed to running this year. Had I known I could have sacked it all off and just done a live stream awards from my house I would have done that years ago.

I really hope you will enter the awards and enjoy the live stream, every entry makes a difference and I really need to get rid of this massive amount of trophies on my desk.

I’d like to send by saying thank you to our category sponsors, Little Warden, Kerboo, Sitebulb, Accountancy Extra, Sanity Check, ClockworkTalent, Polemic Digital, 10 Yetis, Biddable Moments, Stat, SERPmetrics, Deepcrawl, Many Minds and we’ve still got a few categories left if you’d like to get involved.