Improved Content Monitoring!

Two new features in TWO DAYS.. what is this new year NEW ME?

When we launched custom content extraction in 2017, I was always a bit annoyed by the ‘pain in the arse’ it was to use, sure it was an excellent feature but we made the user load up a tab and copy the xPath manually.

Since that launch we’ve had ‘make content extraction less shi of a pain to do’ but as things tend to do, other features and improvements got in the way.

BUT NOT TODAY… BOOM!

That’s right you can use our Interactive wizard to monitor as many elements on the page as you’d like and get change monitoring on each of those.

But DOM I hear you say, getting an email EVERYTIME that changes is going to flood my inbox with a lot of useless notifications.

Well random blog reader you are correct and that is why on each content extraction you can use our advanced options to only get notified if for instance a certain word or number isn’t present.

We’ve still got a lot more coming to Little Warden and some quality of life improvements that we are looking forward to sharing (but don’t be expecting a new feature every day!)

Already a Little Warden Customer?
Head over to the Custom Content check and click Use the Wizard!

Not already part of the Little Warden Family?
Wow, that hurts a lot, why not take a look at our free trial and treat yourself!

Thank you and have a great day

Dom

Core Web Vitals Monitoring

Today we are launching the ability to monitor your Core Web Vitals on both mobile AND desktop with Little Warden!

Screenshot from https://web.dev

What are Core Web Vitals?
Well they are some of the elements that Google is pushing to for people to keep and eye on to make the web faster (there is also a bit of chat about this becoming a ranking factor)

No, I mean what the hell does Largest Content Paint mean?
Yeah, those names are a bit.. wow but at it’s basic core LCP means enough of the page content has loaded that the page can be deemed ‘useful’

What am I notified on?
At the moment in this initial launch, you will be notified if a URL crosses one of the pre detemined boundries listed above, once we’ve launched and the dust has settled you’ll be able to get notified on things like % change as well.

When can I use it?
How quickly can you login to Little Warden?

I don’t have a Little Warden Account
Then this seems like the perfect time to signup for a trial!

We should have another announcement or two by the end of the week, so keep your eyes peeled!

Thanks

Dom

A Little Warden Free Trial!

After months and months years of prompting by our good friends at Sitebulb, today we are switching things up and offering an optional free trial for people to give Little Warden a go. 

When you sign up now you are given the option of paying for your account (which is certainly our preference) or you can take a 14 day trial and explore the features of Little Warden.

A trail account will get similar resources to a small team but there is one exception You cannot sign up for a free trial with a gmail or other free provider account (we’ve been burned with these before).

Other than that, all account functionality is active, as we dip our toe into this new option for people, we WILL be monitoring for abuse but fingers crossed you people on the internet will be nice, signup for a trial and realise hey, this thing is great!

As usual, any questions send us an email or tweet @littlewardenapp

Introducing Teams!

Whenever you launch a startup with a small team you have to make feature sacrifices, things that you can ‘build in later’ and when building Little Warden, Teams / Additional users was one of them.

Last year during the global pandemic (remember that, I’m glad that’s over and done with) we decided to implement them but it turns out, that’s a lot harder than you think!

Introducing Teams for Little Warden

Here is what you get

  • Individual logins and passwords (no more swapping post it notes!)
  • Granular access levels limiting actions or projects 

Here is what you don’t get

  • Per member pricing – Unlimited Users included on all packages (apart from freelancer)
  • Team Members cannot modify billing.

How it works

When you create a team member in Little Warden you give them a role, that role has specific abilities and access rights, you can have as many roles as you want, but typically during our testing, most companies have let all users have full access to everything.

What about notification emails already in the system

This was a difficult one I’ll be honest, whilst the original plan was just to instantly convert them into team members, we’d have to assume permissions for all of our accounts and that’s just not possible. 

So anyone that is a notification user will get an email allowed them to request Conversion into a team member, when this is clicked, the account owner gets a notification and a direct link to give the user a role.

I wish we could solve this easier but we couldn’t and once everyone is upgraded it won’t be a problem anymore!

As usual, everyone on the team is invited to a quick one2one walk through of the system and capabilities, there will be a direct booking link in your invitation email!

Project Stardust Update – Meta Title, Description and Slack Changes!

Hello on Day 450 of April, I’m not saying the lockdown has started to affect us but I’ve created my own co-working space from Scarlett’s toys

Let me tell you, Spot the Dog NEVER shuts up about how he’s ‘smashing it’

If you’ve been following along with our Little Updates (and let’s be honest, you’ve not, why would you, before the lockdown you had better things to do with your time!) you’ll know that today was the day we were meant to fly out for our big family trip to all the Asian Disney parks.

It was clear a while ago that it wasn’t going to happen but we always knew that this day would bring some sadness of what could have been

You know what they say

The best way to get over having to cancel a once-in-a-lifetime holiday that you’ve been planning for two years is to launch a new feature on your website

They

And that’s exactly what we’ve done! Not only that but in this time of cutbacks and austerity we are giving you DOUBLE the updates… that’s right TWO new bits of functionality

Project Stardust

As I mentioned in the last Little Update (you are reading them right?), we’ve taken some time to build an internal dashboard that monitors usage of certain features and functionality. This lets us see when/where things are going wrong (mainly to work out which of our lovely crafted features you aren’t using and work out how to force encourage you to use them).

We’ve been using that information to improve user flow, fix bugs and plan our development. A big part of this is something we call Project Stardust

Project Stardust is our effort to hold off on new fancy features and focus on improving the functionality of current checks, making them more useful and configurable. This started a few weeks ago with Domain and SSL expiration and we expect it to take most of the summer to get through each check

Project Stardust is important to us because Little Warden isn’t just a software product; it is a big part of our lives and we want to make sure as many people as possible are not only signed up to LW (I mean we’ve gotta pay for those cancelled Disney trips somehow!) but also that it is providing as much value as possible to them.

We started to think about the context that we were sending notifications. It was clear that, for a few clients, the amount of Slack messages they were receiving would easily turn LW from a ‘oh something has gone wrong’ to a ‘oh that’s always sending messages, just ignore it’ and that is something we are constantly trying to improve (and we’d love any suggestions you have)

Title tag and meta description changes

Pretty soon after we launched, we asked what checks people would like and overwhelmingly the crowd shouted: Title Tag Change detection and judging by the fact that over 70% of our URLS have it enabled, you REALLY care about those title tags!

But it turns out some title tags change A LOT and this is a significant cause of notifications for people so rather than only email you EVERY TIME a change is made to a title tag, you now have a few more options

Little Warden can notify you when

  • A certain word or phrase appears or disappears from the title tag;
  • The title tag goes above or below a certain amount of characters;
  • The title tag contains a number which is above, below or equal another number;
  • The title tag is blank;
  • The title tag matchs or does not match a regular expression;
  • The title tag changes (we’ve kept that in for people);

These changes are live right now for you to use, we are still working on adding them to our add and mass edit process but that will be coming soon

Slack Updates

Until we implemented our monitoring system, we actually had no idea JUST how many Slack messages we were sending out (I know some of you analytics people are cringing at this but the downside of a small team is that you have to prioritise).

Once we realised just how many we were sending, we started looking into what we were sending and how and after a few hours of monitoring we noticed that a few customers were getting double notifications and we managed to fix that in a few minutes (the benefit of a small team is that you can act quickly)

Today we’ve launched changes to the way that we display Slack messages, making them much more context aware (previously we would send you a Slack message saying your SSL certificate expires in 452 days! Which looks confusing without the context that it had just switched from DANGER as it was 2 days away from expiration!).

We’ve also stopped sending Slack notifications when you initially add the sites to LW. We were finding that customers were adding hundreds of sites and Slack was bombarding them with issues (and now with our issues solver being part of the add site process, many customers are sorting issues as part of the add process!).

There are a few more nice things in the pipeline for Slack which we are really looking forward to sharing with you but for now, I’ve got to get back to moping about not having a photo with Mickey Mouse

Have a magical day

Dom, Heather, Scarlett and Robot Dom

You want Projects? You’ve got Projects

ANOTHER blog post this week, We really are on fire!

We get a LOT of feature requests at Little Warden and generally they are great ones and we want to build them as soon as we can.

With some feature requests, we know exactly what people want from them and we can implement as soon as the schedule allows, like our Google Sheets Integration.

However some features are a bit more diffcult to either implement or understand the use case, we often get requests for Google Data Studio integration but we’ve yet to have a customer tell us exactly what data they want and how they’d use it!

Introducing Projects (lite)

Projects are a lot like Google Data Studio, it’s not that it’s a difficult feature to build, it’s just that Projects mean so many different things to different people and we could spend months building an all-in solution of how we want people to use projects when based on previous experience, it doesn’t matter how WE want people to use features, they will tell us how they use it.

So today we are launching a very light implementation of Projects, you can add/remove URLs to a project and they act as a search filter.

URLs can only be added to one project but you can have URLs from the same site in different projects.

Once we’ve got feedback and useage stats from this feature, we can start implementing some of the advanced functionaility such as project rulesets and notifications but we wanted to get this first step live quickly

One of the downsides of being a small team is you have to prioritise so this feature (which has been requested a fair amount) has taken a bit of time for us to get to.

I hope you’ll get value out of Projects and feedback to us what you’d like to see. We do listen!

Thanks a lot

Dom

Adding URLs Just Got Better!

At Little Warden, we like to ask what our customers love and hate about the service, it could be via email, Skype, Survey or shouting at them from across the room at conferences.

The two largest issues people have had with Little Warden recently are Adding URLs is complicated and I only want Little Warden to notify me in THESE specific circumstances.

Now, being a small development team we can only work on one large thing at once, we’ve been working on the Adding URLs is complicated to make it easier, so here it is.

Step One – Add Your URLs

Nice and simple

We’ve made this nice and simple, a large box for you to just paste everything you want to track in.

Step Two – Select your settings

Now here it gets interesting! You can carry on just using your default settings (which are displayed in the box) OR you can use some previously “Saved Settings” (ooh that’s a new feature, yes, yes it is) or you can select all the settings from scratch again.

Let’s do that

Step Three – Choose your Checks

We redesigned this page a few weeks ago to make it easier to read and configure so we won’t spend too much time on it, just know that we’ve done it so it’s easier to add more checks down the line (hint hint)

Step Four – Advanced Settings

Now this bit is a little bit complicated BUT you only have to do it once per setting!

With this page, we are starting to tackle some of the common things with LW that people react to differently (mostly redirects) so we are giving you the choice to say, how do you want Little Warden to handle them?

You can also edit the notification settings and page load settings directly from here.

Step Five – Savin’ and Namin’

Last up, we can now make the settings we’ve chosen the default and give them a name for later (i.e. important sites we care about checks)

Step Six – gogogogo

and that’s it, you are done.

Outro

For the first time ever you can now have several different saved settings which save different things such as notification emails, custom content settings and page load type.

We’ve got a few more enchanments of this sytem coming in the next week or two *cough* projects *cough* editing settings *cough* before we move onto the next big issue for our customers, Granular Notification Settings.. wow that just sounds exciting doesn’t it.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Dom


URL Policy Change

tldr; From next week, when you add a URL to Little Warden if the host url (domain or subdomain) isn’t in your monitor list, we will automatically add it, this is to aid future development and stop duplicate notifications.

Long explanation.

Wow, two blog posts in a week! Let’s not expect this pace for the rest of the year!

When we first created Little Warden (on a Cruise Ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean) we invisioned a product which JUST monitored domain names for certain issues..

Fast forward two and a half years and we’ve thousands of URLs now monitored on a URL level…. which is fine (let’s face it, it lets us sell bigger packages) but also it means sometimes we have to work around that initial database design to make it work.

One of the main issues we’ve had since adding URLs has been notifications on certain checks like Whois and robots.txt which are at domain or subdomain level, we’ve made it too easy for people to accidentally enable them on thousands of URLs.

Initially we didn’t think of this scenario and did a a terrible job sending them multiple alerts but for the most part we’ve managed to stop this and work around it BUT that workaround was always short term and a combination of feedback to our latest customer survey (you should fill it in btw) and over Christmas we took some time to map out what the issues were with it and what we wanted to do.

So from next week, some checks will ONLY be enabled on the Host (the Root domain or subdomain)

  • Domain Name Expiration
  • SSL Expiration
  • Nameservers
  • MX Records
  • Robots.txt

(Now it’s the internet so there are bound to be some edge cases where your scenario is different, get in touch if that breaks your usage)

Looking at our current customer list, this only affects about 6 customers in total and only adds one or two URLs to their usage so we could have properly gotten away with it by sneaking it in.. but that’s not how we work at Little Warden (plus… gotta write some content)

I’ll send a tweet when this goes live and who knows, it might even be in the next newsletter!

Have a great day

Dom

New Feature: Outstanding Issues

You know when you have a good idea for a feature and think it will work and everyone will love it and then you launch it and it turns out nobody cares.

That’s Patrol Reports! and they are GONE! outta here, vamoose

Instead we’ve replaced it with our Outstanding issues solver and it has some lovely features that we think you’ll enjoy.

Each issue is displayed in a handy interface which allows you to quickly manage some actions on each issue.

  • Forward Issue – Allows you to send the issue and a detailed log to an email address so they can help solve the problem.
  • Configure Check – You can quickly configure and ensure the check is expecting the correct response.
  • Mute Check – You can mute the issue for one week and we won’t message you about it, this helps if the team is working on it and it won’t be fixed quickly.
  • Disable Check – if this check isn’t relevant, then you can quickly and easily disable it.

Probably the biggest aspect of this feature is that we’ve grouped the same issue on URLs on the same domain together so you only handle them once!

This brand new feature is LIVE now at https://littlewarden.com/outstanding-issue and you can get started straight away!

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