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

Little Update #1

We’ve been told that we need to create ‘good content’ in order to ‘build a relationship’ and ‘generate leads’ but I can’t think of anything to write about, so I’ll just look at the commit logs and tell you what we’ve deployed as well as some of the stuff we’ve been up to outside of work and if you don’t read it then it’s your own choice.

Little Updates

  • When adding new URLs we now end with dynamically loading the outstanding issues wizard for those issues.
  • Fixed a spelling mistake on the homepage that nobody told us about (or noticed) for three months.
  • Launched the brand new onboarding system for users to give them good introduction to Litle Warden
  • We now display the Google Sheet link on the main sidebar
  • Each email sent has a ‘report issue’ button to allow you to directly let us know if there is an issue with a response we’ve given
  • Added some pricing prompting to show what we mean by a URL
  • Registered a timeout as a DANGER error in some circumstances that we were not picking them up

What’s Next?

The next thing for Little Warden is to improve the way users add URLs to the system, we’ve designed a brand new wizard with some MUCH requested features (did someone say Projects? what about saved checked states?)

Obviously this is quite a big change and since Heather won’t let me touch any of the code (after the last time), I’ll keep you updated on the progress

Family Updates

  • After a lovely Christmas Scarlett is glad to be back at Nursery and is very excited about her Birthday next month (she wants a Unicorn cake)
  • Dom finally completed a none-Mario game (He finished the latest Zelda on New Years Day)
  • Heather finished watching the Crown series three and The Witcher and enjoyed them both.

Next Family Trip?

We will be heading to Disneyland Paris for a few days at the end of February to celebrate Scarlett’s birthday, Laptops, iPads and phones are taken so as usual, support is still available but any code fixes might have to wait until we’ve got back.

LittleShoutOut

This is where we try and highlight something every week that we didn’t create in the hope it gets some attention from other people (and they aren’t a usually a client so THIS ISN’T A PAID LINK JOHN..

This week we’d like to give a shoutout to Mobe Digital, Maret recently set up on her own doing Hubspot training and whilst I panic at the thought of using Hubspot, she tells me it’s very good.

If you or your team is using or considering using Hubspot, give her a call.

That’s a wrap!

Until next time (which based on the current output of the blog posts will be in mid-March.

Thanks

Real Dom, Heather, Scarlett and relucantly Robot 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

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!

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!