Detecting Fake Traffic by Fake Marketers

Ever tempted to buy a gig on Fiverr to send some traffic to your site or landing page? Just remember, if it’s “too good to be true” - it probably is. I was curious. I knew it would be fake traffic, but so many said it was a sound way of getting mentions on social media and driving traffic to your site. These were independent sources writing on reputable marketing sites too, so why would they recommend it?

Tracking Outbound Links in Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool. I think it’s often underrated and overlooked due to some of it’s UX challenges (though they are actively working on that). So I started investing more time with it. I wrote another post about tracking custom events and I’ve discovered ways to automatically track events with a short snippet of JavaScript. This tool I’m building is called Telepathic Black Panther. It’s open-source and completely free to use.

The Business Benefits of Go

People often wonder why I love Go (#golang) so much. Aside from it being one of the coolest “new” languages out there, there’s actually more sound reasons. It scales very well and it’s not that other languages don’t, but Go scales in the sense of both technical and business concerns. Go is a really safe choice for a business to build its web application. I’ll list the reasons first and then explain a little, but it mostly revolves around the fact your web application compiles to a single executable file (or sometimes even multiple binaries).

Automatically Reloading Your Golang App

I’m a huge fan of Grunt and love my JavaScript workflow with unit tests (end to end testing on occassion) and live-reload. Sure, I could use Gulp as well, but I try not to get hung up on every new flavor of the week. I’m sure I’ll get into that good stuff sometime soon and will be sure to blog about it. Great, but what about Go? I love Go and the tooling around it is aswesome, but I’m missing Grunt.

Web Scraping with Go vs. Node.js

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Let’s face it, data on the web is not standardized nor is it clean. Sometimes we need to scrape this unstructured data to enhance user experience or direct people toward information and that’s a problem. Fortunately we have more APIs these days and many sites are also adapting Open Graph tags, making better use of meta tags to help this process.

Tracking Events in Google Analytics

I’ve seen some very overly complicated Google Analytics configuration in my career. I think the most complicated and labor intensive setups is when people use Google Tag Manager. It’s a “hands off” way to setup tracking in that you can have someone do it for you without access to your web site’s code base. So that’s cool…But the cool factor wears off right there. When you setup Google Analytics using the Tag Manager you have a lot of complex rules setup and these configurations get versioned.

Flexible Service Oriented Architecture in Go

I love web application architecture. It’s my creative outlet in the sea of code and I treat it as a form of communication and expression. In my mind I even visualize it, because my mind never wants the right side useless while I find myself buried in technical code. I think the most common web app architecture we see today is MVC (model, view, controller) or even refined as ADR (action, domain, responder) as Paul Jones notes.

Spotting Early Engagement for Startups

I fish around many ideas and work with people on their own startups as well and the number one question on our minds is, “How do I get people engaged and interested?” Sometimes I feel like people give up too soon or are unwilling to adapt their idea or chase their audience. It’s also difficult to spot because at first traffic is quite low. Help, I’ve ran ads but I’m not getting any signups!

Chat Application Design

Chat applications have become quite popular these days. It used to be that us developers used IRC (internet relay chat). We still do of course, but applications such as HipChat, Slack, and Gitter are starting to slowly replace that. IRC historically had robust robots that would hang out in the channel answering questions and sending notifications. The problem was, IRC is kinda ugly. Not that we need anything pretty, but style is counting for a lot these days with developers who buy into the rock star image.

How Stripe Wins over PayPal

I’ve had such a horrible experience with PayPal recently that I thought it a good idea to share. First off, PayPal’s widely known for freezing money and all sorts of schenanigans. To be clear, I’ve never had issues with this personally. Though I do personally know folks who have had their accounts locked due to silly things like “brand association” and such (which ended up in demands from PayPal to have complete access to a company’s system!).

Buying Twitter Followers

I wouldn’t do it if I were you. While many people have noted that Twitter won’t exactly ban you for doing so (unless perhaps you generate enough media attention), it’s still not a good idea if you care about growing an audience. Sounds counter intuitive right? You might tell me, “Buying followers sounds like an amazing way to grow an audience! Look at the numbers!” Well… Here’s where I ask, do they listen or care about you?

Best Postgres Mac Apps

I’m just going to say it. I can’t find a Postgres client for OS X that I like. They’re all either ugly as sin and/or have issues. Many will plain crash on you. Others will hide windows behind the main window making the UI unusable. I’d even be happy with ugly icons if the UI was decent on one. I’ve tried several and hopefully I can save you the trouble of trying a bunch.

Thoughts on InfluxDB for Analytics

So I was turned on to InfluxDB by a friend I think. Or Google. Either way I loved it at first glance. I still love it. However, I’m not sure it’s fair for them to put “analytics” on their home page under “what” InfluxDB is used for. InfluxDB is a time series database and a damn good one at that. Built with the ability to use LevelDB or RocksDB (or HyperlevelDB I believe?), it is fast.

Social Media Competition Pitfalls

I see more and more contests ran these days that use various social media engagements as a voting mechanism. One of the most successful social media campaigns I’ve ever built was one for Schwinn where entrants would enter themselves as well as a friend. If an entrant won, their friend also won a bike. It brought Schwinn well over 25,000 likes over the course of the month and over a quarter million entries.

Switch to Hugo

So I’ve yet again decided to re-design my site. I think it’s healthy to freshen things up from time to time. More importantly, this time, I’ve also removed the need to use a database. While I love the CMS I started building using the Lithium Framework for PHP, I decided it wasn’t the right fit for me. I’ve used and contributed to many CMS’ over the past 12 years. I’ve also looked into the new age CMS’ such as Ghost, but ultimately decided none of those were the right fit either.