Developer updates

Happy Holiday Season

I feel like November 1st is the true start of the holiday season.

October builds towards Halloween on the 31st. Throughout October, you think spooky autumnal thoughts. And our traffic took a big dip on Halloween itself. Not as many signups.

Then the calendar turns over to November. We fight through our belly aches and we look toward Thanksgiving. But Thanksgiving doesn’t, in my mind, have the same terminal nature as Halloween. It’s the warm up time with family and friends.

Perhaps it’s that Christmas shopping begins in earnest the morning after Turkey Day, but it does feel like we’re running down hill fast.

We started our true campaigns, building toward the biggest season ever for CheckedTwice. The blog has been reborn. The announcements have been made on Facebook and Twitter. And they’ll be made time and time again over the next few weeks.

Here’s to a happy, healthful, and successful holiday season!

Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on the Internets

An odd effect of the storm: CheckedTwice is getting a lot more hits and sign ups today.  I think having a good portion of the U.S. population cooped up inside has put more people online, looking for something they can do to be productive. Christmas is not that far away and holiday shopping is even closer. Even in the storm, they can get a little done.

Lots of extra traffic from North Carolina, Virginia, and New York.  It’ll be interesting to see if traffic dies down tomorrow with the expected power issues.

In the meantime, particularly over the evening, I want everybody to stay safe on the east coast. Get to a safe area with friends and family and maybe a little booze.

Local WordPress Settings

WordPress Settings can be a bit of Mess

Our blog was a bit out of date, right?  So we wanted to bring the blog into the larger CheckedTwice fold with a customized look and feel. I brought the blog down to create a local dev environment. That way I could play with anything I wanted and I completely blew it up, that was ok. I’d keep my working copy online.

Then, the problems began.

There are a TON of non-obvious settings buried around wordpress. Next time I do this, I will do a clean install of wordpress, then point it back to my database at CheckedTwice. But even that wouldn’t have saved me from one issue:

wp-config.php needs to additional things defined when the URL is less obvious, I suppose:


(“” is the name I gave my local blog. You’d need to substitue whatever name you gave yours in, for example, apache’s httpd.conf)


How I learned to stop worrying and love the blog

I came to today sitting in the corner of my apartment, rocking myself gently as I stared at nothing.

This is what the constant optimization of Google Adwords has brought me to. I was running experiments constantly. Checking the performance constantly. Looking up quality scores constantly. And then, finally, the advice I had received from a good number of people finally made it through my thick skull.

Content is king.

Focus on content and the rest will follow. But what could I do, right? CheckedTwice is a product. It has its benefits–and they’re great!–but we’ve already covered that. What additional content can we bring to the table? What will people want to link to?

So I took my cue from the _huge_ number of HARO requests out there. People want new takes, fresh takes, on how to make the holidays better in every way. From the best gifts to the best way to mail those gifts, people want to know. We’ll be debuting several categories of posts presently.

But in the meantime, I’ve retreated from my corner, dusted myself off, stopped worrying, and started loving the blog.