Mobile Takes Over

For the first time, over the past 30 days, on Love Shrewsbury (20th March – 20th April) the number of people visiting the site via a mobile device has overtaken the number of visits from desktop users.

Mobile visitors have been slowly creeping up since we launched however only in the past 30 days has the balance tipped (53% mobile to 47% desktop).

Of the mobile traffic 69% was from iOS, 27% Android, 2.4% Blackberry and 1.2% Windows Mobile, showing the dominance of Apple devices with our visitors.

Currently Love Shrewsbury has no mobile or responsive offering meaning that the majority of users are simply seeing the scaled desktop website.

This put us in an interesting opportunity to grow traffic once we have this in place. Our thinking behind the site will also have to change as our users will be primarily mobile, no longer will the mobile offering play second best to the desktop.

April Fools on Love Shrewsbury

When I was writing the April Fools editorial in bed at 8.30 yesterday morning it didn’t cross my mind that it would be the best day ever on the site. We over doubled our previous visits record, 5 times the average good days traffic and even got mentioned on local radio.

What was really interesting about the day was how quickly the article went viral and how quickly it started to bring visitors to the site. I published the article at 9.09, I immediately shared this on the Love Shrewsbury Facebook Page (with an audience of 877 likes), I then reshared to my personal Facebook friends (an audience of about 500). I then shared on my personal Twitter (knowing that the Love Shrewsbury Twitter would be tweeted automatically from IFTTT).

Almost instantly people started to click through to the website. Between 9.09 and 12pm traffic was fairly consistently showing 20-25 people reading the article. Just after 12 we broke the sites previous hits record (set sometime last year), by 9pm we had doubled this amount.

What was also interesting is the number of people that used the Facebook like button within the page, as I write this post it has 163 likes, given we struggle to get comments on the site its good to see people interacting in this way.

We’ve put a lot of work into developing our social media channels and days like yesterday so how effective they can be in distributing content and bringing traffic to the site.

The big challenge is continuing to develop content, the 1st of April only comes round once a year and this sort of article wouldn’t work any other time.

Today we have a great photographic piece about the closed Shrewsbury prison that I was hoping would be the big article of the week however something tells me it won’t cause as big a stir!

Twitter Automation with Drupal Views and IFTTT

Drupal Views is one of the most powerful modules available, paired with the automation service IFTTT you can post to Twitter in some fancy ways.

On a basic level on the Love Shrewsbury site we use IFTTT to post the title and link of the RSS feed to Twitter. Drupal views allows you to take this further with greater control of the RSS feed. Therefore we created a second RSS feed that only shows articles once they have been live for 8 hours, this is then posted to Twitter through IFTTT saying ‘Did you miss? <title> <url>’.

This was done in the following way:

1. Create a new View and add the feed display.

2. Set the url to be something like rss8hours.xml and set the sort criteria to be Post Date (desc)

3. Add a filter for the content type you want then add a filter for Post Date

4. Set the operator to ‘is less than’ and an offset of the current time to ‘- 8 hours’.

5. Save the View and you will have an RSS feed of content once it is 8 hours old.

6. Login (or signup) to IFTTT and click on Create.

7. Set the trigger to be feed and select new feed item.

8. Enter the feed URL and select create trigger.

9. Click ‘that’ and select Twitter.

10. Select an action of ‘Post a Tweet’

11. Customise the text (for instance I use the phrase ‘Did you miss?’ before the <title> and <url>).

12. Click Create Action

IFTTT will check your RSS feed every 15minutes and aumatically post any new items in the RSS feed to Twitter (if something has already been posted it won’t repost).

We found this method to almost double our traffic from Twitter as we were attracting people checking Twitter at different times. A lot of our articles go live late morning so an 8 hour delay was Tweeting early evening.

Drupal Camp London Photos

Here are a few of my photos from Drupal Camp London.


Keynote from one of the founders of MYSQL.


Automating Drupal Development with Patterns.


Agile Project Management


After Party

Tripling Twitter Visits Through IFTTT

Over the past week we’ve managed to triple the number of visits to Love Shrewsbury and Love Telford from Twitter. We’ve been using the website ifttt to automate the posting of RSS feed items to Twitter.

On a basic level we created a recipe to post the sites news & comments RSS feeds to automatically to twitter, this had a small increase in traffic as we already posted most links manually.

I then created an RSS feed in Drupal that only showed an article once it was 8 hours old, I set this to tweet ‘Did you miss? <title> <url>’ – this tripled our traffic from Twitter!

Given that we posted most articles in the day nothing was going on Twitter in the evening – by delaying by 8 hours this has now solved that and we have a whole different audience clicking through to the Love Shrewsbury/Telford site.

Drupal Camp London

I’ve got my ticket booked for Drupal Camp London 2013. It will be my first time at such an event and I’m not going to know anyone so if you’re going please introduce yourself!

It’s always interesting to see how other people tackle development issues in Drupal, when we ran a Drupal 7 launch party a couple of years ago I was introduced to features such as Drush.

Hopefully some of my experience will be of use to people as well.

Run Android Apps on your Mac or PC

Bluestacks, the app player that allows you to run Android apps on your PC has now been launched for Mac. With a huge library of apps available it allows users and developers to experience these apps on their desktops or laptops.

The big appeal of Bluestacks is for playing games, many of which don’t have native ports on the desktop. I installed Angry Birds and the game worked well with no lag.

Some apps don’t work so well such as those that require specific hardware like GPS receivers but in general with its intuitive interface, Bluestacks is a clever piece of software.

Download Bluestacks now.