website change monitoring

Apps For Website Change Monitoring, Change Detection, and Alerts

Nowadays, there are many great website change detector apps to help monitor website changes and give you instant alerts to said changes! Ever have the pleasure of receiving a message from your customer, telling you your website is down? Or that you have an error on the page preventing them to buy or contact you? It’s fun, right? No matter how great things seem to be going, errors can happen in an instant! We’ll break down some of the free and low cost apps we use for change monitoring and to keep us instantly informed! Plus – learn how to use these same apps to spy on what your competition is doing!

Don’t miss an episode – listen on iTunes, Google Podcasts, SpotifyStitcher, Android Apps, or RSS!

YOU’LL LEARN

  • How to automatically monitor your website for downtime
  • Get automatic alerts if your website goes offline, and when it comes back online
  • Monitor your website for hacking and hijacking issues
  • How to make sure your website does not have plugins causing on-page issues
  • Ensure any content embedded into your website is always active
  • Monitor specific landing pages to ensure they are always up and working properly
  • Catch changes any hackers, malware, viruses, or bots make to your website
  • Monitor the source code of your website for unauthorized changes
  • Monitor your Facebook, Twitter, Yelp, or other social accounts for changes and updates
  • Get alerted when content on other websites changes – like pricing on Amazon
  • Spy on your competitors websites for content updates and get notified when it changes
  • Get instant alerts when your competition updates it’s online prices
  • Monitor your competitors website to see what new keywords they are targeting
  • Get alerted when your brand is mentioned on specific websites
  • Setup notifications when important websites are updated with new posts or content
  • Create alerts to monitor your competitors social media accounts

Thanks for Listening!

Here is the transcription from Episode 22 Monitor Website Changes Automatically (and Spy On Competitor Pages Too!);

Jesse: Hey everyone, welcome back to Local SEO Tactics. Jesse Own with Bob Brennan.

Bob: Howdy.

Jesse: As always. And this week we’re going to be talking about some pretty cool tools that are
out there to help you kind of know what’s happening with your website. A lot of times,
we’ll publish our website, maybe make some updates, and then we’re done with it until
we need to make some changes again. Meanwhile, customers and the public is out
there bouncing off our website all the time. And really, that’s your first exposure to a lot
of people. So, sometimes what happens, and if anybody’s out there managing their own
website and have been for a while, you know sometimes mistakes happen. Right?
Sometimes things go haywire on your website. Pages get corrupted or things get broken
for whatever reason.

And here you go, two weeks later after you get an update, you come to your website
and you’re like, “Wait a second. That doesn’t look right.” Or, “That information is
missing.” Or there’s a broken image or something else.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: And you’re wondering how did that happen? When did that happen? And oh my God,
how long has this been like this and who’s been seeing this? We’re going to talk about
some tools that are out there. Some are free, and if they are paid, they’re really
inexpensive, to help you be aware of these things. So, we’re going to be talking about
uptime monitoring and change monitoring for your website.

So the first thing, which is one of our favorites, it’s called Uptimerobot. Yeah,
uptimerobot.com. Super useful. It can do a couple different functions, but the main
thing that we use it for is literally just monitoring your uptime. So, we run WordPress, is
kind of our primary recommendation and what we use for all of our websites.
Sometimes you have a plugin that updates automatically, right? Or maybe you push out
an update, or someone on your team you’ve delegated it to pushes out an update. And
sometimes it can have some unintended consequences.

Or maybe you shot something out there, you wrote a blog post or an article, or you got
piked up in the media, something went viral. And you get a ton of traffic onto your
website. You’re sitting there, “Oh, this is great. All this exposure.” Well, you might not
know that your website crashed because it couldn’t handle the traffic, you didn’t have
the resources. Something like this uptimerobot.com would automatically tell you, “Hey,
your website’s down.” Right?

Or again, if it’s like a WordPress update or a plugin update updated overnight
automatically, you had no idea that that actually crashed your website or maybe a
certain page on it, you can configure this thing to look at your homepage or any
particular page you want. And it’s going to tell you when it’s down. It’ll also tell y when
it’s back up, right? So maybe if you’re updating your database once a week, maybe if
your website goes down, let’s say from midnight to two in the morning, okay maybe
that wasn’t a huge deal. That’s part of some scheduled maintenance, kind of disregard
that message. But something happens in the middle of the day between your nine or
five and your website’s down for two hours, that stings.

Check it out, we have, I should say too, we don’t make any affiliate money off any of
these. We have no horse in the race. These are tools that we use.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: And that we recommend to people. So, if you use these things, great. Otherwise I’m sure,
like uptimerobot.com, if you just Google alternatives to Uptimerobot or like
Uptimerobot, you’re going to find some other options too. We’re just going to be
sharing as examples the ones that we use ourselves and that we recommend. So, just to
kind of make that clear for everybody. But definitely check that thing out. It’s a super
cool tool and very, very useful.u kind of set it up once and then really, you just forget
about it, and it can give you the confidence that your website’s going to be up, kind of
that security to not have to worry about it.

Another super cool one is ChangeTower. Changetower.com, there’s another one that’s
very similar. And we use both of these. Visualping.io. And for all three of these, I’ll put
links in the show notes, so you guys can kind of jump to them and see. But these get a
little bit more sophisticated than Uptimerobot.these can monitor really all sorts of
changes. And Bob and I will kind of share some examples with you. But if you can just
think about on a website, what changes, you can monitor that.

So, I’m going to give you a few examples. Let’s say if your website was hacked. We’ve
had the unfortunate experience, not anything I’d say within the last five years, but back
in the day a little bit, we had some unfortunate situations with lapses in security where
we have some websites get hacked and stuff changed and one the home pages. Things
like that. That’s horrible. You want to know about that as soon as you can.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: A product like this would instantly alert you to a change in your homepage. So, what
these do is basically take a snapshot. So, you’d set it up, set up your account, and you’d
say, “Here’s the page I want to monitor,” and it basically takes a snapshot there. And
then you can set the intervals, if it’s every five minutes, every five hours, every day,
every five days. Whatever you want, kind of set that interval. And some of these have
free programs for monitoring one website once a day. Some of them might cost nine
dollars or $29 a month. Kind of depends on really the frequency of the changes that you
want to be monitoring. A lot of them will have unlimited websites, and unlimited change
monitoring, but it’s just again that how often it checks it because that’s their resources
that they’re doing.

Bob: Sure.

Jesse: But basically it’ll take a before and after snapshot. And it’ll send you an email and say,
‘Hey, we noticed some differences.” And usually these kinds of services will actually
show you what the difference is. They won’t type you out a message, it’ll kind of give
you a two images side by side, and it’ll kind of highlight the area on the page that
changed. Now, some cases that’s not bad. Let’s say if it’s for whatever reason you
wanted to monitor your Facebook page. Well, if you post a new post, guess what? Your
Facebook page changed, right?

Bob: Right.

Jesse: And actually if you kind of commented, I’m not talking about just your website. Your
.com. It’s going to be your Facebook page, your Twitter page, if you’re using Yelp, your
Yelp listing. You can literally monitor anything that you want out there. Another very
useful reason for doing this is missing content. Again, if you’re talking about WordPress,
if you’re using plugins, widgets in a sidebar, things embedded on your page, sometimes
these connect to other things. Let’s say maybe like, for example, going back to your
Facebook, maybe your pulling in your most recent Facebook posts and having them on
your homepage or ina sidebar. If that plugin or that coding that enabled that, however
you set that up, malfunctioned, there’s a bug in it, it’s going to leave like a blank
element or a broken element on your page. You’re gonna wan to be alerted about that.
That looks bad. Or that information isn’t communicated.

So in that case, it wasn’t bad or malicious, like a hacker. But it was just kind of a bug in
your code or a plugin. Same thing, that you’re going to want to know about that and
correct that as soon as possible. So, that’s something it’s super useful for. Let’s say you
have maybe some YouTube videos that you’ve linked to. Somebody on your team
doesn’t know that that video was important. They took that video down. Now you have
this big blank spot on your page. I mean, just think about any off page elements that
you’re bringing into your website. It’s going to be super useful to make sure those are
always up. Especially if they’re critical, like if it’s your main sales presentation or a how

to video or things like that.

The more important your page is, I would say the more
important you’re going to want some monitoring on this. I wouldn’t set up monitoring
on every single page of my website. Like think about your homepage, like if it’s the
whole homepage or certain elements, if you’re going to use this, definitely be setting it
up on your homepage.

But then if you have main landing pages, or if you’re, maybe you’re doing some paid
Google ads or Facebook ads, things like that, and you’re directing traffic to certain
landing pages, I’d put some monitoring up on those too just to make sure. If you’re
spending money to push people to a page, there’s no reason that page shouldn’t be
monitored to make sure it’s exactly how you wanted it, and there’s nothing wrong,
because you’re throwing good money after bad.

Bob: So, does this catch, so it catches viruses if they make a change to your site, right? Is that
the idea?

Jesse: Yeah, viruses or actual people themselves making the changes. Yeah, it’s just any
change, whether it was a good or a bad change, quite frankly.

Bob: And then how about, this might be out of your league, but malicious bots or bots that
are crawling other than like the Google bot, it’s not going to pick that up.

Jesse: Yeah, if it makes a change, right?

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: So, actually you bring up a great point. This can monitor the code as well. So, not just,
and this is going to vary based on the service, I’m talking broadly –

Bob: Right.

Jesse: It’s in a sense of change monitoring. Some of them are just visual, like Visualping. And
then as the name implies, probably most useful for, like actually comparing the actual
image of the page, right, and the elements that changed. Something like ChangeTower,
you can get in and actually have it looking at the code that’s in your website, right? So,
maybe something malicious happened where they injected some kind of script or code
into your website. Didn’t change the actual appearance of the page, but maybe there –

Bob: Okay. The code has changed.

Jesse: Yeah, maybe there, I don’t know, I’m just using stupid examples for being malicious
here, but maybe they’re scraping content, or maybe they’re using your website to push
something out. Or whatever it is, you can monitor the actual code on your website. This
actually kind of brings up another point, in your case, it’s kind of malicious. Well, if
somebody did it on accident too. Like if maybe one of your developers or somebody in
your team was in there, and as it goes with web coding, deleting a character or adding a
character in your code at the wrong spot can kind of wreck havoc on stuff. Think like
your Google Analytics, for example. It’s a piece of script that you paste into your website
to then track your visitors and report through Google Analytics. If somebody made a
change to your Google Analytics code, whether it be on purpose, or again, on accident,
you wouldn’t be able to track your visitors anymore. You wouldn’t know that by looking
at your website.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: That’s completely in the background. However, it’s pretty important for you to know if
you’re using Google Analytics or any other analytic tracking tool. So, you can use tools
like this to monitor the script, the coding, and all that background information in your
website as well. Whether it’s malicious in intent or accidental to break something else.
Again, just like with your homepage, the more critical those things are for you or not,
which should be a deciding factor if you’re going to monitor them for changes or not.
Another very useful way to use this is not just on your website, not just on your
Facebook page or social profiles, but going off of your properties. Bob and I were just
talking before we were cutting this, like Amazon, right? Maybe I’m looking for a new
camera or a new keyboard or a new laptop, or whatever it is. But I’m like, “Oh, that’s
pretty high price. I’m going to wait for that price to come down.” You can actually go to
that sales page on amazon.com and you can essentially draw a box around that price
and set an alert for when that changes. Now it doesn’t mean it’ll change price down,
right? Maybe the price went up.

Bob: Changing, yeah.

Jesse: Yeah, because it’s not going to read the actual text and tell you that the price changed
by eight dollars. What you’re doing is saying on this page, if something in this square
that I’m drawing changes, alert me. And then you’re going to go and check it out and see
what it changed to. But things like that, id you start thinking about where can I use these
kinds of things? Where is it important? Really starts to open up the possibilities for you
if you yourself are scouring different websites to gather information, whether it be for
price shopping, competitive research, intelligence what ever it is. Think about the
manual time you’re spending doing these things, you can use these kinds of tools for
relatively inexpensive compared to your labor.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: To really automate these processes for you. So, pretty amazing stuff.

Bob: Yeah, I mean, I like this product just because I’m always thinking of the evil side of –

Jesse: You got to watch the video for that little –

Bob: Yeah, exactly. Little Austin Powers gesture there. So no, it’s interesting because if you’re
in a price sensitive service business perhaps, you can circle your, with this tool, go on
your competitor’s site, circle their price points, say, “Hey, I want a reporting if that
changes one way or the other.” Heck yeah, I’d be all over that.

Jesse: Absolutely. Think about the time that would save from having to call around or shop
around and do that kind of stuff. And not only the time, but as soon as they make that
change. You’re aware they made that change, right?

Bob: Right.

Jesse: How many times do we see gas stations across the street from each other have those
price wars, you know what I mean? That’s instant, they’re seeing that. Same thing here.
You don’t even have to pay attention to what your competitors are doing. You just
boom, I got an email. “Oh, the price changed on that widget.” Super important to know,
so. Other areas you can use that too talking about your competitors is let’s see like if
they’re going after a new keyword, right? Maybe you monitor your competitor’s
homepage. Yeah, just what are they doing now? Doesn’t even have to be a price –

Bob: Oh, that’s a great point.

Jesse: Just they’re offering some new product or service that you’re not, right? Or maybe they
just got some big new utility or tool, that maybe you have, you just didn’t let people
know. I mean, who knows whatever the examples are, but it doesn’t have to just be
price-driven to monitor your competitors as well. So kind of in that same vein, talking
about competitors, we talked about you can monitor the script and the coding on the
page. And when I say that too, if everybody doesn’t know, like you go to a webpage and
you right-click on it and you click “view source,” or “view source code,” depending on
what browser you’re using, that you can see all the coding of that website. Not just what
it eventually looks like, but the actual coding. That’s the stuff you can track. That’s how
this does, there’s no secret backdoor where it hacks into somebody’s website. ‘

Bob: Right.

Jesse: It basically says, “Let me look at the coding behind that,” which anybody can see on any
webpage right now. You can right-click on it, use source code, check it out for yourself.
So, on that, whether maybe your competitor hooked into some of your background
service or us using, they weren’t using Google Analytics, but now they are. Can’t think of
any more examples on something you’d want to see in there, but just the applications
for this are pretty much limitless and up to your imagination. If it’s out there on a
webpage, you can monitor it for changes.

Bob: Wow, that’s crazy.

Jesse: So yeah, it’s super useful. Couple other notes I have for just ideas where you can use
this. Brand mentions: Like maybe you have maybe it’s local, maybe like a local
newspaper website or something more regional or national. But brand mentions, right?
So, if you or your competitors are mentioned in this publication and you want to know
about that for whether it’s good or bad.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: Quite frankly, if you’re Eyewitness News team, if you pop up on their webpage, maybe
that’s not a good thing. Press releases. We were talking in a previous episode about
paying attention to the Google my business updates page. Set up a change monitor
around this. Then you don’t have to go check it yourself. Just, “Oh, they have a new
update that they pushed out.”

Bob: Yeah, that’s a good point.

Jesse: I got alerted to a change on their blog. There’s a new article that’s out that I need to
know about. Maybe some of your vendors, right? Or if it’s safety-driven things.
Whatever it is, if you think about needing to be alerted about something being
published online, an article, a blog post, some kind of snippet, again, you can set up this
change monitor, and most of these, it’s not going to be you can only monitor one site or
three sites or 12 sites. It’s the frequency of those monitoring, right? So, if you don’t
need to know every single day about every news article that pops, if you want to check
that once a week or once a month, that’s the kind of budget that you’re working with is
the frequency of the changes that it’s looking for. So, you can really get creative and
stretch your budget without paying a lot of money and really save yourself a lot of time.

Bob: So, what do the prices on these products range from?

Jesse: Yeah, a lot of these will have free trials. I’m just looking at changemonitor.com here. You
can monitor three URLs, check as often as every 12 hours. And it’ll keep data for three
months. That’s free. And I’m using them just kind of as a snapshot. I mean, you’re going
to get slight up or down as you compare different vendors here, but these guys are
pretty middle of the road. Their pro version is 39 dollars a month, right? 100 URLs, check
every five minutes, and they retain the data for seven years. I mean, that’s pretty highend.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: If you think about that frequency and everything else. And they have plans kind of in the
middle ranging from zero to 39 dollars a month. So, you think about the applications
we’re talking about here, even on the high end plan, 39 dollars a month, you know what
I mean? That’s, you’re getting a lot of data, you can save a lot of time, and just the speed
of notification too –

Bob: Right.

Jesse: To what your competitors are doing, what’s out there in the news, what changes should
you be aware of. Pretty good stuff.

Bob: I would just use it on Craigslist.

Jesse: Yeah.

Bob: I buys lot of stuff off of Craigslist.

Jesse: Sure.

Bob: And I’m pretty cheap, so it’s like I like a deal. And if I see something and just circle it and
if I’m patient and the price drops, then I’d buy it.

Jesse: that’s a great example on where to use it. Absolutely. Craigslist, Ebay, Amazon. I mean,
just wherever there’s price in play on something for purchasing. I mean, again, with your
competitors, just with hat competitive research, and then your own website for your
own protection and security, too that’s, there’s so many ways to use this. Pretty
interesting.

And then also too, I should mention kind of the final thing that I have here is social
media. We’re talking about like for yourself. Again, flip that script over to your
competitors. What are they posting on social media? Sometimes, like you subscribe, I
should say you follow somebody on let’s say Facebook or Twitter. Unless you go in there
and set it to be alerted first to what they’re doing, you might not catch them in your
feed. We don’t get exposed 100% to everybody that we’re following. I think we all know
that nowadays. Or your competitors maybe want to follow their review page, right, to
see how many reviews they’re getting, and just kind of be aware. Anything you flip
through, go through their Twitter, go through their Facebook, if it’s visible online, you
can set up this monitor for it.the whole page, just part of the page, whatever it is, so.
So yeah, if you’re not using any tools like this right now, at least explore them. I would
say for sure something like the Uptime monitor, just for the basic is my website up or
not.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: It’s an invaluable tool, extremely inexpensive for what it does, just for you to know that
your website is constantly running. And then if you’re not using one, I would set up a
free account with just Change Monitor or Visualping or something like that for your
homepage changes. If you change your homepage daily, then maybe look at certain
elements on your page that you don’t change. But you’re just going to want to know
about that, not from a, I wouldn’t worry as much on the malicious end of things. Most
people, especially using WordPress, the security out there is way better than it was
years ago.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: So many holes have been closed in that cat and mouse game. I wouldn’t say that’s the
primary reason, but more about things breaking, right? We use so many different
plugins or integrations nowadays to connect all these things, and plugins.

Bob: Right, plugin fails.

Jesse: Yeah, and update from a third party plugin vendor can cause some problems on your
website.

Bob: Did they recently have one with Yoast, or whatever? Or is that something a little
different?

Jesse: Not so much like a change to like an on page code.

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: But yeah, there was a background. And you were going to dig into that in a future
episode. It was more about how they were indexing their website essentially.

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: And pushing out those results to Google.

Bob: Okay.

Jesse: Which you could set up a change monitor to view your XML sitemap actually, to just
kind of extrapolate on that example there, to see what changes were made and catch
some of that. So, yeah, so that’s where I would use it. Again, not from that malicious
end of the spectrum, but more from just making sure that I know when something
changes on my homepage or my landing page or wherever I’m driving paid traffic to,
because man, that’s the first impression. And you’re usually paying good money to
direct that paid traffic.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: Or to get your homepage ranking in Google or through your Google My Business page or
whatever it is, and pushing people to your homepage is always the most important page
on your website, you can do this for free. Set it up, like we just said, through
ChangeTower at least, you can set it up and be alerted absolutely free. Even if you don’t
take advantage of all those other things, definitely jump on board with those and you
got nothing to lose. All you’re going to do is be alerted if something bad happens or
something uncontrolled by you happens to your website, you can quickly take action on
it, so-

Bob: Perfect.

Jesse: Yeah. Super useful tools. Again, want to reiterate, we don’t make any money off these,
we’re not endorsing them, we’re not getting paid by them or getting affiliate
commission. These are tools we use, and it’s more about the concept and the
technology for what these do for you, you taking advantage of something like this.

Bob: I’m making money off this.

Jesse: I didn’t know that.

Bob: Oh yeah. You didn’t know that Dale? Craigslist, Ebay, whatever. I’m making money.
Jesse: Okay so we’re making money in a sideways way.

Bob: Right.

Jesse: Not directly from ChangeTower or any of these guys. So, check it out. Check out the
show notes. We’ll link to all these to make it real easy for you. And hopefully it can help
you out. So, if you like what we’re doing, we talk about this every week, we’re going to
read a review here, and we love to hear reviews from all you folks out there. If you’re
finding value in the show, if it’s helping you out, we’d love to hear it. If you’re not
comfortable leaving a full-on review with your name and the feedback out there, please
give us a star rating, that helps us out as well, directly in the iTunes searching to get
more exposure to people. Which is obviously what we want. And to just show us that it
matters to you. We want to know if the time we’re investing into this is helping you out,
and just that it’s bringing you value.

So, intrycks.com/iTunes. Let us know what you think. It’s going to hook you up right into
iTunes and give you kind of a highway on how to get there and leave that review. And
it’s important to us. But we’re going to read a review here this week that we got from
Elizabeth Jennings. Elizabeth says, “Wow, thank so much for the tips and tricks and
insights. As someone that believes in SEO and invests in it for my business, it’s good to
have someone reveal what actually works and what doesn’t, as there are so many
companies that I get bombarded by on a regular basis, and is trying to sell me their SEO
packages. And I never really know if they can help with the vis for the price that they’re
asking for. Highly recommended.”

Thanks for the five star review, Elizabeth. And thanks for the good recommendations. I
mean, I think we all get bombarded by those people.

Bob: Yeah.

Jesse: Mission SEO are saying that they can manage your GMB for you, or whatever it is. It’s a
bunch of scams, really. If they’re not bringing you good value, or if ask them, check out
their blog. Check out their resources. What are they saying? It should be up-to-date kind
of stuff that you hear like on our show. And if you’re not finding their bringing your that
value, definitely don’t engage with them. Most of these places just kind of want to take
your stuff over.

And anybody out there, if you want advice on your website, on what you can do beyond
what we’re providing in this show, we’re here for that too. Drop us a line. Go to
intrycks.com/show. If you want us to answer some different questions on this show, if
you want us to review some information, this is where we get a lot of our ideas and
answer a lot of the questions is from that kind of feedback. So, check it out.

Intrycks.com/show. And if you haven’t yet, again, we’d love to hear from you on iTunes.
Let us know what you think. Intrycks.com/iTunes. And if you guys keep leaving the
reviews, we’re going to keep reading them.
See you next week.

Bob: Sounds good.

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