Stop what you’re doing, open Chrome, and navigate to the Lighthouse tool — you’re going to need it

Neon Google sign
Neon Google sign
Photo by on .

Google announced back in May 2020 that “core vitals” would soon be a search ranking signal. This means that websites with good core vitals have the potential to rank above those that don’t.

If you manage a website and are SEO-aware, then I’m sure you have spent an incredible amount of time trying to appease our search engine overlords — be it from keyword analysis and backlinks to sitemaps and rich snippets. …


Spoiler: It wasn’t easy (or cheap), there’s also a bit about cheese

A social media “like” bible made into a neon sign
A social media “like” bible made into a neon sign
Photo by on

I had been running a local listing website for two years starting way back in 2009. I was hooked on Twitter and had amassed a fairly decent following of about 2,000 people, which I was pretty smug about.

However, the winds of change began to blow and Facebook started to quickly take over the social media world.

Facebook had such insane post engagement that couldn’t just be ignored.

I looked at my 324 followers on Twitter and made the conscious decision to focus all of my marketing efforts on Facebook instead.

Now, I’m no marketing whizz. I have zero qualifications in marketing and have never attended a social media seminar in my life, but one thing I do possess is gumption. It’s a canny little personality trait that can get you a long way in the social media game. …


Some aren’t what you think

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on .

Having been a web developer for over ten years, I’ve worked with my fair share of developers, all with different personalities, skills, and expertise.

But there have always been some traits that have stood out to me, and when I hold interviews to recruit developers, there are certain phrases and actions that raise my eyebrows every time.

There’s more to the profession than just writing code. There’s a specific mindset that separates true developers from those who can develop.

So, here’s a list of things that I have found the best developers do time and time again.

1. Care

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s quite rare to find a developer who really cares. And it’s their consideration for two things in particular: the code they write and whom they are writing code for. …


How do you like yours? I like mine to taste like tea.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Taking a leaf out of George Orwell’s book, I felt compelled to share my method of making the best brew, every time.

A lot of people have their favourite brand, but most of the time, a lot of these companies have been selling tea for years, and it’d pretty mad to sit and say one is better than another.

A bad workman always blames his tools, as they say, so what I tend to find is that incorrectly made tea tastes bad.

I discovered I had been making my brew all wrong for years when I started a new job and my manager at the time taught me his method, and since then, my teas have never tasted better. …


And by adding 16 million customers worldwide during the pandemic, did it really need to?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

I’ve had Netflix for a long time, way before it was cool, and certainly when it had more ‘none Netflix original’ content. As it rose to market prominence I hailed it as the beginning of the end for Sky TV’s dominance of anything that wasn’t ‘terrestrial’. Sky charge obscene amount of money to watch sports, movies and standard TV and still show you ads to boot. So, it was refreshing that you could get a good selection of films and TV for £7.49 …


And why my need to solve problems guided me back.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Any developer worth their salt will tell you that web development is stressful, but what you’ll rarely hear is when it becomes too much. The world of a programmer is seemingly littered with more fails than wins, but it’s how you cope with those fails that define you. Things can go seriously wrong, and sometimes for no obvious reason.

I’d been a Web Developer for about five years in fairly junior roles and was stepping into a proper intermediate role for the first time, however after 3 OK(ish) years, I found I was struggling. I had released my first Magento project for a client, and there was some functionality for the site I couldn't do, so I did the usual, paid for an extension and installed it. Done. Wait. What? …


How many times can you refresh the stats page before it’s considered a problem?

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

The government had just put my local area into complete lockdown, and before this life had felt almost normal; we could still hang out with friends, go to a restaurant; it was good to escape the four walls of my kitchen. However, a lot of free time was on its way, and not one to sit around and do nothing when an opportunity presents itself; I started to write.

I don’t remember exactly when I signed up for Medium, but an email with lots of great stories by great writers would land in my inbox every day at 8 am. As I read through them (usually whilst sitting on the loo) I remember thinking ‘I could do this’, mainly because I like writing and know about stuff too. …


That you can learn in 10 minutes.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

Having worked in a few different companies over my career, some marketing agencies, some software houses, I’ve picked up a few habits along the way that have made me a better developer.

1. Write reusable code

Nothing makes me happier than when I have to update someone else’s code to find out it’s written it in a reusable way.

This involves foresight by the programmer asking questions such as:

  • Is the bit of text/code used in multiple places?
  • Can I write a reusable function that will solve multiple issues across the application?
  • Am I going to come back to the web application and spend hours changing the piece of code in 10+ different places? …


It’s an elegant solution to a problem that will naturally arise as we slowly make the switch to all-electric.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by on

As I own a detached garden, I have to walk out my front door, up some steps, along with another neighbour's garden, and up some more steps to reach the wondrous green of my very own patch of land — there is a reason for this preamble so bear with me.

How do you mow your lawn? I hear you cry out in utter disbelief.

With a lawnmower of course, but a battery-powered one. I take the battery out of it and plug it into a charger in my house. …

About

Stuart Costen

Writing about Programming and Marketing. Join my new publication The Digital —

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store