27. February 2015 · Comments Off on Top 3 Games to Beat the Winter Blues · Categories: Holiday Games, Mountain Woods Media, Spring Games, Top Games · Tags:

Winter, it seems, is keeping a firm grip on us as February comes to a close.iphone-apps-image

However, we know we’re in-between seasons and we have a few fun holidays coming soon. So, depending on your mood, here are our Top 3 games for winter, spring or upcoming holidays.

Top 3 Winter Games

  • Bread? Milk? Grocery Supermarket Shopping Maze Challenge – Every time there’s a hint of snow or ice heading our way, people flock to the grocery store in a state of panic. In this game, you’ll buzz around the grocery store, while avoiding pesky ants! http://apple.co/1DZhbGd
  • Ice Cubes Frozen Strategy Challenge – Slide, push, drop and match the colorful ice cubes in this strategy game. http://apple.co/1LRjm1o
  • Cats and Dogs Snowball Polar Vortex War – The cats and dogs are at it again, but this time it’s a snowball fight! http://bit.ly/snowballwar

Top 3 Spring Games

  • The Trout Family Swim and Fish Adventure – Nothing beats a day of fishing (even if you don’t catch anything)! In this popular game, you’ll help the little trout swim upstream while avoiding fishermen, rocks and other obstacles. A new update was recently released for this app, with more updates coming soon. http://bit.ly/troutgame
  • Beach Blanket Balloon Palm Tree Tropical Matching Ring Toss – If you can’t escape the cold and snow, this game will at least help you pretend you’ll playing ring toss on the beach! http://apple.co/1Ex7dML
  • Spring Bouquet Basket Flower Drop: A Collection Game For Girls – While this is a cute and colorful game, it’s also quite a challenge! http://apple.co/1MYnvlA

Top 3 Upcoming Holiday Games

  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day: Pot of Gold Lucky Four-Leaf Clover Challenge – Try out your luck by matching the four-leaf clovers! http://apple.co/18ucoBl
  • Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Leaping Over Prize Gold Game – Help the little leprechaun jump over the fire cauldrons and land on the pot of gold! http://apple.co/1auHPMt
  • Don’t Drop & Break the Easter Eggs Catching Basket Test – The chickens have been busy laying eggs for the Easter Bunny to deliver. Can you catch the eggs before they drop? http://apple.co/1wqszVi
24. February 2015 · Comments Off on ASO Starts With Very Simple Research · Categories: ASO · Tags: , , , , ,

Finding the best keywords for your app is the basis for good App Store Optimization (also known as “ASO”).

However, before you start digging through online app research services such as Sensor Tower, App Annie and others, there are some better avenues you can utilize to do some basic keyword research.

Let’s say, for example, that we have a game app about sailboat racing. So, without relying on Internet keyword searches, come up with an “off-the-top-of-your-head” list of keywords. In less than a minute, I came up with the following quick list:

  • Sail
  • Boat
  • Race
  • Water
  • Ocean
  • Sea
  • Motor
  • Wave
  • Mast
  • Bow
  • Stern
  • Aft

Now, we’re ready for some more help in expanding our list with simple internet searches.

Since I’m looking for terms, I did a simple Google search for “sailing terms” and found the following additions:

  • Nautical
  • Port
  • Docking
  • Anchor
  • Starboard
  • Gooseneck
  • Hull
  • Cabin
  • Keel
  • Rig
  • Rigging
  • Yacht
  • America
  • Cup

I noticed that during my simple research that my terms were getting too technical, so terms like “gooseneck” might not work. I kept the term “cabin” for now, but I might later find out that more users are searching “cabin” to find “cabin rentals” or “cabin vacations” and not for “sailboat cabins.”

I could easily make the above list longer, but I think I have a good, simple start on “sailboat” terms, but I need more “racing” and “water” keywords, including:

  • Sea
  • Lake
  • Coast
  • Crest
  • Marine
  • Tide
  • Current
  • Fast
  • Speed
  • Regatta
  • Course
  • Series

In search for “racing” terms that apply to our sailboat racing app, we found tons of keyword opportunities for auto racing and motorsport racing. However, we continued to dig and started looking for particular “sailboat racing” events to find some more terms including:

  • World
  • Tactics
  • Cup
  • Key West
  • Recreation
  • Vessel
  • Offshore
  • Inshore

That’s a good start!

Next week, we’ll take a few of our starter keywords and dig a little deeper using some online app keyword research tools.

 

20. February 2015 · Comments Off on How Often Do You Update Your Apps? · Categories: App Updates · Tags: ,

Developers work hard to create game apps; anxiously wait through the approval process, and then count the number of daily downloads.

social gaming network icon

© 2015 Mountain Woods Media, LLC.

However, the reality is, users eventually become bored playing the same game over and over and eventually move on to the next new app.

Even developers are too eager to work on the next shiny toy and last years’ apps are quickly forgotten, with the exception of monthly revenue trickles.

We’ve discovered that when you update your apps, you help bring old players back to the game and introduce your game to a different generation of new players. Even new devices mean a potential herd of new players.

Think of an app update as a marketing strategy. You don’t need to incorporate every new idea into one version update. Instead, give consideration to smaller chunks of regular updates by adding one or two new features each time.

Updates, for example, can include:

  • Introducing a new character; enemy or obstacle into your game.
  • Creating additional game levels.
  • Adding a new in-app purchase opportunity.
  • Giving players an extra game life for an extended game play. Who doesn’t love an extra “life” when trying to finish a quest or reach a next level?
  • Changing or adding game music and other sounds.
  • Updating game menus and other game options for the user.

We’re in the process of updating our most downloaded apps so they adhere to Apple’s new 64-bit compliancy rules. This way, our apps will work on both 32-bit and 64-bit devices. If our top games won’t work properly on iPhone 6, etc., then we lose an entire audience of current and future players.

Recently, we’ve updated two of our free games – “Run Sparky Run: Keep Fires Burning in Dark Woods Escape Adventure” and “The Trout Family Swim and Fish Adventure.”

Our first step in updating these apps was to make them work no matter the device. Then, we added a new feature or two to help bring former players back into the game.  While working on updates for these games, we generated a few new ideas for future updates.

Game updates also give developers additional opportunities to:

  • Update screen captures.
  • Add a game video.
  • Improve keywords and other App Store Optimization (ASO) elements.

Of course, when the update has been approved, you now have something fresh that needs to be announced via app marketing.

How often do you update your apps?

17. February 2015 · Comments Off on True ASO Key To More App Downloads · Categories: ASO · Tags: , ,

As developers we tend to spend a lot of time perfecting, tweaking and updating our apps in hopes of building the next “Flappy Bird” or “CaTrue ASOndy Crush.”

We think: “This game is going to be so awesome; I’ll be able to (fill in the blank with your dreams here)!”

However, many apps are missing the one true element that keeps users from finding it: App Store Optimization, also known as ASO.

ASO is like SEO (search engine optimization), except it’s strictly for apps in the Apple Store, Google Play Store, etc.

It includes these key elements:

  • Researching and finding the best possible keywords for your app.
  • Writing a strong app title.
  • Selecting the best keywords for your app’s keyword section.
  • Writing a well-optimized app description (although some say descriptions don’t factor in app rankings, it’s still your opportunity to sell your app).

Like SEO, true ASO isn’t a one-and-done task. Just like updating your app with new features, you’ll always want to continue to improve your app store optimization.

Consider:

  • Using app ranking and keyword tools such as AppAnnie, Sensor Tower and others. If your app isn’t ranking high on certain keywords, then you may want to consider using different keywords.
  • Research your competition. What keywords are they targeting, and why? Don’t copy the keywords from the top-rated app and expect your app to earn higher rankings. Instead, research all the top apps for a particular keyword. Dig deep and find some better keywords!
  • If your app is ranking high on a particular keyword, then you may want to consider keywords related to your best keyword. For example, one of our apps ranks high on the keyword “trout,” so we might want to consider other “fish” keywords such as “bass,” “catfish,” etc.
  • Improve your app description. If you’re stuck, read other app descriptions for motivation and ideas. Don’t steal description content.

By applying these basic ASO principles, you’ll start to see improvements in your app’s rankings and downloads!

 

13. February 2015 · Comments Off on Cats and Dogs and the Polar Vortex · Categories: Holiday Games, Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , , , , ,

We hate snow.cats and dogs

Well, we only hate it if we have to go out in it. Otherwise, it’s sometimes nice to see the frozen picture Mother Nature paints for us.

Ice? Well, that’s a different story, especially if we lose power (and our precious Internet connection).

We remember, as children (a long, long, long time ago…) snow meant school closings; building a snowman; sledding; forts; a snowball fight, followed by wet clothes and hot chocolate. We didn’t care how much snow we received or how cold it was. Bring it on!

Anymore, however, we’ll just watch it snow; check the weather forecast; make grilled cheese; sip tomato soup (with dry clothes) and make hot chocolate.

Those snow memories served as inspiration for our latest iOS game – “Cats and Dogs Snowball Polar Vortex War” http://bit.ly/snowballwar – features a cat and a dog taking advantage of a recent snowfall to have an old-fashioned snowball fight.

This free game can be played by one or two players as the cat and dog take turns throwing snowballs over the fence at each other.

Players tap and hold down on the dog or cat character to grow the power throwing meter (which measures throwing distance). Release your finger to throw!

There are also a few snowball throwing options – like the kind we wish we had in those neighborhood snowball fights – that allow you a “Double Attack” or “Three Snowballs” and more.

“Cats and Dogs Snowball Polar Vortex War” also features three different playing levels and three differed leaderboards in Game Center.

One in-app purchase allows users to turn off ads for $2.99 or, if you prefer, you can purchase our ad-free version – “Cats and Dogs Snowball Polar Vortex War PRO” here: http://bit.ly/snowballwarpro.

* * *

You can follow us on social media for new game information and updates.

Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MountainWoodsMedia.

We’re also on Twitter with @MtnWoodsMedia.

 

10. February 2015 · Comments Off on Bitly is More Than a Link Shortening Tool · Categories: Blogging, Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , ,

bitly is more than a link shortening toolThere are plenty of tools we like to use when it comes to development and marketing our apps, but since Valentine’s Day is approaching we thought we’d highlight a particular service that we really “love.”

bitly.

In a nutshell, bitly (http://bitly.com) is a free link shortening service allowing users to take a long link (for an article, blog, app, etc.) and make it into a shorter one. This is a valuable tool for Twitter users, who are limited to 140 characters per Tweet. You can also use the same short link in other social media avenues such as Facebook, Google + etc., and be consistent in your link building and sharing efforts.

For example, let’s say we wanted to share a link to our game in Twitter, Facebook, etc. Here’s the long link to our game “The Trout Family Swim and Fish Adventure” located in iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/trout-family-swim-fish-adventure/id675169950?mt=8

However, with bitly, we can shorten the link to this:

http://bit.ly/1CqdOJ9

See the huge difference? We shortened the 81-character link to 21 characters.

Now, let’s take it one step further. When you sign up for a free bitly account, you can customize your bitly links. Therefore, our short link to our fishing game:

http://bit.ly/1CqdOJ9

…can be changed to this or to anything we’d like:

http://bit.ly/troutgame

How cool is that?

In addition, bitly saves all your shortened links and tracks clicks to your bitly links.

Tracking your clicks is extremely important in order to gauge what your fans and followers are clicking; what day; time of day, etc. Recently, we discovered our Sunday clicks aren’t that great, so we might change things up a bit on Sunday in order to earn better engagement. Also, bitly highly recommends A/B testing with your links http://bit.ly/1EVoW1H.

There are other bitly alternatives, such as:

* Google http://goo.gl/

* Tiny URL http://tinyurl.com/

* Ow.ly http://ow.ly/url/shorten-url (which is also available within Hootsuite).

Which link shortener do you use?

06. February 2015 · Comments Off on Spy Girl and the Man with the Unloaded Gun · Categories: Apple, Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , , ,

As app developers, we face different challenges every day when it comes to getting our games approved by iTunes Connect.Screenshot showing man with gun

The iTunes Connect reviewer (sometimes we love ’em and sometimes we don’t) follows a set of guidelines and, when we “break” the rules, our game will be rejected. We get over it; fix the problem and resubmit our app for another review. This process takes up to 10 days – or longer – to be reviewed. If you are rejected, then the review process starts all over again.

We can create a new game in less than a week, but then we’ll have to wait another week or so in order to see if the reviewer will approve our game. Obviously, this can be a stressful process, especially if you are running against a tight deadline and plan on submitting a holiday game 10 days before Christmas, etc.

Recently, we had a rough time getting a free game through the approval process as one of our screen captures (an action picture of the game) contained a character holding a gun. He wasn’t shooting the gun; he was just holding it. We’ve added the rejected screenshot to this blog post for your review.

Spy Girl Unstoppable Femal Secret Agent Espionage PlotNote: Our game “Spy Girl: Unstoppable Female Secret Agent Espionage Plot” is available starting today on the iTunes App Store. You can download it here: http://bit.ly/MWMspygirl

At first, we increased the recommended age settings for the game (due to the gun), but that didn’t work and we received another rejection. The player’s age had nothing to do with the rejection. Instead, it had to do with the screen shot of the villain holding a gun.

So, we deleted the screen shot – and we had to delete the screen shot in all 28 languages and stores that we had submitted the app.

Problem solved. Lesson learned.

03. February 2015 · Comments Off on Updating Apps · Categories: App Updates, Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , , ,

We knew eventually the day would come when we were forced to update our apps.updating apps

People (especially app designers) aren’t always keen on change or updating apps. However, when Apple released new devices and a new operating system, developers had to keep up with the times or be left behind. Sometimes, it feels like once we catch up with software updates we don’t have much “down” time before a new device hits the market. Perhaps, this is job security!

New screen sizes with the iPhone 6 and IPhone 6+ (which run 64-bit apps) meant that some of our games didn’t run properly. We wondered how many users purchased a new phone or received one as a gift during the holidays? How many are still playing our apps on iPhone 5?

Answer?

During the last three months of 2014, consumers purchased the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in record numbers. In fact, during the fourth quarter, Apple shipped nearly 75 million iPhones!

Wowzers!

Since December, we’ve made sure our recent game releases run properly on the new devices. Now, however, we’re going back to some of our earlier releases and more popular games and making sure they too will run properly on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and other new devices. While we’re at it, our updated games will include some new features; bonus point opportunities; power-ups; extra playing times; ability to make in-app purchases and more. Details will be coming soon.

trout gameOur first updated game will be the ever-popular “The Trout Family Swim and Fish Adventure” (version 3.0). This is a fun game and it’s very easy to play. The simple object of the game is to swim upstream; jump from waterfall to waterfall (without falling off) and avoid obstacles along the way.

If you’re ready for the current version (iPhone 5, etc.), follow the links for either the free version or the paid version of our game.

Free:   http://bit.ly/1CqdOJ9     Pro:    http://bit.ly/1zN9SBP