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.


  • 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.”


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:


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


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:


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


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?


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!


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

09. January 2015 · Comments Off on New Cat Game and a Kitty Cat Photo Contest · Categories: Contests, Mountain Woods Media · Tags: , , ,

kitty cat photo contestNew Cat Game and a Kitty Cat Photo Contest

We live and breathe by cat pics! It’s what keeps us laughing every day! If you post a picture of your cat this week — the funnier the better — we will reward your effort with an App Store promo code that will let you download our newest game: “Meow! Lotto the Lazy Cat and the Singing Mice PRO.” This game is ad free with no strings attached. But hurry, post your kittenish cat pics before the codes are gone if you want to score a free game on ITunes and some fun cat mischief.

Cat Picture Rules

Either post to our Facebook page or shout out to us on Twitter @mtnwoodsmedia sharing your best Kitty Cat Photo.  These need to be selfie pictures of “your” cat, not a picture you sneakily snagged from someone else’s web page. But what constitutes “your” cat can also mean your sister’s cat, your neighbor’s cat, your granny’s cat or maybe a rescue cat you love to go visit at the animal shelter but can’t perhaps adopt yet. Or maybe because you have a new baby in the house or a no pet policy in your building.

So get it? Your cat picture needs to be about a special cat that you really like or know and want to tell us about and share with us. We love cat stories as much as we love cats! And if you really make us laugh, we might make a game about your cat or just send an unexpected promo code to you for another game at a later date!

A Little About How to Play this Game

The mice have been singing all night keeping the family awake. If Lotto the Lazy cat and his best pal Itty Bitty Kitty are going to earn their supper and cat treats, they are going to have to catch some of these pesky mice.

Your goal is to climb the counters and jump to various platforms in order to stop the singing mice and collect them with your friend Itty Bitty to win points.

Take turns tapping and dragging Lotto (the black cat) and Itty Bitty Kitty (the cat wearing the blue hat) from platform to platform “eating” mice and other food along the way.

You will need to place both cats under the “Finish” line banner in order to complete and level and move to the next challenge.

As you advance, you’ll find more objects to eat, but more obstacles will be in your way, so watch out for those sneaky mice and their traps!

If you listen closely to the theme music you will hear the singing mice!

“Meow! Lotto the Lazy Cat and the Singing Mice PRO” Details

kitty cat photo contest– Fun, fast finger sweep action!

– Portrait style game, perfect for your phone.

– Creative kitty comic book style characters.

– Game description has been translated in several languages

– Cheerful cat video style ukelele music.

Download it on the App Store Here!

Game Inspiration

There are two real cats named “Lotto” and “Itty Bitty Kitty” that live with my parents. They were both stray cats originally that needed a home. Lotto is lucky to be alive and thus his name. He is enormous and likes to lay on the kitchen table when my parents are asleep (which gets him in trouble!) Itty Bitty is tiny and prissy and fluffy. She has a crackly meow. She frequently whacks Lotto with her paw just to show him that she’s in charge, but they are the best of pals. They are lazy and don’t really like to catch mice, but they do love their kitty treats.


So send us your cat pics via a mention on Twitter or posting on our Facebook page and you will receive a code for a free game by private message in Facebook or via DM on Twitter.

We promise not to spam or sell your name or release any of your contact information.  This is just a fun project for all of us to spread the word about special cats!

22. December 2014 · Comments Off on Who Doesn’t Love Bubble Wrap? · Categories: Holiday Games · Tags: , , ,

Who doesn’t love bubble wrap?

You can’t resist popping those big (or little) bubbles of air when you receive a shipment in the mail. It’s easy to forget bubble wrap is used to protect your order but, instead, it becomes easy entertainment!

Therefore, we thought it would be fun to create a bubble wrap game and have released “Bubble Wrap Snap & Pop Noisy Game PRO.”

You can download the game here:

Bubble Wrap Gameow.ly/Gf9Bh

This game features two levels of playing styles: “Survival Mode” and “War Mode.”

In “Survival Mode” the object of the game is to tap and pop the colorful pieces of bubble wrap before they entirely cover the present in the center of the table.

You’ll need to be fast!

With “War Mode” you will need to tap and pop as many pieces of bubble wrap as you can before they cross your line of defense.

This game is available for $2.99, but features NO ads for uninterrupted play. Check it out here: ow.ly/Gf9Bh

Have fun!

19. December 2014 · Comments Off on 2 New Holiday Game Apps: Cats and Dogs Snowball Fight and More · Categories: Holiday Games · Tags: , , ,

Just in time for the upcoming holiday, we’ve released two new game apps today!

new holiday game apps“Cats and Dogs Snowball Polar Vortex War PRO” and “Matching Clothes & Boutique Styles Flow Skills Puzzle PRO” are both now available for purchase in the iTunes Store.

Both games are for sale at $2.99 each. They contain NO ads.

“Cats and Dogs Snowball Polar Vortex War PRO” is a good two-player game which allows you to be a cat or a dog and throw snowballs at each other.

The game is available here:


“Matching Clothes & Boutique Styles Flow Skills Puzzle PRO” is a matching shopping game – a nice distraction while waiting on your friend to finish shopping or endlessly trying on new clothes at the mall.

matching clothes game appThe object is to find, match and connect shoes, slacks, hats and more in a 4 x 4 grid. Other grids are available for a tougher challenge.

The game is available here: