iOS7 was released today during Apple’s iPhone 5C launch. While previous upgrades to iOS have mostly gone unnoticed by the casual observer, iOS7 represents a complete overhaul of the software that Apple iPhones and tablets run.

From a developer’s point of view, possibly the biggest change is that apps will now update automatically through a background process instead of requiring users to manually choose to update. This will ensure that most users will have the same version of the apps they have built. Fewer users will have outdated versions of apps running on their devices.

Since iOS7 is not a trivial upgrade but instead an entirely new piece of software, those who have developed apps for previous versions of iOS may experience some difficulties resulting from the upgrade. Many will likely experience issues resulting from incompatibilities with the new software. Be prepared to field complaints if a product your company has released is not compatible with the new version of iOS that many customers will be running.

There are expected to be many improvements that come as part of the change to iOS7, however. Functionality related to multitasking is expected to grow to more closely resemble that of a PC. The current process often leaves once-used apps forgotten but still running, sapping away at processing power and battery life ad infinitum.

iOS7 will also allow consumers to better protect their privacy and identities by limiting ad tracking and providing a built-in way to block unwanted communications.

The update will be available to users of Apple devices going back to iPhone 4 and iPad 2.

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There was a point in time when Microsoft Windows was seen as some kind of unstoppable natural monopoly in the software ecosystem. Everybody used Windows. It came pre-installed on nearly every new PC.

But a fundamental shift in the way that people access content has changed that equation. Worldwide PC sales fell by 12% last quarter as consumers shift more of their casual browsing activity toward tablets and smartphones. Microsoft’s stock dropped 11% in one day, and analysts attributed the fall to $MSFT’s failure to capitalize on the rapidly-growing mobile market.

If it can happen to a company as large and powerful as Microsoft, this change of preferences can affect your business as well. Consumers are using smartphones and tablets to search for things on the go or browse from their homes. The PC is rapidly becoming a piece of hardware used mostly for performing work tasks. If you want to reach your customers when they are searching for something outside of the workplace, your business needs to be reaching them on their mobile devices.

This means designing your website around the preferences of smartphone and tablet users. One of the most popular ways to do that is to incorporate responsive design elements. This makes it so that the page elements will automatically scale to the size of the device used to view them. Many times older websites display with tiny text and page elements that don’t load on a smartphone or tablet. If potential customers find struggling with a clunky layout to be too inconvenient or even impossible on their device, they may never call or visit your business.

Digital Dogs has designed numerous responsive, mobile-ready websites and iPhone or Android apps for clients. Contact us today to see how we can help your business capitalize on this growing share of web traffic.

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When you log into Twitter, it seems seems like the same people are always right at the top of your feed.  How do they do it?  Do they just sit at the computer or on their phone all day, posting motivational quotes and links to their blog?

These people accumulate thousands of followers and all of the benefits that comes with them by posting consistent, valuable content.  And while it’s possible to do that as an individual, it’s a lot easier for your brand or business to manage the people and content on the site by using online tools that can help you to do it automatically.  You may have seen tweets that have been posted from an outside application, most likely HootSuite.  The reason for this is that brands with the most active social media presence will use these services to automate the delivery of their content and management of their accounts.  Many of these services also provide analytics on who’s following them and what’s effective.

Drip marketing as it is relevant to Twitter involves creating (or buying) a collection of tweets, which can be scheduled in advance using a variety of online or software tools.  The advantages in doing this are numerous.  If you’re creating original content for dozens of tweets, it may be more efficient to simply dedicate a block of time to doing that in advance rather than trying to write them on the fly.  Or, if your tweets are heavy on images or other media content, it may not always be very easy to pull those social media items together during a busy workday.  If it’s just about tweeting links to a blog or other web content, it might not be worth your time to shoot out links to the same posts every day.  Promoting events where a large audience must be reached beforehand is much more likely to be successful with multiple pre-scheduled tweets than only one message.  And lastly, if your job or business takes you away from situations where it would be convenient to tweet frequently, drip marketing on Twitter can be very useful.

The most popular Twitter client is probably HootSuite, but there are other options available to those interested in running a drip marketing campaign.  Mashable recently created a list of free and effective Twitter APIs that can be used to schedule tweets. is another alternative.  Pluggio and TweetDrip have features designed specifically for running drip marketing campaigns on Twitter.  A standard feature of these services is to offer free trials or access to certain features for free in the hope of gaining a premium customer, so it’s easy to experiment and see what works the best for your brand.

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Google is a highly-profitable search engine, but it has recently begun an expansion into the ISP market, competing against companies like Time Warner Communications and CenturyLink. Google is building expensive new fiber optics infrastructure in the Kansas City area; Austin, Texas; and Provo, Utah. This will enable them to provide much faster speeds than what is available from current providers in those areas. In Austin, speeds may eventually be as much as 100 times faster than current rates. Google is also pricing the service very competitively, and throwing in products like Google TV with certain packages. Oftentimes the construction fees will even be waived, despite an estimated cost of $1200-2000 per house to bring a fiber optics connection into the living room.

Whether or not Google succeeds, or even intends to build out a nationwide fiber optics network is almost beside the point. Mainstream ISP’s are already taking notice of what Google is offering consumers and trying to compete. This will almost certainly result in faster speeds and better service for consumers.

Internet speeds in the U.S. lag behind what would be competitive elsewhere in the world. South Korea has long had the world’s fastest internet speeds, delivering data roughly three times as fast as what the average U.S. consumer is able to receive. Americans also pay more for access than citizens of other countries: in Seoul, South Korea, a 100-Mbps download speed connection costs less than $40 per month. Worse, only 8% of Americans have fiber optics connections to the internet, and nearly 30% of the country isn’t online at all.

What remains to be seen should fiber optics take off is the type of new content that will be created if internet speeds continue to grow exponentially. Technologies that are now mainstream, such as videoconferencing, social media, or watching movies on Netflix would have been inconceivable had dial-up remained the predominant way that Americans could access the internet. Continued growth in upload and download speeds would enable consumers to access more and more data, and allow for more innovation. While Google Fiber’s expansion has proceeded extremely slowly, and may never become more than a novelty, the competition could spur existing providers into continuing to improve on the telecommunications infrastructure.

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Web typography has come a long way in only a few short years. Not that long ago, most online content was displayed in only a few “Web-safe” fonts. Now there are more sophisticated ways of displaying text. One of the most popular ways of bringing custom fonts into a web layout is to use an API, such as Google Web Fonts. Google Web Fonts has over 600 open source fonts that can be imported for use in a web design.

Helvetica is a famous font which is European in origin but now used by companies and designers all over the world. Some might even say it is overused; the U.S. government uses Helvetica on all of its forms. Many famous corporate logos, such as Target and American Apparel, contain text in the Helvetica typeset. Helvetica is also often used in transportation-related applications, as it remains legible while in motion.

Arial extremely similar to Helvetica, but was developed specifically with computer applications in mind. While Helvetica’s origin came about in the 1950’s, Arial was designed for use by IBM in 1982. It is still extremely popular with computer users, but lacks the design cachet and perception of sophistication that Helvetica has obtained.

Helvetica and Arial are both would be described by web designers as sans-serif fonts. In contrast, Times New Roman or Garamond would be considered a serif font.

Sans-serif fonts look more modern, but book publishers often use fonts with the serifs intact so as to maximize readability.

How well do you know your fonts? The writers at Buzzfeed put together a quiz where you can test your knowledge of different typefaces.

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Having the most up-to-date security settings on your email server is important not only for security reasons, but also for increasing the effectiveness of your online marketing campaigns. Many services your customers or clients use to receive email filter the messages people receive before they ever hit their inboxes to try and stop malicious phishing attacks from hackers. However, these filters cast a wide net and if your settings are not up-to-date, legitimate emails from your company could be diverted to customers’ spam folders and left unread.

There are three main techniques that can be used to make sure that your e-mail is not marked by servers as being spam.

1. Sender ID
Marketers that have adopted Sender ID have, in some instances, seen 85% fewer emails mistakenly marked as spam by email servers.

2. DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail
Gmail, the world’s most popular email service, actually requires 1024-bit DKIM identification in order for messages to be delivered. If you use an outside service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact for email campaigns, they may already be doing this. But if you are having problems with email delivery, it’s worth making sure that the messages you are sending are compliant with the latest security standards.

3. SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
SPF verifies that the ISP address sending the emails is correct.

The good news is that email companies will usually work with legitimate businesses to try and make sure their content is being delivered. Microsoft has been particularly vocal about pushing other companies to adopt these security standards, and explains in great detail on their website what businesses must do for their content to reach consumers. If you work with a third party email marketing tool, they will usually assist you in modifying these settings. It is worth it to take the time to understand the security issues that impact email delivery to make sure that your business is reaching its intended audience.

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While a lot of businesses have heard about Twitter, they’re confused about how to best leverage it for their own businesses – or they don’t think it’s applicable to their business model at all. To clear up some of the confusion and help you understand how your company can utilize Twitter, we’re going to a short series on Twitter as a marketing channel for businesses. This first part of the series is just going to provide a breakdown of the basics before we delve into the nitty gritty.

What Is Twitter?

Started in 2007, Twitter has experienced exponential growth over the last few years and has created a new way in which businesses can reach out to current and potential customers. Like most social medial platforms, Twitter is composed of user-generated content. Users can post text messages that are 140 characters or fewer. Each of these text messages is called a tweet. Tweets can be seen by a group of interested recipients known as followers. Every account has a username, which is also called a Twitter handle. All Twitter handles are denoted by the @ symbol. For example, our Twitter handle is @digitaldogsaz.

Twitter Lingo

There are a lot of new terms that come with any new technology. Part of what keeps some companies from using Twitter is simple confusion as to what these terms mean. Here, we define the most commonly used phrases.

Tweet: A message of up to 140 characters sent via Twitter. You can use the word tweet as a noun, such as “I sent a tweet about our new product line this morning,” or as a verb, such as “I tweeted about our March promotion.” You can also refer to a tweet as a post, message, or an update.

Hashtag #: A hashtag is the # symbol that’s followed by a phrase that describes the topic of the tweet. For instance, if you were tweeting about the 2012 Olympics, you would incorporate a hashtag such as #london2012 or #olympics. Using a hashtag helps users understand that your message is about the same topic as other tweets that contain the hashtag. Users can search for specific hashtags and see a list of all related posts. Companies can use hashtags for new product launches (e.g., #GiletteMach3) or for conferences and events.

Following/Followers: You receive messages on Twitter by following people or companies in which you’re interested. Once you start following someone, their messages will appear in your incoming timeline on your Twitter homepage. Likewise, to get your tweets seen by other people, you have to garner followers to your account.

Direct Message: Direct Messages, also known as DMs, are messages sent through Twitter’s private messaging channel. These tweets will appear under the “Messages” tab on your homepage. If you have email notifications turned on, you’ll also receive an email message when someone sends you a DM. Only you can see DMs sent to you – they don’t appear in search results or in your public timeline. You can only send DMs to people who are following you (and, conversely, you can only receive DMs from people you follow). There are a couple of ways you can send DMs. You can go to your “Messages” tab, use the pull-down menu to select a recipient, and start typing your tweet. You can also send DMs from your Twitter homepage by typing “d username” and then your message. For example, if you wanted to contact us, you would type, “d digitaldogsaz I have a question about using Twitter.”

ReTweet (RT): You can quickly share other people’s ideas or praise someone’s work on Twitter by reposting their tweets and giving them credit. Known as “retweeting” (RT), it typically looks like this: RT @Username: Original message (often with a link.” Retweeting occurs commonly on Twitter, and it provides an effective way for quickly spreading messages and ideas.

With retweets, your company’s message can quickly spread to a new audience.

Twitter Handle: The username for your Twitter account. Twitter handles are denoted by the @ symbol, so they appear like this: @digitaldogsaz.

In the next part of our series, how Twitter can be used in the business world and why it might (or might not) be a good fit for your company’s marketing efforts.

Have any questions? Let us know in the comment section below.

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Yesterday, we posted about a guide in which Google explains how the search engine works. We’re going to follow a similar theme today, providing you with a guide to Google Analytics. This guide is easy-to-follow and takes you through the process of setting up Google Analytics and then configuring it to provide meaningful data for your small business.

We help our clients with Google Analytics all the time. It’s an amazing tool that can help you pinpoint areas in which you can improve your site’s performance. However, if you’re managing your company’s Analytics all on your own, sometimes the capabilities of the tool can be overwhelming. This guide breaks it down for small business owners who want to more effectively leverage the tool for their companies. Of course, if you still have questions after going through the guide, you can always contact us for help with your site’s Analytics. Give us a call at 480-451-3647 or leave us a comment below.

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On Friday, Google announced an interactive infograph, called “How Search Works.” The title pretty much explains it all.

Google breaks the infograph into three parts:

  1. Crawling and Indexing
  2. Algorithms
  3. Fighting Spam

Crawling and Indexing

Here Google explains how they find and organize all the information out there on the World Wide Web.


In this section, Google explains what the algorithms are and how they determine which websites rank.

Fighting Spam

Finally, Google tells how they try to provide the best results possible by fighting against spam.

Overall, the infograph provides a simple, straightforward explanation of how THE search engine of all search engines work. As you scroll through the infograph, there are several images, typically circles, that you can hover over to get more information. Of course, the best way to understand how it works is to visit it yourself.

What do you think of the infograph? Does it help clarify how the search engines work to you? Leave us your comments below!

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At Digital Dogs, we offer a whole schmear of website services – web design, web development, and all kinds of online marketing (SEO, PPC, social media). However, some clients come to us looking for a specific service. Perhaps they already have a great web design, and they just want to increase online visibility, so they sign up for SEO and PPC. Sometime, people don’t have a website at all, and they come to us just wanting some web design and development services. We ALWAYS encourage these individuals to include SEO services with their web design project. Many see the value and sign up.

Others do not.

And then they come to us – sometimes the DAY after the site has launched – and they ask us why they aren’t ranking #1 in Google. So I send them this lovely SEO meme:

Not really, though that’s what I want to do. Instead, I’ll send an email or we’ll schedule a phone call so I can explain some of the different factors that contribute to a strong online presence. By the end of the conversation, the client typically understands that one does not simply get to the top of Google.

Do you wonder why your website isn’t showing up in search results? Leave a comment or contact us at 480-451-3647. We can conduct an analysis of your website and break down the steps you need to take in order to achieve a more prominent online presence.

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