Dogs Fly Design - Ojai, CA

How Do Search Engines Work?

World Wide WebHow Search Engines Work

Imagine the Internet as how it is described – the World Wide Web – a giant spider web (I hate spiders, but it is the best analogy). Every webpage (documents, PDF files, and images included) is an individual point on that web, and the paths that link all those points together are links. Search engines need a way to “crawl” through all of content on the web and index it for users to search, so they send out their “spiders” (also called crawlers or robots). These spiders travel from point to point on the web through the links we create.

As the spiders find all of the available pages, files, documents and information on the web, they also continuously sort and index all that information to later be recalled in searches. They analyze the text and code within every single file they come across, storing bits and pieces of it on their massive hard drives for later recall. All the major search engines have gigantic data centers all over the world in order to store all of this information with thousands of machines continually processing and evaluating the data to make your search results as quick and accurate as possible.

The results a search engine provides in a search are ranked based on both the relevance (is content on the page is clearly pertaining to what you searched for?) and the importance of the content (how popular the page is – the more popular, the better the content must be). These two rankings are determined by carefully crafted (and very secret) algorithms that makes each search engine unique. The are made up of hundreds of variables, or ranking factors, that judge where in the search results a page should come up. It should also be noted, that Google recently announced some changes to their algorithm that take into account when the content was posted or last updated, another reason people are turning more and more to blogging to keep their content relevant.

Each search engine has its own guidelines for best practices of content in a site. Here you can find the content quality guidelines from Yahoo, Bing, and Google. Even though they each have their own guides, they all have the same basic rule – build a useful, information rich site geared towards the user, not search engines, and don’t be deceptive with your content try to increase your rankings.

Here are a few more basic recommendations for creating your site and content:

  • Each page should be accessible through at least one static text link.
  • Do not include important content in images, search engines cannot read them.
  • Make sure your title and ALT text is descriptive and pertinent to your content.
  • Have links to other sites that are also pertinent to your site and content – but keep links on any given page down to a reasonable number.
  • The number of relevant sites linking to your site is important.
  • Update your content often.


Tagged with:   Posted in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Organic SEO Basics on Pages and Blog Posts

SEO ConceptsOnce your site is designed to be search engine friendly, you then need to seed your site with your keywords in the indexable content.

1. Each page should focus on a specific word or set of words.

2. Those words should be used in the title of your page. Try to keep the keyword near the beginning of the title tag. If it makes sense to use it a second time, do.

3. You should also have a search engine friendly url relating to the topic. EG: Use the keyword once in the url.

4. The keywords should then be used in the headings on your page in H1 tags once.

5. They should be used in the sub-headings as well in H2, H3, ect. tags.

6. They should be repeated in the paragraphs throughout the text at least three times, more if it is a large body of content.

7. Use it at least once in bold on the page. Either the <b> or <strong> tag is fine.

8. They should be used in the image descriptions, captions, and alt tags – this will also help with images searches, another resource for traffic.

9. They need to be included in the meta data of each individual page/post (keywords and description).


There are three important parts of meta data for each page/post – the title, keywords, and description.

The title is what appears at the top of the webpage and the text that will be used when creating a bookmark. It is also the text that appears a the top of the search engine result. Use the keyword at least once near the beginning of the title. Titles are generally 60-70 characters at most.

The description is a summary of the content of the page/post. It is not used by search engine for ranking, though it is what appears under the title in the search result. It is important to include the keywords of you page there to help bring relevant traffic to the site.

Keywords are just a list of words that are relevant to the content of the page, separated by commas.

If we built your site, then we included the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.  This is a great tool to get optimize your pages. Check out our tutorial for the plugin on our YouTube channel so you can optimize your pages yourself.

Tagged with:   Posted in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Is my website designed to be SEO friendly?

Is my website designed to be SEO friendly? How do I make it so?

1. Put your writing in text. Don’t lock it in images because search engines can’t pick it up to see what you are about.

2. Make your navigation text based, not imaged based. This way search engines can read your navigation structure and see what is important in your site.

3. Include keywords in your navigation. If a word is really important – it should have a link in your navigation that then links you to a page about it.

4. Use image tags. Tag your images with the related keywords on your page.

5. Do you have specific pages that are keyword focused? Use the word in the navigation, links to page about word, put the word in title, use the word in headings and sub headings, include the word in paragraphs, use the word in image tags, include the word in metadata (keywords and description).

6. Does your URL relate to your keywords?

7. Do you have search engine friendly urls?  Can search engines follow your links?

8. Are your H1, H2, and H3 tags formatted for use?

If you cannot answer these questions, or if the answers are no, we can help. You may need a basic facelift on your website, or it might be time for a big update. Contact us and we can help you decide how to make your site more search engine friendly.


Tagged with:   Posted in SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Java Security Update for Everyone

Java Update

java-square-300x300A thank you to our friends at Sunrise Computers for sending out this update and keeping us in the know. Please read through this below and follow the steps provided to protect your computer. Justin writes below:

After the break the rare and deranged computer hackers of this world discovered and began exploiting a serious hole in the common Java software that runs as a component within virtually all of our web browsers. This bug has now been patched with a free update from Oracle (makers of Java) and should be installed immediately on everyone’s computer – Mac & PC. Below please find guidance on how to complete this. Or if you would prefer please email back that you want us to handle everything and confirm some good time windows when we can get on your computers remotely, such as this evening. Note that administrative rights / password are required to install this update.

1. Windows PC users can locate Java in the Control Panel. Open Java and click the Update tab at top. Click Update Now at the bottom and follow the prompts. Unclick the option to install the Ask toolbar (this is essentially just an advertising platform – not wanted).

2. Mac OS X 10.7 and 10.8 users can simply run the Apple Software update and the patches will be installed. Click Apple Menu and then Software Update. Install all available updates. Older Macs can reinstall the software from

3. Restart the computer once complete. You should now be on Java 7 update 11.

We try to only send out critical patch notices such as this so as to not become “the tech that cried wolf”… however when the US Department of Homeland Security issues a press release – hope you agree that’s enough reason to sound the alarms!

Thank you,

Justin Grant
Microsoft Certified Professional
Apple Certified Pro

Posted in Announcements, Security

New Hosting

New Hosting

419970_front_rack_serverAs most of you may know, we have been experiencing some issues with our current web host. After over five (mostly great) years with them, we have decided that it is time for an upgrade. Over the past few months, we have been testing out a new host and have decided that they are performing much better and are more appropriate for our current clients’ needs. We have switched over 15 sites already and are very happy with the results.

How does this apply to you? If you feel that your site is running slowly, or especially if you feel that your site has slowed down in the last six months to a year, then you will love this new hosting. We have found that it runs most of our WordPress sites much quicker and much more smoothly. We have also found that we love their customer support that they have provided us as we have been researching this switch.

Each migration will be done by a professional website moving company ($275-$350). This will include backing up your site, setting up your new account, migrating the database and your email system. Hosting on the new server for new clients is $65 a year. For clients choosing to migrate from the old hosting, you will be kept on the same hosting plan that you are on now ($50 per year) and your renewal date will remain the same.

If you are interested in making the switch to the new hosting or want to know if it is right for you, please contact me and we can discuss setting up a migration date.

Posted in Announcements, Hosting, What's Happening at DFD

What is the Jetpack Plugin?

Jetpack Logo

Jetpack Plugin for WordPress by WordPress

Jetpack is a plugin created by WordPress itself that we install on our WordPress sites for many reasons. The plugin is for self-hosted WordPress websites (which all of our clients’ sites are) that connects them to This allows self-hosted sites to have access to many of the great features that were only available to users.

What does that mean for you? The best explanation of all of Jetpack’s features comes from the Jetpack website itself. However, here are the top things we love about Jetpack:

  • Created by WordPress, for WordPress, it offeres many great features, runs quickly, and doesn’t bog down your site as installing many plugins to do the same job would.
  • Site Stats – though we do use Google Analytics, the Stats that come with Jetpack give our users as simple and easy to digest the overview of the traffic on their site.
  • Sharing – Jetpack helps make your social media sharing dreams come true with an easy to use button that can be placed at the bottom of any post or page allowing users to Tweet it, Share it, +1 it, Pin it, Digg it, and much more. (You can read a bit more about sharing in our Jetpack and Pinterest post or try it out below by sharing this post!)
  • Shortcode Embeds – You no long need to figure out how to use embed codes to share videos on your site. Simply cut and past the YouTube or Vimeo url into your page or post and the video will appear! (Check our out YouTube tutorial on this if you are interested.)

If you already have Jetpack and want to use more of the available features to your advantage, just let us know. For some of our clients, we created your site before Jetpack became so cool. If you would like us to install Jetpack for you now, please contact us.

Tagged with: , ,   Posted in Plugins

Pinterest Social Media Sharing with Jetpack is Here!


Pinterest LogoI have been anxiously awaiting this update to come out. Jetpack is a plugin that we use on many of your sites that enables you to easily manage your social media sharing options (among many other features – visit our “What is the Jetpack Plugin?” post for more). As Pinterest continued to gain momentum, Jetpack was starting to feel a bit behind by leaving it off its social media sharing tools. Well, today I went into a client’s site and ran the Jetpack update and voila! Pinterest appeared! Website users can now Pin content from your website with one easy click.

If you would like to add Pinterest to your list of sharing icons, or add sharing in general, just let us know and we can run the updates for you and make your social media sharing dreams come true!

Sharing Icons

Jetpack Sharing Options

Tagged with: , , , ,   Posted in Plugins, Social Media

Facebook WordPress Plugin Launches

Facebook and WordPressGreat news all my social media conscience WordPress users – Facebook has announced a new WordPress plugin that integrates all its fabulous sharing and liking features into your WordPress blog. It has some quirks and conflicts with a few other plugins, but I am sure all those kinks will be worked out very soon. Facebook wants everything to run as smoothly as possible as quickly as possible, so bugs never last long. If you are interested in integrating this new plugin into your site, contact us and we will be happy to chat with you about it!

Tagged with: , , ,   Posted in Plugins, Social Media

Googled Today: Caring for Chickens

Googled: Chickens

I am dying to get chickens in our backyard. So today I Googled “Caring for Chickens.” There are so many reasons why I want them….

I just love chickens, what can I say?

  • I will know the eggs I eat came from chickens that were well cared for, healthy, and happy.
  • Eggs nutrients can be changed depending on what the chickens are fed. Personally, I would like to know what my chickens are eating.
  • Organic, Vegetarian Fed, Free-Range Eggs are expensive! And with six of us living in the house, we go through a lot of eggs… I do know there will be an up front investment – but there are so many benefits too.
  • Also with six of us in the house, there are a lot of food scraps. How great would it be to not add that organic matter to the dump, use it for food for our animals, and get great manure in return!
  • Let’s be honest – chickens are CUTE! How can you resist these guys??

You may ask yourself, “Are there any design elements involved here?” Or course! Read more ›

Tagged with: , ,   Posted in Things I Google

Printer Woes

Well, it is about time that I finally break down and buy a new printer. If any of you have been to my office to check out some proofs on design, then you know I need a new printer. It is hard enough to get a true proof of what a final printed product is going to look like, as even every professional printing company varies on their colors from one to another.

The Final Straw - Trying to Proof my Wedding Invitations (Our names are supposed to be in a dark orange color!!)

For the last two years, oranges come out blue, reds are non existent, sometimes purples show up out of no where and everything I print that is not in black and white pretty much looks like a monotone, blue-washed, ugly document. If I wanted any idea of what a final print piece was going to look like, I would send the file to my parents at work and have them bring home the printed sample for me.

After weeks of debate, knowing that I was going to have to print my wedding invitations sooner or later, I decided to take the plunge and Googled “printer reviews.” After about 30 seconds of searching – I couldn’t believe my eyes! I can get an all-in-one printer for about $100?? I immediately called Rachel to ask her why she hadn’t informed me of this before. Why had she let me suffer through years of printing blues? Our clients who saw my printed projects must have thought I was crazy.

So after a few more hours of searching, here is the final choice:

Epson WorkForce 645 Wireless Printer with Scanner, Copier and Fax (C11CB86201)

Amazon Prime delivers it Tuesday. I will let you know how things go!

Tagged with:   Posted in What's Happening at DFD
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