Web Design and SEO Blog

Jun20185

How To Avoid Fake Invoice Attacks

by Mira Brody in Security, Tools & Tips

An article by WolfGuardIT

WolfGuard IT
WolfGuard IT
Cyber attacks in the form of fake invoices are on the rise, and it is important to be able to identify them before you are scammed into sending money to someone who isn’t actually a business partner or distributor. Discover the different types of invoice attacks in a blog article by JTech’s business partner, WolfGuard IT.

Fake Invoice Attacks Are on the Rise – Here’s How to Spot (and Beat) Them
Jun20181

95% of your customers are mobile — are you?

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Content, Design, Development, Optimization, SEO, Tools & Tips, UX

Having a responsive site is more important than ever.

95% of Americans own and use a cell phone or tablet to access the internet, making it vital for your business to have a responsive website that looks great and works well on a small screen. Let’s take a look back at when “mobilegeddon” began and what changes took place…

A timeline of mobile takeover: Mobilegeddon begins
  • January 2014 — Mobile traffic surpasses 50% of all web traffic in the US as more and more people use mobile devices as their primary way of browsing the web. Google begins penalizing websites that perform poorly on a phone or tablet.
  • April 2015 — Google changes its algorithm to directly lower the search ranking of websites that are not mobile-friendly. It is the first major algorithm change in a long time and aimed at improving the mobile experience for users.
  • January 2017 — Google announces that while indexing your site, it will consider the mobile version first and foremost when ranking its search results. 

Between user experience — most users will leave a site that takes longer than 2-4 seconds to load — and your standing with Google, your business cannot afford to have a site that is not accessible for all devices.

Take action!
First, test your site with this tool to see how Google considers its performance on mobile. If you rate poorly, talk to us about our current discounts and specials for those needing to get their website responsive in a hurry.
May201831

JTech Partners With WolfGuard IT to Provide Tech Support to Clients

by Mira Brody in Announcements

JTech is excited to announce our new business partnership with WolfGuard IT! WolfGuard IT is a dedicated computer consulting company in Bozeman, MT who partner with businesses all over the country to prevent technical issues before they occur. Their trusted, professional and experienced team is capable of working in-house or remotely so you can keep doing business without downtime.

When clients come to us with technical issues outside our realm, we will refer you to the WolfGuard IT team with confidence. Founder Chris Kimbell and his team can help you with the following issues:
  • IT Support — They offer affordable, ongoing IT monitoring and support that is not only meant to fix problems as they arise, but catch them before they occur.
  • Cybersecurity — They recognize vulnerabilities and are actable of tackling them head-on so you are guarded against cyber attacks and threats.
  • Business Phone Systems — They understand the importance of a functioning phone system to keep your business running. WolfGuard IT offers their own phone system software, WolfGuard Call, that is secure, and flexible to your business needs.

JTech is looking forward to the benefits this new partnership will allow us to offer our clients. When you need technical assistance outside of the realm of the website we’ve built for you, we can refer you to WolfGuard IT. If you have any questions for us, don’t hesitate to contact us — or if you have questions for Chris and his team, contact WolfGuard IT.
May201829

Easily Manage Your Website with My JTech

by Mira Brody in Announcements

Features in our content management system that will improve your experience managing your site.

We wanted to share with you the updated organization of My JTech's “Manage Site” interface. Manage Site is your dashboard for managing your website’s data and content, and we’re always working to make this process as convenient and painless as possible for you. Here’s a short tour of the sections you may find while managing your site. Not everyone will have all sections, depending on the services you have with JTech.

View Data & Activity
Data and Activity includes your site’s databases. Depending on your site, this can be a record of your contact submissions, donations, job application summations and whatever other data we’ve built your site to keep track of. This makes it easy for you to access the data you need at the click of a button.

Website Profile
Your website profile is a central repository of information about your business or organization — address, location, contact information and link to any social media presence maintained by your company.

Custom Tools
The tools available to you will depend on your site. Many of our clients utilize the ability to import and export data, or manage product inventory.

Favorites
When you’ve opened a specific drawer, you have the option of selecting it as a “Favorite” by clicking the star in the upper righthand corner. Shortcuts to everything you’ve Favorited will be conveniently listed here in your Favorites section.

Site Pages
You have the ability to change the copy and images on many of your website’s pages via Site Pages. All of your editable pages will be listed here.

Conclusion
When we make improvements to My JTech, we share those improvements so that our clients can more easily manage their site. We are making consistent upgrades to My JTech and will keep you in the loop about anything forthcoming! If you need help, we encourage you to browse through our Support Articles, or contact us with any questions.
May201824

Your Requirements — A Small Business Owner’s Guide to the GDPR

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Industry News

The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) is a law that businesses who have customers in the European Union will have to comply with, starting next week.

The regulation is to be enacted on May 25, 2018 and designed to protect data of citizens in the European Union. Penalties for breaking the regulation include 4% of worldwide turnover or €20 million — whichever is higher.

What kind of data?
GDPR applies to data that is collected, processed, and/or stored in Europe, regardless of where the data is gathered. It covers two types of data:
  • Personal data — Personal data is anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address.
  • Sensitive data — Sensitive data is anything that the EU judges to be more private than a name. Some examples are, your ethnic origin, religion, sexual preferences, politics or your criminal history.

Who is affected?
This regulation applies to:
  • People who collect data in the EU.
  • Someone whose data is being collected in the EU.
  • A company outside the EU that is collecting data from an EU citizen.
  • So, if you run a business in the United States, but have one customer in the EU, GDPR still applies to you.

What should business owners be aware of?
The web relies on data in order to function. As a business owner who either does business in the EU, or does business elsewhere but has customers using their website from the EU, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
  • If you own an online business IN the EU, assume that at some point the data you collect and store will be transferred outside of the EU and its approved countries.
  • If you own an online business OUTSIDE of the EU, assume that the data you collect and store will be that of an EU citizen.
  • Never ask for more data than you require from your users.
  • Always ask permission before collecting data from your users — users should be able to assume their privacy is being respected. Do this with a Terms and Conditions consent form, or short message written in plain language that is easy for the user to understand. You may have seen these in the form of: “by visiting this site you are agreeing to…”
  • Explain what you are collecting, how it will be used and who else will have access to it.
  • Allow users to opt-out and never pre-check consent boxes. So, if you have a Terms and Conditions form and an “I Agree” checkbox, have the user make the decision to check that box. If you use a service to distribute marketing or notification emails, ensure there is an “unsubscribe” link available in each email.

Conclusion
Although enacted by the EU, because of the nature of the web and data usage, the GDPR affects those doing business online in the US as well. If you’re interested in learning more, about GDPR, here are a couple additional sources. As an online business owner, your users’ (as well as your own) privacy and security should be a top priority. If you have questions about how your website collects data from users, or have any security concerns at all, reach out to your web designer. If that’s us, give us a call — we’d be happy to help you out!
May201823

Happy Memorial Day From JTech!

by Mira Brody in Announcements

Well wishes and office closures to be aware of.

Our office will be closed on Monday, May 28th so that we can enjoy the Memorial Day weekend with our friends, family and barbecue. We will be open again on Tuesday, May 29th.

Wishes for a relaxing and warm holiday from everyone here at JTech Communications!
May201822

Important Industry Security Changes

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Industry News

Across the web companies are dropping support for browsers that use an outdated encryption transmission method called TLSv1. Modern encryption is mandated to process credit card payments online and keep data safe. In order for sites to keep the PCI compliance they need to process payments, TLSv1 must be disabled by July 1st, 2018.

Few People will be Affected
It's likely you won't notice this change at all. Almost all internet users — 99.5% of visitors to our website, for example — are using new enough browsers that they won't be affected. Many companies, from small businesses to corporations like Microsoft and Salesforce, are disabling support for these obsolete browsers.

Browsers with minimum encryption support include:
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Chrome 30
  • Safari 7
  • Firefox 27
  • Edge 12
  • Android Browser 4.4

If you're not sure whether the browser you use on a regular basis is the most up-to-date version, view your options at http://whatbrowser.org

JTech's Timeline
On June 18th, we will start redirecting users with obsolete browsers that do not meet the minimum requirements to a page informing them what is happening and what next steps they need to take.

On July 1st, 2018, the out-of-date security protocol will be disabled. Users of obsolete browsers will no longer be able to access websites hosted by JTech Communications.

Security remains an area of focus for us — this change is a necessary step to protect our clients and their customers from fraudulent credit card charges and the potential for unwanted intrusions into their websites and data. If you have any questions about this change, please contact us.
May201821

What’s New In My JTech

by Mira Brody in Announcements

An overview of some new features we added this year to help you better manage your site.

We’ve added new features to our custom content management system, My JTech, this year. In case you missed any of it, here’s a list of our favorite new tools —

Column view control — The column view controller allows you to choose which columns of data are visible to you in a list view. Once you open the data list you wish you edit, click on the column icon in the upper righthand corner.
This will reveal the column view palette. Simply check the columns you would like to have visible, and hit “Apply.”

Custom URL keys — Creating custom URL keys is a feature that we often build into blog or profile pages. Instead of a computer generated URL like jtech.digital/blog?id=1345, you can create a readable address that is easier to type and remember, and appears in the URL field when that document is open (in the example below, the blog post will have an address of jtechcommunications.com/blog-image-title-tags). It is good to keep it short and use keywords, if possible. All characters should be lowercase and words separated only by a single dash.

Metadata character count — Metadata fields in My JTech include the meta title, description and keywords — descriptive information about your website that is typically only visible to search engines. If you feel comfortable editing this data, you can add or remove meta fields. Google suggests up to 150 characters for the meta description, which is why we added this handy character count feature, visible at the bottom of the field. If you do not feel comfortable editing your site’s metadata, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to help you!

Inline image editor — The inline image editor makes it easy to drag and drop images into the text of your page or blog. You can then move the image to the left, right, or have it centered in the body of the text. We’ve written a helpful support article about the Inline Image Editor for your use.
This feature is new and support for it must be built into your site. If you don’t see this tool but feel it would benefit the way you apply the images on your site, contact us and we’d be happy to help.

Link to file — The link to file, or file linking tool, allows you to reference file, such as a PDF document, in the body text of your website. Simple highlight the text you would like to be a link, click the link to file tool in the HTML editor toolbar, and drag the document into the large text area.

Conclusion
All of these tools make it easer for you to manage the content on your site. If you have any questions, we’ve published a handful of support articles as a resource for you — or, you can always contact us.
Apr201827

Haptics: Feedback You Can Feel

by Mira Brody in Development, Industry News, UX

In the future, haptics may improve human-computer interaction on the web.

Haptic feedback is the physical sensation — typically vibration — you feel when a product gives feedback such as response to your touch. Some examples of everyday technology that utilize haptics are the iPhone home button (iPhone 7 or newer), Apple Watch, and many gaming joysticks. You may remember primitive renditions such as your Nintendo controller vibrating when your MarioKart was being run off the road, simulating the real-world haptic feedback of highway rumble strips. Since then, touchscreen devices have opened the door to wide adoption of haptic technology — in fact, there is currently an API being developed that will allow its application to websites. Although it may feel fancy when your iPhone’s home button taps your finger back, there are some real advantages that haptics may be able to provide on everyday devices in the future.

Improved User Interface.
Haptic feedback provides a third mode of feedback from an interface. For a couple decades now, we’ve relied on sound and visuals to receive feedback. Haptic feedback can alert you of things as they happen without having to watch the computer screen. For example, if you’re scrolling through an article and nearing the end, a vibration can alert you that you are nearing the end without you having to glance at the scrollbar. Another example is the Apple Watch tapping your wrist to give left/right directions without you having to look at a screen or be interrupted by audio.

Improved Handicap Accessibility.
Haptics interact with a human’s sense of touch, benefitting those who do not have use of their eyesight or hearing — or who lack use of both. Just as a blind person would use their sense of touch to read Braille, they would be able to use haptics to receive feedback from a computer, improving their experience where other accessibility features fall short.

Reduces Human Error.
Haptics eliminates the need to rely on visual stimuli to know that a touch was registered, meaning it will help reduce the likelihood that a button was pressed accidentally or that one was missed altogether. Although not foolproof, this technology can be used to reduce the margin of error — whether they be text typos in a blog article about cats, or NASA algorithms that send humans to space.

Conclusion.
As touchscreen devices become more prevalent in the computer world, haptics will no doubt play a larger part in the user experience they provide — someday it may be standard operating procedure for our developers to apply haptics to your website! Imagine submitting a form and receiving a reassuring “tap” on your finger in response. Until then, it will be an interesting technology to watch evolve.
Apr201820

Optimizing Your Site’s Imagery for Search Engines

by Mira Brody in Content, Imagery, Optimization, SEO, Tools & Tips

This article was originally published on the JTech Blog in April 2017 and was updated in April 2018 to reflect features in Google Image results that were rolled out last month.

All of the content on your website should be properly optimized so that search engines can easily understand who you are and what products and services you offer to customers searching for you. In addition to copy, these optimization efforts should include any imagery you upload. Google will look at the images on your site to determine what services and products you provide, and therefore how you rank in related search results. In a recent move, Google image search is now displaying image title tags in image results, where they will appear right under the image thumbnails — on mobile devices only. This will help provide searchers with additional context and help them find what they are looking for.

Although the image uploader in our content management system, My JTech, does most of the technical work for you, it is important to understand the importance of SEO image file optimization in the case that you are using a more primitive tool. To help you properly optimize your site’s images, our digital marketing team has put together a few tips and tricks so that you can achieve the best possible search engine ranking.

File name optimization.
Non-standard image file names can cause some issues, such as confusing the web browser and causing it to try loading your image from a non-existent location. Some best-practice naming rules to remember are:
  • Use only lower-case letters.
  • Instead of spaces, use a dash between words.
  • No numbers, underscores or punctuation.
  • No characters that are not letters.

fresh eggs
fresh eggs
Your file names should also be short, comprehendible, and contain at least one keyword. Instead of “FRESH EGGS/YUMMY!!!.jpg,” your file name should be formatted as such: “fresh-eggs.jpg” Creating web-friendly file names means these files are search engine-friendly as well.

The code for this file name would look something like this: img src="fresh-eggs.jpg"

File size optimization.
For optimal site performance, the image file you upload should be properly sized and passed through an image file optimizer. We recommend ImageOptim, as it can often produce 80-90% savings. This takes bloat off of your page load, which not only improves user experience but also your ranking, since Google is known for penalizing sites with poor performance.
Optimize your image title text.
Title text is a description of the image. Title text is not significant to search engines, and is used as an accessibility tool — when you mouseover an image, a little window should appear that contains the image title text.

Image alt text.
Alt text, however, is recognized by Google for accessibility and is displayed in search results on mobile devices. To get the most out of your alt text, keep it short — a single sentence will do. Try to organically apply a primary keyword or two, but don’t overstuff, as this becomes unhelpful to users and Google will recognize it as spam.

In My JTech, on most image uploads, you’ll enter alt text in the field just below the image.

In the example, we’ve included the product and business name, as well as the location of the store to give a keyword boost to the page.

The code for your image alt text in this case would look something like this: img src=“chicken-harness.jpg” title=“Chicken Harness” alt=“Chicken harness from Bridger Animal Nutrition in Bozeman, MT”


Google sitemap.
Finally, you should upload a sitemap to Google search console. A sitemap is an XML document submitted to search engines that allows them to understand the structure of all content on your website — including images. This allows Google to more easily crawl your site and display you in relevant results. Submitting sitemaps is part of the service JTech provides when building or optimizing sites for our clients.

The importance of optimized images.
Any SEO effort to refine your site's content should include image optimization. This will ensure that you are positioned as a relevant result when people search for the products and services you offer. Due to Google’s update, your image titles will now help your visibility in image search results as well, driving potential customers to your site. If you’re a JTech customer, our content management system handles a lot of this work for you, requiring a user only to have to title each image – this the image title is automatically used as alt text. In a perfect world, all image managers would have this functionality, but it is good information to understand in the case that you find yourself using a less-sophisticated tool.