Web Design and SEO Blog

May201719

Setting Your Digital Strategy Cycle

by Mira Brody in Optimization, SEO, Tools & Tips

alt title.

With every website project, JTech offers our clients optional ongoing strategic reviews of their website. Your business changes with time, making it important to reevaluate your digital strategy to ensure it is still working for you, generating new business and successfully serving your existing clients. Here are a few things we check for when evaluating your ongoing digital strategy:

Initial evaluation — If you have an existing site, it is important to evaluate where you stand in your market when compared to your competitors. We can also setup a digital marketing program to manage and monitor your performance.

Bi-annual reviews — We start these three months after the launch of your new site to monitor its performance. This helps us understand whether the keywords we researched are properly attracting your target markets and what tweaks are needed for your long-term plan. Optimization, marketing adjustments, and initiatives are recommended to meet your primary goals.

Monitor Analytics — Google Analytics provides us with in-depth insight about your website data. We can see who is visiting, their behavior, and where they are getting stuck or dropping off. We then use this insight to improve the performance of your website.

We are in the business of not only creating an online presence for you, but also — much like a car— consistently servicing that website so that it is working at peak performance. If you feel like you are due for a site evaluation or may need online marketing and promotion initiatives, please give us a call — we’d love to talk to you about how your site can be improved to achieve your goals.
May201716

Providing Support For Your Website

by Mira Brody in Tools & Tips

Provide tech support for your customers.

If your business recently launched a new website — or added a feature to an old one — there is a learning curve while your customers adjust to the new interface. As the website owner, providing the needed assistance can ensure that your customers’ experience with your business is a positive one. From our experience designing and developing advanced websites, we’ve come up with some pointers to help you troubleshoot issues that your customers and staff encounter while using your website.

Know your own site.
It may sound obvious, but the best way to teach your customers about your product is to understand it yourself. Whether you’ve just launched a completely new site or are training a new employee on an existing one, this self-training is vital. That way, when a customer calls needing help, you’ll know exactly where to start.

Foresee issues.
This one is particularly important when switching your customers over to a completely new site, as most people are resistant to change. Take note of the things that will be changing and warn your users ahead of time. Even with small changes, we recommend announcing it before launch with a post on your blog or newsletter to avoid surprises. For example, we recently added a file attachment tool to our content management system. Although a minor change, we alerted our clients beforehand and provided instructions on how to use the tool.

Provide help resources online.
Support articles or videos can provide the troubleshooting help many need and reduce time-consuming phone calls to your office. If your site is particularly complex, consider a support section, or frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. You may even consider live chat on your site, a feature that has proven to increase conversion rates and save employee time.

Solicit feedback.
Engage your customers by asking for feedback! People like to have their opinions heard and the reviews on your company's Google+, Facebook and Yelp accounts can positively affect your search ranking. Feedback also gives you the opportunity to improve your services and communicate with your customers.

When your company owns a website, it is your responsibility to make sure it is user-friendly for your customers and to troubleshoot any issues when they arise. We hope we’ve armed you with a useful outline for mitigating common problems. If you would like help adding Support Resources, an FAQ section, or writing troubleshooting guides, we’d be happy to help you.
May201712

The Power of Positive Feedback

by Mira Brody in Design, Development

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve.” — Bill Gates

The power of positive feedback.

Not long ago we launched Bozeman Websites, our affordable product line geared toward smaller businesses and startups so that they too can afford a custom website that serves their needs online. Not long after we started marketing Bozeman Websites, we received some fantastic feedback from a business owner in Missoula, MT who had looked into using us in the past and could now afford it.

“…I am looking forward to using your new program to build the site that we need in the next couple of years. Thanks so much for thinking of the small businesses out here that so desperately need the great quality work that you do.…”

Hearing from a potential customer that they admire and value our work is not only an uplifting experience and a morale boost for the team, but it offers us valuable feedback about what we are doing right. We encourage you to take some time to leave feedback for your local business — you never know who you’ll reach and what positive change it may lead to.
May201710

The Wheeler Center

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Our team just completed a new website for The Wheeler Center!

The Wheeler Center was named for Burton K. Wheeler, and serves to promote the discussion and analysis of Montana public policy. In addition to providing sources, they also hold and sponsor conferences and events for those looking to self-educate as well as discuss solutions to some of today’s pressing issues.

For The Wheeler Center website, we were able to provide an online setting to display their upcoming events, archive information about past events and list political resources. Since they are a non-profit, we’ve also included a donations page where visitors are educated on the benefits of the center’s presence and encouraged to contribute. We felt sweeping imagery of Montana as well as historic photographs of the state’s politics were appropriate to the site’s purpose.
May20178

ShowTime Magazine Addition

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Showtime is live on SSI.

We are excited to announce the addition of ShowTime Magazine to the Silver Screen Insider website. ShowTime is a seasonal theater marketing guide full of movie previews, advertisements from trusted industry vendors, news articles and interviews. It is a must-have resource for anyone running a theater — big or small.

ShowTime Magazine is the perfect addition to Silver Screen Insider. Our development team worked to make this special section of the website stay true to its roots as a print publication while making updates allowed by its digitization. One such feature is the elegant scrolling behavior. As you navigate through the publication, the magazine cover will scroll away, revealing a table of contents. Whether you jump to an interesting article from here or just continue scrolling, it’s incredibly easy to browse through the magazine’s contents. As you scroll, each featured movie is preceded by an immersive full-screen preview, guiding the user even more fluidly than when flipping the pages of a physical magazine. The hope of this digital edition is to not only provide Insider members of this beautiful website with an invaluable resource, but also to make this magazine more accessible and appealing for its readers.
May20173

Laundry Loops is Live!

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Development

A new website for Laundry Loops.

Peggy and Mike are the inventors of Laundry Loops, a laundry bag alternative that has helped many commercial laundry facilities operate more efficiently. Instead of a large, mesh bag, the laundry strap groups clothing — from shirts, pants, shorts, socks and hats — for sports teams, military bases, correctional facilities and other industries who require commercial laundry management.

This new website not only focused on an upgraded design (provided by O’Berry Collaborative,) but was inspired by the company's desire to streamline their administrative operations. Instead of customers calling to order loops, we built a much improved user experience to encourage purchases be made easily through the website. The site processes payments from clients all over the world and Laundry Loops employees can manage orders easily from My JTech, our custom content management system.
May20171

Google Fact Check to Face Off with Fake News

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Google, Industry News

Publishing misinformation is no new practice — the term ‘Yellow Journalism’ was coined in the 1890s to describe sensationalist news articles that contained little to no research and whose intent was sometimes political gain or to confuse its readers. Because of its resurgence in the form of ‘Fake News,’ Google has enacted a new Fact Check feature that formats search results so that users can quickly determine whether or not a popularly-disputed claim is credible or not. The result will show a “claim,” “claimed by,” and “fact check,” which provides the correct answer to the claim as well as the source it came from.
An example of Google Fact Check.
An example of a Google Fact Check result. Image from Google Blog

This change came following waves of negative press when Google’s featured snippets (fact boxes shown above results) and top search results offered some dodgy answers — even reading them aloud as facts to users of their voice-driven product Google Home. After labeling Republicans Nazis, suggesting that four U.S. Presidents were members of the KKK, categorically denigrating women, and providing a Holocaust-denying Neo-Nazi site as a top result to a Holocaust query, it's easy to see why Google would be eager to join other tech companies in attempting to distinguish fake and real news stories for their users. They’ve stated in the Google Development blog: “Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree. As we make fact checks more visible in Search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions.”

How it works:
If you own a website that reviews claims, you can include a ClaimReview schema tag in your webpage so that it appears in these specially-formatted Google results. Google will use their algorithm to determine which sites are credible and ignore those who aren’t, even if the site contains a ClaimReview markup. Here are a few tips that will help your chances of appearing in claims relevant to your site:

  • Be transparent about the information you provide by using ClaimReview’s rating property (-1 = Hard to categorize, 1 = False, 2 = Mostly false, 3 = Half true, 4 = Mostly true, 5 = TrueP).
  • Use Google’s data testing tool to ensure your tag is working.
  • Make sure your answer to the claim meets Google’s Fact Check requirements.
  • For best results, use only one ClaimReview tag per webpage.

If you believe your site provides reputable answers to commonly-searched-for claims and want more information, give us a call! We can help you best position yourself as a source for inquisitive minds.
Apr201727

Never Worry About Content Marketing Again

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Social Media

JTech offers customized social media packages to supplement your businesses's content marketing strategy.

JTech is excited to announce our new social media offerings! Customized to the individual needs of our customers, we have three package levels depending on the volume of posts your business is looking for. Social media is an inexhaustible tool which allows you to reach a wider audience, be more available to your customers for feedback and customer service, and affordably advertise your products and services.

The three social media packages we offer are the Starter, Basic and Standard.

Starter
  • Includes 2-4 full posts and 2-4 flex posts per month.
  • Ideal for smaller businesses.
  • Starting at $200.

Basic
  • Includes 4-8 full posts and 3-6 flex posts per month.
  • Ideal for busy small and medium-sized businesses.
  • Starting at $400.

Standard
  • Includes 8-15 full posts and 4-8 flex posts per month.
  • Ideal for large, high-traffic businesses.
  • Starting at $800.

An example of a full post.
An example of a full post.
Types of social media posts.
All packages will accommodate the full set of social platforms used by your business. Posts are carefully planned and professionally articulated, closely following a digital marketing plan centered around your business goals.

A full post is approved by the client ahead of time and is usually written to attract a more professional audience in order to sell your product or service. You can see an example of a full post above.

An example of a flex post.
An example of a flex post.
A flex post is more casual and on-the-fly. It could be something that happened in the office, a promotion, breaking news or, as shown in our example, related to a fun event like a holiday. Each package includes a handful of flex posts per month.

Ongoing analytics.
We use analytics to monitor all of these social media efforts, revealing how posts are performing in order to best meet the needs of your audience. We do extensive research about what times and days are best for your industry, trending topics and hashtags, and target new viewers on a continuous basis.

If you don’t have the time required to manage your business’s social media accounts, we’d be happy to sit down with you and go over these plans in-depth, devising a long-term plan that will garner results and bolster your digital marketing efforts.
Apr201725

Icon Suite Resource Published with Speckyboy

by Mira Brody in Design, Development, External Publications

Icon Suite article on Speckyboy.

We are excited to announce that one of our articles was recently published with Speckyboy Design Magazine. The article, “Modern Favicon and Icon Development Techniques and Best Practices,” looks at the creation of the favicon and related icons, and the implementation of what we internally call “the Icon Suite.” Our process streamlines the creation of these icons, allowing us to rapidly create a great set of icons for our clients’ websites.

This Speckyboy article is an excellent resource for web designers and developers, and includes tips about how to implement this design detail to their own projects. Check out the article here.
Apr201720

Optimizing You Site’s Imagery for Search Engines

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

Optimize your website's images.
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.

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.

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.

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.

Example of a text description.
Example of a text description.
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. 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.

For example, if you run a website promoting your local farm in Wilsall, MT, the descriptive alt text on your image of farm fresh eggs can help give a keyword boost to the page.

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 — making it easy for potential customers to find you. Image optimization, particularly file names and alt text, serve not just textual search listings, but also Google and Bing's image search. 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. If you have any questions about uploading images to your site or need help with any content optimization, give us a call!