Web Design and SEO Blog

Sep20175

How to Use Google My Business with Multiple Locations

by Mira Brody in Google, Industry News, Social Media, Tools & Tips

Using Google’s bulk management tool makes it easy for businesses managing lots of stores under a single company.

If you’re a business with ten or more locations, Google has made it easier for you to manage your stores in Google My Business. By ensuring the information for each of your stores is correct, you are eliminating conflicting or missing data that may wrongfully penalize you in search results or inhibit customers from finding you.

In order to qualify for bulk location management, you must:
  • Have at least 10 locations
  • Not be a service business
  • Not be an agency that manages several clients
If you have not already done so, you can apply for bulk location management here. Once approved, Google My Business allows you to bulk-manage all of your locations by uploading a spreadsheet — this is useful for chain companies who have hundreds of locations. The spreadsheet has certain formatting requirements, which can be found here. When using the spreadsheet upload feature, after uploading the document, you still need to verify the following information with Google My Business:
  • Business name
  • Countries you do business in
  • All administrative contacts
  • Contact phone
  • Email of the person managing the account
  • Email of any Google representatives you have been working with

Staying Verified
While bulk verification can take up to a week, staying verified afterwards is a task in itself. Make a habit of regularly reviewing your various Google My Business store locations for errors, including removing locations that are no longer in business. If you have more questions about this service, contact our digital marketing experts and we can help you be visible on Google — no matter how many locations you manage!
Sep20171

How Nature Adapted to the Internet

by Mira Brody in Content, Optimization, Social Media, Tools & Tips

“The reality is that today’s millennials are tomorrow’s leaders; in order for our parks to survive and thrive in a second century, people need to feel connected to them and want to protect them.”

— Will Shafroth, National Park Foundation President

For 100 years now, the National Park System has been educating and preserving iconic lands and open spaces “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” To promote the dawn of their Centennial year, they launched a powerful marketing campaign in early 2015, trying to engage a new generation of people on whose shoulder’s the fate of the parks sit. A large part of this campaign has been run on social media; no surprise since these platforms are what drive 87% of modern marketing.

Their marketing team had to navigate a lot of the same issues that other businesses often face: how do you engage a society who spends an increasing amount of time indoors and online from their social newsfeeds? How can social media posts motivate viewers to not only “like” and “share” but to leave their homes and spend money?

Their answer? Find Your Park. This campaign successfully leveraged their Centennial with well-strategized digital marketing efforts. These efforts are then measured by tracking relevance, engagement and support. The 2015 year gathered some serious momentum, marking the busiest year on record for National Parks overall. To learn from their success, let’s take a look at a few of their most successful marketing tactics and what insights your digital marketing strategy can gain from what they’ve accomplished this year:

Bridging the Gap
Sometimes in order to engage more customers, you have to shift the majority of your efforts toward the group you are failing to reach. One of the reasons National Parks have thrived in the last 100 years is the value they have to those generations, a tradition many fear will soon taper; most of the 307 million visitors they saw in 2015 exposed a trend toward older patrons. So, much like the Pacific Railroad’s “See America First” campaign, the NPS detected the market they were unsuccessfully reaching and refocused accordingly, targeting younger visitors — millennials.

Programs such as Every Kid in a Park and the help of celebrity and corporate sponsorships grab the interest of new customers and help them understand that these parks are extremely obtainable for the average middle-class family; and it has paid off. Right now, 40% of millennials are familiar with National Parks, an 18% increase since the beginning of the campaign and they brought in 250,000 new supporters, either though volunteerism or donations, in 2015 alone. From Subaru, REI (they developed the National Parks guide app) and Disney to Bill Nye, Laura Bush and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who contributed to the Find Your Park clothing line) big names helped bring in more than three billion impressions via digital media.

Using a well-known name, or another generation to reach your audience can help engage an entirely new market for your organization, strengthening your digital marketing efforts.

Engagement
Earning followers, shares and likes on social media is one victory, turning those social indicators into profit has always been the other half of the battle. You can use social media to drive business to your storefront in a variety of ways, including family events, special offers, an anniversary celebration — anything that requires participation.

National Park social media marketing teams have been successfully engaging people from their electronic devices in the outdoors through Instameets and other social events all year. Hugely successful, especially during the summer months when the parks are already bursting with tourists, an NPS Instagram account will post a place and time for the next “Instameet,” inviting people to come down, participate in an event, such as a hike or educational program, and attendees are encouraged to share their photos on Instagram and Facebook using their highly-visible Centennial-themed hashtags, such as #findyourpark #nps100 and #npscentennial, among others. These events not only get people into parks, but get them participating in the ranger programs and socializing with other visitors, then sharing these experiences on social media.


Yellowstone's Instameet was a successful social media marketing event.

The National Park Service used August 25th, 2016, their 100th birthday, to set the stage for an array of live events across the country from theater performances, speeches, music and birthday cake. Yellowstone used Facebook’s livestream to air their Evening at the Arch concert, an event that sold out in the first 24 hours of initial online ticket sales.

Educational Forum
Part of dominating your market is establishing yourself as an authority figure. Customers want to know that you are credible and reliable and you can use social media to expose that side of your company by utilizing it for not only a venue for customer service but also a forum for discussion.


Using social media as an educational resource.

Along with keeping visitors up-to-date on road closures and weather advisories, Mother Nature is often misunderstood by those who are unfamiliar with it, allowing Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms to be a place for the NPS to create positive discourse. Here are a few times they took to their keyboards to turn a delicate situation into a learning experience:

  • As Yellowstone experiences some of its worst fires since 1988, tourists are not only inconvenienced by road closures and poor air quality, but are oftentimes reverting to the attitude that “all fire is bad.” The Yellowstone social media department seized this as an opportunity for education.
  • The annual Bison cull is a good time to provide resources about the controversial role State Government plays in Park management.
  • Negative tourist behavior leading to discussion topics such as staying on boardwalks and not interfering with wildlife.
Whether you are the National Park Service, a law firm, grocery store, or whoever, it is easy, once you have a reputable following, to use social media to be available and knowledgeable to your customer base and establish credibility.

Lasting Affects: Conclusion
The National Park System’s Find Your Park campaign is applicable for years to come and because it involves many generations of participants, will have lasting results. Why? Because of the experience visiting these parks have on people and the value it establishes in the NPS. A lot of the success will not only be from the immediate income of souvenir and concession sales, but by the memories people have now made in these parks. If people have a personal connection to a place, they are less likely to turn a blind eye when it is threatened, more likely to revisit, and to introduce it to their friends, family and next generation — a marketing plan that ensures the long-term success of any business.
Aug201730

Domain Management in My JTech

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Industry News, Tools & Tips

Domain Management in My JTech
Domain Management in My JTech
Our team has been hard art work perfecting a Domain Management system for our clients, and we are excited to announce that it is now live and available to all My JTech users! This new tool allows you to manage your business’s domain names in the same place you already manage the rest of your website. It also lowers our cost of domain names and we are happy to pass these savings on to you. Some features include:

  • Purchasing new domain — Search for and purchase a new domain name to actively use, or prevent others from using.
  • Checking availability — Get the scoop on a domain you are interested in, including information directly from Whois.
  • Transfer — Transfer an existing domain from another registrar to JTech, so we can look out for you.
  • Domain renewal — Domain names will automatically renew until cancelled, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. You just need to keep a current credit card on file.
  • Edit domain — Easily make edits to your domain registrant information.

All this will be easily managed from your My JTech account via the Domains navigation. We have a ton of additional domain information published for you in the My JTech Support Articles section of your content management system, and as always, please contact us if you have any questions.
Aug201725

A New Website: Mountain Journal

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Mountain Journal's new website.

Mountain Journal is a news source for high-quality content focusing on the politics, economy, wildlife, recreation and community of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Journalist Todd Wilkinson hopes with this publication to attract social influencers as well as tourists and recreation enthusiasts who are seeking out long-form intellectual pieces of writing.

The site we built for Mountain Journal clearly displays featured articles on a beautiful, custom home page. Articles can be sifted through by readers using the different categories and tags listed at the top, or with the search feature. The site also includes an article detail with an HTML editor that allows images flexibility in where they are placed in an article. We’ve also included a Support Us page to encourage contributions from readers, and an About Us and Contact Us. We invite you to check out this new site here!
Aug201723

The New Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport Website

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

We are proud to present the new, responsive BZN website.

JTech built the first Bozeman Airport website in 2000/2001, followed by a second generation site in 2007 and is now excited to announce a new, modern, responsive site to serve the flying publicans all who use the airport. BZN is the busiest airport in the state of Montana, servicing locals as well as tourists coming to Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Big Sky Resort, Bridger Bowl, Montana State University and the many other attractions in and around Gallatin Valley and Montana. Their new website is updated in both design and functionality, and provides an array of resources to the million travelers that pass through their gates annually. Join us on a tour of some of our favorite features:

Arrivals and Departures Board — Both the Home and Flights pages feature an arrivals and departures board with realtime flight data. Since the entire site is mobile-optimized, it is easy to access from your phone or tablet, whether you are awaiting the arrival of guests or anticipating a departing flight for yourself. This is especially useful during Montana’s unpredictable seasons.
BZN arrivals and departures board.

Destination Map — With advanced technology on our side, we were able to improve the Bozeman Airport flight destination map. As you select the Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, JetSuite and United airline logos, the map illustrates non-stop routes provided by each carrier. As the airport acquires more routes, these can be easily added dynamically by the airport through our custom content management system, My JTech.

BZN Airport map.

This section also provides visitors with road maps and driving directions to and from the airport. We’ve provided some preset locations — such as Yellowstone National Park, Big Sky Resort, Bozeman and other local tourist destinations — or you can enter a specific address.

Bozeman Airport destination map.

Photo Gallery — Due to its location, Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport boasts sweeping views of snow-capped mountains. The website provides the opportunity to display these landscapes, the building and aviation in their photo gallery. The gallery is categorized by type and has a slideshow feature

BZN photo gallery.

Lost and Found — If you’re a frequent traveler, you know that once in a while something gets lost. The airport website includes an advanced lost and found form that adapts based on answers so that they can best direct users back to their lost item.

Landing Page — The Bozeman Airport experiences a high volume of Chinese tourists during Yellowstone National Park’s peak season. In order to better assist these visitors, we built a landing page system with the home page of the website translated in Chinese.

Chinese landing page for BZN.

In addition to serving travelers, the new site has areas for internal use to assist airport operations and those who work there.

ZN employment section.

Badging Process — The badge scheduling system allows recently hired employees who need a badge application and training, as well as current employees who need a renewal, to schedule the appointments necessary for security clearance. Airport admin can then view this data in their business Outlook calendar, offloading a ton of work that was previously done by employees.

Employee Application — The airport can post employment opportunities with fields for a PDF download, a link to an application, job description and requirements. There’s also a directory of tenants for job inquiries not under the airport’s jurisdiction.

RFPs — The airport often does business with local contractors and other industries for projects around the airfield grounds. In these cases, Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be posted on the airport website for businesses to review and respond to.

Inspections — We revamped an internal system that the Airport uses to generate a report on field inspections.

And much more!
We had a great time working with the people at Bozeman Airport and are so excited to send this new website live for everyone to use. Make sure to take a look at the new Bozeman Airport website and discover ways it can make your travel experience easier than ever.
Aug201721

A Guide to Soliciting Customer Reviews

by Mira Brody in Social Media, Tools & Tips

Policies and tips for businesses looking to solicit customer reviews.

No matter your industry, customer satisfaction plays a huge role in your success — negative reviews can quickly change a potential customer’s mind, while positive feedback can influence someone’s decision to give you their business. When collecting reviews from your customers, however, it is important to know the policies set in place so you don’t find yourself in trouble. Here are some helpful guidelines as established by the most popular business review sites to be aware of.

Google

Google my Business reviews.
Google my Business reviews.
Google My Business is Google’s business listing service, which provides information including reviews and star ratings in Google Maps, on their search results page, and on other Google services. Because of their high visibility in Google search results, these reviews are very important for your business and part of your reputation management strategy should focus on acquiring them.

Google’s review policy doesn't allow incentivized reviews, meaning you cannot bribe your customers to leave positive remarks about you. They also prohibit advertising, links, phone numbers or contact information or reviews left by employees. Be aware that they do not actively moderate the content of reviews that are submitted or take immediate action if a comment is flagged as ‘spam’ or ‘inappropriate’ so you’ll want to do your own surveillance on your account.

Yelp

Not only has Yelp established itself as a popular hub for customer reviews, but they also enjoy considerable reach: their reviews are provided when consumers search for a business in Apple Maps or by using Apple’s Siri voice assistant. It is possibly because of this that they have the most stringent guidelines. Yelp openly condemns all incentivized and solicited reviews, stating in a blog post: “Yelp does not want businesses to ask their customers to write reviews and our recommendation software actively targets reviews that have been solicited.”

Yelp does not allow:
  • Employees of a business or their family or friends to leave reviews
  • A business to bribe or pressure customers
  • Copying and pasting an existing review

They uphold these rules with their Consumer Alerts Program, which warns people with a popup over a business’s page when reviews come in that look suspicious. Suspicious activity includes:
  • Multiple reviews coming from the same IP address
  • Reviews that threaten legal action
  • Reviews that insinuate that a bribe was offered

Yelp's consumer alert.
Each case is reviewed carefully by Yelp team members and the popup will be removed after 90 days as long as the activity stops. They have even been known to shame businesses caught offering incentives and lawsuits and some companies have been caught in expensive lawsuits after bribing for positive feedback.

Facebook

Facebook's customer review ratings.
Facebook's customer review ratings.
Facebook business pages also feature customer reviews, which are displayed prominently. Facebook does not specify rules for leaving reviews, but they do ask that you follow Facebook Community Standards. They do monitor all posted content for threats, abuse and the sharing of personal information other than your own and will turn serious cases over to authorities. You cannot delete a negative review (only the person who posted it can edit or remove a review) but you can respond. Learn more about how to deal with negative feedback in our article about customer reviews.

What to do next

Reviews left on on social platforms factor into about 10% of your search ranking, and 90% of consumers say reviews are what determines their buying decisions — making reputation management an important part of your business’s marketing strategy. If you need help recovering from bad reviews, want help encouraging more positive ones or are unsure where to start, give us a call — we’d be happy to help.
Aug201716

New Website Project — Story Distributing

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Story Distributing new website.

Story Distributing and Transportation is the oldest petroleum distributor deeply rooted in the community of Bozeman, MT. They provide specialty gasoline and lubricants and distribute to dealers around the region as well as own and operate the Casey’s Corner gas stations and convenience stores in Bozeman, Gallatin Gateway, Livingston and Billings.

The new, custom website we are planning for Story Distributing will serve their various markets — from dealers to the traveling consumer needing gas and convenience items. A map will display each of their locations and list the amenities available as well as store-specific specials and highlight their Plenti rewards program. Dealers will be able to access the site to request fuel delivery and fill out a CFN application. We are excited to get to work on a new website with such a distinguished company.
Aug201714

A New Website for Doctor Clean

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Doctor Clean is a specialty residential cleaning company who services Gallatin Valley, Paradise Valley and surrounding areas of Montana. Their expertise is in carpet, upholstery and window cleaning in large residential homes with other specialty jobs catered to customer needs — from trophy and log pillar cleaning to oriental rug shampooing and light fixture and chandelier dusting. Doctor Clean is a family-run business and employees are trained annually in the latest technology and techniques in the industry.

Our designers had a lot of fun illustrating a custom logo for Doctor Clean. Their new website showcases sweeping imagery of their work, customer testimonials, a breakdown of their many services and a customer portfolio. We had a great time working with Doctor Clean and invite you to check out their new site here!
Aug201710

Liberty Portal is Live!

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Liberty Portal new website.

Liberty Portal is a new website for those looking to learn about the Personal Liberty Movement, providing resources and serving as a news aggregator for people interested in liberty, the non-aggression principle and the free market. Liberty Portal curates videos, podcasts, articles, events and books geared toward educating visitors about liberty, anarcho-capitalism and other free-market minded philosophies.

Giving visual form to personal liberty, we crafted a bold visual identity for the website to honor and reinforce the divergent thinking being presented — while thoughtfully organizing and making accessible the diversity of resources on tap. To make it easier for those in the trenches fighting for personal liberty, we integrated a PayPal donation page to encourage contributions to the movement.

We were excited to complete this new project and welcome you to check it out at libertyportal.com.
Aug20177

Note Taking Improves Workplace Skills

by Mira Brody in Content, Tools & Tips

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
—Alan Bennett

Helpful tips for taking notes.

Whether notating a document for research or meeting with a client, note-taking is a skill that can greatly improve your performance in the workplace. It is a medium that drives communication, helps with memory retention and fosters the skills needed for successful relationships with clients and coworkers alike. It is possibly so effective because notations are so deeply ingrained in our nature as humans; the reason we have personal documentation of history, scientific discoveries, tales of pain, survival and sketched maps of previously undiscovered masses of land. Without diligent note-taking, we wouldn't know that:
  • Galileo Gallini discovered Jupiter’s fourth moon on January 13, 1610.
  • William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition at 2PM watched a buffalo cross the Bighorn River on August 1, 1806.
  • At Oliver Wendell Holmes Elementary School in 1908, a 9-year-old Ernest Hemingway confessed his intentions to be a writer and traveler.
  • Stanley Kubrick scribbled at least 15 different variations in a notebook before settling on the movie title, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
Careful route documentation in three men’s travel notebooks are the reason the very city this article was written in — Bozeman, Montana — became a major thoroughfare during the gold rush and therefore today an established city. Although your job may not comprise of mapping treacherous trails through hostile Indian Territories in the 1800’s, this timeless communication tool has been archiving human connection since we could document it and has proved to be a crucial tool applicable to any task.

Note taking tips and how they improve workflows.
For a journalist, note-taking isn’t just a useful skill — it is the lifeblood of your story. When you’re reporting on a council meeting, you have access to resources to help you traverse the murky waters of local city government, such as:
  • A stapled meeting agenda of bulleted items, hearing titles and ordinance numbers.
  • A broadcast video stream posted online to go over later that night.
  • A digital tape recorder to start/pause/bookmark wherever necessary.
Though useful, these resources fail to capture what a keen note-taker can — the expression on the speaker’s face; the ferocity of the weather outside; the way a presenter’s hands shake at the podium or the sweat beading on their forehead; the tension that pierces the long silences between a controversial hearing’s public comments.

Effectively taking notes is not a skill limited to the profession of writing, though. We lose 40% of the information we read or hear within the first 24 hours. Whether in a lecture, meeting or interviewing a client, the action of physically documenting events as they are happening helps this memory loss as well as the communication and organization in your busy schedule. Here are a few note taking tips to help you utilize your time in meetings to the highest potential.

Headings — Start every meeting by noting the date, project and names of those involved in the meeting. This provides context later, when you’re hustling to find an idea mentioned at a staff meeting on the afternoon of April 5, 2016.

Focus on details — Forcing your mind to zero in on details is what really helps the conceptual aspect of note-taking. Psychologists found that when we are only listening to a lecture, our brain records all information equally. However, when we are taking notes, our mind can more easily grasp at concrete details and store them off, helping us to retain those points.

Notate linearly — Making notes that are linear will help your memory contract a timeline of events. Once a note triggers a memory, you can work down the timeline to find the information you were trying to recall, even at a much later date.

ReviewStudies show that when we learn new information, we remember it best immediately after we have learned it, so review, prioritize and fill any gaps in your notes after writing them!

Turn off spellcheck — When you’re taking notes in real-time, there’s no need to write everything perfectly. In fact, writing verbatim is less helpful for recollection later on. We call this the “transcription zombie syndrome;” you’re so focused on getting every word, your mind is no longer processing the information.

Symbols — Some note-takers have their own set of shorthand and symbols to help them write faster if they are using a pen and paper. Either way, symbols, highlighters or different colored pens can help you speed your writing process and quickly group or color-code single notes into connecting topics.

Active listening — One resounding benefit to note taking is that it forces you to be an active listener and participator. This adds value to yourself, your work and the speaker’s time. If you were to meet with a client for the first time, or interview a subject for an article, you will both appear and be more engaged with the subject by taking notes than if you simply sat and watched them. This kinesthetic way of listening shows not only that you care, but it enhances that one-on-one human relationship between a speaker and listener.

The benefits of paper.
Handwriting allows for more cognitive processing of information, forcing the writer to focus on important details, translate the information to their own words and avoid word-for-word transcription. In fact, students who take handwritten notes generally outperform those who type their notes on a digital device, leading professors to encourage spiral-bound notebooks over their technological alternatives.

With pen and paper, you can break outside of the standard characters of writing programs with the ability to circle, highlight, scribble and connect ideas without the added distraction of having to alter settings and press buttons. Thoughts are abstract and therefore difficult to fit into a digital program, no matter how flexible it is.

The benefits of software.
Although researchers tend to favor handwriting, digital note taking offers some unique benefits, such as organization and collaboration with other medias. Notability is an iOS application that allows the note taker to type, draw, highlight, copy, paste and move objects, record and insert photos all in a single document. Notes can be organized into folders and easily retrieved, proving that technology is making an effort to meet the creative ends of our minds. Digitization makes it easier to share notes either on a projector for a presentation, or through email.

Other helpful applications are EverNote, SilverNote and OneNote. There are also some useful settings on Microsoft Word, one of which will black everything behind a document out, limiting your urge to open another program to distract yourself.

Conclusion
The lifeblood of most business transactions is good communication. Between clients, between employees, business to business communication — all of it ensures success and efficiency. However you choose to do so, whether with pen and composition book or iPad and stylus, documenting ideas — along with feeding our inherent need for posterity — helps us to avoid miscommunications and mistakes while being involved and respectful to those we are listening to.