Web Design and SEO Blog

Jun201730

JTech is Closed on Independence Day

by Mira Brody in Announcements

JTech closed for the Fourth.

JTech will be closed on the Fourth of July so we can enjoy food and fun with our family and friends. Our office will reopen on Wednesday, July 5th!

We hope all of you have a fun and safe Fourth!
Jun201729

Coming Soon: Domain Management and Auto Renewal in My JTech

by Mira Brody in Announcements

Managing your website is about to get a bit easier! We are excited to announce the upcoming addition of domain management to My JTech. Features to look forward to:
  • Purchasing new domain — Search for and purchase a new domain name to round out your business.
  • Checking availability — Get the scoop on a domain you are interested in, including information directly from whois.
  • Transfer — Transfer an existing domain from another registrant 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.
  • Edit domain — Easily make edits to your domain registrant information.

All this will be easily managed from your My JTech account. Keep your eyes open for an email announcing the official launch summer with additional information!
Jun201728

New Project: Custom eCommerce Solution

by Mira Brody in Design, Development

JTech builds ecommerce site.

Our team is currently underway on an advanced eCommerce shopping platform for one of our longtime clients. We are super excited to be working on this project and wanted to show off a few of its features.

Customer Portal — Customers will be able to login to their account, and save their settings for rapid checkout as well as choose a favorite store at which they shop. They can build a wishlist or add items to their cart, reorder previous transactions, purchase and pay with store gift cards and use coupon codes.

In-Store Pickup Support — Not only can they have items shipped to their doorstep, but customers will also be able to schedule an in-store pickup and be notified when their order is ready. This benefits those in rural areas who rarely travel to town.

Store Intranet — In addition, our client will be able to use this eCommerce system to manage their inventory, view statistics, manage their shipping operations and easily process all types of payments.

All of these features will be built into the company’s existing website so that it is a cohesive user experience. This makes for an easy transition as longtime customers will not have to adapt to a new interface.

Your website has the potential to not only serve as a marketing tool to grow sales, but to also automate everyday administrative tasks, serve your existing customers and save you money in the long run by streamlining the way you do business. If your business is looking for something by which to more easily sell your products and services online, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would love to take you on as our next project!
Jun201727

My JTech’s New File Attachment Tool

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Imagery, Tools & Tips

File upload icon in the HTML editor.
File upload icon in the HTML editor.
Drag and drop feature.
Drag and drop feature.
We are excited to announce the launch of a helpful new feature in My JTech! Our new file linking tool allows you to easily embed files in your website. This tool is great for linking to PDFs, reports, maps and any other resource you want your site visitors to download. It can help you easily provide supporting information on your site.

How to use the My JTech file linking tool:
1. You can create links to files using My JTech in any of the area fields with a toolbar. Select the text you wish to use as a link to the file. If no text is selected, the file will be attached where your cursor was positioned and the text of the link will appear as the file name.

2. After your text is highlighted, click the file icon — the rightmost icon of the text area’s grey toolbar. Clicking the icon temporarily replaces your text input with a file upload area. You can either click the link to upload a file with the standard file picker dialog, or you can simply drag and drop your file directly into the file upload area.
File linked to Estes Park webpage.
3. When you’re done creating or editing the record, just click ‘save’ or ‘create’ and that’s it! Visit your website to see the new link to your file. In the image above, you can see the resulting file link on Estes Park’s website.

This great new tool is available for you to use right now. If you have any trouble or questions, there is a useful help article located in the support area of My JTech, or contact us and we’d be happy to walk you through the steps.
Jun201719

Keyword Research Mistakes Your Business Might Be Making

by Mira Brody in Optimization, SEO, Tools & Tips

Keyword research myths.

Keywords are the words and phrases in your website content that make it easy for search engines to refer your products and services to the customers who are searching for them. They are strategically woven in your site’s content and metadata so that when people use those words in search engines such as Google or Bing, you will be visible as a result. In order to apply the keywords that will garner you the most relevant traffic, proper research must be conducted. Our experts have put together a list of common keyword research mistakes to help you stay on track and keep your business’s site working at its best for you.

Mistake #1: Using Only Top Keywords
The problem with using a few, broad words is that everyone else is using them as well, so there’s nothing setting you apart from others in your industry. These tactics are often practiced by solicitors claiming to be able to get you “highest ranking and top keywords for you today!” Companies making such claims will often use shady tactics that disregard the needs of your site visitors in favor of juicing the site with keywords and breaking the SEO guidelines of major search engines in order to achieve high rankings. These tactics can harm you in many ways that we won’t go into, but you’ll want to work within the ‘rules’ established by the search engines.

Think outside the box: each of your webpages should be optimized for specific terms in addition to the major ones. For example, an airport website should obviously contain “airport,” and “transportation” but terms specific to that airport’s services such as “Yellowstone flights,” “National Park attractions,” and specific airlines like “Delta,” and “United.” For more information on this careful balance between different types of keywords, check out our infographic on the Long Tail Theory.

Mistake #2: Plural vs. Singular Terms
It is a common mistake to use the incorrect tense when applying keywords. While most businesses are thinking in terms of their products (“our wedding cakes”), customers are actually thinking in terms of themselves and their own needs (“a wedding cake”). Although Google is good at determining these relations, it will serve you well to provide the correct term — whether it be plural or singular — to begin with.

Think like your customer. How are they searching for you? Are they looking for “cheap rental homes” or a “cheap rental house”? Choosing the correct number of products or services can boost your search ranking. Even if it is only by a little, it can be the difference between making or losing a sale.

Mistake #3: Forgetting Geographical Terms
This one is particularly important for those with a regional or local radius. Just as you don’t want to show in the search results for a town where you don’t do business, you’ll want to rank highly in the area you do serve. For example, “Montana web design,” “Bozeman web design,” and “web design” will all garner different results, drawing in different audiences.

Make a list of the major areas you serve and leverage those terms as valuable keywords. Including your address and location coordinates in your metadata is important for Google as well.

Mistake #4: Ignoring Your Competitors
Nelson Mandela said: “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy.” This holds true in digital marketing as well; always research what your competitors are doing so that you can stay ahead of them.

A major part of the digital marketing evaluations we conduct for our clients involve competitor analysis. We check for keywords they are using, their search ranking, and discover opportunities to land keywords they are not utilizing to gain momentum.

Mistake #5: Cruise Control
A stale set of keywords may lead your search ranking to dwindle from sight. Your business’s market is constantly changing waters, and conducting regular digital strategy evaluations will help you stay afloat. These reviews will help you identify poorly-performing keywords, find new keywords to add and plan ahead for any changes you foresee happening to your business.

Contact JTech if you need help with these evaluations — our skilled digital marketing team would be happy to help make sure your website is fully-services and continually working for you.

Conclusion
In order for your customers to find you, search engines need to properly index your website. Using the proper keywords will drive the most relevant traffic to your site, ensuring your visitors are converted into paying customers. Carefully evaluate and prioritize which keywords could be targeted as most profitable to your business, but keep in mind the common mistakes listed above to ensure you are not wasting any time in your marketing efforts. And, as always, contact us if you need any help.
Jun201715

Importance of Company Logos and Branding: an interview with BrandBoss Creative

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

JTech interviews Brand Boss.

When major industries consolidate and buy each other out, they aren’t only buying a product or the ingredients in it — they’re paying for the brand’s value. Building brand recognition in your industry takes years and a single slip-up can leave customers with a negative memory of your name.

JTech has paired with local creative Jordan Lacenski, owner of BrandBoss Creative, to bring you the very best branding expertise. We interviewed her about how your business can achieve the very best brand recognition so you can stand out amongst your competitors.

JTech: Why is branding important for your business?
Jordan: Your brand is your identity. It's who you are, what you do, how you do it, and WHY. Consumers are inundated with advertising every day, from the labels on their favorite wine to a $5 million dollar Super Bowl commercial.

Strong branding should be memorable, it should create trust and communicate your value. A strong brand attracts and inspires the right employees, and most importantly, a strong brand draws in new customers. Once you create a brand that clearly communicates who you are, what you stand for, you have to be consistent. You have to create rules, guidelines for your digital presence, your print collateral, your copy, your staff, your customer service. Each time you design and print a brochure, or even your business cards, you should come back to your brand foundation.

JTech: How does the establishment of a logo fit into branding?
Jordan: Logo design should come after an in-depth exploration process. Yes, that's right, you should have homework. A deep dive into who you are, even if you think you already know, should take place before one pixel touches the page. We recommend a creative brief workshop or session. Look at your current state and how you are perceived, and explore the following points:
  • Is your mission current and applicable?
  • Look into your history, culture, and goals for the future:
  • How do you compare to your competitors?

Once you collect all of this data, refine it and move to the fun part — creating. Your logo is one of the single most important steps to your brand, so do it right the first time. The logo is just a start, the tagline, mission statement, voice and tone also communicate your brand and your values. These should all work together. Look at logos you like, look at those you don't. Define what you like and don't like about them and why. This is a great way to narrow down your taste and to train yourself to communicate the important details to whoever is doing the designing.

JTech: Do you encourage clients to allow you to build a logo from scratch, or will you work with an existing one, if they have it?
Jordan: It all depends on the client. We do everything custom, but if the initial logo has strong bones and is true to the client's goals and ideals for their identity, we will oftentimes rework it. We find that people come to us after they had a logo designed by a friend of family member, or off of one of those template websites. When they go to embroider it on hats, or brand packaging, they realize it's all wrong. We design emotive, functional logos. Our packages include all of the files necessary to brand everything you do with your logo. Versions including full color, all white, all black, and horizontal or stacked if necessary, are all included in our final deliverable.

JTech: When building a brand vs. a logo, are they separate processes, or do you see them as a single entity?
Jordan: Your logo should be an expression of your brand. The homework always comes first. Your logo will inspire designers you work with in the future to create consistent collateral. Before we deliver a logo, we ask if the client is interested in a brand kit, which includes a tagline, mission statement, fonts that complement the text in the logo, and the hex codes for their primary and secondary brand colors. These pieces all work together for a clear, consistent message.

JTech: What does your creative process look like?
Jordan: We typically meet with the client and have them tell us their story. Some questions we find helpful to ask are:
  • Why did you start your business?
  • What's special about it?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Who is your target market?

We then walk through a creative brief process and give them an in-depth questionnaire where we get a better idea of exact adjectives they want their logo to communicate, what they want their business to stand for. We deliver 3-5 initial logo options, each communicating what we believe to be a strong representation for the business and we talk these over with the client to see their reactions to each. We think about what the logo's intended use will be, where will it be printed? Then we refine and deliver a second round of options. We repeat. Then we refine again. With the third proof of options, we hope to be extremely close. If one is chosen, we package it up and deliver.

JTech: When you’re working with a new business, what elements do you take into account?
Jordan: New businesses are typically focused on their service, their product, and they are coming to us because they don't thrive in marketing and we are often helping guide these individuals through the process. We educate them on the importance of creating a brand in the right order, so their largest investments, such as their website, are consistent with their intended story. We consult, we advise, we pull examples, and we look at the entire brand as a whole before we begin discussing a logo.

Thank you for your time, Jordan — we appreciate the depth of expertise that you and your team at BrandBoss offer us as partners.

Conclusion
Establishing a brand and logo for your new business, or a new approach to an existing business, is a process we start early on — before building your new website. The website is then driven by this branding and works to communicate that throughout so you are memorable to your customers and authoritative in your industry. We encourage you to contact us or BrandBoss directly if you are interested in working on your company’s branding.
Jun201712

The Many Shades of Popup Ads

by Mira Brody in Content, Design

Popup advertisements began in the late 1990s as a response to complaints from advertisers about their banner ads being run next to unsavory or controversial content — and have since evolved into a complex subject. You’ve probably come across a variety of different popup ad behaviors, each with one goal in mind — to convert your attention into profit.

Entry Popups
Entry popups are those that appear when the webpage first loads, forcing you to engage with it before viewing the content you came to see. They commonly solicit visitors to sign up for a newsletter or offer a coupon code on ecommerce sites. After the initial page load, entry popups can be triggered by different actions:
  • On scroll: As you scroll down a page, the popup will appear. This action is designed to ensure the popup captures a more valuable class of customers —those interested enough to scroll past the beginning of the webpage they visited.
  • After a designated amount of time: Same idea as a popup on scroll, but waiting for a specific amount of time before throwing a call to action over their screen content. This allows you to become invested in the website before being bombarded by a sales pitch.
  • After a click: A popup can be designed to appear after you click on a specific element on the page. For instance, after you click on the products page of an ecommerce site, a coupon code for free shipping is offered.

Exit Popup

Exit popup ads are deployed just as you are attempting to leave a webpage — a last-ditch attempt to keep your attention. The site will track your mouse movements and just as you move toward the top of the browser window to go back, the popup will appear with a message to discourage you from leaving.

Annoying Behaviors
Although all popup advertisements can be annoying, there are a few behaviors that have become common practice and are in particularly ill taste.
  • Pop-under: The pop-under ads appears in a separate window underneath your primary browser window so that it is only visible after you’ve finished browsing, leaving it unclear which site originally launched it.
  • No close: Some ads don’t have a prominent close button, so that you waste time looking at the ad just to find a way to get rid of it.
  • Click-shaming: Click-shaming, also referred to as “manipulinks,” or “confirmshaming,” is when an advertisement attempts to make a user feel bad about themselves in order to get them to sign up for a newsletter or accept an offer.

Popup advertisements.
As pictured, there is a positive call to action button, and underneath a biting alternative, usually serving as the only means to close the window — reducing you to admit a lower self-worth.

Conclusion
Popup ads are always a tricky subject. While they can boost conversions, most tactics are tired, will frustrate users and can drive them away, particularly if you are using some of the “annoying behaviors” mentioned above. We generally discourage clients from using popups as a way to increase conversions. Think about how you would treat your customers face-to-face: would you shame or harass them into buying a product? Or would you treat them with a little more respect?
Jun20178

Welcoming Our New Marketing Intern: Michael Kriegel

by Mira Brody in Announcements

Michael is our newest Marketing Intern and will be helping our digital marketing team build an online authority for our clients. Originally from Denver, CO, he moved to Bozeman to attend Montana State and has since enjoyed the state’s seemingly endless span of natural beauty. He is studying Business Marketing with a minor in International Business and will graduate in 2018. Michael enjoys studying the different factors that drive decision-making and coming up with ways to solve customers’ needs. While at JTech, he hopes to gain experience creating digital marketing campaigns and after graduation has plans to travel with a work visa to either Australia or Ireland to explore the international sector of marketing.

In his spare time, Michael enjoys skiing, mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing — anything that can get him on top of one of a mountain peak. We are pleased to welcome Michael and look forward to the work he will contribute to the team.
Jun20175

Google Adds “Verified Reviews”

by Mira Brody in Google, Industry News, Optimization, Tools & Tips

Google verified reviews.

Positive online reviews hold significant value to your search ranking. Adversely, negative reviews can hurt it. In an attempt to promote quality customer feedback, Google recently joined a practice of Amazon.com in offering verified reviews — encouraging people who have purchased an item from your online store to leave an authenticated review.

Although Google has always discouraged fake or incentivized reviews, this is the first feature they've added that clearly promotes signal over noise. In addition to confirming that a review is written by a real customer, this may serve as a useful tool for businesses who want to solicit customer reviews without exploring the discouraged and ambiguous realm of review incentivization. These verified reviews may end up being promoted or visually differentiated to help them stand out from all the other reviews.

How it works.
In order to enable verified reviews, your business must:
  • Set up a Google Merchant Center Account and opt into the Google Customer Reviews program.
  • Add the opt-in code to your website.
  • Google will then begin sending an email to your customers who have made a purchase, encouraging them to review their experience with you.

For more information about how to respond to negative reviews or to understand better how they affect your search ranking, check our our article The Good and Bad of Customer Reviews. If you need help adding verified customer reviews to your site, give us a call — we’d love to help you out.
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.