Web Design and SEO Blog

Jul201819

Improve Your Image With Custom Photography

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Content, Imagery, Tools & Tips

Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
The imagery on your website is powerful, allowing visitors to catch a glimpse of your business through a professional lens. We frequently recommend that our clients incorporate custom photography when possible, rather than relying on overused and unoriginal stock photography. Professional photography can be affordable and is well worth the cost. We recommend Ben Johnson, our new custom photography partner. Ben specializes in budget-friendly, corporate photo sessions and has put together reasonable packaging pricing for JTech clients.

Ben is a world traveler, inspired by the people and places he visits, looking to capture the uniqueness that makes his subjects real. Ben offers business photography in the following areas:
  • Storefront and indoor location shoots
  • Landscape imagery
  • Product photography
  • Staff headshots
  • Company lifestyle
  • Event photography

We recommend you do a site audit, and if your photos are older than a year or utilize generic stock photography, you may want to consider updating those images with custom shots. We’d be happy to introduce you to Ben and discuss options. Contact Katie at our office for more information.
Jul201816

Solving the Unique Issues in the Real Estate Industry

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Content, Design, Development

If you’re in the real estate industry, we know you have a unique set of needs — your website should be working to meet them.


Our job at JTech is to build online solutions for the various issues businesses face in their industry. Venture West is a real estate company in Bozeman, MT for whom we recently launched a new website. Real estate agents work in a competitive market — in addition to providing a positive user experience, their websites need to convey honesty and knowledge of the locale. When building Venture West’s new website, our team made sure to address these concerns and many other prevalent in the real estate market. Here are a few —

Displays credibility — Purchasing or selling property can be a stressful process. Venture West wants to ensure their potential clients understand their values and devotion to customer service. We achieved this through the site’s new content, writing copy that articulated their values as well as photos and bios of each real estate agent so that they came across as personable, professional people. On the home page, we tell some of Venture West’s story near the property listings so that visitors can easily relate the business and the faces behind it.

Superior performance — Real estate websites rely on integration with a third-party service in order to display current real estate listings and images — in this case, we were working with the Big Sky Country MLS. A consequence of this integration is that Venture West will not have control over the quality of the images the MLS provides from other realtors. For Venture West's own listings, we built their site with the ability to add enhanced imagery that will create an immersive experience for home hunters. Where images are provided from the MLS, we limited the space they would have to fill so as not to compromise the aesthetics of the site. The MLS also provided a pre-built listings map that Venture West used on their old site. By creating a fully custom new interactive map, our designers were able to create a much-improved design that offers more coherent and relevant listing information.

Performance improvements include building the new site so that it is accessible on devices of every size and an unobtrusive but powerful search and filter capability. The map and property listings page in particular will be beneficial for agents and clients alike to pull up on their phone or tablet while on the road looking at properties.

Search functionality — On the property listings page, having search and filtration functionality is especially important. Our team collaborated with Venture West agents to offer the filters that will best help clients find their new home. This essential set of tools includes: location, property type, minimum and maximum price, number of beds and baths and properties by agent. Users can sort results by featured listings, price point or distance from a location.

Locations served — When looking for a real estate company to serve your needs, you’ll want a clear geographic area in which you're hunting for property. Listing the metropolitan communities of Bozeman and Butte directly in the primary navigation makes the area they serve clear to not only visitors, but Google as well. The new site provides further geographic clarity by including a Communities page, with information on each community that they sell and buy homes in. Potential buyers from out of the area will find this useful when researching their new home!

Conclusion
Although many of these concerns overlap across industries, real estate agencies in particular need to pay attention to whether or not their website is meeting the needs of their market. We are proud to announce that Venture West’s new website is up and running and serving them well. If your real estate company is experiencing any industry related challenges, we would be happy to sit down with you and figure out the best approach to alleviating them — so you can get back to growing your business.
Jun201827

JTech Is Closed For Fourth of July

by Mira Brody in Announcements

Our office will be closed on Wednesday, July 4th for Independence Day. We hope you have a fun, safe and relaxing day in the presence of good company.

JTech will reopen Thursday, July 5th.
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.