Web Design and SEO Blog

Jul201521

Employee Timecard Integration

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Development

How many employees do you manage for your business and how much time and effort are you putting into keeping track of their time worked in your current timekeeping system? As your business grows and you hire more people, timecard integration into the company’s administrative program may be a viable investment that improves the organization of your payroll process and gives your human resources department peace of mind.

JTech recently completed an advanced timekeeping system for Montana Health Network, who employs healthcare practitioners in different facilities across the state. In order to cater to the various types of shifts and reimbursements MHN offers their workers, we designed a system that tabularly organizes types of pay and provides access to past pay periods up to six months previous. Employees may now choose shifts by facility, enter regular shifts, on-call shifts and travel time, data which can all be double-checked and archived by those with administrative access. By adding a timecard web application to your business, you can make timekeeping easier for both your employees and payroll more painless for administrative staff. Contact us if you have any questions about how you can expand your capabilities as an employer by building a custom online timekeeping system into your business’s website interface.
Jul201520

Structured Data: The New Metadata

by Mira Brody in Optimization, SEM, SEO, Content

Traditionally, search engines are adept at “spidering” through layers of data on your website, but have a tougher time understanding the appropriate context for your content — when you write about fireworks, do you mean emotional sparks or Fourth of July munitions? Structured data, an up and coming advanced form of metadata, is a way to integrate specific tags into your site’s HTML code that help describe the contents and context of your site’s content. By gaining these insights, search engines can greatly increase their usefulness when displaying organic search results.

Structured data provides granular metadata about the content of your website so that search engines can interpret it more intelligently and offer better results — both more accurate in response to their users’ search queries and better formatted listings reflecting the type of content offered on your site. When search engines can better understand the structure of a web page’s data, they are better able to help the searcher recognize whether the source is something that answers their query. Providing more detail will yield accurate results and therefore a higher percentage of visitors who are actually searching for what you offer — leading to decreased bounce rates and higher retention among those who are searching for your product or services.

As search engines incorporate structured data into their results, it is quickly becoming the “new metadata” of web design. Where metadata tags are limited to very basic information about the general purpose of your page such as a title, keywords and description, structured data will allow for far more detail and is evolving to be more widely accepted as useful, accurate information.

How structured data is displayed.
There are different ways to integrate structured data into your site depending on how much coding experience you have and what sort of information you want available to your visitors when they search for you. The writing structured data into your websites code is essentially a way to request Google to display extra information directly in search engine result listings, such as movie times, a product’s average user review or your nearest Chipotle’s business hours, without having to visit the entire webpage. These extra snippets of information are called rich snippets. Rich snippets provide extra information to help researchers decide whether to click on your site or not and therefore provide a ton of power in catching the eye of potential visitors.

Even without coding experience, Google allows you to create these rich snippets for your site with their markup tool. Depending on the category, you’ll be presented with fields to fill. For example, for a recipe, there will be fields for: recipe name, image, description, cook time, nutrition information and more. This way, instead of Google having to guess what your page is about, it’ll already be aware that this is information about a recipe and display it as such in results, making it much easier for potential customers to reach you and enjoy your best recipes.
“Salad

Schema.org is a comprehensive resource for those looking to integrate snippets into their projects and illustrates the standardization in place for coding these bits of information. A collaboration of Google, Bing, Yandex and Yahoo!, schema.org documents the standardized, very specific vocabulary that can be added to HTML in order to improve search ratings. By using schema’s syntax, you can add an Amazon rating and price to a product’s listing directly in the search results.

Be visible with structured data.
In the sea of search results, structured data may increase a business’s visibility by providing context, not only for Google’s SEO purposes, but for searchers as well. It’s not enough to simply include SEO in your copy or metadata in your code anymore, but to also implement this contextual schematic of your content in order to ensure you are discovered. Structured data is the future of online marketing and if it is not considered in your site’s marketing plans, your clients may be missing out on an opportunity for higher search rankings as well as increased customer activity.
Jul201514

A Website for Ryen Glenn Subdivision

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

JTech has the pleasure of once again working with Nistler Home Builders to create a website promoting their newest subdivision project in Belgrade, Montana. A business with local roots, NHB pride themselves on providing residents of the Gallatin Valley with the home, condo or townhouse that best fits their lifestyle needs. Ryen Glenn, a brand new subdivision on the north end of Belgrade, will be composed of a series of spacious lots for brand new neo-rural luxury estates.

Our Montana website design team has been creating a site that will show off this beautiful swatch of land by integrating photos and maps to accentuate the local feel, various amenities and outdoor activities offered by the community. The exciting portion for our web development team will be laying out the plat coordinates onto an interactive map so that prospective buyers can easily view and navigate the available home sites. Keep your eye out for the forthcoming Ryen Glenn Estates website!
Jul20157

Build Strong Landing Pages to Guarantee New Visitors

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Tools & Tips

Landing Pages Header (Airplane Landing)
Landing pages create a great entry point for potential customers arriving on your business's website.
Photo credit: Michael Gil

Does your business utilize custom landing pages to attract visitors to your website? When searching for a specific service or item online, customers will often become frustrated if they aren’t finding a result right away, and leave. Landing pages offer a highly-focused narrative that offers a solution to a single problem. In order to funnel more people in, you must have a variety of strong topical landing pages available that cover the vast area of services that you provide.

Our marketing team at JTech are experts at building landing pages well worth their effort that will match the look and feel of your existing website. By carefully researching the keywords and phrases that your prospective customers are using to find your product or service and creating landing pages for each, you are able to expand your reach to a much broader target audience with answers to questions being asked in organic search. For example, if you are looking for affordable, well-built homes in the Gallatin Valley, but your business covers the entire state of Montana, you can build a landing page that grabs the attention of those looking in a specific county, then provide a distraction-free path to the part of your website where they can make purchases or request a consultation.

Landing pages have the potential to benefit many types of online businesses, helping them gain more customers who are searching for their product or to solve a problem. If you’d like to learn more about how landing page development can increase your site’s quality search traffic, contact us today and our marketing team would be happy to build landing pages into your site’s marketing plan.
Jun201530

Website Overhaul

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Mountain Sunset.
With the new season, consider whether it's time for change on your website. 
Photo credit: Josh Felise, Unsplash

As the seasons change here in Bozeman, Montana, and we migrate outside to enjoy the summer air or open our doors and windows to clean out our dwellings, all business owners should thoroughly consider the state of their online presence. Is it feeling stuffy or outdated?

JTech offers a great opportunity for a website overhaul — meant to update and streamline the look and feel of your site, including adding responsive website design to support mobile devices — all of which can be done without drastically altering your existing brand. Because we use a lot of the content from your current site, an overhaul is much cheaper than building from scratch, but the results of your brand refresh are invaluable not only to your customer experience, but to your revenue as well.

We are currently working on two responsive overhauls for local businesses: Bank of Bozeman and Clark Film Buying. Their overhauled websites will be accessible on any device, whether it be desktop, tablet or mobile phone. Bank of Bozeman and Clark Film Buying’s finished products, to debut soon, will feature easier navigation, freshly updated search engine optimization and a more modern aesthetic.

Because of the rapidly shifting way that your customers access and use the internet, what’s needed to attract and retain customers with your website is a moving target. A website that was cutting edge five years ago is likely not to impress or even meet your customer’s needs today. If you feel your site is outdated, contact us, and we will be happy to show you exactly how your site can move your online business forward and attract more visitors.
Jun201523

JTech Completes Updates to Montana Health Network

by Mira Brody in Announcements, Design, Development

Montana Health Network on a mobile device.

Our advanced web development team has been working with Montana Health Network, located in Miles City, Montana, using responsive website design to complete a comprehensive rebuild of their entire site as well as a section devoted to the Northeastern Montana Area Health Education Center (NEMT AHEC). AHEC is a grant-funded program that works to train health professionals in underserved communities as well as encourage students to pursue the wide range of careers in healthcare. They currently serve fifteen counties in the Northeastern region of the state and have relationships with over 65 medical facilities, colleges and universities to help spread healthcare knowledge.

Making MHN’s custom website responsive will ensure it is easily accessible from any device. The new Northeastern Montana AHEC section of the site is a great place to find out more about the Montana Education Center as well as read about their programs with local schools. The AHEC section also offers staff profiles, news, contact information and a brief history of how the Montana AHEC began. JTech looks forward to continue working with the Montana Health Network to make further improvements to their site.
Jun201518

Quality Copywriting Earns More Customers

by Mira Brody in Content

Good copywriting enables storytelling and engages customers.

You can spend a lot of money building a website with all the bells and whistles, but if it doesn’t have engaging content, no one is going to use it. Whether you own a large eCommerce platform, a small business or blog from the comfort of your home, maintaining the interest of those visiting your website is absolutely crucial. At JTech, we’ve discovered an effective balance between poignant copy and strong SEO in order to get people to the websites we build as well as retaining their attention and making their visit memorable enough to return again and again.

SEO — a balancing act.
Search Engine Optimization is the application of keywords and phrases in conjunction with marketing research processes to highlight the meaning of your webpages, helping to boost your site to the top of the organic search results in which it is highly relevant. Although marketing is key in keeping your website afloat, SEO by itself won’t build or maintain the audience you need to ensure your business’s success. Even if you’re performing well in search results and receive a lot of traffic, your visitors will leave and forget about your site all together if they aren’t engaged or impressed by your content. This is why a healthy balance between SEO and writing copy for human indulgence is vital to the strength of an online company.

When visiting a site for the first time, readers quickly determine what your content is about and whether or not it’s applicable to what they need. Long-winded SEO paragraphs or sentences stuffed chock-full of keywords written for GoogleBot are not going to provide a positive outcome for such visitors. Copy written for humans should be specific, easily understood and — due to the rapidity at which people browse — scannable.

At JTech, we focus on writing copy and applying SEO as a single, blended procedure. While our talented marketing team are experts at researching the best SEO application for your site’s success, we find a way to apply search-targeted terminology organically into your copy to keep your visitors reading through to the end. People don’t read advertisements; they read what’s interesting to them, which is why it is important to not only think about what’s in it for your organization, but also, what’s in it for your customer?

Tell your story.
If your business has a story, chances are, you’ll want to tell it. Humans are natural storytellers; we seek tradition and relationships in our everyday interactions. When a co-worker tells an anecdote about their weekend, our brain automatically goes: “That reminds me of the time when I…” Relating our own experiences to stories told by others is how we establish our footing.

So, if you have a story, tell it. Too often are “About Us” pages left scant. This is where people go to learn about you and look for a reason as to why they should choose your company over another. Healthcare-Malpractice.com an organization we are currently building a custom website for, utilizes the power of their own story on their website to great effect. In fact, their philosophy, one that they use to sell their product, is woven strongly throughout every page of their website. Because they are employed by patients who are victims of healthcare malpractice, their goal is to comfort as well as earn the trust of their site visitors — a tone that shines through clearly and aids their campaign.

Another example of a company with a strong backstory, is the well-known shoe and apparel store TOMS. Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS Shoes, was inspired by a trip to Argentina to help those in third-world countries. Although his story has grown beyond shoes, their iconic style remains popular and his website contributes much of its space to display what the non-profit is, how it all started and their current efforts to continue that story.

Content outside the obvious.
Having good web content doesn’t stop at informational storytelling and SEO. In fact, the way you phrase your error messages, form instructions and page headers can drastically shape your users’ experience through your site as well as build a relationship with customers outside the site using email blasts, newsletters and social media.

Small, seemingly insignificant bits of content need to fit the context of your site and your user’s progress in their journey through it. Notifications such as error messages, 404 page text (when the server cannot find the requested URL) or company guidelines should all be crafted sensitively, with the user’s anticipated mood and expectations carefully taken into consideration for each individual situation. Consider whether your copy should follow a brand persona, as in the case of Shipton’s Big R, a client we developed a website for recently. Their 404 page is consistent with their branding, which has the potential of making a frustrating moment more lighthearted and personable.

A way to continually engage with your customers and potential customers is by keeping in touch through blogs, email, newsletters and social media. At JTech, we publish a variety of announcements, business and technical blogs throughout the month to keep our customers engaged and educated. These are great outlets through which to build relationships, not only by continuing to communicate using your business persona but also by earning repeat visitors and links to your website.

Social media in particular is a great medium for you to provide compelling, consistent content that makes your customers feel more comfortable and conversational with a business; above all, news feeds on sites such as Twitter or Facebook are a place for casual conversation. You can then use this engagement on a more personal level to post not only conversational statuses or tweets, but also news articles, blogs or eCommerce promotions, linking customers back to your website.

Not more; better.
In a society where we are constantly posting, uploading, tweeting and blogging, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the quantity and inconsistent quality of content these days. We don’t need more copy, we need better copy. Not only can your businesses benefit from eliminating those little grammar and spelling errors that may exist on their site, but you can also improve the user experience by having professional, personable, resonating copy that your visitors can easily locate, relate to and retain.

At JTech, our process of generating copy is rooted deep in the initial strategic planning of your website, during which we’re learning your company’s story and how best to tell it. Because of our holistic approach to web design, all of our team members are consistently collaborating, never leaving a piece of what it takes to build a successful online business by the wayside. The efforts of our copywriter, web developers and internet marketers are seamlessly fused — making for an unparalleled mix of analysis and creativity. The copy on your custom website is bound to not only initially attract, but also keep customers coming back.

JTech can offer assistance improving existing copy or creating fresh copy for your website. Contact us to learn more about how our services can help you and your customers and we would be happy to help.
Jun201516

Business Benefits of Social Media

by Mira Brody in Content, Social Media


Social media builds a bridge with your customers.
Social media builds a bridge between you, your customers and your website. 

Social media is an exceptional way to supplement your business’s website impact with your audience, and is an invaluable tool to boosting your marketing efforts, driving more traffic directly to your site. Social media is being used by a large number of companies; many consumers expect it and are skeptical if you don’t have a presence. Having a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or other form of social media allows you to build a persona for customers to interact with as well as reach a customer base that would otherwise fall through the cracks. It’ll provide you with a clear view of who your your shoppers are and what they are saying about your brand and allow you to observe visitors and adjust your marketing plan accordingly.

Because social media is foremost a place for socializing, using these channels allows the opportunity for a greater share of your customer’s attention. There is the potential for your company to have improved visibility as well direct them to your store with promotions and coupons. Instead of just adding these incentives on your website or in an email blast that went straight into someone’s junk folder, they will appear somewhere we know customers visit many times a day: their preferred social media news feed. The overlap of promoting your product, engaging with your customers on a personal level and supporting them with their concerns, users are less skeptical about exploring your page links, allowing you more freedoms in advertising to attract a larger user base. It also provides a channel for quicker response times with issues visitors might be experiencing with your eCommerce site or your products, providing instant feedback.

Using social media as a part of your online business’s marketing efforts is a tool many have caught on to fast — even, possibly, your competitors. It is a free resource that can be used to drive tons of untapped customers back to your website, browsing your products. Opening a business account on Facebook or the like won’t magically change your company overnight, but social platforms do provide the necessary means by which you can drive a significant improvement in visitor retention and interaction. If you are interested in driving traffic from social media sites to your business's website, want some advice on which platforms would be right for you, or need help launching or maintaining that part of your organization, contact our marketing team, and we would be happy to help.
Jun201510

Faster page loads ensure customer trust and retention.

by Mira Brody in Optimization, Tools & Tips

Fast page loads are important.
Photo credit: Paul Genyk, Unsplash.

Your website's load speed has the ability to maintain or lose the attention of valuable customers. Without a speedy site, your business will suffer.

If your webpage takes longer than three seconds to load, you are at risk of losing customers and therefore responsible for lost revenue (1). If your visitors are finding you via a Google search, you are competing directly against other possible resources. A fast page load is favored by search engines and also gives your customers confidence in the quality of your site, while a slow load quickly erodes interest, patience and trust. Even if your site is at the top of search rankings, if it takes too long to load, your visitors are likely to go back and follow a different link in order to get the information they need.

We understand the need for speed on the internet and how it affects visitor rate and eCommerce. Amazon once discovered a 20% drop in traffic from just a fraction of a second delay (2) — although web users seem like an impatient bunch, they’re the driving force behind the success of your online business, proving that speed should always be a foremost consideration in web design.

There are a number of common ailments that cause slow loading times on websites, many of which are related to one-size-fits-all websites powered by WordPress and its ilk: plugin overload, bloated themes, social media widgets, too many advertisements, large images, design theme and subpar hosting. At JTech, our holistic approach to web development resolves all of these issues, ensuring that your site preforms exceptionally, never sacrificing aesthetics or functionality. We offer all customers a managed hosting plan which guarantees optimized code as well as a server that’s quick to deliver your site to visitors. If you have any questions about how to improve the speed of your website, please contact us.
Jun20152

Employment applications save time and make hiring easier.

by Mira Brody in Tools & Tips

Shipton's employment Application on a mobile phone.
Shipton's employment application is designed for usability on devices of all sizes.

Your website is a place to do business — and just as with your physical locations, it’s important to consider what your business needs to operate. You’re likely targeting customers already, helping them find information or to purchase a product. Are you also addressing prospective workers who are there to check opportunities for employment? Providing an online application process will allow you to reach a larger number of applicants and by offering greater convenience, can provide the first step in building a hard-working, motivated team.

At JTech, we’ve worked with a few clients recently to design employment resources for their websites. Shipton’s Big R, a full-service ranch supply company in Billings, Montana and Sheridan, Wyoming, has an employment page where current job openings are listed by location. The selection of a position will bring you to a responsively designed, multi-step application with a progress bar indicating their progression toward completion. When an application is submitted, a print-ready PDF is automatically generated for review and a digital rendition is stored for Shipton’s Big R to easily access.

We also built an employment application for Montana Health Network. Theirs is a hybrid approach — a single page application with an option for applicants to provide their resume. Estes Park Medical Center provides online resources for both prospective paid employees and volunteers and has an online application as well as a PDF version for those who prefer to fill out a hard copy, maintaining accessibility in all forms.

Providing an employment application is a great way to find and cater to the needs of future outstanding employees, as well as reducing wasted time processing paper applications. When paired with our responsive web design services, your online application allows you to offer convenience to applicants whether they’re on a mobile device or on a desktop at home. Contact us if you feel your organization would benefit from the addition of an employment page on your website and we'd be happy to help.