Top Tips When Job Hunting

When it comes to job hunting, the smart money is on those candidates who manage to achieve maximum results with minimum effort. Increase your chances of getting the role that you want and take all the hassle out of the process, with out top tips for job hunting. Don't just wait for the work to come to you. It might sound like a lot of effort but actually you're saving yourself time to go proactively seeking jobs rather than applying at the same time as everyone else. You may be able to apply for a role before others get the chance to or you might simply benefit from demonstrating enthusiasm or being the first CV in the pile - search for opportunities via social media, the websites of the companies you want to work for, by contacting HR teams and looking for signs that a company might be recruiting, such as deal news, new partnerships or client announcements. Network heartily. This doesn't mean standing around in stuffy rooms clutching a glass of warm wine. Make sure your social media profiles are up to date and compelling and make contacts online. Don't waste your energy attending every event in your industry, research those that are likely to have the best attendees for connections and then go and perform at your networking best for a couple of hours and come home with all the connections you need without breaking a sweat. How can you stand out? Yes, most CVs need to tick certain boxes for certain jobs but you also need to make sure there is something that differentiates you from the rest. You might want to start your CV with a short, compelling personal statement, or you could even opt for a gimmick - send your CV with some Easter chocolate, for example. Focus on the company, not the job. If you know you want to work for a specific business then become their biggest fan. Interact with them via social media, be a brand ambassador and contribute to their digital marketing. Brands want employees to love their products and services as much as they do so this is a great way to get noticed. Create your own job. This is ambitious but if you think a company is lacking a certain position then tell them about it. You'll need to back this up by researching the business, and the market, stating what they're missing out on without it and what benefits you would bring. Make sure you communicate this to the right person too - it's usually better sent to a partner/manager level employee, rather than HR or recruitment.  

29 June 2015

Introducing the New JM Group Website

For the past 34 years, JM Group has been helping talented IT, Change and Digital professionals and leaders find their next career opportunity. In that time we have also witnessed the birth of the digital sector and its extraordinary development. As a result, we were able to extend our client base to include companies and individuals from across these fields. Having reached a point where we are representing the most cutting-edge people in the IT and digital sectors, it seemed only right that our website reflected this. Which is why we would like to announce the launch of our new and improved site - aimed at giving clients and candidates the best online experience, wherever they may be. With a mature client base which includes leading organisations within the financial industry and global corporates, Director Louise Smith said, "Over the last few years our focus has also extended to Digital professionals and we have updated our website to reflect this and also to allow interested clients and candidates to find out more about us whether sat in the office or on the move. Our new website allows us to communicate more effectively with our network of candidates. It incorporates responsive design with a carefully constructed layout, intended to make navigation as simple and hassle-free as possible. Its entire content has been completely overhauled with improvements made to its management and SEO capability. Access to useful blog material has been made easier than ever, and we were adamant that our candidates were the main focus for the new layout and functions. We also hope that the new website will help to increase the potential client attraction, driving clients and candidates towards it thus boosting the ROI. 2015 has so far been a very busy and productive year for JM Group. We have been working exclusively with a leading infrastructure organisation to build an in-house IT function of 40 people. We have also collaborated with a new bank and leading investment management firm to identify Senior Leaders. Our interim practice has grown too, with a particular focus on Change and Programme Management Skills. If you are a candidate looking to work in Business Change, IT or Digital, or a client wanting to hire new talent for your company, please contact us and we will be happy to help.

22 June 2015

What it Takes to Become a Solutions Architect

A Solutions Architect is in many ways a very easy job to define and in many ways rather more opaque. It's one of the raft of roles that have appeared with the new growth of the tech industry and is essentially one that involves interaction with customers using a piece of software or a service, listening to the issues that they have experienced and then designing solutions to those problems. It's an essential position for customer retention, product development and customer service, as well as being an exciting and varied role. So how do you become a Solutions Architect? The first step on the road to this role normally involves a degree in a related subject. So, a bachelor's degree in something such as computer science, software engineering or information technology - this may vary from employer to employer, some of whom may require a masters level degree and others of whom may have a specific final class of degree in mind. The kind of topics covered will include systems engineering, advanced maths, programming and database management. The flip side of the tech ability is the communications aspect of being a Solutions Architect and there are opportunities during the degree phase to work on this, such as taking courses in ethics and mass media analysis. Your next step might be to look into getting some sort of additional certification or qualification to set your CV apart from others with a similar degree. This might be network security, software programs or even specifically solutions architecture certification. Gaining experience is probably one of the most important stages in the process of becoming a Solutions Architect. Around five to ten years experience in a related field is normally required before the switch is made to the Solutions Architect role. Network administration and working with IT systems are the two principle areas from which Solutions Architects tend to be drawn and skills such as detxterity with business intelligence tools or complex database management systems are very valuable to have on your CV. If you want to boost the experience side of your CV then it might be worth taking on some independent contractor jobs, particularly as these sometimes require less experience in order to get started (two to three years). Make sure that you can demonstrate knowledge and experience of a wide variety of technology and software, particularly those that will be required for the positions you're interested in. If this sounds like the role for you, them JM Digital can help. Get in touch with our team today for more information.

21 May 2015

Tips to Improve Your Local SEO

Thanks to the developing intelligence of search engines and mobile technology, the power of local has seen something of a renaissance. Any business or organisation, large or small, can boost its SEO by following a few simple steps. Include an Address in All Online Platforms Without an address, you cannot rank in local search results, unless you work extra hard on your localised keywords. Not only should you have an accurate address on your site, but also on all relevant online platforms. The more pages you can list your address and local phone number, the better your local search ranking will be. Look at the layout of your website and see how you can include contact information at the top or bottom of every page. Add Your Business to Google+ Local Listing your business contact details on Google+ Local, or taking control of any that it already has, will put you at an immediate advantage. Simply go to and sign in with any existing Google account or create a new one. Follow the on-screen instructions to add your primary phone number and address, and any other details. Go Multimedia While keywords remain important, they become even stronger when linked to variety of media. People on the lookout for a particular product in their area are just as likely to check out the Images tab on Google, as they are the Web results. Use text, pictures and video to give your ranking an extra push and use all three on your Google+ Local page too. Use Google Maps Search for your business's location on Google Maps and click the Link button to get the embed code for the map. Add this map to your website, on the same page that is listed for your Google+ Local page. Separate Your Locations If you operate in different areas, give each one its own page on your website and then customise its optimisation with keywords specific to that area. Try to make the content of each page as original as possible to avoid getting penalised by Google. Check the Usability of Your Site Does your website work on different devices? Is it responsive? Is it simple to navigate? If not then it's time to invest in a web designer who can adjust the code to make it more user friendly. Things to look out for are horizontal scrolling and links and boxes too small to tap on a touchscreen device. If you work in User Experience Design, Visual Design, Web Design and Development and are looking for a new venture then please get in touch. JM Digital is a specialist recruitment agency, working closely with candidates in the digital field.

20 April 2015

How Event Tracking Can Improve the UX of Your Site

With more flash and Javascript functionality, user experience has moved far beyond simply reading text page by page. It has evolved into a fully interactive sphere with live updates and multimedia. But whilst the overall UX has improved, analysts can struggle to really see and measure what's going on within that experience. That's where Google Analytics comes in. Though widely regarded as a marketing tool, it can in fact be the saving grace for any UX researcher in need of immediate insights - without adding a new layer of tools. A basic Google Analytics account is free and offers more than enough data to give you what you need. It is also incredibly flexible with almost limitless options of answers that can be extracted: everything from usage trends and actions, to tracking errors. All this data can then be easily managed and represented pretty much however you want. Before you begin with any in depth analysis, it is important to understand the basic tracking structure. GA allows you to have multiple Accounts, Properties and Views. The top level is Account. This is used to separate individual websites or projects that you want to track. Properties offer a way to break down different concerns within those websites and projects, keeping user flow and metrics nicely isolated. View is another level of data separation. As with any data collection, you must first have a clear idea of what it is you want to discover. Once you know this you can select which data to collect and analyse so as to further improve and refine the user experience. Standard Pageview Tracking By default, GA provides standard tracking code that observes how your users are navigating, along with parallel data that reveals some further details about them. This allows you to see where they entered and left your site, and which paths they took through the site. It also shows you the type of device they used. Though this is more aimed at marketing, it can easily be modified to work for analysts by adding in some code - setting GA up manually and calling a tracking function every time a user performs a task you want to track. Behaviour Flow Behaviour flow is under the Behaviour section and is a GA report that tells you exactly how users are navigating your website. You can use this to analyse how users behave at a particular point of your flow, as well as isolating any unnecessary steps or returns to previous states. Perhaps most importantly, you can determine which steps are not being followed as you may have intended. Event Tracking Since it is the smaller details that really make for a smoother UX, Google Analytics enables you to track events separately from pageview to avoid interfering with the behaviour flow reports. These events represent standalone actions that your users are taking, such as opening different menus or altering list views. They are completely customisable and each event has four properties that you define yourself: Category, Action, Label and Value. To track an event you need to add a different line of code, similar to pageview tracking. Event reports can be viewed in the Behaviour -> Events section. The intensity of each action is also visually represented when you select table view by Performance. Why not start using Google Analytics Event Tracking today as a tool to help you answer questions and collect feedback on your website's user experience and see where you can improve.

07 April 2015

UX KPIs you should be tracking

Measurements have always been a way of keeping track of whether something is working. As human beings we have done this ever since we first developed numerical measurement systems (perhaps even before then) and since online experience became such an important tool for business this has become even more the case. Learning to measure user experience is not only key for working out how we can improve the overall experience and satisfaction but also for quantifying exactly what is working and what isn't. With that in mind, here are a few of the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs i.e. the quantifiable measurements) that you should be tracking. Task success is one of the most commonly used KPIs and basically measures the percentage of correctly completed tasks by users. This could be something such as signing up for a newsletter, buying a product or registering personal details. When the number of successful tasks is divided by the total number of attempts you'll be able to see how hard or difficult people find the task to complete. Navigation or search is another important metric that will show you how the website is being used i.e. how many people are getting around the site using the designed navigation and how many are opting for search. Normally navigation is the first choice and then if that fails people will resort to search so if the metrics show a higher number of uses of search than navigation then the site design might need a rethink. Error rates will show you have many times users are falling down while trying to complete a task, such as making a payment. You need to define here what will constitute a user's failure and whether you're going to include a partial failure in your calculations. You might want to measure the total number of errors against the total number of opportunities for errors or alternatively the total number of errors against the total number of task attempts. Conversion is of course the definitive metric when it comes to success and, although this is important, it's also worth remembering that the conversion metric misses out those people who are almost ready to commit or interested in committing but haven't quite got there yet. If you can, widen out your metrics from conversion to include those who might imminently convert or who might be thinking about it - for example, look at the likelihood of taking action on a micro conversion - then you will get a broader, better picture.

23 March 2015

Top skills needed to be Java Developer

Java is one of the most popular programming languages on the web and so a career as a Java developer can open an enormous number of doors. Given the way that the world is heading - i.e. with much of our lives now organised and developed online - it's also a career that holds an enormous amount of potential for progression, whether you're looking to work in the UK or all over the world. However, being a Java developer is not for everyone so what skills do you need in order to fit well within this role? Are you computer literate? This is obviously absolutely key to anyone who wants to go into this area. By computer literate, you need to be more familiar with the workings of computer programs than simply answering emails or being able to access social media sites. You will need to understand how to operate the computer in order to be able to use it as a tool. Do you know what Java is? Ok this might sound a bit simplistic but unless you have a thorough understanding of what Java is then you don't really know whether you're the right person for the role. If you can't answer questions such as 'do you know how to use Java files?' or 'do you know what Java file editors and compilers are?' Then it might be worth doing a little more research before making any applications. What kind of working environment are you looking for? While not a skill as such, being suited to the working conditions of being a Java developer will be an important step on the path towards making a successful career of it. If you're happy to work long hours tackling work alone, often with minimal social interaction then you'll do just fine. However, if you're looking for a team environment with constant supervision then this may not be for you. What are your practical skills? In order to be a talented Java developer you'll need to pick up skills such as learning how to solve development and programming issues. However, there are also some skills and abilities that really need to be innate - for example, you will need to be a patient worker and able to focus for long periods of time. You'll also need to enjoy the analysis of getting to the heart of any problems that arise. If this sounds like you then JM Digital can help. We have some fascinating roles for Java developers - get in touch with our team for more information today.  

09 March 2015

Tips to Streamline Your PPC Campaign

PPC campaigns can be laborious, frustrating and at times confusing - especially for managers with more than one campaign on their hands. Keeping them as efficient and streamlined as possible will increase productivity and help to preserve sanity. Here are a few simple suggestions for how this can be achieved. Use Negative Keywords Too often, PPC managers devote all their time to the keywords that generate traffic. But what about the traffic that has no intention of making a conversion on your site because you do not offer the specific type of product or service they are looking for? Negative keywords help to filter your traffic and can be an invaluable money-saving tool. Make Your Location Known It's incredible how many businesses neglect to include information on their location in the main body of their PPC advertising. It is a sure-fire way to improve your chances of appearing on a search, whilst making any traffic more relevant to you. Pause Low-Performing Ads and Keywords Keep an eye out for ads and keywords that are no longer doing their job. As soon as you spot them, pause and edit them. You can test it by conducting your own searches, as well as analysing the campaign data. Failing to act on this will only cause you to waste valuable time and money. Test It One great way to streamline your campaign is to allow for a testing period where you can pinpoint current and potential issues and address them instantly, rather than relying on costly trial and error. This will encourage your strategy to sustain itself. Automate Reports The thought of combing through the large volumes of data that come with PPC reports is unlikely to be an appealing one. Save the more frequent reports and set up an automated email to receive them. This will help you to stay on top of your campaign and monitor progress more efficiently. If you are looking for SEO vacancies, JM Digital can help. As specialist recruiters, we work with candidates experienced in UX and web design, software development and project management - amongst others. Please contact us to find out more.

23 February 2015

How to Become a Front-End Web Developer

Whether you're an experienced digital designer looking for career change, or completely new to the world of web developing, becoming a front-end web developer could be within your reach. You just need to be highly motivated and willing to teach yourself a few essential skills, as well as being the right person for the job of course. The best place to start is at the beginning - what exactly do front-end web developers do? Well, they are responsible for creating the user-facing side of websites. In other words they code all the interactive and visual elements of a website, as well as working to optimise web applications. As is the case with many coding jobs, a formal education may not be necessary; there is a wide range of free online courses available where you can pick up the basic skills of coding. However, you must be able to demonstrate ample knowledge and experience as well as offering transferable skills, such as working to deadlines and budgets. Web development is a rapidly evolving sphere so keeping on top of all the current best practices is essential. Get experience by building websites that use these practices and technologies. One of the greatest things about all things related to web design and development is the open source community, and the way it drives the highly collaborative Front-End world. Getting involved in this will prove useful in many ways. When it comes to learning the web languages, HTML and CSS are essential. They are the blueprints behind everything that you build, and how it looks. JavaScript has also become a prerequisite, thanks to smart devices and the demand for dynamic websites. It is worth starting with 'vanilla' JavaScript, before tackling jQuery. Getting to grips with web design techniques such as responsive design, modern design language and frameworks will deepen your understanding and make the overall process a lot more efficient. Becoming savvy with building web-apps will also put you at a significant advantage; why not start by working with templating engines. While front-end devs are primarily tech-minded types, they also need to be highly creative with an eye for design. It is after all, the user-facing side of websites, which need to look and work well enough to make people want to spend money and keep coming back. Which brings us to our final point: how to make a website nice and fast. For this you need to understand a few principles of browser rendering. If you are looking for jobs in the UX and web development sector, please contact JM Digital to book a consultation with one of our expert recruiters.

09 February 2015

How to Make a Good First Impression

You may think that preparing for a job interview means going over your answers to potential questions, and brushing up on the company background. Of course these are both important things to consider but making a good first impression depends on so much more. Everything you do from the moment you respond to the interview invitation you will be taken on board - consciously or not - by everyone you come into contact with. This means the receptionist, the PA, the people in the interview room and whomever you happen to bump into in the bathroom. It's always good to make sure your online profile is clean and up to date as it is likely that your interviewer will search for your profile and you don't want anything on Facebook to ruin your chances before the interview even begins! The first thing you need to think about is your appearance. Getting the look right is essential for communicating the right message. Smart is almost a given for any job interview, regardless of the office dress code, but discuss with your recruiter what dress code they feel would be appropriate. Being well presented is a mark of respect and will also make you carry yourself in a more professional manner. Punctuality is absolutely necessary and arriving a little early will also give you the chance to calm your nerves and get your bearings. Be nice to the receptionist and try not to sit glued to your phone while you wait to be called in. Which brings us to being organised in general. If you have a portfolio, or CV or any other documentation with you, make sure it is instantly accessible and well presented. Fumbling about in a bag for a stray piece of paper won't look too good. Making eye contact and smiling at people is an invaluable way to put them at ease and gain their trust. It will only work if it is genuine so try to overcome your nerves and let your inner light shine a little. Don't be afraid to make the first move in extending a hand and introducing yourself. If the opportunity arises, try to find a connection with the interviewer is a fantastic way to make a good impression. Initiate some light-hearted conversation and ask them things like how long they have been with the company. A good interview should consist of dialog, not just one-way questioning. So don't be afraid to show your enthusiasm and curiosity by asking your own questions about the company and the position. It will help you to make your mark. Just be careful not to come across as ignorant by asking things that you should already know, such as the job specification. The number one rule in all instances is to be professional and genuine. Even if you don't get the job, it is always worth being remembered for the right reasons and may pay off in the future.

26 January 2015

Top SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2015

  The world of SEO has continued to change and evolve for as long as it has existed. Every year we see new trends, new strategies and new regulations, keeping businesses forever on their toes. Here is our own outlook for the SEO trends of 2015. Less Text, More Visual Despite SEO being dictated by words, the rise and success of visual content is undeniable. Infographics, videos and memes have dominated our screens for months now and this looks set to continue. The result will be that Google adjusts its policies to accommodate this, being fully aware that users are sick of reading dry text. Semantic Search Whilst this concept is nothing new (Google's Hummingbird took into account the semantics of whole sentences typed into the search bar back in 2013) it is certainly influencing the advance of the human search. As technology develops, so does our relationship with it and conversational queries are on the rise. Keywords will need to include long tail and LSI (latent semantic indexing) if they are to be effective. Mobile Search Optimisation According to Google, half of all mobile searches have local intent: people looking to make an in-store purchase nearby. Likewise, there are also more and more people who only use their mobiles to go online. It is therefore predicted that mobile search optimisation will become a priority for businesses looking to up their rankings and tap into a growing market. Securing Link Profiles Negative SEO continues to plague businesses left, right and centre, despite the increased intelligence of search engines. This is why it is more important than ever for companies to secure their link profiles, keeping close eye on each and every link that appears on their sites. It is ruthless out there but a site that is clearly genuine is a lot less likely to be penalised for a couple of bad links. Social Media Ranking The debate on whether or not social signals influence search ranking has gone on for long enough. However, social media sites are where businesses should really be looking as they have the power to outrank actual websites. 2015 will see companies placing less emphasis on getting people to their website first and more on simply having consumers click on any link that takes them to a company page. If you are an SEO Account Manager looking for a new job, JM digital offers specialist recruitment services and advice. Just see our website for more details.  

12 January 2015

What web design trends will prevail in 2015?

Web design is an area that moves pretty quickly and when it comes to trends these can come and go at some speed. With the end of the year fast approaching, we're taking a look at a few of the web design trends we think are going to be big for 2015. More emphasis on typography. We all know that those web type kits that incorporate the most appealing fonts and typefaces tend to be the most expensive, which has meant that in the past the really aesthetic pleasing typography has been out of reach for budget businesses. In 2015 this won't be the case as type-kits are becoming more affordable and designers working with smaller budgets have much more freedom to apply their skills. Better visuals. Powerful backgrounds, the use of strong, beautiful images and videos will all begin to define web design trends next year. If you needed any confirmation of how much visuals are becoming important in the digital world then just look at the lengths Twitter has gone to in order to incorporate them. Responsive design. 2015 is the year that we will truly see more web browsing happening on smart phones and tablets so responsive website design is going to become crucial. Responsive design ensures that a website being browsed adjusts to the screen size in question. Websites without this inbuilt will find themselves quickly shedding shoppers/visitors. Scrolling vs. clicking. The trend for mobile browsing will also affect website layout, with information that can be accessed via scrolling becoming preferable to information that must be clicked through to reach. Scrolling lessens load times, it's easier to do, more intuitive and allows for a better user experience all round. Bye bye coding. The traditional division of labour between designers and coders is already being blown away as tools for web design become more comprehensive and more ambitious. It's now possible to create websites without touching any code at all and next year we will see this lowering barriers to entry for designers. Webgraphics. It's common knowledge that most of us tend to absorb information more effectively if it's presented visually. We have seen this trend for some time with infographics and now this has evolved into Webgraphics. This is a way of effectively presenting a large amount of information but also allows for a user to interact with the information - it's more effective in terms of communicating and will also help to increase retention.

22 December 2014

SEO and PPC tips for Christmas

Although you might be more focused on mince pies and gifts than SEO and PPC, with the festive season just around the corner it's time to make sure that your website is ready for the annual Christmas shopping rush. SEO and paid search are key to making sure that your online presence gets plenty of attention - generating lots of Christmas cheer for you in 2014/15 - so here are some easy tips on how to make sure that you're on the right track. SEO Are you optimised for mobile? Mobile is very much where it's at when it comes to Christmas shopping - these days we shop on tablets and smart phones wherever we are so if you want to make the most of shoppers who want convenience then you have to be multi platform. This is also, statistically, one of the best ways to pick up shoppers online on Christmas and Boxing Day, who are often watching the Queen's Speech and secretly browsing for bargains at the same time. Check your stats from last year. I.e. are there any changes that you need to make to ensure you don't repeat mistakes? Did the site crash, were there lots of failed searches and broken links, which landing pages performed the best and what were the most successful keywords? Site loading speeds can have a big impact on getting shoppers from browse to purchase so make sure that your site is functioning as quickly as possible. At the very least, make sure that images are compressed and optimised. Google shopping has become an online marketplace, similar to Amazon and it's a great way to makes sales and promote your business. However, in the run up to Christmas everyone has the same idea so make sure that you're ready for the increased competition - it's all about providing a positive customer experience. PPC Product listing ads are useful but make sure that you ensure the product feed is up to date. This particularly applies if you have any products that are likely to be 'on trend' for Christmas 2014. Search query reports will give you valuable insight into the seasonal keywords that are activating your ads so they are incredibly useful. If you don't want to add these to your campaigns then do so as negatives to ensure wastage is kept to a minimum. Adjust budgets to take account of the seasonal sales hikes that we see at this time of year. Make sure you have enough left to cover the spikes on Christmas and Boxing Day, as well as around the New Year. Sale ads are essential so that customers know there are offers to be had but the likelihood is that you won't be at work on Christmas and Boxing Day. Instead, set automated rules so that your pre-Christmas ads are temporarily replaced by the sales ads.  

08 December 2014

When is a Good Time to Resign?

Making a positive change is a great way to beat the winter blues, and what better place to start than with your career. Working with a specialist recruiter takes the pressure off you to do everything alone and they can help you find your dream role, ready for the new year. Many people wonder when the best time is to make that change, and the answer is simple: now. Yes there are peaks and troughs in the job market, and companies will often advertise new roles after their yearly review. But the truth is that the best vacancies are created when people leave, and this happens based on their individual circumstances - without any kind of seasonal pattern. So keep your finger on the button with your job search and something will come up. However, while the New Year may seem ideal for fresh starts, it might not be in your best interests to throw in the towel at a critical moment for your company. That is not to say you can't get everything in place for when you do leave however, and in this sense there really is no time like the present. When it comes to handing in your resignation, the most important things to remember are to remain professional and courteous at all times. This will stand you in good stead for those moments when your boss ends up at a party with your future employer, or you ask for a glowing reference for your application. There is no point in burning bridges right at the end, and you never know if and when you will need them again. The job market has become incredibly network-led and so you cannot afford to make unnecessary enemies. Read through your contract to clarify your obligations - how much notice do you have to give; do you need to work a hand-over period? If possible, it is worth exceeding those obligations out of respect if nothing else. The more helpful you are, the less stressful it will be. Avoid partaking in any gossip and be discreet with your resignation until it is the right time to make it formal. Whatever your reasons for leaving, you will need to write a letter of resignation. How you word it will depend on your relationship with your boss and your experience with the company. However, it should generally be concise, professional and polite. Save any of the personal parts for your meeting with them. When you are asked to explain why you are leaving, honesty is the best policy, so far as it does not offend anyone. Use your judgement to gauge the situation and work out how much you can confide in that person. Just remember to retain your professionalism at all times and do your best to leave on good terms. This will set you up nicely for your next venture.

24 November 2014

What Does Penguin 3.0 Mean for SEO?

Back in 2012, Google introduced Penguin - a new filter designed to police underhand search engine optimisation tactics that were becoming increasingly prevalent on many sites. Two years on and Google has launched yet another algorithm change - Penguin 3.0. In theory, Penguin 3.0 will reward sites that have managed to clean up their links since last year's indictment, with increased traffic and improvement in search ranking. However, the current consensus seems to be that the wait will go on a little longer as Penguin 3.0 has only just been birthed. Because of the way Penguin works, publishers are remaining tentative. When a site is flagged up, rigorous changes are required in order to meet Google's standards of SEO practice. Yet even if those changes are made, publishers are unable to see the results until the next update is released. Which makes this week particularly poignant for anyone who has been hanging in the balance since Penguin 2.1. For those a little late to the game, any changes that were made in the last three weeks will not be okayed until the next update. There is hope however, as Google has suggested that Penguin 3.0 will involve a new system that allows refreshes to happen more regularly. For all its good intentions, Penguin also poses as a double-edged sword. Some sites for example, will see a drop in ranking without actually being officially 'caught out' by the filter. This is because Penguin discounts a wide range of links - some of which are not necessarily bad - and will flag them up as fake votes, thus impeding on their ranking credibility. That said, the actual affects will be minimal unless a site is particularly spammy. The lesson then is to monitor all links on your site as closely as is possible, and hope that the legitimate ones don't fall foul of Penguin's expectations. Keep your SEO practices aboveboard and you shouldn't face a problem.

10 November 2014

Your Website - Halloween Tricks and Treats to Watch Out For

It's nearly Halloween again and if you want to make sure that your website isn't a horror show this year then there are a few things to bear in mind. We're looking at a few of the tricks to avoid and the treats to include, whether you're setting up a Halloween focused campaign or simply giving your site a seasonal overhaul. Trick - the invisibility cloak. One of the mistakes we all make is to put a huge amount of effort into a website and then just assume that people will automatically find it. In actual fact you need to invest in a range of strategies to ensure your website isn't hidden behind an invisibility cloak, including SEO, AdWords, social media, blogging and targeted digital marketing. Trick - the weird website. Some very simple errors that can turn your website from heavenly to horrible include a poor design and content that is badly written and/or full of errors. Don't get too techy with your website design but focus on the way it communicates instead and what the messages are. Writing effective web content that also works for SEO is an industry in itself so don't assume that you can just rattle this off whenever you want to. Investing in professional content can be the key to getting customers to engage with your site. Trick - the mobile trap. Web traffic is now seriously driven by mobile rather than PC or desktop and mobile has already overtaken desktop in some sectors. If your website isn't optimised for mobile and you haven't even considered incorporating apps into your digital marketing strategy then you're cutting off a major artery for your business. Treat - link up your website. Once you have a stunning website, a great range of products and some fantastic content then you need to start creating the links to give it organic reach to your audience. Developing links with other similar businesses, guest blogging, increasing your social media following and reciprocal posting and tweeting is the cherry on the Halloween cupcake as you'll be able to increase the traffic to your website and consequently boost conversions too. Treat - use occasions like Halloween to draw attention to your business. Most organisations can link their products and services to an annual event Halloween in some way, so why not develop a campaign for this year to draw attention to your offering and mark the occasion at the same time. Running a promotion, giveaway or contest with a Halloween theme is a great idea and with some appealing visuals and original content you can sell it easily via social media channels.

24 October 2014

Job Seeking is it Affected by the Change in Season?

The seasons are changing and we're once again moving into the colder months and there are many reasons why this can affect the lives of job seekers. With the kids going back to school, the distractions of summer far behind us and the expensive Christmas season on the horizon there's plenty of motivation to start searching for that perfect new role so that you can be sitting pretty when the new year arrives. So, if you're currently looking for UX Jobs, here are a few tips on how to give yourself the best chance of getting the role that you want. There's no time like now - many people spend too long trying to calculate when the best time of year is likely to be to start the process of applying for a new job. While you can waste hours on calculations like this, the reality is that there's no time like now. Practically speaking, recruitment tends to pick up anyway around September after the summer slowdown but whenever you're looking to make a change is the time that you need to take action. Don't sit around losing motivation and confidence, act now! Networking means making contact - one of the best ways to present yourself as a great potential candidate is via actively networking. This doesn't necessarily mean blustering in and pretending you know everything about UI web design and ecommerce - it's actually far more effective to start by finding those whose work you admire, sharing that admiration and asking for advice. Bring yourself onto the radar of those you want to work with early and you'll be first on the list when an opportunity arises. It's not just about passion - the conventional wisdom is to do something that you love to be happy in your job but this doesn't always bear fruit. For many people, choosing a role in UX design, for example, can become a vocation even though initially it may have appeared a more practical decision. Passion can burn out so choose a role that is still going to challenge and excite you in the years to come. If that means broadening out your job search now then be opened minded to all the potential possibilities. Create your own role - if the UX jobs out there aren't exactly where you want then why not try to create that dream job yourself. This may sound ambitious but it is possible to do. Study your dream company and identify some unsolved problems or challenges, come up with a solution and offer it up for free. You're bringing yourself to the attention of the business this way and even if there isn't a role available, you're demonstrating the kind of talent that an employer might be willing to step outside the box to retain.  

08 October 2014

Everything You Need to Know to Become a Web Designer

If you are considering a career move towards web design then it is worth knowing exactly what the job entails and what you need to get your foot in the door. Whilst there are plenty of training options out there, many successful web designers are self-taught and have a genuine passion for Internet computer technology combined with a creative flare for user-focused design. Requirements Official qualifications are not always needed to land you a job as a web designer, but you will be expected to produce evidence of your creative and technical skills to convince an employer or client to hire you. Essentially, you need to present an active portfolio of any previous work you have done, be it paid or unpaid, and ideally include at least one or two live sites. A good working knowledge of HTML should be a given, as well as experience in working with a range of coding, scripting and programming. Software Knowledge Working knowledge of the following programs is considered industry standard for many people in web design: ? Dreamweaver ? JavaScript ? Photoshop ? CSS ? .Net Further coding, scripting and programming ability in the following is highly advantageous: ? CSS, HTML, DHTML and XML ? Flash ? PHP ? Active Server Pages (ASP) Training Opportunities How you train in web design is very much down to your own preferred method of learning. Whilst there are some jobs that will require specific qualifications, the majority of web design positions are open to anyone who can effectively demonstrate the skills and experience necessary. There may also be opportunities to train on the job, depending on your present situation. Aside from independent learning (which can be easily achieved through the many free online tutorials available), there is also the chance to go back to school and gain any of the following recognised qualifications: QCR Creative iMedia Levels 1 - 3 QCR ITQ Levels 1 - 3 City & Guilds E-Quals IT Users awards BTEC Interactive Use of Media Levels 1 - 3 Alternatively, you can go the full hog and get an HND, Degree, MA or even doctorate in numerous courses related to web design. Personal Attributes Whilst you may indeed have all the technical skills necessary to whip up an impressive website in a couple of weeks, you are unlikely to get any work unless you can demonstrate an equally strong set of communication skills. Companies and clients hire web designers because they are unable to do the task themselves. Therefore you should be able to clearly present all that technical knowhow in a way that they can relate to, so as to ascertain exactly what it is they want you to design; why and for whom. The ability to work to deadlines is essential, as is a logical approach to work with good problem-solving skills. Be prepared to take on board any criticism as well as using your initiative; thinking outside the box on a regular basis. Further Points to Consider Digital and online design is an ever-changing sphere with a highly competitive market. As soon as your skills are out of date, you are out of a job. It is therefore the duty of any professional designer to have their finger on the button at all times and to see his or herself as a perpetual student, ready to find and master the next exciting trend in their field. As specialist recruiters in the digital market, JMDigital can assist you with a wealth of knowledge and expertise as well as a collection of highly credible clients. Just call or email us to book a consultation.

22 September 2014

Top 5 Skills for a UX Designer to Have

For anyone looking for a role as a UX designer, it is important to know what sort of things companies are looking for. As a profession, mastery of UX design requires a wide range of skills, knowledge and attributes that draw upon various disciplines, whilst adopting a holistic approach. JM Digital has compiled a list of the more specialist aptitudes that we believe to be essential for a good UX designer to possess. Knowledge of Principles of Cognitive Psychology A common misunderstanding amongst many employers hiring UX designers for the first time is that they simply need to find a designer who insists they make user-friendly products. However, whilst a background in design is fundamental, the main purpose of their role speaks for itself: to test and improve the usability of a product. Therefore, a thorough understanding of cognitive psychology is an important attribute to have. This includes knowing how to conduct usability tests, collate the data and analyse it quantitatively and qualitatively. Add to that a natural ability to perceive human nature and behaviour. Versatile & Proactive Communication As orchestrators that join the dots between design teams, management and users, UX designers must be acutely articulate both verbally and visually. They should be highly creative diplomats who can present ideas to an audience off the cuff, through the use of various media. This includes things like sketching and rhetoric, persuasive writing as well as verbal storytelling. It is a UX designer's job to clearly ascertain what the user wants and needs from a product, and implement it into the design whilst remaining true to the company's interests. Their communication skills must therefore extend to listening to and empathising; combining creative thinking with technical knowledge. Media & Technical Knowledge and Skills For a UX designer to do their job effectively, they must be able to demonstrate enough experience and knowhow of all the media and technical elements of the design process. While the depth of these skills required will depend on the project, masters of UX design are fully competent in a range of design professions with the added aptitude of explicitly understanding how to improve the user-product experience. Aesthetics are important, but more often than not it is the technical aspects of design that make a product more user friendly. Moreover, UX designers are able to express complex technical information in a clear and interesting manner. Research In accordance with a background in cognitive psychology, any UX designer worth hiring should always insist on carrying out user research before commencing with any designs. It is crucial that they adopt a proactive approach and not a reactive one. In other words: start with user research, then design the prototype; test usability; address any issues. User-Focused Everything It may sound obvious, but it is important enough to reiterate. A UX designer's purpose is written in their job title and should never be overlooked, in any instance. Everything they do should be done with the user in mind: from their research methods to their design approach and management of projects and people. If you hire the right person, your products and their usability should see a significant improvement.              

12 September 2014

Does your job interfere with your personal life?

Work is a key part of all of our lives, whether you're planning a glittering career or looking for a reliable way to pay the bills. However, it should never be the only thing that we have in our lives and yet, when career pressures begin to take over, this is exactly what often happens. If you're thriving at work - or you're having a really tough time - and things at home are starting to suffer then your job might well be affecting your personal life. However, it doesn't always have to be this way, as there are many methods you can use to help you manage both. A lack of attention - whether you're the one complaining about a lack of attention, or it's your partner, this can only lead to trouble as it puts another layer of pressure on someone who is most likely already buried under a huge amount of work stress. If you want more time with your partner then try instead to talk calmly about how their priorities might have taken a shift and how this is affecting you. If you're on the receiving end of this chat then try to listen and, if you value the relationship, acknowledge there might be an imbalance so that you can try to work around it. Make time - relationships need time and both parties need to make that time or the relationship will suffer as a result. Blocking out a period of dedicated 'you and me' time really works as it's manageable for the person with the heavy workload and satisfying for the person who feels a lack of togetherness. It doesn't have to be a lot of time but make sure you plan activities in which you focus one each other and give yourself at least half an hour to wind down and switch off beforehand so that you're really 'in the room.' It's also worth paying attention to the physical side of the relationship as it is often really felt by both partners. Look out for habits that could affect this such as a long commute, eating badly, being over tired, working late - try to keep make time for all aspects of your relationship to keep it healthy. Treat each other well - negative spirals are easy to fall into in relationships, particularly where one partner feels neglected and the other nagged. No matter which side of the fence you fall on try to keep your interactions respectful, try to laugh as much as you can to release the pressure and make sure you maintain the fun - that's what it's supposed to be all about after all. If you feel like your job is starting to affect your personal life then it might be time for a change. JM Digital has a wide range of positions available in the digital industry

27 August 2014