5 Tips for Staying Organized Online (Even When You’re Swamped)

Organized Online home office in Dallas/Fort Worth

Working remotely, or just working in a largely online world, can present unique advantages as well as difficulties. JSL Marketing, with our partially remote team (we’re talking to you, Grand Rapids), has been honing our skills in online organization for years now.

Though there are many ways to stay organized online, we have a few tried and true tips for anyone looking for a little more structure, a lot more efficiency, and squeezing as many extra minutes out of their workday as possible.

Productivity, efficiency, and a healthy work-life balance can all come together when you organize.

The online world is both a wonder and a horror, but we think we can make it a little more Disney and a lot less Game of Thrones with our favorite 5 tips for staying organized and on top of your deadlines, emails, projects, and more (even when you’re swamped).

Keep Your Hours Consistent (Yes, We Mean Schedule)

Working from home comes with great power and also great responsibility. This means you can work whenever you want, wherever you want, for as long as you want – as long as you meet your hours and your project deadlines, right?

But actually, keeping your hours consistent, regardless of what that consistency looks like for you, is a great way to stay organized and get ‘in the zone’ when you work.

For example, you don’t have to work from 9-5 every day to keep your hours consistent. But you should have a set schedule in which the hours do not vary greatly.

One of our remote team members works from 9-12, then takes a break for errands, gym, beach, etc., and works again from 3-8 every day. That’s 8 hours a day, but with a three-hour break in between to do other ‘life things’ and enjoy the nice afternoon sun.

Another team member works 9-3 Monday through Saturday and only takes Sundays off. Still another works ‘regular hours’ Monday through Thursday, takes off early on Fridays and then makes up those hours Sunday nights.

See, there is no wrong way – as long as your hours stay consistent from week to week.

What’s Your Ritual?

Just like having a schedule and regular hours can greatly help you stay organized online, having a ritual to start (and end) your workday can help your mind stay on task and get into ‘work mode’.

Maybe you need a cup of coffee sitting next to you before you power up your laptop, or maybe you take your dog out before you begin your workday. Whatever your ritual is, it is important and should be consistent.

Work rituals can help you ‘unplug’ at the end of your work day too. Because sometimes working remotely means you are always on or always accessible. That isn’t a good work-life balance though.

Instead of falling into the ‘always working’ trap, have an ending ritual as well. Maybe a cocktail hour or a walk, maybe you merely put your laptop away or turn on your away message for your work email.

Just like your hours, keep your rituals consistent too, as it can make all the differences in your focus and readiness for both your work and your after-hours life.

Have Designated ‘Email Times’

This has to do with ‘split-tasking’, more commonly called multi-tasking. And though many people are good at juggling multiple things at once, studies have shown us that our minds don’t actually focus on multiple things at one time but switch their focus very quickly between all of our spinning plates.

What does this neuropsych lesson have to do with email? A lot, actually.

When you are checking your email 50 times a day, you are pulling your focus away from whatever project you should be working on, this isn’t efficient or organized, as at some point you’ll probably be halfway through an email and then forget it, and switch to something else.

Instead, work at having 2-4 ‘email times’ throughout your day, and only check, reply, and send emails during those windows. These windows can be at the end of a scheduled break, or anytime really, as long as they are (you guessed it) consistent.

Hm, it’s almost like the best way to stay organized online is to stay consistent. Who knew?

Use Basecamp

Basecamp is a godsend, and JSL Marketing might very well crumble without it. This is because we use Basecamp to communicate, to know our deadlines, create strategies, work boards, think tanks, and more.

Basecamp is essentially a platform designed with organization in mind for the remote worker or online company. It keeps everyone on the same page regardless of their location, the business size, or the individual jobs.

We cannot say enough good things about Basecamp and the user-friendly, easy organization it provides.

But don’t take our word for it, check it out yourself.

Have Team Meetings (Often)

Even if you are remote, even if you are online, have team meetings!

The JSL Marketing team meets every Monday (everyone) as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays in our Dallas office (just the Texas team) to keep everyone on the same page, keep our questions answered, and keep the JSL wagon rolling along smoothly.

Additionally, if we have a new client or project and we want to get everyone’s opinions or explain something new, then we have another meeting.

Though emails, texts, and even calls are helpful, full meetings with the whole team are the best form of communication. You can use Facetime, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting, screen sharing, video, or just audio – it all can help.

Overcommunication isn’t bad when working in an online world, in fact, overcommunication can be a huge asset in keeping your business seamless and your team members happy and knowledgeable, as well as your clients.

JSL Would Love to (Over) Communicate with You

We truly love what we do, and we love finding new and better ways to improve what we do all the time.

If working with an overly-organized, overcommunicating, consistent, and efficient SEO and Web Design company sounds like the perfect change from your previous company, then we would love to get in touch.

Or, if you just want to peruse and learn more about us and our team, check out our website, Facebook, and Instagram.

5 Features of a Truly Outstanding Web Design Agency

Your website is one of the most important aspects of your business, but then why do so many business owners think that merely having a website is enough? Paying ‘just anyone’ to make a website for you is doing yourself, your company, and your customers a great disservice, not to mention supporting sub-par web design agencies.

Instead, use the 5 characteristics below as a template and launching pad for what you should look for in your potential web design agency, and get the very best for your website. After all, a website is the first impression to a large percentage of your customers – make sure it’s a good one!

Whether you are an expert or new to the web design world, the below will help you meet potential web design agencies with confidence, so you can make the most informed decision and choose a company that is right for you.

A Strategic & Clear Process

Let us be clear here – if your potential web design agency doesn’t tell you point-blank what their process is, run the opposite direction and never look back.

In fact, if you feel that they aren’t clear, aren’t sure, or aren’t strategic, then you should still run in the opposite direction.

And if they aren’t honest, transparent, and open about their process – well, you know what to do.

Now, of course, we at JSL Marketing don’t want to toot our own horn (yes, we do) but all of our clients get not only clear verbal layouts of what our web design process looks like, but also this beautiful visual aid:

JSL Marketing Web Design Flow Diagram

It’s almost like we want you to be informed or something. Go figure.

Focusing on Your Story

Every company has a story, and that story is what sets you apart from the other 28,000,000 small businesses in the United States (or the other 18,500 large businesses).

Having a unique ‘why’ and story are some of the ways you can connect with your audience, or potential customers, and a way in which you can share your values, goals, and services.

Unfortunately, many web design agencies are more worried about your color scheme and branding than your story and motivation.

Now, don’t get us wrong, we love branding, visual designs, and consistent style as much as the next web design company, but we also know that there is so much more to a company than just font styles and founding dates.


This should be at the top of any list when you are trying to decide which company to work with. Whether you are looking for a roofer or a florist, a travel agent or a yoga studio, consistent, clear, and quick communication is paramount.

And web design agencies are no different.

In fact, communication might actually be even more important when it comes to design, as you need to be able to communicate your desires, and they need to be able to communicate their strategy as well as what they need from you.

Fault lines in communication are easily the largest aggravator when dealing with any kind of technology company – don’t let it happen to you.

UX & UI Design

Maybe you’ve heard these buzzwords, maybe not, but regardless – you need to know about them.

UX Design: this means user experience, which has to do with the functionality of your website. Make sure you ask your potential web design agency what they plan to design for the functions of the user experience. They should be able to talk about their competitor and customer analysis as well as content development.

UI Design: this means user interface, which is essentially how easy it is for your website-goers to use the functionality that has been implemented.

A great example is Apple and Samsung, they both create phones that function at the same level, however, the user interface for Apple is largely considered better, or, the ease of use is considered better, according to many users.

Make sure that your web design agency is well-versed in both the functionality and the ease of use that your new website will require in order to be successful.

SEO, Of Course

This should always go hand-in-hand with a new website or redesign, as a website built without SEO in mind is a website that won’t be successful.

You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but if it isn’t optimized to be found by search engines, then no one will see it.

That seems like a tragedy to us, which is why we are a full-service SEO, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, and Web Design agency.

But again, we aren’t trying to toot our own horn or anything.

Does Your Company Deserve a Better Website?

Well, yes, most likely it does.

But ultimately it is your decision if you want to keep your current website, start over from scratch, or find a solution somewhere in between, like a redesign.

But it is important to remember that a website in 2019 is like a business suit in 1980 – people will judge you, your company, and your ability based on it. So, make sure your suit is giving the right message, speaking to your target audience, and reflecting your brand.

If your website needs a little help (or a lot) then get in touch with our design team today, and check out our SEO, Content, and Digital Marketing add-ons while you’re perusing our own site.

We would love to learn more about your company and create the perfect website for it. And if you want to see our work before you commit, then check out our social channels where we often share the beautiful redesigns or full builds we complete for our clients.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

What Are the Best Practices for Email Marketing?

Man looking at email marketing campaign on an iphoneThe Digital Marketing industry often seems split when it comes to email marketing, and clients are often even more split on the issue. Some love email marketing and swear by its ROI, while others think it is annoying, spammy, or interruptive.

So, which side is right? Who is the winner and loser of this time-worn debate?

Just like in many areas of life, the truth is not nearly as black and white as you might think. Some email marketing is amazing and can have a high ROI, whereas other email marketing schemes are just that – schemes, and are therefore annoying, spammy, or interruptive.

The best way to tell the difference between good email marketing and bad email marketing is by using the golden rule.

Not the golden rule of marketing or sales or algebra – the original golden rule. Treating others how you would like to be treated.

Would you like to be getting the emails you’re sending? Would you like to be bombarded daily or would you prefer to receive emails of quality that offer value instead of sales pitches? That answer is easy.

Now that we’ve laid that argument to rest, let’s look at some best practices for email marketing – the good kind, of course.

Best Practices for (the Good Kind of) Email Marketing

Don’t Know What to Do? Test it!

Split testing can be your best friend when you aren’t sure which CTA, subject lines, times or segmentation will work best.

Instead of guessing and wondering – make your emails compete against each other in a battle to the death! Or, more accurately, a battle for which gets more opens, more clicks, and more engagement.

Split testing might seem like it involves a lot of statistics and math, but really, it’s simply changing one thing in a particular email, sending it out to half your email list, and sending the original (unchanged) email out to the other half. Then you just sit back and compare the open rates, engagement rates, and click-through rates.

Simple and effective, a digital marketers’ favorite words.

CTAs Aren’t the Enemy

CTAs are actually helpful – just make sure you’re keeping that golden rule in mind. What would make you click something? What would seem natural? What would seem spammy?

This will greatly vary due to your industry, customer profiles, and services, but let’s use an example we can all agree on.

You are a holistic health expert and you want to have people contact you for online mindfulness and meditation sessions through your email marketing strategy. You could use a CTA that says, ‘Try my services now!’ or you could use something like, ‘Let’s journey together’.

Which anchor text or button would you click?

Of course, you could use a split test to find out, but using some common sense and deduction skills about the expected customer profiles, I bet we would be correct in choosing the second option as the successful CTA.

Create a Story, Not a Sale

Creating a story and inviting your customers to view that story with you has been proven to get higher engagement rates than sending sales pitch after sales pitch.

In fact, because we are constantly inundated with marketing strategies from commercials to billboards, radio ads to print ads, it’s pretty common for all ‘pitches’ to be sent right to the trash unless there is a huge sale or incentive.

So, what do people open? What do people actually read in their inbox?

Value, quality, and creativity.

If you tell a story, give useful information, or give value in other ways through your emails, then your audience will see them as an equal price for their time. But if your emails aren’t being opened, then it’s likely that the value you think you’re giving, isn’t enough to buy the time of your email recipients.

If that’s the case, it’s probably time for a split test or a bolstered content plan.

Segment Your Lists – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Segmentation sounds scary, but it is truly key when creating a solid, successful email marketing strategy. You don’t want to be sending the same email to your loyal customer as you are to a new potential lead, or vice versa.

A.K.A. Sending your ‘exclusive member sale’ to the person that signed up for more information two days ago or sending your welcome email to someone who’s been with you for the past six months.

You also don’t want to send everyone everything either, because again, spammy. Instead, you need to use email marketing software (like Constant Contact or Mailchimp) to segment your email lists into relevant categories with relevant strategies.

Email Marketing Doesn’t Have to Be a Fight

If the good kind of email marketing sounds like something your company (or customers) would want, then contact JSL Marketing & Web Design by phone or email or form.

We’d love to work with you to set up the perfect strategy and get your ROI rolling!

The 8 Most Vital Tips for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Computer Screen with SEO rankings in Dallas

It’s true that not all sites are created equal and not all SEO ranking factors are either. In fact, though there are over two hundred ranking factors that search engines (we mainly mean Google here) take into account, there are a few which swing the most weight – big time.

Now, of course, we don’t want to horde all the lovely information we know about SEO, ranking factors, and how to get your website to the top of the internet heap – oh no – that just isn’t us.

We believe that sharing is caring, and we would love to care about you, whether we work together or not.

So, strap in and get ready, because you’re about to have a crash course in SEO. Who knows, maybe you’ll realize you love the ‘please-Google-game’ and this will be the beginning of a beautiful new hobby/interest/career for you.

Or, more likely, you’ll just want to hire someone who does love SEO to do it for you.

SEO Tips We can help Graphic

#1: Know Your Analytics

One of the first things you need to do on your SEO journey is pretty straight forward – have web analytics set up and accurately tracking from the very beginning.

After all, if you don’t know where you’re starting from, and you don’t know your progress, then how will you know what works, what doesn’t, what’s up or what’s down?

Without analytics, you are a ship without a rudder in the sea (or internet) and that won’t get you anywhere but dashed up on the rocks or hopelessly lost.

Instead, avoid that whole tragic storyline, and use software to clearly track what’s working, your goals, and your trajectory.

Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or private options like SEMrush are great for analytics. We should know – we use all three.

#2: Write for Your Audience & the Robots Will Follow

If your keyword is, oh, I don’t know – ‘SEO’ – you don’t need to say it in every sentence, in every tag, in every header, and in every other possible location where it’ll be recognized by the search engine.

First of all, that is annoying, and no one wants to read that.

Second of all, search engines are smart enough to know that that is annoying, and your plan will backfire twofold.

Instead, write for your audience, about things they care about, and in the voice they prefer to listen to.

This is why knowing your target audience is so important – because they’ll be the ones reading it. And they’re the ones you want to talk to.

#3: Try Your Hardest to Gain (Good) Backlinks

Don’t just gain backlinks (which is when another site links to your site), instead, try to get good backlinks. Because Google can tell the differences between a good, trusted backlink related to your field, and www.buygoldnowwws77 (and so can your audience).

Take the time to cultivate relationships, create great content, and promote it in order to get a solid backlink web that will benefit you and your linker.

#4: Every Page Deserves a Meta Description

This should be an easy one to fix, update or polish.

Picture your typical search engine results page – that blurb on the page beneath your header or website link, that’s your meta description. And that little blurb needs to tell a bit about what that page should have, tell, or do.

Every page (even your blog/contact/FAQs/product pages) should have unique meta descriptions – not generic and not repeating. Duplicate content, even in just a meta description, is sure to raise some red flags for your SEO.

#5: Be Quick! Be Nimble!

People often forget that it isn’t just about what’s on your page, but about how quickly people can get there to take it in. Even if your page is only slowed down by 1 or 2 seconds, that’s enough to lose credibility, rankings, and customers.

Think of it like this – would you put your credit card or other personal information onto a site that seemed to be having trouble loading? No? Why not?

Because online users (yourself included) count speed and trust synonymously, and therefore, a slow site is one we view as unsafe or unsecured.

To avoid any mistrust, check your site speed often and perform health checks to keep it running smoothly as well as protected.

#6: Keywords for All!

Ah, the double standard of keywords – we knew we’d get here eventually.

Keywords are the teeter-totter of SEO and the bane of many content writers’ existence. And though we can’t tell you to use your designated keyword ‘X amount of times’ for success, we can give you some hints about how we use keywords both on our site and for our clients.

Keywords shouldn’t be the yardstick you measure your content by, instead, it should merely be your guide for what you are writing about or what concept you want to get across.

For example, this article is about SEO, right?

Well, we’re also talking about ranking factors, site health, keywords, content, backlinks, metas, analytics, and more.

So really, though ‘SEO’ is the beginning point, we are trying to create content which is within that category, but not all specifically revolving around that one, little word.

Also, any search engine worth its clicks can figure out what this post is about, it doesn’t need us to scream it from the mountain tops.

Instead (again) just focus on writing for your people and about the issues they have – Google will be able to figure out the rest.

#7: Your Images Want Keywords Too

Again with the keywords?

Yes. Absolutely. Always.

Your images are important, but search engines can’t yet look at them and fully understand what’s going on or what the takeaway should be.

Make it easy for them by having relevant names that tell the search engines what they need to know.

And using a keyword or two doesn’t hurt either. After all, if the image is on your site, it should be relevant to your site, services, and (probably) keywords.

#8: Be Unique, Be Consistent, & Be Valuable in Your Content

This is really what it’s all about, right?

Creating content that your readers, clients, and customers connect with and want more of. Creating content that gives value to your readers, gets good results, and catches the attention of the search engines.

You do this by being unique – telling, sharing, or thinking something new or in a new way; being consistent – don’t just post one time and expect results, or post 6 times in one month and then not at all for the next two; and giving value – or creating something that leaves the reader better than you found them.

SEO Tips Ready for Marketing Help in Dallas

JSL Marketing & Web Design is here to help you with all of your SEO needs.

It’s an ever-changing area to work in and we love the challenge! If you need more information or want to get started on your own SEO project, then contact us today – we can’t wait to work with you!