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Improving Your Website’s SEO, Part 1

As the UX/UI Designer at The Wendt Agency, I am involved in developing websites for clients; from the concepting phase to taking them live. When working on website projects, I consider the fact that producing an attractive website is only one facet of what determines its overall success. Today, I’m going to delve a little deeper into what makes a website really stand out from its competition in search rankings: SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and how you can improve your website’s search rankings. This is not meant to be a comprehensive guide to SEO, or to make you a pro, but an article on how you should plan your SEO strategy for a new or existing website. Watch for more valuable tips and information when part two of this article is released.

Keyword Research

Whether you’re rebuilding a website or producing a new one from scratch, content is king, but that doesn’t mean your content should be king-sized. It’s important to understand what search engines are looking for and how you should plan your strategy. The first step should be researching your competition to determine what keywords their target audience uses to search for similar information, and see how well those keywords are performing. Keep in mind, the keyword or keyphrase, is the word or term someone will use in the search engine to find what they’re looking for. It’s very important to put yourself in the shoes of your audience during this stage.

To gain a better understanding of which keywords work best, you can view the search result’s metrics of your competition’s audience at https://trends.google.com/. Google has an SEO Ranking Checker that shows the rankings of the keywords or phrases your competitors are using for their search results at https://www.thehoth.com/search-engine-rankings/. You can also visit https://www.thehoth.com/seo-audit-tool/ to scan your site and compare the effectiveness of your keywords compared to your competitor’s websites. Once you have a better understanding of which keywords or phrases your audience and competition are using, you’ll be able to come up with an improved game plan for writing or editing your content.

Planning Your Content

Keywords and phrases should only be used once across the entire site and need to be strategically planned in each page’s content. Use clearly written paragraphs, headings, and subheadings, with only 1-2% of the content containing your keywords. Otherwise, if you saturate your content with keywords or phrases, Google will give those pages a lower score because its algorithm considers the copy as “keyword stuffed”. You also don’t want to duplicate copy on the website, which also includes keywords. Each page or post should focus on one aspect of your business, so your pages aren’t competing with themselves to outrank each other, which could cause more important pages to show up later in the results. If the content on a page makes reference to content that is currently on another page, use an internal bound link to that page rather than inserting duplicated text.

For example, if your website has an “About” page, it would be best to focus the content on that page based on the aspects that define your business, such as mission, core values, and strengths. If you would like to mention the businesses services on your “About” page, insert an internal bound link to “Services” rather than inserting duplicate content from that page. Then, on your “Services” page, detail the ways your business can help fulfill your customer’s goals.

Copywriting Dos and Don’ts

Beautiful photos and the right typography are great ways to make a website more appealing, but how will anyone find your website on Google if the content is poorly written? When coming up with new or editing existing content, you want to make sure that it’s well-written with a clear and informative message. Think of the main subject you want to discuss on your page or post and focus on what you want the keywords to be that are placed within the text.

Meta descriptions and focus keywords are the most important factor in how your page or post is displayed in the results. The meta description is the information that briefly explains what the page or post is about in search listings. You want it to be actionable, to the point, honest, and accurate so you have a unique message that your competitors aren’t using. Search engines also pick up on titles and subheaders and use those to help recognize what the page is about, so make sure to sprinkle keywords in both areas as it helps with readability.

Implementing Keywords, Phrases, and Meta Information

To get the most out of your SEO, I highly recommend using the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, which submits meta descriptions and focused keywords or phrases to search engines. There’s a free version that’s pretty basic but still effective. However, the premium version allows you to insert multiple keywords and phrases per page and also allows you to include synonyms of those, as long as you are keeping an eye on overstuffing the content. Both versions also allow you to analyze which keywords and phrases work best based on the content with a scoring system that displays how well that page will rank in the results and provides suggestions for areas of improvement.

Keep an eye out for part two of this discussion and more details on improving your content. Until then, I hope this gets your gears spinning and inspires you to begin working on improvements to your writing style.

Justin Porter, UX/UI Designer

The Wendt Agency

2021-04-29T10:59:45-06:00April 19th, 2021|Industry Trends, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Leadership Montana: Pulling Iconic Elements into Logos

Creating an Independent Logo Under the Umbrella of an Established Brand

A premier leadership development program, Leadership Montana, is a collaborative organization that brings Montanans together to build partnerships, strengthen leadership skills, and foster personal growth. The organization’s goal is to nurture thoughtful leaders, helping them better understand Montana’s issues as a state.

Within Leadership Montana is the Masters Class program. Only open to alumni of Leadership Montana, the Masters Class allows participants to further their education and continue a more in-depth leadership experience. Not only does The Wendt Agency have several alumni of the Leadership Montana program, but also have alumni of the Masters Class itself.

Leadership Montana asked the Wendt team to develop a distinct logo for the Masters Class. In taking on this project, it was our goal to create a logo that fit within Leadership Montana branding and would be independent on its own.

One of Wendt’s core pillars is to create strategies and solutions that build connections. We are grateful for our partnership that continues to help Leadership Montana grow their brand. Want to learn more about Leadership Montana, Masters Class, and see the logo in action? Please visit www.leadershipmontana.org.

2021-04-09T09:50:20-06:00April 9th, 2021|Clients|0 Comments

Our Newest Team Members Weigh in About Working at Wendt!

Welcome to Wendt

Here at The Wendt Agency, we have been fortunate enough to welcome five new team members in the last 14 months. It’s been wonderful for us, but we wondered how the newest Wendt-ites were feeling about things. So, we asked them how things were going and, honestly, the answers are too amazing not to share.

The day I walked into The Wendt Agency, I knew I would never want to leave. Within these walls, I found the greatest group of highly intelligent professionals, each extremely gifted in their position. Each so welcoming, encouraging, and supportive – I felt as though I was being adopted into a great family! I love that each day I have the opportunity to work hard, learn something new, and watch creativity flow as we all act as one cohesive unit, helping create success for our valued clients!

Haley Thomas, Production Manager

There are several reasons why I enjoy working at Wendt; the chance to learn new things, the atmosphere, and the people. We all have our own special skills and roles. Being a website developer, there are always new tools that are coming out and I feel like I’m always encouraged to research new trends that can benefit our clients and help me evolve as a developer. Having my own office brings a warm sense of comfort as I’m able to surround myself with items and memories from my home and family. But, we also have an open office, and it’s great to hear everyone engaging in conversation throughout the day, whether it’s ideas for projects, or just checking in to see how someone’s day or week has been going, or how their weekend went. I could write a couple of pages of why I feel like Wendt is and has always been the place for me, but to sum it up, this has been a dream come true and I can’t imagine taking my passion for website development anywhere else, anytime soon.

Justin Porter, UX/UI Designer

I expected to be challenged in my new job at Wendt. What I didn’t expect, but have enjoyed, is being surrounded by a supportive team that pushes me to stretch my limits and grow in my position. I am learning new things and finding out more about myself in the process. Becoming a part of The Wendt Agency was a positive, albeit unnerving, leap for me. One I am happy I took!

Jennifer Beisecker, Accounting Assistant

Working for Wendt has been eye-opening, especially the number of hands that touch a single marketing piece we present to the client. The teamwork that goes into the planning, creative process, and execution is such an inspiring process to observe. Before starting at Wendt, I knew that there was a fantastic culture, but I did not realize how much they all depend on each other to get the work done. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to add my talents to the team.

Kattie Meyer, Account Manager

Starting a new job is like going on a first date. The expectations of both parties are pretty high. There may be some initial confusion. And more than one misadventure may be experienced by all, but, throughout the whole process, you can’t help wondering to yourself, “could this be the one?” Since joining Wendt in February as Content Creator, I am constantly impressed by the professionalism, the breadth of expertise, and the “we really, really, really love working here” attitude each Wendt staff member exudes. Knowing this going in, I feel confident that I am a part of something special, and I cannot wait to dive in.

Gwen Fleming, Content Creator

2021-03-24T09:20:47-06:00March 25th, 2021|Reflections, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Spring is Blooming – Free Wallpapers

Have you looked outside lately? Spring is here! Brown grass is giving way to new green shoots. The tiniest flowers are emerging between last fall’s left-behind leaves. And the fresh spring air blows warmer every day. Sunshine is the best medicine – we couldn’t agree more!
Happy Blooming!
-The Wendt Agency

Click to download wallpapers:

2021-03-19T10:31:53-06:00March 15th, 2021|Uncategorized, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Celebrating National Women’s History Month With One of Our Own!

March is National Women’s History month. This spotlight calls attention to all the accomplishments of strong, smart, and determined women who have influenced public policy, growth of companies and organizations, and initiatives to make our lives and world better. At Wendt, we can look to our own history to celebrate a woman who guided our company for 50 years. Her name was Zelma Hay Schroder.

Zelma was born in Belt, MT in 1906. This was a time when women couldn’t vote, but also when the push for broad-based economic and political equality and social reforms for women had begun. When Zelma graduated from high school, she went on to get her degree in journalism from the University of Montana. She decided that advertising was going to be her path. She was hired by L.W. Wendt in 1929 to be a copywriter for his advertising agency. Then the great depression hit, and Wendt was operated in L.W.’s basement, where they made calendars and advertising specialties to keep the agency afloat. In 1944, L.W. moved from Great Falls to Washington D.C., and he made his son, Wallace, and Zelma equal business partners with the charge to continue to build Wendt as a strong and successful Montana business. They worked side-by-side for over twenty years building their business, expanding their footprint all across Montana, and constructing a brand-new building to house the agency on the north side of town. Zelma led the construction effort, a role that was not typical for a woman during that time.

Wallace passed away in 1968 following heart surgery, and Zelma was named President. In the midst of emotional turmoil, the agency was reorganized to bring forward two vice presidents and a secretary to be a part of Zelma’s leadership team. As the agency’s chief executive officer, she led Wendt for 11 more years. During that time, the agency’s client list grew throughout the Northwest, and Wendt’s professional staff doubled in size. Zelma recognized the importance of being actively involved and giving back to her community. She gave her time to numerous organizations, including as president of the Columbus Hospital advisory board (Benefis Health System), chairwoman of the College of Great Falls President’s Council (University of Providence), the Chamber’s Community Betterment Committee, Cascade County Mental Health Association, and the YWCA board. She was named Woman of the Year in 1979 by the Great Falls Advertising Federation. Zelma retired from Wendt in 1979 at the young age of 73. She gave 50 years of her life to her passion—Wendt.

When she retired from Wendt, Zelma said, “I’ve never believed men got all the brains and women were meant to sit back. And I was fortunate to be among the people who accepted me as a person. I did my job and that caused me to float to the top.”

We honor Zelma today, as she has paved the way for other Wendt women leaders to be successful in growing and sustaining this company for over 90 years.

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Brenda Peterson, President/CEO

The Wendt Agency

2021-03-04T09:59:08-07:00March 8th, 2021|Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments

Creating a New Business Logo Steeped in Meaning

Bluebird Law logo breakdown

Using a Logo to Set the Tone for a New Business

A new business is literally a clean slate. There are no long-standing processes, no boxes of letterhead; there isn’t even a name. It’s both an exciting opportunity and a daunting challenge. When Ariel Overstreet-Adkins decided to open her own law office and reached out to us last year for help with the branding details, we knew our expertise could create a logo that would be both memorable and meaningful.

Overstreet-Adkins had already chosen a name: Bluebird Law & Public Affairs. The name resonated with her because her Grandmother Smitty loved bluebirds, saying they were good luck. Skiers refer to a good day on the slopes as a bluebird day. Just the sight of a bluebird still brings Overstreet-Adkins a spark of joy and excitement and signals spring and new beginnings. Certainly appropriate symbolism for a new business!

The Wendt creative team used all of those emotional connections as the foundation of a logo, sure to stand out in a world of mostly drab and staid law firm logos.

2021-04-06T15:46:16-06:00February 24th, 2021|Clients|0 Comments

What is the Origin Story of Wendt’s Beloved Mascot?

Several years ago, we contracted with a local firm to do some professional business consulting with the Wendt team. These consultants also happened to be my aunt and uncle. At the same time they were doing this work for us, they were in the process of opening a new office in downtown Great Falls. Many friends of theirs had provided décor to help make their offices feel welcoming and comfortable. One of the gifts was a 3-foot tall stuffed shaggy dog. Well, my aunt and uncle did not feel that the addition of a stuffed shaggy dog to their beautiful office was the bomb! So, in comes this stuffed shaggy dog to one of our staff consulting sessions. Cheerfully, regifted to the Wendt team! Promptly, he became a treasured part of our group. He was dubbed Augustus Gus. Now, it would be fun to report that that name has some sort of extraordinary significance to our agency. But frankly, it does not. That’s okay, it’s still a great name! We gleefully welcomed Gus, the cool new mascot, into our agency world.

Now Gus’ job description is varied, and as an integral part of Team Wendt, some of his responsibilities include:

  • Stand up straight when someone walks by, and hope for a pat on the head, but don’t beg
  • Lounge in offices that are not being occupied by staff — at the moment
  • Make new staff members feel welcomed, warm, and fuzzy
  • Join all holiday team functions, and happily participate whenever someone carries you into the event
  • Be totally huggable when children stop by the office to visit, or make them cry if you’re in the mood
  • Hide in dark places and scare the heck out of teammates whenever possible, then roll around laughing on the floor, or strike a pose for a social media post
  • Never blink when guarding the front or back door from intruders
  • Allow “real” dogs in the office, as long as they don’t stay forever
  • Happily wear hats, wigs, scarves, or masks, even when they are uncomfortable
  • Keep your hair messy and convey confidence that a messy mop is fashionable at any time
  • Be the namesake of Wendt’s Spotify account and proudly own it
  • Always maintain a distinctive stare

Gus provides a tremendous amount of entertainment, comfort, and joy to our space. We can’t imagine agency life without this quirky, kind of cute, mostly ugly, stuffed mutt.

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Brenda Peterson, President/CEO

The Wendt Agency

2021-02-08T15:35:37-07:00February 8th, 2021|Reflections, Wendt Buzz|0 Comments