We’ve preached in a number of posts about the need to keep website content fresh. It’s important from an end-user perspective to provide quality and value. And fresh content is also important from an SEO standpoint – keeping it fresh allows search engines to re-evaluate and re-rank your site more often. Blogs, both written and video, are usually touted as the most common ways to improve SEO, but there are some alternative ways as well. Here are 3 lesser-known ways to keep website content fresh:

Images

Adding new and relevant images to your site is great not only for your site visitors, but for web crawlers as well. This includes memes, gifs, videos – anything that is related to your business or industry in any multimedia form. Display your social media on your site through a widget or plugin. The big message is to make sure your images are optimized using good “behind-the-scenes” information, including alt text, title, and descriptions. Be sure to have smart and usable captions under images as well. Not only do new images make end users happy, but web crawlers have recent information to analyze and rank.

Testimonials

We often think of testimonials are being important for our marketing to potential customers. And that is true, but adding new and or updated testimonials to your website is – say it with us – fresh content! If you’re utilizing a third party review site like Yelp or Google Reviews, consider putting some of the reviews on your website as well. If you aren’t using a third party, reach out to your business partners / customers and ask for reviews. Ask questions like, “What do you enjoy most about doing business with our company? How has our product worked for you?”. The more personal the relationship with the people you’re contacting, the more in depth the questions can be. For a blanket email to customers, keep it high level. Be sure to ask permission to post responses – and link to their business or website. This is important for validating the testimonials with customers as well as good SEO!

Revive an Older Post

OK, we know we said these would be alternative ideas to blogging, but this one is a little outside the box. If you’re stumped for new material or in a time crunch, opt to update an older blog and then re-post. Do not simply cut and paste into a new post. Instead, create a new introduction that talks about why you are choosing to re-post the information. Also be sure to update any information that may now be out of date.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

Do you have a blog tab set up on your site? Let’s talk. Hammersmith Support’s comprehensive monthly maintenance can help get your blog set up, get your site on track, and keep it there with monthly check ups.

According to CNBC, nearly 51% of 3.9 billion Internet users worldwide access websites exclusively from their smart phones. That number is expected to increase to 71% by 2025. Those are some incredible stats! These numbers are based on search engine information alone and don’t account for users who may come to your site via social media. Knowing this information, is your website optimized for mobile viewing?

Google Ranking: Mobile First Infrastructure

In 2016, Google added Mobile First Infrastructure to their 200+ ranking system for SEO. This means that websites that are built with the mobile version of their site first are given a higher ranking. Sites that have any mobile infrastructure are given a higher ranking, but those for smart phone first are the highest.

Types of Business / Clients

Some businesses may be saying “our customers don’t use their smart phones to buy” and for some, that’s true. B2B business is more than likely not being handled on mobile devices. However, B2C business has a much higher probability of being accessed on a smart phone. Not sure how your customers are accessing your site? Enroll your website in Google Analytics and use the Audience report to see how your customers are accessing and engaging with your site.

Testing End User Experience

Lastly, if your site is optimized for mobile view, be sure to test it! Ensuring that every part of your site, from the layout to the overall look, is accessible through the mobile version is critical. In addition, the functionality of a mobile site needs to be quick to load and easy to use – in fact, the majority of smart phone users expect the mobile version of a site to load faster than on a desktop computer, and they will turn to a competitor’s site if unsatisfied with loading times or functionality.

We’re Here to Help

We would love to answer your questions about your business website and talk through any challenges and possible solutions too. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your questions.

The beauty of a great CDN is that you never see it, hear it, or worry about it. But what exactly is it? CDN stands for content delivery network. It’s a group of servers geographically distributed and linked together via the Internet. The servers’ purpose is to improve content delivery performance by using a server closest to the the end user. In short, a CDN helps your website load more quickly, which may keep visitors around longer.

For example, say your site is hosted in Arizona. A user in the UK visits your site and now the full site must load all the way from Arizona, which could take several seconds. But when using a CDN, the end user loads your site from a proxy server closer to them, allowing the full site to load faster.

Why Is That Important?

Fast loading time for your website is crucial because, well, people are impatient. If your site takes too long to load, there’s a good chance that visitors will bounce rather than stick around to see what finally appears on their screen. This is especially important for businesses that use a lot of graphics, videos, or software downloads that can slow download times. Not to mention that site speed became part of Google Ranking Factors in 2010. Good speed = good SEO.

CDN’s also reduce bandwidth costs, increase content availability and improve redundancy. They provide security for your site through authentication, encryption and data integrity. In particular, they protect against attacks that attempt to overwhelm the network, in addition to those that aim to steal information.

Where Do You Get a CDN?

Many companies offer a CDN service à la carte, but many will bundle a CDN with everything else you need to run your website. Hammersmith Support exclusively works with WP Engine, as it provides not only a fast CDN but also reliable hosting. While you can host a website without a CDN, you cannot have a CDN without a host. The combination of the two creates an efficient hosting environment for even the busiest website.

Want to read more about website hosting? Click on over to the Hammersmith Support blog “Website Hosting 101.”

There has been a lot published lately about micro and macro content. The meaning behind the names isn’t a new concept, but the way it’s categorized is, and that’s for good reason. By defining the type of content you’re working with, it’s easier to know where that content should go. And the right placement for your content can make all the difference.

What Is Macro Content?

Macro is just that, big. It’s the long / detailed version of your content. This includes videos longer than 30 seconds, blog posts, mobile apps, emails, newsletters, podcasts, long form sales pitches, etc. If you can’t digest it in 15 seconds, then it’s macro content. That is important because macro content belongs in a much different place than posts that can be consumed quickly. Have you ever seen a post on social media that went on for several paragraphs? Did you read all the way to the end? Maybe, but most likely you moved on after a few sentences. That’s because the post is too long for social media and belongs with its macro content buddies in a blog post or video.

Having too much information in the wrong place means your potential clients are likely to miss what you’re trying to tell them. Putting it in the right space means a potential customer is likely to digest all of the information because they are prepared to do so. They know when they come to a blog that it’s going to be several paragraphs long. Or if they click on a video that they’re in for a few minutes of time. That mental state is key and tailoring your content to fit that is crucial.

What About Micro Content?

If macro makes sense to you, then micro content will come naturally. Micro content includes quick and easy bites of information: social media posts, memes, graphics, videos shorter than 15 seconds, infographics, etc. As with macro content, putting your micro content in the wrong place is a mistake. Blogs that are too short or images with no caption can leave a reader frustrated and feeling cheated.

Social media is the perfect home for the majority of your micro content. The platforms are designed to digest small bites of information from multiple sources, which is both good and challenging. Keeping information short and sweet but attention-grabbing can be difficult. Before you post, be sure that the majority of your content is “above the break,” meaning a reader will see it without having to expand to read the full piece. Use color and relevant images to grab attention, but be sure to be genuine to the piece.

Working Micro and Macro Together

The beauty of content in either form is that it should all feed each other. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel to create small and large chunks of information. Start with what comes easiest to you; if social media posts are quick and easy, write out as many topics as you can think of. Then expand on each topic to feed your macro content, i.e. blog posts and podcast topics. If large pieces are more natural, start with a blog post and then break it down into small bits. This post is a perfect example; 1 blog post about both micro and macro content can be broken into 2-3 social media posts. One for micro content, one for macro, and one for how to work both together.

Want to read more about content and how it can boost your SEO? Click on over to the Hammersmith Support blog “What is SEO?“.

At Hammersmith Support, we work with many different client needs when it comes to their websites. Some need a refresh of their current site, some need a full rebuild. We also do ground-up builds for clients who don’t currently have a website. Each type of client and their needs are unique and making the right recommendation for what exactly a client’s website needs is crucial. So how do you know what your site needs?

What is a Website Refresh?

A website refresh is similar to refreshing a home; it’s mostly cosmetic. In your home you might paint the walls, buy a new rug, bring in new furniture. Refreshing your site is similar in that colors, layout, content, and logos are reworked to create an updated look. Refreshing a site is perfect for businesses that are rebranding and/or updating product offerings – or just need a fresh look for their site. The new look alerts visitors that something has changed with the company and will get attention.

Who Qualifies for a Site Rebuild?

Companies that have an established website that has outdated infrastructure and/or can no longer support the business’ demands would qualify for a full site rebuild. This may include some refreshing visually, but typically will keep the same color scheme and logos to stay on brand. The majority of changes are behind the scenes, updating the site framework to support new business channels such as e-commerce, site security, speed and optimization capabilities.

How Do You Know Which You Need?

Take a look at your business goals and what is limiting those goals when it comes to your website. Are you ready to start selling your products online? Do you need to be able to retain visitor contact information and aren’t able to do so on your current site? Is your site speed fast enough? Does your site look outdated but serve your business well? Knowing the answers to these questions can help point you in which direction to go. And Hammersmith Support is always here to help you work through the best options for you and your business – schedule your free 30-minute consultation to talk through all your website questions.

Lindsey Danielson

All of us at Hammersmith Support have been anxiously waiting to share this interview with Lindsay Danielson with you! Not only is Lindsay a valued client, she has become a friend as we have learned about her story – it is fascinating. Lindsay is a mortician turned life coach…you may be thinking “that’s a hard left turn,” and you’d be right! Her journey is amazing and we consider ourselves privileged to know her story and to create a website for Lindsay that truly represents her passion as she works to champion others.

Tell Us a Little About You.

Lindsay Danielson

Embalming was my first professional passion. I always knew I wanted to serve in a unique and profound way but I did not know what that looked like for me until around 21 years old. You may be thinking, why embalming?! Well…unexpectedly, death became a part of my life when I was 13 when my father was suddenly killed in a car accident. As you might expect, it ripped my life apart.

When I mustered up the courage to see him prior to his cremation, what I thought would be traumatizing became a moment of comfort and curiosity. This curiosity evolved into me dreaming of becoming a therapist to help other youngsters who had lost a parent. The idea of therapy evolved into more of the medical side of pathology, which later sparked my interest in embalming. And as they say…the rest is history.

Since entering the industry almost 13 years ago, I have worked in various roles including 10 years of leading several crematory, embalming, and decedent removal teams.

What Does Being a Life Coach Mean to You?

Leading and supporting other leaders is my passion now. I have learned that everyone wants to be seen and heard and as leaders, we achieve that by acknowledging and validating our team in a meaningful and compassionate manner. Communication and community is everything in the workplace and building a culture that allows your associates to thrive is critical in today’s competitive work force.

What Is Unique About Your Style and Product Offering?

What I offer is not about me, it is about clients and guiding them to move past their bullshit so they can gain momentum and ultimately achieve what is most valuable them. Although the majority of my time is spent coaching leaders in the funeral industry, I continue to work with and take on private clients. My style is a unique blend of coaching and mentoring with a dash of tough love to lock in the most important piece of the client and coach partnership, accountability.

In addition to working with me one-on-one, you can get some free life coaching from me and my co-host Jena on our podcast, The Art of Getting Your Sh*t Together (TAGYST). Jena and I started TAGYST because with the constant demands in life and business, we wanted to create an impactful platform of real talk, expert advice and actionable steps to help others live their passion-filled purpose.

What Advice Do You Have for Other Entrepreneurs?

Remember, everything you want is outside your comfort zone but you have to be ready to fight against all the shitty stories you are telling yourself and you do not have to go it alone. Get support! Seeking support does not mean you are stupid or weak. It means you are resourceful and resilient. The most successful people did not get to where they are because they hustled their ass off alone. Do what you need to do to get you to where you want to be. No excuses or apologies.

Want to Know More?

Click on the links below to visit Lindsay’s website, follow her on social media, find the postcast and more:

www.lindsaydanielson.com

Instagram: @lindsay.danielson & @tagyst_podcast

Facebook & LinkedIn: Lindsay Danielson

For more on inspiring women in business, click over to our Hammersmith Support blog for other profiles.

How familiar are you with your website’s security? If you’re like the majority of website owners, you may not know much about your site security at all, which means there’s room for improvement! Here we’ll tell you exactly what website security is, why it’s important for all websites, and how Hammersmith Support can help.

What is Website Security?

Does your URL have an “s” in the “https” portion? If so, your website does have a layer of security attached to the data transferred between the web browser and web server. HTTP stands for “hyper text transfer protocol” and it is the most common way to transfer information. The “s” added to the end of HTTP is the security layer and stands for “secure socket layer.” An SSL comes with a certificate to prove that the site is transferring information securely. Most web browsers will check for the SSL automatically and will alert you if it’s not present on the site you’re visiting. Some may show the URL as green or with an open or closed lock to alert you to the security level of the website.

Why Is Site Security Important?

It’s obvious why a website that sells goods and or takes personal information would want to have a secure site. Keeping a customer’s information safe from hackers is a given. But what about a site that only collects emails? Or doesn’t collect any information? Why would those sites need security?

The answer is that even sites that don’t collect personal information, or any information at all, are still vulnerable to hackers and/or malware. Hackers can steal email addresses and at the very least, cause a headache for your clients. But malware could take your site down completely by corrupting the pages – costing you time and money to repair and replace.

Further, Google ranks sites with security higher than those that leave their users at potential risk. So having that all-important “s” in your URL, will only add to your SEO.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

One of the things we love most about our services at Hammersmith Support is that we keep your website running smoothly while you do what you do best: run your business. Our Website Maintenance service packages include not only ensuring that your site has an SSL certificate but also scanning the site monthly to look for any security vulnerabilities. In addition, we keep full backups of your website so that if the worst should happen, your site is back up and running securely as quickly as possible.

Here at Hammersmith Support, we’ve been highlighting the various ways to boost your website’s SEO organically – meaning without paid ads / services. Fresh content, both internal and external links, using Google Search Console are all important parts of SEO. But what about the videos and images you’re using in your content? Are you getting the maximum SEO boost that you could from those images? Here are 5 items to consider for each visual post to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your image bucks:

File Name

When uploading pictures to your website for a blog or any purpose really, be sure that your file name is complete. Web crawlers look to the name of each image to categorize it. Be sure to use plain but distinctive language and avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. For example, if using this image:

Hammersmith Support Website Maintenance

The image name could be “Hammersmith Support Website Maintenance”. This allows search engines to categorize the image and keeps your site name prominent as well.

Alt Text

Alt Text is often over looked because most don’t understand what it is and what it does. Alt Text are the descriptive words that appear should an image fail to load. The wording is also used for those who are visually impaired. Similar to the image name, using a short and plain, but distinctive description works best for web crawlers to analyze and catagorize. The difference is that the description should also include model numbers, years, anything that is specific to the image.

For this image, the Alt Text could be “Meridian Search Consultants Website Build 2019 Graphic on Laptop Screen”.

Meridian Search Consultants Website Build 2019 Graphic on Laptop Screen

Size Images

Keeping the size of your images in mind is important because an image that is too large won’t load quickly. This is an issue for both SEO and for your visitors. Most are not going to wait around for 3-5 seconds for an image to load. So keeping image size on the smaller side is important. On that same note, keep image sized uniform as well. This is less for SEO and more for the visual appeal of your site – which is important for keeping visitors there longer.

Captions

While these are analyzed for SEO, captions are utilized mostly by readers. Captions are the short descriptions under an image – they’re descriptive, yet not literal like Alt Text. Readers scan captions quicker than the body of the page content – if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to bounce out of the site. So good captions keep readers.

The caption for this image could read “At Hammersmith Support, understanding our client’s needs is the paramount to our work.”

Hammersmith Support

Use Relevant Images

Slapping just any old image on your site won’t do you any good with boosting your SEO. Be sure that the images you choose are relevant not only to your business, but more importantly, be sure that they are pertinent to the content around the image. Using relevant images to your topic is important from a few angles. First, it lends validity to your site from a search engine standpoint, and a visitor one as well. Second, it gives an informative and professional appearance to your site. Avoid posting any images that don’t work with your content – the result is spammy and will turn off readers and search engines.

Don’t have any images to use? Don’t worry! There are tons of free stock photo sites out there – our favorites are Canva and Pexels. Just be sure your images are on topic.

Google Analytics has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years. Why is that? On top of being easy to navigate and offering great insights into who is visiting your website, this tool offered by Google is FREE. Yes! So what does Google Analytics do for your website and business? We’ve got the breakdown for you:

What Exactly Does Google Analytics Do?

Through JavaScript, Google is able to capture information about who is visiting your site, how they get there, and how long they stay on each page. Which means you’re now able to see not only how many visitors are coming to your page but also if they’re using a phone, tablet or desktop to get there. You can see how long they stay on each page and which pages have the highest bounce rate.

Some of the areas that are tracked and analyzed are:

  • Audience Behavior: new versus returning visitors, frequency of visits, how the audience is engaging with the site
  • Mobile: smart phone versus tablet
  • Acquisitions: campaigns, searches, keywords
  • Realtime: locations and traffic sources can all be tracked as they are happening

Each of these sections is broken down into individual reports, making it easy to see the data from several angles.

Why Is That Important?

You may be thinking “sure that’s nice, but I don’t need all that data.” Even if you don’t use all the data provided, there are certain aspects that you can absolutely use. Say the reporting shows that the majority of users on your site are viewing on their mobile phones. What if your website is not optimized for mobile? You risk users leaving your site because it’s not easy to navigate on mobile. That’s information you can use! Updating your site’s infrastructure so that it is mobile-friendly can reduce your bounce rate and increase the length of time that audience members spend there.

This data can play a huge role in your website content, too. For example, if your site is written to explain how WordPress works, you need to be sure that your wording is directed at your target visitors. Said another way, you wouldn’t explain WordPress to a Millennial the same way you would to a Baby Boomer. Knowing the demographics of who is visiting your site can help you shape your content to ensure it’s being presented in the most effective way possible.

Why Not Use Google Search Console?

Here’s the best part: Google Analytics and Google Search Console work in tandem! Analytics is the breakdown of who is visiting your website, how they get there, and how long they stay. Google Search Console is the analysis of your site and how it’s performing for those visitors. Using both tools simultaneously gives you a comprehensive view of your website from an outside perspective. In addition, both Search Console and Analytics are designed to be used with the suite of other Google apps, including AdWords.

We hear the acronym SEO all the time, but Search Engine Optimization really is vital to a great business website. And even more important is to boost SEO organically, meaning without having to pay for clicks. Why is that? Because organic boosts are A. good for your budget and B. better for your potential clients because the information on your website is authentic to what they are looking for. So, how exactly do you boost your SEO naturally?

Fresh and Consistent Content

Search engines are always looking for new information to analyze. Web crawlers love to look over new pages to rank and categorize them. If your content is stale, the web crawlers don’t have anything new to analyze and your page gets left behind other sites that have fresh information. But what if your product information doesn’t change often, or even ever? Enter blogging, video blogs and social media feeds.

Creating useful and informative content for your potential customers is key for not only SEO, but it also creates value for potential clients. Really, it’s a win win. Your product, demographic, and your personal style will determine what form of content you use on your site, just make sure the posts aren’t spammy, but offers real value for visitors.

Meta Data

Meta data is sort of like the behind-the-scenes description on your website. It’s embedded in your content and your pictures. This includes Alt Text on all your site images. Meta Data is a great way to tell a search engine in nonfancy language, exactly what your content is about. Your Alt Text on images is important not only for visually impaired readers, but also is a good way to get some additional descriptive information about your post for crawlers to analyze. Utilizing a plugin like Yoast or other SEO tools can help ensure that your Meta Data is on point.

Social Media

Social media is great way to get micro content out to your potential customers. Micro content is little bites of information; 15 second or less videos or quick blurbs of information. These snip-its can feed bigger topics that can be linked and then detailed on your website’s blog. Social media, website content, videos – these are all incestuous, meaning they should all feel the same and share topics. Each one feeds the other.

Analyze Your Site

Enrolling in Google Analytics and Google Search Console are a free and detailed way to analyze what is happening on your website. The reports that are generated by these two applications will point you to what is going right and what possibly needs improvement with your website. Knowing what your potential clients are looking for and whether or not they are finding it can help shape your content strategy.

Link It

Don’t forget about links! Be sure that all your blog and or video posts include both internal and external links. Internal links are important because it can drive traffic to specific areas or products of your site that visitors may not have otherwise found. External links are important for helping people find your site. For example, if you post about the importance of your new product and link to a company with a symbiotic product (for example: you make peanut butter, they make jelly), a potential customer is more likely to visit your site to find that product.

One key take away is that organic SEO is not fast, in fact it can feel very (very) slow. BUT, that slow pace is accompanied by consistent growth in traffic and conversions, which is the best statistic of all. So don’t be discouraged if you’re not seeing lightning quick growth – it’s much better to be the tortoise than the hare when it comes to your SEO.

We’re Here to Help

At Hammersmith Support, we’re here to help make your site as amazing as possible. We can build your site from scratch, redesign your existing site, and update and maintain your site once it’s in tip-top shape so that it’s sure to stay that way. Contact us to talk through what we can do for you.