It’s that time of year when we take a moment to look back over the year and highlight the posts our readers loved the most. Did you catch them? We’ve got the Top Ten ready for you in case you missed them! Did your favorite post make the list?

#10. Custom Built V Template Websites

Most website platforms offer exclusively template websites. They are great for the average person who wants a personal or business website but doesn’t want to invest in a custom-built site. We only build custom sites for our clients, and while that comes at an additional investment versus a template site, there are additional benefits of a custom-built site. Read it here.

#9. Why Choose Hammersmith Support

We know when it comes to website design, development, and maintenance, you have many choices, so why choose Hammersmith Support over the competition? We’ve got several compelling reasons! Read more here.

#8. It’s Time for Spring Cleaning! And That Includes Your Website Too

Is there anything more satisfying than cleaning out a cluttered area in your home and standing back to admire it in all its organized glory? Well, when you’re on a cleaning kick, don’t neglect your website! Even the digital areas of your life need some cleaning up. Read it here.

#7. Website Best Practices: Calls to Action

Clear messaging involves easy-to-understand calls to action for readers. Find the difference between weak and strong calls to action and how to implement them appropriately. Click to read.

#6. 4.5 Reasons Your Website Needs Maintenance

If you’re asking yourself, “Did they mean to write ‘4.5’?” The answer is yes, we did. While the number of reasons may be debatable, what we know for certain is that these 4.5 reasons are extremely important! Read it here.

#5. Does Your Business Even Need a Website?

Many business owners are conflicted about whether or not it’s worth the investment to have a website for their business because they don’t sell products online or they feel their social media take the place of a website. But the reality is, a website is beneficial for every business for several reasons. Click to read.

#4. Website Best Practices: Functionality

Your website may be visually stunning, well written, and have amazing and clear calls to action, but if it doesn’t function well, none of those things matter! Read more.

#3. Meet the Hammersmith Support Team

In just a few short years, the Hammersmith Support team has grown across two locations in Nashville and Phoenix. This amazing team provides our clients with the best-in-class customer service that separates us from our competition. Click to read.

# 2. Website Best Practices: Security

Even if you don’t collect sensitive information or sell products from your website, the security of the website is still vital. These are the ways you can utilize this best practice to keep your website secure. Read it here.

Drum roll, please! Our #1 most read blog post of 2022 is……

#1. Absolutely Everything You Need to Know about SEO

Websites are our business, which means SEO is always on our minds. Search engine optimization for a website is never done, it’s constantly changing and evolving, which means the website needs to do the same to stay ahead of the game. Because SEO is A) important and B) a moving target, we like to share a lot of information with our readers. Click here to read.

Happy Holidays from Hammersmith Support!

It’s that time of year when Santa is doing a lot of list-checking—and it’s not just those kids he’s watching. Your business website is on his list too! The question is, have you let it be a naughty or nice website this year? Here’s how to tell:

Naughty

Is your website going to be on the naughty side? It could be if it is:

Out of date

Is your content stale? Is the information on your About page up to date? If not, your out-of-date site is likely turning potential customers away. Out-of-date design isn’t just visual; old site structure can be a problem too. It can cause slow load times, challenging navigation, and can even leave your site vulnerable to malware.

And did you know that an out-of-date website can hurt your credibility too? Out-of-date design can give the impression that your business is outdated or even dishonest.

Unsecure

That all-important “S” in the “https” of your site’s URL is key to keeping your site safe—and your customer’s information safe too. Not having an updated security certificate can spell disaster when it comes to hackers, malware, and Google Ranking Factors.

Missed Updates

Much like a lapsed security certificate, not updating your site regularly can leave it vulnerable to malware and hackers. Further, missed updates can lead to slow load times and downtime if too many updates try to install at one time to catch up.

Lacking SEO

Your website only works if people can find it. Without strong SEO, your site isn’t returned in the search engine results page as high as other sites, making it harder to discover.

Nice

Modern and Functional

Not only is the visual part of a website important for visitors but so is the site structure and functionality. Calls to action, mobile optimization, and overall organization help to make a website that is not only great for visitors but has a strong conversion rate too.

Secured

A secured site is important for many reasons including giving customers peace of mind. In addition, secured sites maintain better up time, and a secure site contributes to good SEO.

Maintained

Maintained websites are up to date on all updates, including PHP and plugins. Much like a security certificate, a maintained website is safer and runs smoothly and faster.

Awesome SEO

A nice website has great SEO through all the items listed above but also with:

Complete image information

Large-scale and consistent content updates, such as blog posts

Backlinks

Mobile Optimization

We Can Help Get Your Site to the Nice List

If your site is likely on the Naughty List—or even if it’s definitely on the Naughty List—we can help! We want to discuss any challenges and how our services can help solve your business website headaches. Our comprehensive redesign and rebuild services, as well as our ongoing monthly maintenance packages, will make managing your website a dream for you and your team. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions.

Happy Holidays from the Hammersmith Support Team!

It’s no secret that supporting our community is at the core of Hammersmith Support! Giving back and supporting those in need is a pillar of our business. Over the years, we’ve worked together to help UMOM New Day Center, Feed My Starving Children, and Save the Family during the holiday season. And throughout the year, we support a nonprofit by providing pro bono maintenance services. We believe it’s important to support those around us to help build a strong community.

While our team was attending the TN Women Connect LIVE event in October, we also made time to volunteer at UniCycle, a school uniform recycling program for Nashville area schools. UniCycle also has a food pantry in partnership with Homeless Education Resource Office (HERO), which is where our team was able to jump in and organize for them. We know you’ll enjoy learning more about the valuable services UniCycle provides, and we’re grateful for Jami Oakley, the founder and executive director of UniCyle, for sharing with us.

Tell Us About UniCycle

“UniCycle is a volunteer-led organization that collects and redistributes school uniform items in Nashville. We collect ‘outgrown, not worn out’ polo-style shirts and khaki, black and navy bottoms (the standard school uniform for Nashville public school students) in schools districtwide through a system of branded collection baskets and a UniCycle Coordinator at each school. Then, each school keeps what they need to serve students in their school’s UniCycle Closet, and any excess comes to our warehouse location in donated space in an elementary school. We then serve students in the Homeless Education Resource Office (HERO) with that inventory and send boxes of requested items to closets that need more than they collect. It’s really just a system of organizing a huge chunk of the city’s hand-me-downs into a way that serves our most vulnerable students first, then everyone else.”

What Is UniCycle’s “Why”

“UniCycle began after a conversation I had with the director of the HERO program. I had read about the organization and how many students were in unstable housing in Nashville each year—in the neighborhood of 3–3,500 each year—and that she ran the entire program with only two employees. The HERO department is charged with making life easier, school more consistent and resources easily accessed for families in the public school system who are experiencing homelessness. What a worthy mission! So I think the biggest lesson I learned from how UniCycle began is the importance of starting with a question. I didn’t go to her with a preconceived notion of how I could help her support these families—we had an open-ended conversation and hit upon school uniform items as a challenge, a barrier to education and a large expense for her department. We felt like the community could rise up and fill that need, and we developed a way to make that happen.”

How Can We Get Involved?

Unicycle - Nashville nonprofit

“We hope that by now, the majority of Nashvillians think of us first when their kids outgrow yet another pair of khaki school pants—that’s what we need! Outgrown uniforms. And, of course, we’ve gotten large enough that now we need some funds to make it all keep rolling, so we do have a donation function on our website and will launch our first-ever social media fundraising campaign this month!

We love having volunteers and telling people the UniCycle story—nothing makes me happier than seeing other people get the ‘big picture’ of why we’re doing what we’re doing and the impact that it can have for a family. It was so great having the Hammersmith team in to work with us.”

What’s Next for UniCycle?

Unicycle - Nashville nonprofit

“We recently moved into a larger office and warehouse space that we share with the HERO department, and that’s allowing us to expand our support of families. We’re so close to the HERO team every day, we’ve picked up on other ways we can help the community to fill in gaps for families in ways that are completely doable, but can be a gamechanger for those families. We’re going to harness that idea by launching the UniCycle Family Fund next year. Part of our fundraising in November and December of this year will be an attempt to raise $10,000 to launch this fund, and it will provide money to be used on immediate critical needs (think: emergency medication; new nonslip shoes for a parent to start a restaurant job; a gas card so that appointments with resource providers can be met). It’s exciting to grow our reach and feels good to do it so organically.”

Get Involved

Learn more about UniCycle and how you can volunteer or donate by visiting their site www.https://unicycleforschools.org/

Visit our Giving Back page to read more about how Hammersmith Support works with our community, as well as some wonderful organizations you can get involved with too!

We can’t wait to show you one of our latest website launches: the Children’s Leukemia Research Association site! Founded in 1965, Children’s Leukemia Research Association’s mission is to “Fund blood cancer research, find the causes and cures for leukemia and other blood-related disorders, and help families with blood cancer-related expenses for children and adults.” The organization is a self-described “small but mighty” resource for families needing financial assistance during their child’s fight with blood cancer. Hammersmith Support is honored to have been able to assist this incredible organization by creating and supporting a website that will allow them to continue their amazing work digitally as well.

Children's Leukemia Research Association - Website Design, Development & Maintenance

Visual Changes

One of the first steps in forming the new Children’s Leukemia Research Association website was creating a new logo and refining the color scheme for the site. The goal was to modernize and organize the overall look and feel of the logo and the website. New, professional images were added to the site as well as visual “breaks” in content. The result is a clean, modern, and easy-to-follow site.

Functionality Improvements

In addition to the visual changes, there was a big need and emphasis on updating the functionality of the site. There is a detailed process for applying to Children’s Leukemia Research Association for aid, and making that process as easy to understand as possible was essential. Functionality was improved by adding:

  • A resource page for visitors to find additional information
  • A blog which benefits site visitors and also improves the website’s SEO
  • New calls to action that were strategically placed for ease of use

Each of these changes made the CLRA site easier for visitors to navigate.

A Special Personal Touch

Hammersmith Support was thrilled to be able to work with a patient to collaborate on the copy for the new website. Anne McAuley Lopez is an SEO Content Writer and Content Strategist at Agency Content Writer and the author of We Don’t Get to Ring the Bell where she chronicles her journey with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Having Anne’s unique and personal view helped to make the content of the website detailed, clear, and empathetic to readers.

Maintenance

Children’s Leukemia Research Association is now an ongoing maintenance client. Hammersmith Support is providing this essential service to ensure that their site runs smoothly and is updated with the most recent resource updates, grant applications, and more.

Let’s Talk about Your Website

Our comprehensive redesign and rebuild services, as well as our ongoing monthly maintenance packages, are the ideal combination for creating a website that supports your business. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions.

Are you referring your clients outside of your business for website development? Is getting information for your clients from third-party developers becoming a pain? Good news! We have a solution for you.

Our agency support services are the easiest way to support your client’s website development and maintenance needs with an in-house feel but at contractor pricing. No interviews, no hiring and none of the fixed overhead that can also include expensive benefits. So having Hammersmith Support on your team is not only a great way to expand your services and revenue options, it’s also a great way to combat inflation by reducing your labor costs. Here’s how it works:

Behind the Scenes

In a nutshell, we work for your clients through your company. Our agency support services are behind the scenes. We are able to complete tasks and projects without corresponding with clients directly, keeping up the appearance of a larger team for your business and the simplicity of one contact for your client. Think of us as the website division of your business—we just operate as our own business!

Part of the Team

On the flip side, our team can work directly with your client under the umbrella of your business. You can even add us to your email so that the client sees a united front when working with your company. Similar to how we operate when completely behind the scenes, except now your Hammersmith team appears as part of your team to the client.

Easy Organization

The Hammersmith Support team is versed in several organizational systems, including Monday, Slack and others. It’s as easy as adding our team to your organization system and they will jump right in. Our agency services can do the following for your clients:

Let’s Talk

Our team works with companies big and small and provides them with resources typically only available at larger web agencies, except we provide them with a much more personal and accessible touch. Let’s discuss how our WordPress Outsourcing support services can add to your product offering. Schedule your complimentary consultation and let’s talk through your questions.

Being a part of the TN Women Connect LIVE Conference is quickly becoming one of our favorite traditions! This is the second annual live event for the organization and Hammersmith Support was excited to be back again. This year, our founder, Heather Locke, participated as a panelist for a panel discussion on success stories that was recorded for The Renaissance Podcast as part of the event. We couldn’t wait to be back again to enjoy the amazing biscuits at the venue, the Loveless Cafe Barn—the food is so good, it’s criminal!

Being a part of the Nashville community is so special to us as a business and also personally for Heather. We always enjoy connecting with new faces and reuniting with old friends too. After completing the TN Women Connect website rebuild, it was even more exciting to see the many faces of TN Women Connect in person. We absolutely love being a part of this community, and we are very proud to have helped facilitate a virtual place for so many to connect.

Learn more about Lucy Miller, the founder of TN Women Connect in our blog interview with her.

Speakers

TN Women Connect LIVE - Speakers and Panelists

This year’s line of speakers was once again spectacular! Attendees got to hear from several talented women who shared not only their stories but also tips and meaningful advice:

Kirbee Miller, the founder of KiNiMi Kitchen, spoke on the abundance mindset.

Deeannah Seymour, the founder of pH-D Feminine Health, shared her story of creating a successful business.

Tina Phillips, the owner of 615Innovations, spoke about sales and marketing techniques.

Teresa White, strategic business coach, discussed how to network the right way.

Brielle Cotterman, founder of Brielle Cotterman Media, shared about the power of publicity.

The Keynote speaker was Sherry Deutschmann, founder and CEO of BrainTrust, a company dedicated to helping women build financial independence, wealth, and influence through the growth of their businesses.

Panel Discussion and Podcast

The panel discussion was moderated by Sydney Dozier of Renaissance Marketing Group and recorded live for The Renaissance Podcast. The title of the discussion was “Success Stories,” with each panel member sharing their answers to several questions. Panelists included Raven Hernandez who is the founder of Earth Rides, Jamie Heard of Faithfully Restored, Shani Dowel of Possip, and of course, our very own Heather Locke.

What’s Your Why?

Heather shared her “why”: empowering women in technology. She aims to do so not only by providing an exceptional product for her clients but also through education for clients and young women as well.

Success Story

When it comes to success stories, Heather shared a recent success, and that is how her team has shined when given a potential pitfall. When a critical employee announced that she has accepted a position that would enable her to grow her career in a new direction, Heather knew that this employee held a lot of institutional knowledge of the business and was concerned about how the team would fare in her absence. Thankfully, the Hammersmith team flourished, which let Heather know she truly had succeeded in assembling a fantastic group of women for the Hammersmith team.

Biggest Struggle?

When sharing her biggest struggle, Heather talked about struggling with imposter syndrome and self-doubt. When the company was in its infancy, Heather talked about the process of chasing the largest client that Hammersmith had ever worked with and how she showed confidence despite not always feeling confident. Thankfully, her “fake it ’till you make it” attitude paid off as the client signed on with Hammersmith.

Marketing Advice

When it comes to marketing, Heather shared her recipe for success. After testing the waters in several marketing areas, what has worked best for Hammersmith Support is:

  • Organic and authentic connections on LinkedIn
  • Networking within her current client base and thanking referrers
  • Getting in front of people—events such as TN Women Connect are a great place to meet potential clients

Let’s Connect!

Whether we had the pleasure of meeting at TN Women Connect LIVE, or you’re reading about Hammersmith Support for the first time, let’s talk. We want to talk through any challenges and how our services can help solve your business website headaches. Our comprehensive redesign and rebuild services, as well as our ongoing monthly maintenance packages will make managing your website a dream for you and your team. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions.

We don’t want to scare you, but we have to tell you about all the hauntingly excellent services that Hammersmith Support has to offer! It’s true; we offer shockingly amazing website services to support your site and make it spine-chillingly easy for your team to manage content changes and stay on top of the most recent updates and analytical reports too. Plus, we won’t disappear into the night and ghost you.

Dangerously Amazing Design and Development Services

Let’s start with our design services. Our terrifyingly terrific custom-built sites are one of a kind, making them not only customized to each client, but also more secure than a templated site. In addition to security, our custom-built sites are faster and better for SEO because they don’t carry the extra “weight” of unnecessary code.

Frighteningly Fantastic Rebuilds

Is your website scarily outdated? Aging site infrastructure that can no longer support the business’ demands qualifies for a full site rebuild. This may include some visual refreshing, but typically 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.

Monstrous Awesome Maintenance Packages

Don’t let monthly website maintenance terrify you! Our Maintenance packages include:

  • Full site test each month
  • Site backups and live staging copy maintained
  • Security scans and malware prevention
  • Site optimization
  • Submission to Google Search Console
  • Premium hosting on a WP Engine dedicated server (premium package)
  • 2–4 hours of content updates each month
  • Monthly report
  • Maintenance Client Portal

The least scary part of all of this? You get to be as involved as you want to be! Hammersmith Support is here to make the maintenance process simple, smooth, and hands-off. However, if you want to learn about your site, give monthly content updates, or have questions, our Client Portal makes it easy to access information and correspond with your Hammersmith Support client contact.

Hair-Raisingly Excellent Hosting

A website host is a service provider that administers the technologies and services needed for a website to be viewed on the internet. It’s kind of like a rental space for a business—except it’s the virtual space for your website. Hammersmith Support offers heart-stoppingly fast hosting through our dedicated server on WP Engine. This service provides our client’s site speed, uptime, scalability, security, and support.

Happy Haunting

We hope you enjoyed our spooktacular services breakdown! If you have questions about how our services can benefit your business, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions.

You have likely heard about ransomware attacks on websites, but you may not completely understand what a ransomware attack is—or who is at risk for ransomware. While a ransomware attack is a form of hacking, the goal is different. While typical hacking is usually out to steal personal information, ransomware is out to make the hacker money.

What Is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malicious software used by cybercriminals to take a website hostage. This is done by encrypting the site’s data or blocking access to the site. It can also involve the site content being replaced by annoying ads, pornography, and more. Once the site is accessed, the criminals will send the site owner a demand for a financial ransom in order to get access to the site back.

Which Websites Are at Risk?

Unfortunately, any website is at risk for malware attacks. Even secure sites can fall victim to an employee or other site administrator clicking on a suspicious link, visiting an unsecured website, or clicking on a phishing email. Many believe that if their site doesn’t collect personal information, it’s not a target for criminals. However, if the goal is not to steal information from the site, but rather hold it hostage, then any site is fair game.

What Is the Best Prevention?

There are several ways that your business website can be protected from ransomware:

  • Up-to-date security certificate
  • Monthly security scans to detect any latent malware
  • Regular website updates to close security holes
  • Full-site backups minimize downtime should a site be hacked
  • Keep your password secure and don’t use it on other sites
  • Education on phishing and suspicious links keeps employees aware of the dangers

Hammersmith Support Makes it Easy

Each of the items listed as the best prevention for ransomware are all part of our comprehensive website maintenance packages. Whether your site needs the Essentials or Premium maintenance services, it will be covered to help prevent a ransomware attack. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s discuss how we can support your business.

We always enjoy bringing you our latest projects, and this one is no exception! Save the Family is a nonprofit established in 1988 and is a leading provider of housing, case management, and supportive services to more than 650 homeless and impoverished families annually in Maricopa County, Arizona. You may remember them from our holiday community service recap last year where our team put together two Thanksgiving meals for SAF families.

Our rebuild of the Save the Family site involved several important aspects. Here’s what we were able to create for this amazing organization:

Save the Family - nonprofit website redesign

Ease of Use

Save the Family identified that its site needed to be more user-friendly for people who need to access their services. At the same time, they wanted to reduce redundancies throughout the site. Our job was to find the balance between easy-to-find and identify calls to action, without overloading each page. This made the layout very important as it needed to involve additional strategy for these areas.

Visuals

In order to make the site as accessible to as many as possible, we incorporated many visual aspects. Using graphics, images, and icons, we told the Save the Family story visually as well as with words. The result is a site that can be understood by individuals with varying education levels as well as varying comfort levels navigating technology.

Hands-On

Save the Family wanted to be able to make some content changes on their own. So Hammersmith Support re-engineered different sections to allow the team to make quick and easy updates to sections like team members, press updates, and especially their events section. They’re now able to be more responsive with their site information.

Maintenance and Training

We continue to work with Save the Family, providing guidance so they can make more and more changes/updates independently. In addition, Save the Family is a monthly maintenance client which means they are enjoying the benefits of our maintenance services, including our monthly Client Report as well as their own Client Portal.

Ready to Get Started?

We want to talk through any challenges and how our services can help solve your business website headaches. Our comprehensive redesign and rebuild services, as well as our ongoing monthly maintenance packages will make managing your website a dream for you and your team. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions.

If this title has you scratching your head, we’re here to help! Strange as it may sound, your car and your website really do have a lot in common. Just like your car needs regular maintenance to avoid costly repairs, so does your website. But unlike when your car is in for service, and you get a loaner, there aren’t loaner websites. This means staying on top of website maintenance is key to keeping your site running smoothly.

Check the Tires

Checking the tires on your car keeps it safe on the road. For your website, checking the site analytics can help to uncover any unknown issues with your site or the content, such as a page with a high bounce rate. Analytics can also identify where traffic is originating from and how visitors are accessing your site( i.e., mobile device or desktop). This information can help influence businesses’ marketing decisions as well as content on the site.

Change the Oil

Oil changes are essential to the longevity of your car—and for websites, so are regular updates. Regular updates include all aspects of your site, including plugins and PHP—the language your site is built upon. Some servers will run automatic updates to ensure the safety of the servers, but the result may be that WordPress and PHP are out of date or out of sync, rendering the site slow and possibly malfunctioning. Often, updates are necessary to patch holes in the security code for the site, which makes regular updates even more important.

Full Detail

Regular maintenance isn’t just for the insides of the car but also the outside. Just like a good wash and wax keep the paint looking fresh for years, so do content updates for your website. Keeping your site content such as descriptions, About page, and blogs fresh is beneficial not only for site visitors but for SEO as well. SEO is heavily determined by Google Ranking Factors, and many of those factors include the age of the site’s content.

Lock It Up

What’s the first rule for keeping your car safe? Lock it to help prevent break-ins! And just like your car, you need to lock your website too. Ensuring that your security certificate is up, as well as all of the other aspects of the site like plugins and PHP (the language the site is built in) keeps your site safe from hackers and damaging malware too.

Loaner

We know that we said there was no such thing as a loaner website. However, Hammersmith Support maintenance clients enjoy having full site backups made each month. If something happens to the site that takes it offline, the backup version of the site can be utilized to more quickly restore it to working order.

Let’s Get Started

At Hammersmith Support, we work with companies of all sizes and provide them with resources usually only available at larger web agencies, except we provide them with a more personal and accessible touch. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s discuss how we can support your business.