If you’re asking yourself, “Did they mean to write ‘4.5’?” The answer is yes, we did. There were more than four reasons your business website needs regular maintenance but not quite five either. While the number of reasons may be debatable, what we know for certain is that these 4.5 reasons are extremely important! Here’s why:

Marketing

Content updates are an important step in any businesses’ marketing strategy. From about pages to product pages, keeping content updated and fresh is important for your clients. In addition, being able to collect contact information from contact forms and lead magnets is essential for building contacts for newsletters and other direct marketing. This kind of marketing-friendly update can include:

SEO and Reporting

Consistent site maintenance helps create great search engine optimization. Ensure that your site is working optimally utilizing keywords throughout the site as well as in blog posts. Enrolling in Google Console and Google Analytics can keep you aware of any issues with how pages are being indexed, as well as where your site traffic is originating. That information can be used to further refine your marketing plans to appeal to your target market.

Security

It does not matter if your site is a massive e-commerce powerhouse or a simple blog—it needs security. First and foremost, your site needs an up-to-date security certificate. Second, it needs to have a platform and plug-in updates regularly. Doing this keeps your site safe because the updates allow for the code to be “patched” to prevent hackers or malware from getting through any figurative holes.

Functionality

Poor functionality is just one of the reasons a visitor may bounce off your site. If the site does not load in under 3 seconds, has images that fail to load, or if the information is challenging to locate, they are more likely to leave than dig for information. In addition, it is important that your site is mobile optimized so that it can be viewed and function from a mobile device for nearly 51% of the 3.9 billion Internet users worldwide.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your site should be accessible to differently abled visitors. Consumers who are disabled account for 15% of all Internet users but that percentage could be higher if your product does or could serve those with disabilities—which means it is imperative that your site can function with the following:

  • Text that is able to be converted to audio, large print, or braille
  • Alt text, captions, and descriptions on all images
  • Avoid images and structure that could cause seizures
  • Tab navigation/all functionality available from a keyboard
  • Captions on videos and other content

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

No matter what kind of shape your site is in, we’re here to help. If you have specific questions or are curious about which of Hammersmith Support’s services can benefit your website, schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your thoughts. 

We know we share a lot about the benefits of routine website maintenance. Which is why we’re excited to also show you how great a maintenance package can be for your business by highlighting one of our maintenance clients: Esperança. This fantastic, Phoenix-based nonprofit’s mission is to “improve health and provide hope through disease prevention, education and treatment for every life we touch.” They partner with nongovernmental organizations in the US, Mexico, Central America, and parts of Africa to help those in need.

Hammersmith Support was honored to redesign the Esperança website over a year ago, and the organization has been a maintenance client ever since. We are grateful for Esperança’s marketing manager, Elena Burr, who shared her experience as a maintenance client.

Tell us a little about you and your organization.

“At Esperança, we believe in a world where every person is thriving, creating new possibilities and promising futures. In the communities we serve, that world can feel far away. When children grow up in unsafe environments, when healthcare infrastructure simply doesn’t exist, when education is a luxury good, it’s incredibly hard for families to focus on anything other than survival.

Since 1970, Esperança has built optimal social, mental, and physical health in under-resourced communities across the globe, taking care of urgent needs so that people can focus on their families’ futures.

Our unique approach is rooted in the belief that no matter what, the community comes first. It’s not our place to tell people what they needour job is to listen. That’s why we provide a wide range of services that respond to the unique needs of any given community. Whether we’re launching a medical intervention, providing essential health education, or serving freshly prepared meals, we work collaboratively with the communities we serve, acting in partnership to remove barriers and provide direct service.

When we are freed of the difficulties of the day, we can plan for the future. Esperança helps individuals today so that their communities can thrive tomorrow.”

When you reached out to Hammersmith Support, what challenges were you having with your website?

“Our biggest challenge was site speed and unpredictable glitches, which affected the online experience of our donors and volunteers. As an organization that relies on the generosity of others, we wanted to streamline virtual navigation and make program updates and donation information easily accessible.

What changes were you able to have made to your website once you became a maintenance client?

“Right off the bat, Hammersmith redesigned our entire homepage, making it more appealing and easier to navigate for all our web visitors. Switching to Hammersmith’s web hosting server has greatly improved site speed and reliability. They also manage all routine updates, provide metrics and go above and beyond to deploy creative solutions for our various campaigns and events.”

How has maintenance service benefitted you and your organization?

Hammersmith’s service feels like an extension of our own team. I feel their passion for our work every time I reach out with the most minute question or last-minute request. We have a real peace of mind knowing that Hammersmith is just a quick email or phone call away (shout-out to Lisa for being an honorary Esperança teammate). They always offer a variety of potential courses of action for updates which ensures that we have flexibility to decide the most customized approach for our organization.”

What would you tell other nonprofits that are considering the maintenance service with Hammersmith Support?

“Hammersmith truly cares about the holistic success of your organization. They provide the highest quality service with a personal touch that doesn’t go unnoticed.”

Hammersmith Support Can Help Your Organization Too!

Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting, and let’s talk about your organization and how we can help you. Not only does Hammersmith Support offer monthly maintenance packages, we also have website building services, site refreshes, and consulting on other topics as well. We’re looking forward to talking with you!

We always enjoy bringing you all the details on how website maintenance helps your site! Regular maintenance helps keep your site running smoothly, securely, and optimally with great SEO as well. But the ugly truth is that there is a dark side to not consistently maintaining your site. We usually highlight these areas in our funny Halloween posts, but today we’re giving it to you straight—not having regular website maintenance can cost you and your business big time:

Opportunity

There are a number of reasons that a contact form could malfunction. And without consistent testing of those forms, you could lose potential customers who are reaching out to you directly. In addition, you could lose the chance at a great first impression by leaving potential customers wondering if you’re ever going to respond to their inquiries.

In addition, if your site is not being updated regularly, a bulk update could cause the site to crash. This lost uptime could cost you potential clients and even regular customers if they can’t get what they need from your site.

Peace of Mind

Even if you don’t take payments through your site, it is still at risk of hacks or malware. And while that might seem like less of a problem, the reality is that either of those could take your site offline while it’s being repaired. Some hackers aren’t as “friendly” and can hold your site hostage and demand a ransom. Wild as it sounds, it’s not as preposterous as it may seem.

Credibility

In addition to the host of issues that malware can cause, one is that your site could be changed completely without a way to immediately fix the issue. If your site suddenly began displaying pornographic material because of a hack, a potential customer isn’t likely to stick around. Further, it can give the impression that doing business with your company is not secure or even unscrupulous.

On a slightly less serious note, site visitors can have an unconscious judgment of your site if it is not functioning properly. An unattractive or poorly functioning site may give the impression that your business is disorganized or even dishonest.

Growth Potential

Regular maintenance with Hammersmith Support includes 2 hours of content updates to use each month. These hours can be used for the following:

While each of these aspects individually may not seem like much, cumulatively these updates and upgrades to your site can really add up! Consistent improvements can keep your business website on the right growth trajectory.

Revenue

All of these costs really add up to the biggest one—lost revenue. If potential clients aren’t able to interact with your site, or current customers can’t purchase or contact you, you’re losing money. Trust us, the cost of a maintenance package is far less than any one of these areas!

We Can Help

Hammersmith Support is here to help! Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting, and let’s talk about your business website needs and how our maintenance packages can accommodate your business. 

Google announced in May 2021 that it would introduce Core Web Vitals to help assess a quality user experience on a web page. While Google wasn’t direct about if and how these vital reports alone would factor into SERP rankings, they are valuable. These statistics speak to the user experience on the site, and we know that a good user experience decreases the bounce rate.

There are three core web vitals via Google Console:

  • LCP (Largest Contentful Paint): The amount of time to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL. The largest element is typically an image or video or, perhaps, a large block-level text element. This is important because it tells the reader that the URL is actually loading.
  • FID (First Input Delay): The time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. This measurement is taken from whatever interactive element that the user first clicks. This is important on pages where the user needs to do something because this is when the page has become interactive.
  • CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift): CLS measures the sum total of all individual layout shift scores for every unexpected layout shift that occurs during the entire lifespan of the page. The score is zero to any positive number, where zero means no shifting and the larger the number, the more layout shift on the page. This is important because having pages elements shift while a user is trying to interact with it is a bad user experience.

How Do We Check?

Google offers the definitions and how to check your site’s Core Web Vital scores through Google Console. After a site is enrolled for a period of time, Google Console will begin to return information regarding several areas of your site, all tied to functionality. Once there is enough data to act, each issue can be addressed such as images not loading, lack of mobile optimization, and link performance.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Understanding Core Web Vitals in order to improve site functionality is just another tool in our tool belt! We can evaluate your site and offer you options on how it can be improved. And we can keep your site running smoothly and functioning optimally with our monthly maintenance packages. Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk about your business and how we can help you.

Platforms, hosts, domains, oh my! There are so many essential parts to a healthy website. Today, we’re going to dive deeper into why good hosting for your site matters. 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. It is the “rental” space for your website. While it may seem like any old host will do, the reality is that a good host can mean a big difference for your site. Here’s why:

What’s at Stake?

  • Speed: A busy server means longer load times. And slow loading can cost you potential customers who aren’t willing to wait around for a page to load.
  • Security: Not every hosting fee includes a security certificate and adding one à la carte can be expensive.
  • Uptime: Having your site available to be viewed is crucial. A lower-cost host may also come with less uptime, costing you visitors.
  • Scalability: Having a host server that can accommodate your business’ growth with matching speed, security, and uptime is critical to scaling your business.
  • Support: This one is more for you than site visitors, but having one on one support available when something goes wrong, or when you just have a question is important.

WP Engine Is Hammersmith Support’s Preferred Host

At Hammersmith Support, we exclusively use WP Engine hosting. For us, WP Engine hosting is the perfect partnership for us to support our client’s websites because we know we are managing our client’s sites with a top-of-the-line product. Our dedicated server means secure and fast load times along with room to grow. We offer stand-alone hosting for clients or as part of our Premium Monthly Maintenance package.

In addition to WP Engine Hosting on our dedicated server, our maintenance clients also enjoy these benefits of our maintenance packages:

  • Site backups and live staging copy maintained
  • Security scans and malware prevention
  • Site optimization
  • Full site test each month
  • Submission to Google Search Console
  • 2–4 hours of content updates each month

When you have a Hammersmith Support maintenance package, you work directly with us! Not a 1-800 number to call when you have a question or a problem. There’s no submitting ticket, or scrambling for a contact – we’re just a call or an email away!

Let’s Talk

If you have questions, we can help! Not only does Hammersmith Support offer website hosting, but we also offer website building services, site refreshes as well as two different maintenance packages. Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting, and let’s talk about your business and how we can help you.

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.

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization is the process of improving your site’s order ranking when it matches a keyword in a query. That rank on the SERP—search engine results page—is determined by how well your site matched not only the search parameters but also how easily the search engine was able to evaluate your site for information.

How Is It Determined?

SEO is heavily determined by Google Ranking Factors. While not all of the 200+ factors are made public, there are some that are more commonly known. These factors are as simple as having accurate image information to as complex as code that makes the site optimized for mobile devices. Others include:

On-Page Vs. Off-Page SEO

On-page SEO refers to anything on a website, both what is visible to visitors and what is behind the scenes. This includes anything that helps to improve your ranking on a search engine. These areas would include the following:

Much like the name implies, off-page SEO is just that: any kind of digital content that exists outside of your website and that points back to, or markets, your business. Including:

  • Backlinks
  • Directories
  • Thought leader content such as trade shows and speaking engagements
  • Social Media

Ways to Improve

Utilizing the same ranking factors discussed above, organically improving (meaning without paying for Google Ad Words or any other kind of advertising) your SEO score isn’t complicated. Improving your SEO can be done by:

  • Blogging. Consistent posting of blogs of 350+ words gives big content updates to your site. In addition, having good punctuation, headers, keywords, and backlinks is key to ranking higher.
  • Links. If you have a blog, be sure to go back to older posts and link to newer posts. Quality and quantity of links is key.
  • Images. Updating images, as well as completing all of the descriptive information, can make it easier for web crawlers to analyze your site. The easier it is to analyze? The higher the rank.

Local Schema

Local schema is schema code that is specific to your local business. It codes things such as the hours your business is open, currency accepted, department information, and so on. When potential customers come to your website, they see the standard information. But with local schema, a search engine will see not only that information but the background code as well. The easier the code is to read, the higher ranking a search engine can give your site.

We Can Help

If your site needs some SEO help, we’re your people. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions and see how our services can support your business. If you’re concerned about a site rebuild, we’re excited to tell you about how we can rebuild your site and retain the existing SEO.

That’s right—not client but clients! The pool of nonprofits that submitted applications to be our 2022 pro bono clients was so full of organizations doing amazing things, we couldn’t choose just one. We are thrilled to introduce you to the two organizations that Hammersmith Support will be providing with pro bono maintenance services for the next year:

The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona

Founded as its own charitable organization in 2000, DBSA is the first diaper bank in the US and has paved the way for more than 250 similar organizations across the country. Their story goes all the way back to 1994 with a Tucson Arizona business hosting a diaper drive as part of a holiday service project. The annual collection grew to the point that the company was working six months a year on just their holiday diaper drive! The hard work and dedication spawned this charity that serves both infants and adults in southern Arizona. In 2020 alone, the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona distributed the following:

  • 860,000+ baby diapers
  • 215,000+ adult diapers
  • 180,000+ period products

Government assistance programs such as WIC and food stamps do not allow for the purchase of diapers. Thanks to DBSA’s dedication to the cause, for every $1 donated to them, they can distribute $3 worth of diapers—providing not only necessary supplies but dignity to the many recipients as well.

Learn more about the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona on their site: www.diaperbank.org 

The Land Trust for Tennessee

The motto of The Land Trust for Tennessee is “Today. Tomorrow. Forever. We work across the state to conserve places we can’t afford to lose.” TLTT has conducted extensive research to define ten “Conservation Opportunity Regions” of both public and private grounds that represent a range of land resources across the state. The land consists of farms, forests, historic sites, recreation areas, wildlife habitat, and scenic landscapes. The goal is to proactively conserve land, both public and private, to support local economies, public health, historic preservation, biodiversity, sense of place, and more.

Learn more about The Land Trust for Tennessee on their site www.landtrusttn.org.

What They Can Look Forward To

 Over the course of the year, these nonprofits will benefit from our maintenance package which includes the following:

  • Site backups and live staging copy maintained
  • Security scans and malware prevention
  • Site optimization
  • Full site test each month
  • Submission to Google Search Console
  • 2 hours of content updates monthly—update images, wording, service packages, “About Us” pages, add or update donation forms, etc. This time can also be used to add additional features to your site!

The result is a site that functions more efficiently, safely, and is more visually appealing as well.

Not a Nonprofit? We Can Help Your Business, Too

Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting, and let’s talk about your business and how we can help you. Not only does Hammersmith Support offer monthly maintenance packages, we also have website building services, site refreshes, and consulting on other topics as well. We’re looking forward to talking with you!

Our team had the pleasure of meeting Amy Allmand when we opened our Nashville office last summer. Amy photographed our Tennessee team, as well as the TN Women Connect LIVE event where we hosted a Hammersmith Support booth. We absolutely love Amy’s style, and we are thrilled to bring you an interview with her about how to get great professional images for your business website.

Tell Us a Little About You 

My name is Amy Allmand, and I have been a professional photographer for 10 years, with being a full-time photographer for the last 5 years. Previously I worked in the music industry, specifically in music publishing where I worked with songwriters. That career prepared me for when I started to shoot weddings in 2015. Over the last year, I have pivoted my business from photographing weddings and branding, to solely working with branding clients.

Talk to Us About Your Clients. Who Do You Typically Work With?

My clients are creatives and small business owners, with women-owned businesses making up the majority of who I work with. They range from web designers, realtors, life coaches, virtual assistants, singer-songwriters, and more. Being able to work with such a variety of clients is what keeps my creative juices flowing!

What Is Unique About Your Style and Product Offering?

“I look at my process not just as a hired photographer with a static set of poses for every client. I want to give my clients a custom experience, but also where we collaborate on their session together. I welcome their ideas on anything from poses to what they want me to shoot. This is THEIR session, not mine so my artistic ideas take a back burner to what they want for their images. I’m also a very laid-back person and have been told by many clients that I not only put them at ease, but my poised presence really helps during what can be a nerve wracking shoot for some.

What Is Your Best Advice for Your Clients Before a Professional Photo Shoot? 

“Do your research, find a photographer who will help you figure out your vision for your brand. If you don’t know what your brand is all about, I suggest finding a brand professional to help you figure that out, because if you don’t know what your business is and stands for going into a photo session, you may not end up liking the final product because your photographer couldn’t nail it down for you. I have a very extensive pre-shoot questionnaire that is branding 101 for my clients to help with pulling out the answers I need to do the research on their profession and how to tackle their specific session with a customized approach.

Practical tips would be to hire a hair and makeup artist and a stylist if your budget allows. Location is very important to your brand, so being willing to rent a location if you do not have an office is key.

Get in Touch

www.amyallmandphotography.com

Instagram: @amyallmandphoto

Facebook: Amy Allmand Photography

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amyallmand/

Ready to Update Your Site?

Whether you’re ready for a website refresh with new images, a rebuild, or need to start from scratch, we’re here to help! Schedule your free 30-minute consultation to talk through all of the options to optimize your website.

It might sound surprising, but we hear this question quite often! 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
  • They utilize social media for communication or even product sales
  • Most of their business comes from word of mouth

But the reality is, a website is beneficial for every business for several reasons. Here’s why:

First Impression

Let’s be honest, first impressions really do matter, especially in business. A company with an outdated website, or no site at all, can leave potential customers with a bad impression. If a site is outdated, challenging to navigate, or nonexistent, potential customers may be wondering if your company is operated in the same manner. The same goes for credibility—an unattractive or poorly functioning site may give the impression that your business is disorganized or even dishonest.

Insight into the Business

Yes, social media is great, but it’s designed for short and small bursts of information. That can make it challenging to really showcase a business and the people behind it. Utilizing a blog and well-designed site content, a website gives customers a better, more full-scale insight into the business.

Potential Lead Generator

While a website might not currently be a source of business, it doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t be one! Business websites are fantastic for lead generation. This can be accomplished with a simple form for visitors who want more information or using a lead magnet, such as a free download of information or another freebie in exchange for an email address. Those contacts can then be used to distribute newsletters, discount codes, and more. Being able to speak directly to interested individuals is invaluable!

The Benefits of SEO

In addition to being a source for lead generation, a website is just another way for potential customers to find you. The benefit of SEO is that potential customers can come across your business using search terms rather than a direct search for your company. Some company sites can benefit from local schema, which can increase the chances of potential customers finding your business based on geography.

Let’s Talk

If you have questions, we can help! Not only does Hammersmith Support offer website building services, we also offer site refreshes as well as two different maintenance packages. Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting, and let’s talk about your business and how we can help you.

When it comes to your website, you probably think a lot about the way it looks and how it functions. As for the “behind-the-scenes” stuff, you’ve likely focused on optimizing your SEO and also keeping your site maintained. But have you given any thought to how your domain ranks with search engines?

First, let’s define what your site’s domain is versus the URL. The domain is the actual name of your site (i.e., www.hammersmithsupport.com), whereas the uniform resource locator (or URL) contains not only the domain name but also other information like the path and transfer protocol. So then, what’s in a domain?

What Is Domain Authority?

Domain authority is a search engine ranking given to your site’s domain. The biggest difference is that while Google utilizes Google Ranking Factors to determine the search engine results page—or SERP—order, domain authority is determined by a set of measurements set up by a software development company, Moz. Moz utilizes a scoring system between 1–100 with a higher number being more desirable. While higher scores are better, it’s important to compare your site’s domain to a competitor’s score, rather than trying to reach a score of 100. The only sites that achieve this are sites like Facebook, Google or Wikipedia.

Some of the factors considered in the DA metric are:

  • quality and quantity of links to other sites
  • quality and quantity of backlinks
  • age of your domain
  • quality of keywords
  • quality of content

Why Does It Matter?

Much like SEO, domain authority is a good judge of how easily your site is able to be evaluated and returned on a SERP. While Google insists that domain authority is not a factor used to determine rank, the same factors that optimize SEO also optimize domain authority—which means your site will be given a more favorable rank in a SERP.

How to Improve Domain Authority

There are a few ways to improve your DA score:

  • Get backlinks from high authority sites (state sites, official pages, etc.)
  • Create engaging content
  • Improve site functionality

Let Hammersmith Support Help

Questions? Totally confused? Not sure when you would have time to implement improving your domain authority? Don’t worry; Hammersmith Support is here to help. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your questions and see how our services can support your business. And if you’re curious about your site’s domain score, you can check it for free with Moz’s online tool.