Our client highlight this week is ProRhetoric.com. We were so excited to be a part of the rebuilding and rebranding of the website Vital Speeches of the Day to transform into Pro Rhetoric.

The focus of Pro Rhetoric has always been to publish the most important speeches in the world in order to “represent the best thoughts of the best minds on current national and international issues.” Their goal is to offer resources and commentary that appeal to speechwriters. Pro Rhetoric was eager to change the look and improve the overall functionality of their site, as well as offer more options and new resources for readers.

Rebranding

The Pro Rhetoric rebranding was centered around creating a more news-like and less archival feel. While they liked the overall layout of their pages, Pro Rhetoric sought to change the “mood” of the site. Hammersmith Support started with a new color scheme to convey an informative atmosphere. The colors were changed from pastels to a blue pallet with several shades and tones working together. The color blue is often interpreted as “trustworthy” by consumers.

Rebuilding

The original site was built using Drupal, but the client decided to move to WordPress to make the site easier to use on the back end as well as more customizable on the front end. Hammersmith Support added functionality to allow for online subscriptions and renewals, paying close attention to the security of the site. The site supports a variety of content including videos, uploads, event-specific information, a job board, and advertising.

With these various needs, creating a site that was not only functional but also well organized and easy to navigate was essential. In addition, the site needed to support separate content for visitors and paid subscribers.

Supporting

Pro Rhetoric updates their site daily, sometimes more than once a day, in order to provide the latest information to their subscribers and visitors. Hammersmith Support is currently working with Pro Rhetoric in relation to information updates, as well as supporting their site to maintain security, speed, and optimum functionality.

Check out the Pro Rhetoric finished product by clicking here: www.prorhetoric.com.

Our Hammersmith Support interview this week is with Allison Kierman of Kierman Law. Hammersmith Support created a dynamic, engaging and informative site for Kierman Law. It was important for information to be not only easily accessible but also user-friendly. In her professional practice, Allison strives to make the process of consulting with a lawyer unintimidating. Hammersmith Support was able to reflect that in the site design, yielding a functional and easy-to-navigate site.

We found Allison’s business and her “why” fascinating, and we’re excited to bring her interview to you!

Allison Kierman of Kierman Law, Photo by Blush Cactus Design Studio

Tell us a little about you.

I am an estate planning and probate attorney in North Scottsdale. I work with individuals and businesses to ensure their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, medical directives, and business plans are consistent with their wishes for their legacy after they have passed on.

I am a wife to Alan, who is also my business partner. I’m a mother to two elementary school-aged kids, Bond (10) and Felicity (8), and to two Labradoodles, Linus and Dodger.

Talk to us about your “why” and how that motivated you to start your business.

I grew up on a ranch and farm in West Texas with my grandparents. Our family saw many families needing to sell their farm to pay estate taxes once the family patriarch or matriarch passed on. That idea of giving up so much, after already losing someone special always resonated with me. Because I spent much of my youth with my grandparents, I knew I wanted to do something to help individuals and families like ours through life’s emergencies.

What is unique about your style and product offering?

I work with individuals to create estate plans that are right for them. I spend time getting to know my clients, their families, and their hopes and goals for their loved ones’ futures. I do not rush clients – my goal is always to be a good listener and guide. I never speak in legalese to clients. I always work to educate my clients that form documents that can be found online are often insufficient to meet the needs of individuals in the event of a medical emergency or when losing a loved one. Which is why it is so important to take time to plan with a professional so that each individual’s wishes are clear and able to be carried out.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Be consistent. More importantly, strive to consistently do good work and help others – and work hard at that. Those are my keys to success!

Get in Touch

Visit https://kiermanlaw.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/kiermanlaw/

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/allisonkierman/

Phone: 480-719-7333

Looking for more interviews and information? Click over to the Hammersmith Support blog!

Thinking About Updating Your Site?

Good news, Small Business Owner! Hammersmith Support is running a contest through May 27th for your chance to win a 2 month Essential Web Maintenance Package. This includes site service for 2 months as well as 4 hours of development to get your site spruced up! Click over to our entry page to submit your information and see contest details.

For web designers, the word schema makes sense. But for the rest of the world, schema may be a mystery. So first, let’s define some terms; according to Search Engine Journal, in terms of search marketing, schema is code markup that you add to your site’s pages to help search engines create more detailed descriptions of your content or data. Put more simply, it’s language that search engines understand. And if your site is easier for a search engine to read and understand, it will be able to better index your site.

So! Now that we understand schema, let’s dig in to local schema and why it’s helpful for your business.

What Is 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.

Why Is Local Schema Helpful?

Just like any form of SEO, making your site easier for search engines to understand, index, and return results to a searcher is paramount. We have blogged quite a bit about organic ways to boost your SEO. Being able to add coded information to boost your SEO is just another tool to improve your site’s Google ranking.

In addition, improving the indexing of your site by search engines can improve the click rate to your website. And local schema, just like other types of organic SEO, is free. Unlike paid advertising, your website will be indexed faster and more easily, resulting in a higher search ranking.

Where to Go for Resources

While schema is purely code, there are several websites that can help you generate the correct local schema. Moreover, you can find helpful resources for testing your code:

Generate schema: https://technicalseo.com/tools/schema-markup-generator/

Test your results: https://search.google.com/test/rich-results

We Can Help

While Hammersmith Support is great at building websites, we’re also amazing at maintaining them! Contact us to talk through how we can help you and your site, including adding local schema to help clients find your business.

When consumers are looking for a product or service, they will likely have a variety of businesses to choose from. Large companies, small ones, and some middle-sized as well. According to a recent survey, when it comes to choosing who they are going to buy from, 91% of respondents indicated that they prefer small businesses when convenient, while 74% actively search for opportunities to support small and medium businesses even when it is not convenient. Why is that? Many like to support smaller businesses, hoping that it will also support their community. But there are some other distinct advantages that small businesses have over larger ones:

Quick Reflexes

When there are fewer people in a business to train, consult with, etc., companies are able to move faster. The COVID-19 pandemic is the ultimate example. Larger companies were still scratching their heads as to how they should work to accommodate their customers. Where small businesses, like many restaurants, were able to quickly adjust to take-out only options. They streamlined menus, utilized social media to send out details, hung banners announcing safe pick-up, and maneuvered their teams to safely make food and deliver it to customers.

Flexibility

When there’s no chain of command that needs to be involved with changes, actually making those changes for clients becomes so much faster and easier. A lack of hierarchy means that the person you’re talking to likely has the authority to make a decision, and can make it quickly. If a client needs a different service model, there’s no “checking with the manager.” Instead, the change can be made quickly and easily to accommodate the client’s needs.

Connections

Is there anything as frustrating as calling a company, knowing who you need to talk to, only to get placed on hold or sent straight to voicemail? Of course everyone can’t be available every moment of the day, but there is certainly something to be said for having a direct connection to the company you do business with. Knowing that your phone call or your email will be answered and by whom makes a big difference to customers.

In addition, having a consistent relationship with clients means that you’re likely to have a slightly more personal interaction. When a business knows their customer’s children’s names, their spouse, or important events happening in their lives, their customers feel appreciated and comfortable – two aspects of a business transaction that can only be done with genuine customer service.

Innovation

So often in a small business, the owner wasn’t trained to be in their position; they created that position, that business. This level of innovation is so appealing to customers because they know that when they have a problem, this company is going to know how to help them solve the issue.

We’re Small, Too

We know so much of this to be true because we’re a small business, too. We certainly enjoy working with our large-scale company clients, but our small business clients and our nonprofit clients are extra special to us.

Thinking about making some changes to your website? Or do you need some advice about where to start, or what changes you should consider for your website? Need a little help keeping up with your website information? We’re here to help – reach out and let us know what we can do for you and your business.

In 2020, Hammersmith Support will be working to get all of our maintenance clients accessibility certified using the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines standards. Why is it so important for your website to be accessible to everyone? The main reasons are because it’s good practice and makes good business sense. Ensuring your site is always up, running, and ready for any potential client is a must! There are several other reasons (and one perk!) for having your website accessibility certified. Read on to find out more.

Good Business Practice

Differently-abled people account for nearly 15% of all those using the Internet. So if you had 1,000 visitors to your website, 150 of those would be differently-abled individuals. Accommodating those with a disability isn’t complicated and is the right thing to do. Ensuring that your text is able to be converted to a larger or audible version, having images with accurate alt text, and enabling your site to be navigated using the Tab key are all things that can make your site easy for anyone to use.

Diminish the Risk of Discrimination

There is a growing number of disability discrimination lawsuits being filed against even small businesses. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects individuals with disabilities and has created many of the standards with which companies are required to comply. If a company ignores those standards and or refuses to comply, it can spell big legal trouble. Read about some of the recent website accessibility lawsuits here.

Boost Your SEO

Many of the functions that are required for a website to be accessibility certified actually double as a good SEO booster. Background information on images like alt text, captions and title are all beneficial for a visually impaired individual, but it’s also great information for web crawlers to use in evaluating and ranking your site.

Is Your Site Accessibility Certified Yet?

Are you ready to get your website accessibility certified? Click here to contact us about our monthly maintenance packages that include accessibility certification.

Good design drives business. In a world of cookie cutter, DIY websites, it can be easy to overlook the importance of a well-designed website. If you don’t sell your products online, why do you need a great website? Actually, there are a few reasons why good web design matters.

First, let’s define what “good web design” means. A well-built site is one that is:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Functions well and is easy to navigate
  • Provides useful content, including services and contact information

Now, on to why these aspects of web design really matter.

Validity

Have you ever searched for a business online and come up empty handed? Did you continue to try to find that business, or move on to another? Chances are, you moved on. And it could be because without a website, your business doesn’t seem legitimate. A well-built, informative, and responsive website shows your customers that your business not only exists, but that it takes their customers’ convenience seriously and therefore has a very easy-to-find website.

SEO

One study found that 87% of consumers searched for a business using a search engine, which means if your site’s SEO isn’t maximized, you could be missing out on potential customers. Good web design is a major factor in Google Ranking and hits on several areas including responsiveness, quality, security and more. Having a well-built site not only makes it easier for potential customers to navigate your site, it makes it easier for them to find you in the first place.

First Impression

You know the old saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” The same can be said for your website. How your website looks and functions says a lot about your company. If you’re willing to put time and effort into creating an easy way for potential customers to interact with your business, then you’re probably willing to do the same for them with your services. Shoddy websites can give the appearance that your business is cheap, antiquated, and/or disorganized.

Mobile

With nearly half of the world’s 3.9 billion internet users doing so from their mobile devices, not having your website mobile optimized is a problem. Having a well-designed site will usually start with a “mobile first” format. This will ensure that potential customers will be able to find you and your site, no matter where they are searching from.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Feeling like it might be time for an upgrade to your website? Wondering if you need a complete rebuild? Maybe just need a little help to get your site running better? We’re happy to answer your questions! Contact us and ask away.

When was the last time you looked at your business website? Like really looked at it? Chances are, you’ve been busy running your business and not putting enough time and effort into your website. Why is that a big deal? Because potential customers are going to judge your business based on your site. If it looks bad, is inaccessible via a mobile device, and or is not secure, they may decide to take their business elsewhere.

So how do you know if your site is out of date? Here are five areas to consider:

The Site Is Slow to Load

If your website takes forever to load – and by forever we mean if it’s not instantaneous – it’s slow. Consumers have high expectations: they want what they want and they want it right now. If your site takes too long to load, they are going to move on. Ensuring that your site is updated and utilizing a CDN will help it load quickly, keeping fast-moving consumers satisfied.

It’s Not Mobile Optimized

Pull up your website on your mobile device – can you see the entire site? Do all of the buttons show up? Do they work? Are the images sized correctly? If not, your website is not mobile optimized. With more than half of the world’s 3.9 billion internet users viewing websites from their mobile device, not having your site fully functional on mobile is a huge loss.

Your Content Is Old

Take a look at your about page. Is it still accurate? How about the images, the titles? Old content can be a huge red flag to consumers, not to mention confusing as well. Take time to update even tiny details and freshen up your content, it will make a big difference.

Your Micro Content Is Nonexistent

If your website is not showing your social media – or if your business social media doesn’t exist, fix it. Micro content is essential to keeping your business top of mind for consumers. Small bites of information can entice consumers because they can digest them quickly. Good micro content will point consumers to your website to find out more information, so do not miss out on that opportunity.

It Lacks Security

Does your URL have an “s” after the “http”? If not, you are running an unsecured site. While this may not seem like a big deal, if you are asking for potential customers to submit personal information like an email or phone number, they will know that their information is unsecured. In addition, Google Ranking Factors will rank your site lower if it lacks security.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Feeling a little overwhelmed by what needs to be updated on your website? We’re here to help. Contact us to talk through your business and website goals and we’ll help make it a reality.

For so many businesses, it may be a slow or very slow time. But slow time doesn’t have to be wasted time. Utilizing newly open hours of your day by doing some work on your business website will ensure that it is in tip-top shape as things begin to rebound. Hammersmith Support has brought you many blog posts over the last year and we’ve gathered several that have great information about why and also how to get your website updated.

Enroll in Google Search Console and Google Analytics

Are you using either of these FREE tools from Google yet? If not, now is the perfect time to get rolling. Google Search Console will help you pinpoint any issues on your site and keep you updated should something go down. Google Analytics is great way to see where traffic to your site is coming from and more.

Look at SEO

If you’ve been neglecting your site’s search engine optimization, we’ve got a few ideas about how to fix that. First, read about what SEO is. Next, check out these organic (read: free) ways to boost your SEO.

Start Your Business Blog

You really do need that business blog! Not only is this a great way to reach out to customers and potential customers, blogs also feed your micro content (i.e. social media) and boost your SEO. Learn how to get started here.

Freshen Up Your Site

A stale site is not only bad for SEO, but it’s bad from a customer perspective too. If a potential client sees that your site never gets touched, it can be a huge red flag. There are some easy ways to update your site with new images, refreshed image information, a blog, new reviews from clients, updates to your “about” page, etc.

Get Some Support

Are there areas of your site that need a professional touch? Or is your site in need of a full overhaul or rebuild? Drop us a note, let us know what you’re thinking about and we’ll help make it a reality.

We’re here to help. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

We are fortunate to know Katrina Oko-Odoi of ContentWorm from The W Source Scottsdale / Arcadia Chapter and we are so thrilled that she has shared her thoughts on how we can still be creating content marketing in the current climate. The coronavirus has crippled some businesses while bringing a huge influx of clients to others. This shift and the uncertainty of how long these changes will last creates interesting opportunities for supporting both those hurting and those flourishing. Here are Katrina’s thoughts on how to market during this time:

Don’t shy away from content marketing during a public health crisis. Chances are the heart of your content is still valuable, but it may need to be presented in slightly different terms or with a more sensitive approach. Your expertise hasn’t changed, but how it can be of benefit to your audience might. Follow these steps to attune your content to today’s climate.

  1. REACH OUT – Contact current clients and stakeholders. Express your concern and the actions you’re taking to keep the public and/or employees safe (if people don’t hear from you, it could leave a negative impression).
  2. ADJUST SCHEDULED CONTENT – Review all drafted content that’s already scheduled to publish (social media, blog articles, newsletters, PR coverage). As needed, adjust wording to be more sensitive and in tune with the climate. If the content is absolutely not usable right now, table it for later.
  3. DEVELOP NEW CONTENT – What unique insights can you offer that are immediately relevant to your audience? Focus on your expertise and how you can address the current reality of social isolation and quarantine. Opt for free, actionable resources that people are likely to engage with and share—this will help boost your visibility to a captive audience.
  4. REVIEW CURRENT CAMPAIGNS – Reassess current ad, product launch, or event campaigns and determine whether to adjust strategy and continue the campaign, delay, or cancel altogether.
  5. RESTRATEGIZE – Don’t halt current marketing efforts! Instead, rethink your strategy to be sensitive and helpful to current and prospective customers. Stay in communication and offer regular content for people to engage with: you have a captive audience looking for inspirational, practical resources. Position your brand as a go-to source for insights in your market. Start a new campaign to advertise any offerings of immediate need during this crisis.
  6. BE RESPONSIVE – Remain responsive and helpful to current clients. Even if you’re closed down temporarily or have limited staff, be transparent and offer any alternative solutions available. Customers will appreciate your communicativeness.
  7. STAY AGILE WITH YOUR CONTENT – Continue to monitor the situation and adjust efforts and messaging as needed. Send updates to clients and stakeholders as often as appropriate.

Above all, trust your instincts and stay true to your brand. Don’t try to be something or someone you’re not—focus on sharing the best of your organization during this time and the rest will flow from there. If you’re looking for more content support, please get in touch.

Katrina Oko-Odoi, PhD, ContentWorm Founder & Chief Content Strategist

katrina@contentworm.com | (619) 554-8595 | LinkedIn & Facebook

We are so excited to bring you a guest post this week from Beth Wand of BW Concepts. Beth specializes in planning and creating blogging content along with social media strategy and management for her clients. In this post, she will share with us some ideas about how to structure our own business blogs and why a business blog is important.

Hello! My name is Beth and I am the BW of BW Concepts. I create unique and creative content for my clients that helps build their online presence through a distinctive visual and written strategy. Is starting a business blog on your to do list but you’re just not sure where to start? It can feel like an overwhelming process! I have some ideas that can help you get your blog off the ground.

First, Why Blog?

As Hammersmith Support has shared a few times in a few ways, blogging has a huge return on investment. Not only does fresh content boost your SEO, but free content is a huge value add for clients. In addition, macro content from blogs can be diced up in to bite-sized micro content for social media posts, creating a cohesive look and sound to your business.

Where to Start?

When it comes to your business blog, creating a calendar of topics is the perfect place to start. Things to map out:

  • What are your busy times of year? When is it slow?
  • Do you offer any promotions, specials, or deals at any time? If so, when?
  • Are there any holidays that directly affect your business? Or are there any holidays that tie in nicely with your business?

Use these answers as topics, or as places to fill in topics. If your product is a big hit at Christmas, you’ll want to post more often in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you have vacation time planned in the summer, then plan your posts accordingly. This is also a great time to identify when your slow times are and plug in topics that might entice new customers at a normally down time.

Brainstorming Topics

Once you have the topics that correspond to the calendar, brainstorm a list of topics that are more tailored to your business. If you’re stumped, answer these questions:

  • What question do your potential clients or clients always ask you?
  • What do you wish people knew about your business?
  • How did you get started? What is your business’ story?
  • What is your “why”?
  • What problem does your product solve?
  • Who are your employees and what are their stories?

Once you have answers to these questions, start looking for topics. Answer the questions your clients always ask. Tell them why you started your business and what your favorite part is about it. Take those same topics and plug them into your calendar from above.

Get Writing

Not sure where to start on a topic? Who cares! Just start writing. So many times I have a topic, but I’m not 100% sure how all of the information is going to lay out. So I start with whatever section makes sense to me. Then I build from there. Sometimes I have to pivot and rework what I’ve already written, but often I end up leaving it as is and being able to create the rest of the post from that one section.

Things to remember:

  • Break it up. Use headers to visually break up the words on the page and give context to your post.
  • Know your audience. Be sure to write your posts for the person who is reading them. If you’re explaining your product to potential clients, be sure and start from the beginning and write like no one knows what your business is. Details details details.
  • Keep posts to about 350 words. If it’s longer, you’ll likely lose readers. Too short leaves them feeling ripped off.
  • Use images and name them appropriately. Readers love a good image and using the right naming system will help with SEO.
  • Edit your work. Read, reread, and ask a friend to take a quick look for grammatical errors too.

Want to know more? Click and follow Beth on social media and on her business blog as well:

beth@bw-concepts.com

www.bw-concepts.com

@bw_concepts1