There are few things as frustrating as posting an image to your website or social media, only to have it appear blurry in the final product. But with some app size requirements and the overall visual appeal of photos on a website, resizing is a necessary evil. So what’s a poster to do?? Here are three ways you can resize pictures easily with beautiful results.

Canva

If you’re not already using Canva, you should be! This free app will make you look like a pro when it comes to creating just about any kind of graphic. Use their pictures, your own pictures, emojis, color blocks  – you name it. You can literally create anything starting from scratch or using a Canva template.

One of the features we love best about Canva is the image resizing. Simply choose the format of the picture: Instagram post, Facebook banner, website image  – all of the formats you could want are loaded and ready for you. Upload your photo and pop it into the template. Stretch or shrink the image to fit the given size parameter and download. Voilà! You’ve got a crystal-clear image in the perfect size for your project.

iPhoto

If you have a Mac, you already have iPhoto to edit your pictures. It’s particularly nice if your backup is going to your computer so that all your iPhone photos are going automatically to iPhoto!

To resize an image, open iPhoto and click on the image you want to resize. On the right side of the screen, a menu of options will pop up. You’ll be able to enhance colors, add filters and of course, resize your image. Click and drag the bars to crop or change the layout of your picture – or type in the parameters of the photo size. Check out this post from The Social Report to see the current social media photo size requirements.

Windows Editor (for PC)

Similar to iPhoto, your PC comes with photo editing software as well. Start the same way by opening the picture you want to resize. Click either the edit button or the crop logo, both will take you to the photo editor. Using the dots in the corner of the picture, slide to the adjusted shape and size. You can also use “Aspect Ratio” to have the app create a frame for you to then fit your picture into. Simply click and move the picture around inside the frame to get the right position.

Want some more “how-to” tips? Click on over to our post about Google Console and why your website needs it.

As the Hammersmith team has created new and exciting websites for our clients, we began to see the growing need for those websites to be maintained and supported. Our clients were thrilled with the site build results, but didn’t have the time or the know how to keep their sites in tip-top shape on their own. And so Hammersmith Support was born to fill a new need for our clients.

What Is Website Maintenance / Support?

Have you ever researched when exactly the internet was started? It’s a mess of answers, depending on what one would consider the actual “internet” (the conception v modern day usage). Some date it back to 1983, some 1990 when it was more widely used. Either way, that is a substantial amount of time. And think of how far the internet has come; from dial up to now being able to DIY your own websites, to social media… the list goes on and on.

Given that timeline, it’s interesting that website support and maintenance is still in a toddler stage of growth. For all the material available on the internet, it’s amazing that many consumers are just now looking to other companies to maintain and support their websites. Many companies have overlooked security updates and patches, ignored malware attempts to corrupt data, and leave site content stale and not updated – all important aspects of website maintenance.

Why Is Maintenance Important?

As the internet continues to evolve, so do the hazards for users. Security breaches and malware being two of the most urgent risks. Each of these can bring down your site, or worse, can steal data and or identifiable information about your customers. This is an increasingly high risk for sites using ecommerce. Even sites that only generate leads are at risk of customer contact information being stolen. The risk of malware corrupting your site and taking it offline is a huge risk, especially those businesses dependent on their site for sales.

On the less scary side, website maintenance and support is crucial for businesses that can’t or don’t want to do the work themselves. Imagine needing to update your product information, pricing, run an update – all while handling the other time sensitive issues of your business. It’s hard to prioritize when everything feels like a top priority.

How Hammersmith Support Solves this Issue

Our goal at Hammersmith Support is to provide comprehensive service through preventative maintenance and client driven content updates. Our preventative maintenance includes site security updates, site backups, optimization and premium site hosting.

This two prong approach ensures that your website not only run efficiently and safely, it’s also up to date with your content changes – a winning combination. Click here to see the Hammersmith Support service packages.

It’s amazing how many options are available to companies needing to build a website! Professional companies vary widely, as does the cost to build a website. And the do-it-yourself versions? The platforms, hosting, and services are all distinctly different, too. So how does an owner make a decision about which direction to go? Here is some food for thought when it comes to choosing whether you should try to go it on your own or choose a company to build your site.

DIY Websites

There are a few things to consider when it comes to building your own site. The first and most important is how much time and effort you want to put toward building a website yourself. Some questions to consider: are you technologically savvy? A quick learner? Able to work through issues on your own? These are all good questions to ask when evaluating how much time it may take you to build a site on your own.

Next, evaluate which platform to use to build your site. There are many options out there – everything from building with straight code to using templates, some with support, some without….again, the right answer has a lot to do with how much time you are able to dedicate to the build. Things to consider: how much support does the platform offer with your package? Is hosting included? A content delivery network? Security updates? Application plugin availability?

Professionally Built Websites

A professionally built website comes with its own questions, too. Not every company is the right fit for every customer. Some may provide more than a small business needs, others may not provide enough. Questions to ask when looking for the right fit; what exactly do I need my website to do (ecommerce, blog, evolving portfolio)? What are my ongoing needs (maintenance, content updates, security)? What is my budget for both?

Finding the right fit in a website build is crucial to developing and maintaining a successful site. Being open and honest about what you need for your business, along with being realistic about the ongoing services your site needs, should land you in the right place.

At Hammersmith Support, we strive to ensure that our clients are provided with the best combination of listening to their needs and educating them about the areas they are less familiar with in order to develop and maintain the most successful website for their business.

If you are a parent. If you are friends with parents. Then you need to read this interview! We’re excited to introduce you to our Hammersmith Support client, Marni Steinberg of iGen Parenting.  Marni founded this speaker series to not only educate parents but also to start a conversation between parents and their kids about the important topics facing today’s youth.  We hope you enjoy reading about Marni and iGen Parenting as much as we have enjoyed working with her!

Tell us a little about you

As a University of Arizona graduate, my college experience is a big part of my life. Even today, I am still close with my group of friends from that time. After college I moved to New York City to start my career in advertising. As hard as it was to move across country with no job, money or friends, I am proud of myself for doing it and my experience was priceless. I moved back west through Colorado and then returned home to Arizona. Professionally, I have over 25 years of experience in project management and client services, including senior positions in advertising, marketing, public relations, sponsorships, fundraising and event execution. Personally, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, going to the movies, eating out, hiking and exercising. The majority of my free time is now filled with my daughter’s activities and social life and I am trying to enjoy every moment of it as she really is growing up fast.

What is iGen Parenting?

I decided to start iGen Parenting because I was hearing so much about the issues and concerns my friends were experiencing with their older kids. My daughter is currently in Second Grade but, time and time I again I have said “I can see the future” through what I am hearing as friends navigate tween and teen life. I want a resource in place to provide topical information and I believe that iGen Parenting can be that resource for parents. They always say there is no manual or handbook for being a parent and every kid is different. I believe that but I also think that information from experts can help guide you. iGen Parenting will bring those experts together for you in its monthly sessions and break down some of the important topics you need to know about.

What is unique about your style and product offering?

The idea of iGen Parenting it is not only to provide speakers who are experts in their field who bring information directly to parents but also to build up the community by enabling parents to share with each other as they tackle everyday situations with their kids.

As a parent myself, I believe the iGen Parenting series will inform parents by providing them with expert advice and information about a host of important topics like drugs, bullying, cyber-safety, tolerance and emotional wellness.

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

If you see a need for a service, fill it! Let your passion be your fuel.

Want to learn more about iGen Parenting? Click on their contact information below! Their upcoming speakers series schedule is below as well:

info@igenparenting.com

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www.igenparenting.com

Tuesday, August 20 – How to Reach, Teach and Support Today’s Kids

Tuesday, September 17 – Drugs in Middle School

Tuesday, October 15 – Raising Good Digital Citizens While Keeping Them Safe Online

Tuesday, November 19 – Keeping the Conversation Going with Your Tween

Tuesday, January 14 – Your Tween’s Mood: When Is It More Than ‘Just a Phase’?

Tuesday, February 11 – Suicide Warning Signs

Tuesday, March 24 – No Place for Hate in the Schools (ADL Hate Crime Initiative)

Tuesday, April 21 – Arizona Laws and Your Tween: What You Don’t Know

Want to read more about women in business? Click on over to our blog page to find more!

laptop computer and tablet screen all with the Flip Off Game logo on them

No, that’s not a typo! We’re excited to introduce you to one of the most fun projects we’ve worked on: Flip Off Game! When founder, Erik Nelson brought his project to us, we quickly found ourselves in stitches laughing over the video of the game being played. We had a great time building this site and working through content to explain how to play this hilarious competition.

Flip Off! is an exciting and rapidly moving game that combines skill, luck, and teamwork for a race to the finish. Transportable too, Flip Off goes to tailgates, bars, parties – you name it! All you need are some willing participants and a competitive spirit.

How to Play

Flip Off Game combines two favorite drinking games, Flip Cup and Quarters resulting a fast paced, fun hybrid! After defining your team, each player works to flip their disk (looks like a cardboard coaster) onto a red plastic cup. If your disk lands on the “bird” side, pass your cup and disk left. If your disk lands on “tailfeather”, skip the next player. If the other team’s flipper catches up on your right and lands the “bird” before you OR the player two-away from you lands the “tailfeather” side and skips over to you, you are out of the game. The last player remaining wins!

Check out the Flip Off Game video on how to play here. And yes, the game is suitable for all ages, alcohol not required!

Giving Back

One of the parts we love most about the Flip Off Game is that a portion of every sale goes to the American Cancer Society in honor of founder Erik Nelson’s friend, Austin. Austin lost his battle with colon cancers in 2015 and in his fun-loving honor, a donation is made to fight this terrible disease.

Get Your Game On

So, are you ready to get your Flip Off on? Click on over to get your game today!

Want to see more about Hammersmith Support projects? Click on over to our blog page.

At Hammersmith Support, one of our core values is to give back. Every year, we choose a local charity to assist through website support services, pro bono. Our goal is to further their mission by enabling their online presence to be everything it can be.

#LoveUp Foundation

Our current pro bono client is the #LoveUp Foundation. This Phoenix-based charity is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to assisting children in the foster care system. We use that phrase because of all the amazing services #LoveUp Foundation offers to children in foster care. Their services range from entertainment at a Diamondbacks game, to holiday parties complete with an overwhelming amount of gifts for deserving kids, to supporting teenagers as they “age out” of the foster care system. These teenagers are thrust into the real world with little support and the #LoveUp Foundation is happy to help them get the supplies they need for a new home, job opportunities, and more.

Why They’re Needed

The #LoveUp Foundation has an ever-growing population of kids who need help. Why’s that? Because the stats on children in the foster care system are staggering:

  • Over 438,000 children are in the foster care system across the United States
  • 20,000 children annually “age out” of the system at 18 years old
  • 1 in 5 of those children will experience homelessness after the age of 18
  • Fewer than 3% of foster children earn a college degree
  • 1 in 4 children in foster care will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

How You Can Help

It’s hard to read those stats and not wonder how to get involved! #LoveUp Foundation has several ways for us to do so. They’re always in need of monetary donations, but you can also volunteer at an event for the kids. Your business can participate in the Arizona State Corporate Tax Credit, which is a dollar for dollar credit to the donor. And maybe the easiest way to help is to purchase a #LoveUp Foundation t-shirt, the proceeds of which go towards funding the various projects that #LoveUp Foundation is working on. Not only does this help underwrite the costs of the foundation, but it also helps to spread awareness about #LoveUp Foundation, which is critical in supporting this valuable charity.

Want to learn more about our commitment to service in our community? Click on over to our Giving Back page to find out our “why.”

What is website hosting? If you’ve ever built a website, or even needed support for your site, you’ve probably had to answer the question “where is your site hosted?”. To break it down, 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.

Why Does the Site Host Matter?

Where your site is hosted matters for several reasons. First, not all hosts offer the same kind of services. It’s kind of like shopping at a grocery store verses a convenience store. They both sell food, but the quality, variety, and selection vary widely. Each website host is different, offering varying levels of security, plug in applications, reporting, support and more.

And those differences? Can be a deal breaker. Take for example the content delivery network; if a potential client clicks on your URL….and waits….and waits…and the site loads oh-so-slowly, the chances of them sticking around until the site loads are slim to nil. A great CDN will ensure that no matter from where a person visits your site, it will always load quickly and completely. Another potential deal breaker? Security. That all important “s” in “https” is a Secure Socket Layer. It’s the security guard for your site ensuring that your visitor’s information stay safe. Even if you don’t take credit card information, your site is still vulnerable to hackers stealing contact information. Or even general malware that takes your site down. Which is why good security is important for all websites.

Why Hammersmith Uses WP Engine Host

At Hammersmith Support, we exclusively use the WP Engine Hosting. It is the best value for the price by including sturdy basics like Global Edge security, a managed content delivery network and award winning support. 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.

Ready to Get Started?

Click on our link to get started with the best, WP Engine hosting.

This week’s blog focuses on our colleague and friend, Lyndsay Clements of Ellen Grace Marketing. We have worked with Lyndsay on countless projects, some remodels, some ground up builds – and we’ve enjoyed every minute of it! We know you’ll enjoy hearing about how she moved from the corporate marketing world to building her own company.

Tell me a little about you – Where did you grow up? What inspires you?

women in blazer and denim shirt looks up smiling from computer ellen grace marketing


I grew up in Scottsdale and then went went to college in Northern CA (Santa Clara University).  I ended up in San Francisco for 10 years working mostly in corporate retail and then getting my MBA in Marketing before I relocated back to Phoenix for a job promotion.  I am inspired to help small business owners grow faster and more efficiently.  I have a business partner (Craig) who is also my brother.  Combined we bring over 30 years of corporate retail experience to our clients and are passionate about helping them accelerate their growth and increase profitability.

Why did you decide to start Ellen Grace Marketing?


Prior to starting this business in 2015, I worked for larger retailers and really learned the ins and out of retail.  Large companies are smart in how they look at their marketing and sales data, to help them make strategic decisions.

About 4 years ago, I started to realize – mostly through conversations with friends who had either opened up a retail store or were selling products and services online – that there was an opportunity.  Most smaller business owners were brilliant at sourcing products and really passionate about understanding their customers’ needs but sometimes neglected their marketing or analyzing sales data because they wore so many hats.

It was then that I decided to go out on my own and bring the corporate way of going-to-market I had learned into the hands of smaller businesses, primarily retailers.  This also gave me the opportunity to be more flexible and present with our family.  My husband and I have two daughters whose middle names are Ellen and Grace, hence the name of the company.  I wanted to create a business that gave me the flexibility to work hard while still being present for those valuable moments that I saw myself missing while working in a corporate office.

What is unique about your style and product offering?


While we are a marketing company at the core, we are hyper-focused on driving profits for our clients.  Marketing can bring customers in the door and drive sales, but at the end of the day there are so many factors that contribute to our clients’ bottom line.  Our reporting and data analytics encompass key figures that a typical marketer would not normally unveil.  These areas include profit margins, churn rates, customer lifetime value, customer & product segmentation, as well as taking a deeper dive into the Financials/P&L statements and helping businesses develop sales tracking and forecasting.

What advice would you give other women business owners?

Don’t be afraid of your business numbers and data.  It’s so empowering to know what’s working.  At the end of the day we only have so much bandwidth to execute our plans and having visibility to what’s working will help you stay focused on the right marketing efforts, make smarter decisions and ultimately increase sales & profits.

Contact Lyndsay at:

www.ellengracemarketing.com

@ellengracemarketing

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salmon color block "what is SEO" in white lettering Hammermsith Support

You’ve certainly heard the term SEO thrown around – especially when it comes to your business website. But you may have been left thinking, “What is SEO and why do I need it?”.

The Breakdown

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization – so think Google, Bing, Yahoo – any site you would go to for searching information. These engines crawl through all of the websites on the internet and rank them in order to deliver the searcher the best, most accurate results for their query. Search engine optimization means the organic or natural return of a website based on a query – i.e. without advertising or other paid for processes.

Why It’s Important

So why is it important to have natural or organic results from a search engine? In a word, good SEO is free. It means without paying for advertising, boosts or anything else, your website will be in the search results of a query. Of course you could pay for these returns, but if your site is naturally appearing, it’s more likely that your site will get a look from the searcher because it most closely matches what they are looking for. And a happy searcher is just good for business. Plus, you’ll save on your bottom line.

How to Improve SEO

To improve your site’s search engine optimization, start first by enrolling in Google Search Console. This free app will show you how Google is analyzing your site and pinpoint any areas of the site that are possibly not being categorized correctly by a search engine. Second, give search engines lots of fresh information to crawl through. Search engines won’t continually re-analyze a site, so creating new content to be evaluated is key. Update product information, add a blog, video blog, and or new images often to keep the crawlers working. Lastly, make sure all your videos and image information are completed – alt text, caption, description and title are all analyzed by search engines, so don’t miss an opportunity to give more important information.

We absolutely love working with Jena and Blush Cactus. Jena’s vision for branding and marketing focuses on not only stunning visuals but also loads of other creative resources, as well as strategy planning for your business. Being like-minded women entrepreneurs, Hammersmith Support and Blush Cactus make the perfect team. We hope you enjoy learning about Jena and her company as much as we have.

Tell me a little about you – Where did you grow up? What inspires you?

I’m the owner and creative force behind Blush Cactus Boutique Design Studio. Like many people here in the greater Phoenix area, I’m a transplant. I grew up in a small town in South Dakota, went to college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, and eventually settled here in AZ a little over 8 years ago.

As a business owner, I’ve learned the importance of personal development and it’s a big source of my inspiration and what keeps me going. I love listening to podcasts and reading books about business and self-development and I’m passionate about helping other creatives like myself navigate starting their own businesses or work it in supplementing their full time job with freelance. I love what I do, and I love helping others succeed doing what they love, too.

Why did you decide to start Blush Cactus?

I’ve been a graphic designer for over 12 years and a business owner for 5 of them. Originally my business started with my name on the door – Design by Jena. I know, so creative! But as my business has grown, I realized the need to scale my business and it isn’t just me doing all the work any more! I love being able to collaborate with other creatives to provide my clients with a variety of services I couldn’t do by myself, and also do it with the best of the best talent in their industries.

Soon we’ll be offering an online course that will help other creatives start their own businesses, coaching them how to get clients as well as the money they deserve. My hope and goal is to also create a community where creatives can find support and guidance from other people who are doing what they do. It can get lonely being a business owner and wearing all the hats, so having a community to lean into will help others feel like they’re not alone and have support. I’m super excited about that!

What is unique about your style and product offering?

I have a passion for making things beautiful and delivering an end result that the client didn’t even know they wanted or needed. Our team helps clients brand their businesses from the inside out, and create the all the supporting design assets to go along with it. A brand is so much more than a logo: it’s knowing who your customers are and how you want them to feel that makes a big difference. I care deeply about the success of my clients and operate by a set of values that is never compromised. It’s our secret sauce for creating loyal customers for life.

What advice would you give other women business owners?

Never stop learning! Find a mentor who you look up to – whether it’s books, influencers in your space, or even someone in-person who’s further along than you. Surround yourself with people who are doing big things and learn from them. Keep your eyes open for opportunity, but also learn the art of saying “no” when it’s appropriate. Take time to care for yourself and fill your own cup – as business owners we can get a little carried away working ALL the time (because we love it, duh!), but it’s just as important to take time off and regroup. Your creativity depends on it! Remember community over competition – it’s more important to be supportive than to try and compete to be the best. And remember that people will never forget the experience they had with your brand, so lead with that.

Follow and Connect with Jena and Blush Cactus:

www.cactusblush.com

@blush.cactus

https://www.facebook.com/blushcactus/

e.jena@cactusblush.com

p.480.540.7794