Last year Hammersmith Support launched our first ever giveaway, 3 months of maintenance for one lucky winner. And that winner was Erica Scott of Civilian Connections! Civilian Connections is a human resources company that works to connect businesses looking to hire with veteran talent.

Did you know that our maintenance packages include not only updates and lead testing, but also either 2 or 4 hours of content updates depending on the service package? After working with Civilian Connections to understand the what sorts of improvements they were looking for, we were able to put those content hours to good use by making additional changes to their site.

Updates + Security

In talking with the team at Civilian Connections, we were able to understand the issues they were having with their site. Our own evaluation showed some additional updates that needed to be made as well as upgrading the security of the site. This included platform as well as plugin updates. Each of the changes was not only important for the functionality of the site but also for usability and SEO.

Content

One of the things that Civilian Connections wanted to update was the overall site content. We were able to rework the home page content and design to make the company’s mission clearer to readers. While the messaging remained consistent and on-brand, we were able to make the wording and layout clearer and more concise to effectively convey that message. We also updated the social media buttons on each page, placing them prominently.

Upgrades

In addition to giving the overall site a good once-over, Hammersmith Support also advised adding some much-needed integrations. We tied Civilian Connections’ email sign-up to their Mailchimp account. So now when someone signs up with email, the email address is automatically loaded into their contacts, making email marketing that much easier. In addition, we added Google Analytics tracking to the site, which enables lead attribution and helps them decide where their marketing dollars will be used most effectively.

Before and After

Check out the site before and after! With some simple image changes (and all with full optimization!) as well as content clarifications, the site now functions better and is visually pleasing.

Civilian Connections website before

And after!

See it for yourself! Click on over Civilian Connections.

Hammersmith Support Can Help You Too!

Does reading this make you think that your site could use this kind of TLC too? Click over to our Calendly page to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

And stay tuned! We are excited to make an announcement next week about our Giving Back program!

Hammersmith Support is honored and excited to announce that we are now a member of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce! Our membership was kicked off with a virtual Ribbon Cutting ceremony where Hammersmith Support was welcomed by attending members and Ambassadors.

Rooted in Arizona History

Founded in 1908 – four years before Arizona became a state – the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s mission has been to foster community and the economy in the city of Tempe to sustain the quality of life for the residents of the city. With more than 650 businesses representing nearly 70,000 employees, TCC is committed to advocating, connecting, and promoting the businesses of Tempe.

Hammersmith Support’s Role

Hammersmith Support’s owner and founder, Heather Locke, gave a brief introduction of the company, our core values, some of the services we offer, and also explained why we love what we do. Heather answered some great questions from members about why we love WordPress and who our ideal clients might be. This was followed by a few kind words from Kelly Lorenzen of KLM Consulting and Marketing, who is also a member of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce. And finally, the official (virtual) ribbon was cut!

Goals and Ideals in Alignment

We have been hearing for years from friends and business associates about how wonderful the Tempe Chamber of Commerce is and now seemed like the best time to jump right in. Our team is looking forward to joining with old friends, meeting new acquaintances, and helping this organization in its efforts to positively impact the quality of life and robust economy of the city of Tempe. Hammersmith Support’s emphasis on giving back aligns perfectly with the Tempe Chamber of Commerce’s investment in advocacy and business development working in tandem.

Thank You and Join us!

We’d like to express our gratitude to Anne Gill, Sukki Jahnke, and Ayrianna Drayton for organizing and hosting the event and to Cox Business for sponsoring this great event! If you’d like more information about how Hammersmith Support can help you, please click over to our Calendly link to book a free 30-minute consultation. And for more information about the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, take a look at their site.

Johannes Gutenberg was the German inventor who brought the printing press to Europe in the 15th century and started the printing revolution, but enough of history, today Gutenberg is a new WordPress Visual editor that is integrated into the WordPress core. 

Gutenberg was officially released on December 6, 2019. The new editor is based on visual blocks and allow you to easily make rich content layouts.

When creating a new page or post, you add blocks to the content area. The blocks can be text, images, galleries, video etc. You can also add columns of content. 

Each content block can be styled or have a css class applied to it. 

While it’s always difficult to transition to something new, I believe Gutenberg is going to open up a lot of layout possibilities without using a lot of extra plugins or page templates. Over the next few months, I will be posting more content / demonstrations on how to use Gutenberg. 

As of January 2019, PHP 5 will no longer be supported. What, pray tell, is PHP and why does this matter?

PHP is an open source programming language that is used for web development and is the language WordPress is written in.

The latest version of PHP is 7.1.20, but a lot of WordPress sites are still using version 5. This is a problem because version 5 is reaching its End-of-Life. That sounds almost like a nice vision of retirement, doesn’t it?

On the contratry, End-of-Life (EOL) in software means that a version/product will no longer be supported or maintained. This means that if any security holes are found, they will not be patched, which would put your site at risk for security breaches or plugin failures.

There are several plugins available to help you test your site to see if it’s compatible with the newest version of PHP. My personal favorite is WP Engine’s PHP compatibly checker. Once you know that your site is compatible, you would contact your host to change the PHP version or log into your hosting account to change it yourself. Make sure that you have a good, working back up of your site and databases before you make any changes.

If you are a Hammersmith Support client, never fear…this is being taken care of for you. If you need help with this, please reach out. We love helping clients keep their sites updated, secure, and running smoothly.

Disclaimer: I love WordPress so this post may be slightly biased.

Both WordPress and Wix are solid choices for a website.

Wix is a hosted solution where you pay monthly for the hosting and site. Although the monthly cost is initially low, adding additional features can add on to the price. Wix also has beautiful templates, but the ability to customize them is limited. If you just need a simple, one-page site with limited functionality, Wix may be right for you.

WordPress is an open source platform. WordPress offers a hosted solution, but you can also run WP on your own server or hosting account. It’s estimated that WordPress powers 25% of all sites on the web. This means there is a huge community that supports and develops features and plugins. Open source also means it’s more vulnerable to hacking, so WordPress sites have to be maintained and updated regularly.