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.

This is a topic that has plagued all small business owners at one time or another; how do I use social media for my business? Which platform? What’s appropriate? We sat down with Ashley Richards of E Squared Marketing to get the scoop on business and social media.

How Do I Decide Which Social Media Platforms to Use for My Business?

This is a question we get often and it all depends on your business and where your ideal audience is. However, we always recommend you have a presence and business page on the most popular and active social media platforms which include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The other social media platforms like LinkedIn, TikTok, and Pinterest will be variables depending on your end goal and campaigns you are trying to promote to evaluate if it makes sense to use them. A bonus tip for you – if you have a social media profile on specific platforms, be sure to keep it active and relevant. No one wants to see that your last post was from November 2016.

Facebook and Instagram Stories…Do We Really Need Them for Our Business?

Stories are a large component of these platforms, and we highly recommend using them often. A few tips for stories: Every post you add to your feed, you should add to stories to let your audience know you have a new post. Use gifs, stickers, polling, and fun hashtags to liven it up. If you have content that is not grid-worthy, stories are also another great place to showcase it. Behind the scenes, sneak peaks, consumer polling, and tagging other business partners and clients is a great way to use this feature as well. It helps keep the ‘social’ in social media, driving more attention and engagement to your pages.

So Should We Use the Same #’s for Stories as for Our Static Posts?

No, we always recommend adding 1, maybe 2 relevant hashtags to your story that go well with the image/video you are posting, but we always recommend using the tagging feature over anything else. This allows your brand to tag another brand/individual and the ease of sharing is incredible, giving you more exposure from that original story.

Do I Need to Separate My Personal Page From My Business Page?

Personal Vs Business Pages very much depend on your business and the model you are after. Current trends on social media are all about personal, raw, and authentic, so letting a little personal slide into your business is never a bad thing. A Happy Holidays from your family is a great example, where it is still business driven but has that personal side as well. All pages should be set up as a business, so you can take advantage of all the tools available to you on social media that are available with that type of page.

LinkedIn: Publish an Article or Link to a Blog on My Website?

One tip we give to our clients is to think—what if your social media page went away? What if that platform you rely on for business suddenly shut down? It is a scary way to think, however it helps our clients realize to never put your eggs all in one basket. Our goal is to get followers on all of your platforms and your web page to gain more brand recognition and trust in you as a business. With that said, we recommend sharing a link with a teaser in the caption to encourage followers to click to read more.

Does TikTok Have a Place in Business Marketing?

It can, but it really depends on that target audience again. As of January 2020, 60% of TikTok users are between ages 13 and 24, and 60% are women. Advertising is fairly new on this ever-growing platform, so they recommend adding content and staying extremely active to gain an organic following before investing money for ads. They did roll out a TikTok Creator Marketplace that is great for connecting with influencers on the platform to start a discussion about developing a campaign together. This will cost you and that price varies from person to person, but it’s a great way to expand your reach on the platform if you want to utilize it for business.

Is Twitter Dead?

No Way! Just a relevant platform for certain industries to capitalize on. Business types that generally do well on Twitter include politics, sports, and entertainment (including celebrities). It is a great conversation platform where you can jump in, make recommendations, sprinkle some humor, and also drop facts and tips. Most of our clients use the platform to share content but are utilizing ad dollars on other platforms since they don’t fall into the categories above.

Any Tips on How to Increase Organic Reach?

As the algorithms change on all platforms, so does the opportunity to reach your audience organically. There are several factors and things we recommend to increase your organic reach. Some of our favorites are:

  1. Post Consistently & Authentically – share content and tips, don’t just try to sell.
  2. Ask Questions/Utilize Polling – use the feature on your page to engage your audience to get involved.
  3. Tag Friends & Businesses – Tagging businesses and individuals helps get your post found and increases your engagement even more if that friend or business shares your post. Keeping that “social” in social media.”

About Ashley and E Squared Marketing

Ashley Richards

We’re a dedicated team of marketing professionals who take your business’ goals and knock them out of the park. We bring a personal touch to everything we do – And we’re just as committed to having fun as we are to flawlessly executing results-driven marketing strategy.

In 2017, Ashley launched E Squared Marketing to provide creative digital solutions and heightened value to small to medium-sized businesses. Whatever your needs, Ashley provides a fresh perspective and creative yet pragmatic leadership to lead your business to success. Ashley is a graduate of the University of Phoenix and when she’s not working, you can find this Arizona native enjoying hikes with her husband of 7 years, Brandon, and their two adorable children, Ellie and Eli.

Website: www.esquaredmarketing.com

Instagram: @esquaredmarketing

Facebook: E Squared Marketing

Want to read more interviews from women in business? Click over to our blog for industry topics and insights.

Two years ago California passed the “California Consumer Privacy Act” that went into effect on January 1st, 2020. The act is designed to enhance privacy rights of consumers by allowing them to know if and how their private information is collected and how it will be used. In addition, websites must now give customers the chance to opt out of having information collected. Do you know if your website will be affected and how to comply? We’ve got the breakdown for you:

What Is the CCPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act is designed to let consumers know what information is collected about them when they visit a site – and what the company collecting will do with the information. This includes if the data is used for marketing purposes or if it’s being sold to other companies. If so, the buying company must be disclosed. Consumers are given options to:

A. Opt out of their information being collected

B. Access the information that is collected

C. Request that any information collected be deleted by the company

Lastly, consumers who enact any of the above are not to be discriminated against by the site for which they have opted out of data collection.

How Does It Work?

Websites must provide a process to obtain parental consent for minors under 13 years old who are visiting sites, as well as consent for minors between 13 and 16 years old. There must also be detailed methods for submitting requests for data, which needs to include, at minimum, a telephone number. The home page must include a link where consumers can opt out of the sale of information. All of the above must be detailed in the privacy policies on the website.

Who Has to Comply?

Here’s the good news, not all businesses have to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act. Any business that does business in California AND satisfies at least one of the following must comply:

  1. Gross annual revenue in excess of $25 million
  2. Possesses personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices
  3. Earns more than half of the annual revenue from selling consumer information

Need more information? Click over to the California Consumer Privacy Act website for more information.

Here at Hammersmith Support, we’ve been highlighting the various ways to boost your website’s SEO organically – meaning without paid ads / services. Fresh content, both internal and external links, using Google Search Console are all important parts of SEO. But what about the videos and images you’re using in your content? Are you getting the maximum SEO boost that you could from those images? Here are 5 items to consider for each visual post to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your image bucks:

File Name

When uploading pictures to your website for a blog or any purpose really, be sure that your file name is complete. Web crawlers look to the name of each image to categorize it. Be sure to use plain but distinctive language and avoid keyword stuffing at all costs. For example, if using this image:

Hammersmith Support Website Maintenance

The image name could be “Hammersmith Support Website Maintenance”. This allows search engines to categorize the image and keeps your site name prominent as well.

Alt Text

Alt Text is often over looked because most don’t understand what it is and what it does. Alt Text are the descriptive words that appear should an image fail to load. The wording is also used for those who are visually impaired. Similar to the image name, using a short and plain, but distinctive description works best for web crawlers to analyze and catagorize. The difference is that the description should also include model numbers, years, anything that is specific to the image.

For this image, the Alt Text could be “Meridian Search Consultants Website Build 2019 Graphic on Laptop Screen”.

Meridian Search Consultants Website Build 2019 Graphic on Laptop Screen

Size Images

Keeping the size of your images in mind is important because an image that is too large won’t load quickly. This is an issue for both SEO and for your visitors. Most are not going to wait around for 3-5 seconds for an image to load. So keeping image size on the smaller side is important. On that same note, keep image sized uniform as well. This is less for SEO and more for the visual appeal of your site – which is important for keeping visitors there longer.

Captions

While these are analyzed for SEO, captions are utilized mostly by readers. Captions are the short descriptions under an image – they’re descriptive, yet not literal like Alt Text. Readers scan captions quicker than the body of the page content – if they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’re likely to bounce out of the site. So good captions keep readers.

The caption for this image could read “At Hammersmith Support, understanding our client’s needs is the paramount to our work.”

Hammersmith Support

Use Relevant Images

Slapping just any old image on your site won’t do you any good with boosting your SEO. Be sure that the images you choose are relevant not only to your business, but more importantly, be sure that they are pertinent to the content around the image. Using relevant images to your topic is important from a few angles. First, it lends validity to your site from a search engine standpoint, and a visitor one as well. Second, it gives an informative and professional appearance to your site. Avoid posting any images that don’t work with your content – the result is spammy and will turn off readers and search engines.

Don’t have any images to use? Don’t worry! There are tons of free stock photo sites out there – our favorites are Canva and Pexels. Just be sure your images are on topic.

woman in pink head wrap and light blue suit Hera Hub Phoenix

We are huge fans (and clients) of Hera Hub! This female focused co-working space offers various forms and levels of office space for busy professionals that may not need a full office every single day. Whether it’s a quiet room to focus or shoot a video, meeting room, or a co-working space, Hera Hub has it all. What makes Hera Hub so special, is that it’s not just a business. Their mission is to foster women’s businesses and build up the community by providing productive work space and opportunities for collaboration. It is that mission that makes Hera Hub so special to us. We hope you enjoy reading about Shatha, the CEO of Hera Hub, Phoenix.

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

I was born in Homs, Syria, moved to Chicago as a young girl and settled in Phoenix as an adult. I’ve traveled the world, spending a lot of time in the Middle East. Witnessing so many diverse cultures throughout the world has been my inspiration to build figurative bridges across industries, communities, cities, and more. I believe women have innate capabilities and gifts that can bring people, families, cultures and minds together, once she has stepped into her full leadership potential.

Why did you decide to open Hera Hub Phoenix?

I stepped away from my corporate career knowing I wanted something different out of life. After soul searching, I founded a non-profit which became my full-time job. We began to grow our family and I found myself completely underwater managing the non-profit and our family. While in this state of chaos, I discovered Hera Hub and I was blown away by the concepts and their mission. I knew this is what I had been searching for; a space that allowed me to bring my passion for uniting women and fostering small business growth for our community.

What is unique about your style and product offering?

I wanted to create a working environment that was not only conducive to business, but one that created calm inspiration. Hera Hub is just that; a zen, spa-inspired, productive work space.  A place where people come in and really feel that this is the office space they always wanted. Where they are surrounded by people that they can relate to, collaborate with, and be comfortable around doing business. Our space is flexible; it works well for both short visits for focus, to full days of work that require both quiet and collaboration. We offer meeting rooms, conference rooms, training rooms, and event space all in one location making it easy to accommodate many different levels of business.

In addition, Hera Hub is absolutely dedicated to our mission of supporting women in business.  We’ve partnered with many organizations and groups to pull resources and connections to provide and support women to thrive in Phoenix.  Our aim is to be that inclusive and diverse landing spot and launching pad for women in the valley!

What advice would you give other women business owners?

I would say to female business owners is to not underestimate yourself or undervalue yourself. I talk to many women who don’t want to highlight their accomplishments and share their wins.  If this is still uncomfortable for you, then write it down, have it on your website and your brand content.  Then, surround yourself with others that will not only cheer you on, but can also highlight and be your advocate.  You’ve worked hard for all the work that you’ve done and deserve the recognition!

women with auburn hair in a cream sweater in a light room soft smile and looking away from camera

We’re excited to share an interview with Nancy Lynn Miller of Posh Creative. She is a wildly talented photographer and the sole proprietor of Posh Creative. We were thrilled to partner with her on the redesign of Hammersmith Support’s website; Nancy was able to capture the human side of what is typically a faceless industry and we couldn’t be happier with the results.  Nancy’s calm yet extraordinary approach to photography is so appealing – we had to know more about her. We hope you enjoy her story as much as we have.

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

“I moved a lot growing up. I went to 9 different schools in my 12-year education span. I was always ‘the new kid’, which worked well with my natural sense of autonomy – I didn’t ever want to be boxed in. Which is funny because I like boxing myself in when it comes to my creativity because I enjoy breaking through those set boundaries. That is why I am so fulfilled by in-home lifestyle photography. I walk into a house, and that is what I have to work with. I get a surge of excitement when I’m getting the tour – I love finding and using a spot in the home that isn’t necessarily the most obvious.”

Why did you start Posh Creative?

“In January of 2007, I launched Posh Creative as a boutique graphic design and creative photography business. I added the ‘creative’ in front of photography because, although I loved doing headshots and taking photos for my design clients, I was not the most technically skilled photographer out there. I worked with a wedding photographer as a second shooter and learned a ton from her – including the fact that I didn’t really want to be a wedding photographer!  However, I soon discovered the shoots that felt less like work were the kind of client sessions that lit me up inside. I was already doing newborn sessions in-home, and I could so clearly envision how well it would work for families at any stage in their growth. Years later, I still love it.”

What is unique about your style and product offering?

“I think being a graphic designer, photographer, and a mom serves me well in all areas. I shoot to document the authentic beauty and connection in a family’s everyday life with the storytelling component and editing aesthetic of a magazine editorial. My sessions feel relaxed and easy. No forced poses or smiles. I want to document who the family is now, not how I’ve styled them up to be. I am freezing time and I ultimately believe I am shooting for the family they will be in 10 years. It can feel very intimate but to capture those varied, authentic expressions from a 4-year-old, telling his mom a story as he’s coloring at the kitchen table is priceless to me.”

What advice would you give other women business owners?

“Be you. Don’t compare yourself or your business to others. Seek guidance and get inspired by those who you resonate with – but take it all with a grain of salt. There is no right or wrong way to build your business and establish your brand. The truer you are to yourself and your work, the more ideal clients and customers you will attract. There is more than enough business to go around, and not everything is a good fit for you. It’s OK to say ‘no’ to projects and people that will drain you. This will leave you with the energy to take on the projects and people that lift you up. Know what YOUR personal and professional goals are, not what society conditions you to think you want to pursue.”

Any advice on being a single mom/business owner?

“Honestly, I’m still sorting it out! In some ways having my own business is a plus as a single parent. I have the flexibility to pick my kid up from school at 3 pm, be home with him when he’s sick. On the downside, it’s a challenge when work, childcare, and my own health all require my immediate attention. I’m actively working on establishing boundaries, though. My life mantra has always been, ‘less is more’. This philosophy helps keep our home life calm and manageable. And that is my definition of success.”

Visit Posh Creative at www.poshcreative.com

First, welcome!

We are excited to introduce the reimagined Hammersmith blog. Here, we’ll be diving into the specifics of our business, as well as bringing you our take on industry changes and trends. We’ll also share our mission of supporting our clients’ businesses through their online presence and our community through pro bono work, which is something so important to us.

Now, on to maintenance…

When it comes to small businesses creating their websites, rarely is site maintenance part of that thought process. And why would it be? Getting a site up and running is a huge undertaking and checking it off your ever-growing to do list is a major accomplishment.

But what happens when there is a platform update? A security issue? What if you forget to renew your domain name and the site goes down? Even worse – what if it’s your busy season and you’re left trying to juggle a solution AND run your business?

That’s where website maintenance is essential. It allows you to be confident that your online presence is in good hands and focus on what you do best: running your business. Hammersmith Support provides behind-the-scenes, comprehensive website maintenance that keeps your website running smoothly by performing regular site backups, security and malware protection scans, and site optimization. To help keep your site’s content current and relevant, we submit your site map to the Google Search Console and post content updates as you request them. Our maintenance packages keep your site in good shape. And if something unexpected does happen to your website, instead of panicking, you simply call in the experts who know you and your site, have a real-time back up ready, and are adept problem solvers.

You may use maintenance hours to keep your site’s content fresh and up-to-date. With Hammersmith Support, when you need changes made, you simply send an email to the team. No fussing with remembering how to do it yourself, or worse, making a mistake in the process. Hammersmith Support offers simplicity and peace of mind for your business’s online presence.

If you’re maintaining your own business site, what are your concerns? Functionality, security, SEO…all of the above?