It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are right around the corner! And with the holidays comes Giving Tuesday – this year it will be on November 30th. Started in 2012, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving kicks off five days of giving back to our communities. The movement has evolved to be a promotion for donating to local nonprofits, in addition to volunteering. There are several organizations that compile a list of nonprofits for donors to discover, or nonprofits can accept donations through their own sites. With that said, is your site ready for:

  • An increase in traffic?
  • Smooth, secure transactions?
  • Explaining your mission to appeal to donors?

Here are four areas of your website that can be checked prior to any large influx of traffic to ensure that your site is running smoothly and you are able to complete all transactions too.

Load Time

With more traffic comes increased loading times. On average, a user will not wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. Don’t let potential donors bounce off your site! Prepare for increased traffic by updating your host, adding a Content Delivery Network to your site, and making sure that your site is up to date. This should include plugins and platform updates to ensure that your site is loading quickly enough to keep donors on the page.

Security

Unfortunately, organizations that are out doing good in the world have to worry about the security of their site – hackers don’t discriminate. Keep your site safe from being corrupted and your donors’ information safe from being stolen! Be sure that your security certificate is up to date – if you’re unsure, check your URL. If there is no “s” in “https” or you have a broken padlock in the address bar, then your site isn’t secure. Check with your hosting company to get an SSL certificate added. Next, be sure that your platform and plugins are up to date. Plugins, themes, and the version of WordPress on which your site runs all require regular updates in order to be secure.

*Added bonus – a secure site is great for boosting your SEO!

Testing

It may seem silly, but one of the easiest ways to know if your forms work or how your site looks on a mobile device is to test it out! Go to your website as if you were a visitor. Do you see all of the essential aspects? Fill out the form(s) on your site – do the notifications go to the correct email address or are they ending up in your spam folder? Is the correct confirmation message popping up after submitting? Even go as far as making a test donation to perform an end-to-end test of the donation form, ensuring that the donation processes completely.

Content

Before Giving Tuesday is the best time to take a close look at your content. Have you had any staffing changes that need to be updated? Is your mission and purpose clear to potential donors? Do you have any updated images that can be added? Do all of your images have complete information? These are just all examples of places to start really examining how the content on your site looks. And it might be the perfect time to start that blog! Blogs are a great way to share long-form content, images or videos, and updates about what is coming up for your organization.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

If all of this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, we can help! Many of these tasks can be fulfilled by one of our website maintenance packages. Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk about your business website needs and how Hammersmith Support can help make this Giving Tuesday one of the best yet for your nonprofit!

Jesse Csincsak Arizona Tree Trimming Hammersmith Support

We’re excited to bring you this client highlight about Arizona Tree Trimming and Removal! Our team enjoyed getting to know owner Jesse Csincsak and learning about his business and where his site needed improvement. Does his name sound familiar? If you’re a fan of The Bachelor, then you just might have been rooting for (or against!) Jesse and DeAnna on season 4.

These days, instead of chopping down his reality show competition, Jesse is cutting up new competitors – landscaping businesses. Jesse wanted to update Arizona Tree Trimming and Removal’s site to include better functionality around Google Maps and Google Reviews, which are a huge source of new business for him. In addition, we worked to update content and the overall look and feel of the site.

Content Updates

Arizona Tree Trimming provides A LOT of services! We worked to sort and organize the services provided, as well as update the content under each of the services. This was important for a few reasons. First, educating the customer is a key element to the services Jesse provides. “Trimming a tree” can mean a lot of different things to different people! Ensuring that his customers would know exactly what to expect from tree trimming services is important.

In addition to content updates throughout the site, a blog page was added. This is a great tool for further education around a variety of topics, including expanding on each type of service available. In addition, blog pages are great for building great SEO.

Color and Fonts

When it came to updating the colors and fonts, we simply modernized the overall feel of the site. While the main color is still green, we chose a brighter version. The fonts were updated to an edgier sans serif version and the layout was changed to highlight more images. The end result is a clean and crisp look, clear details throughout, and updated and interesting images as well.

Reviews and Badges

A huge source of business for Arizona Tree Trimming comes from referrals and reviews. In the website redesign, we added an updating scroll that brings in the most recent Google Reviews. Badges earned from referral companies like Home Advisor were highlighted as well to showcase honors and awards.

Google Maps

A lot of Arizona Tree Trimming’s business comes from Google searches, and more specifically, Google Maps. We were able to refer and also partner with an SEO specialist who focuses on Google Maps. The result was an increase in site traffic from Google Maps and improved SEO as well.

See the finished product!

We’re Here to Help

Even if you’re not a reality show star, we’re still here to help! Whether your site needs to be refreshed or completely rebuilt – or if your site is in need of some maintenance, Hammersmith Support can help. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk about what your website might need.

You read that right – your website could be invisible to nearly half of the users you’re trying to attract. How could that be? If your site is not mobile optimized, vital sections of your site may not be visible to users. Potentially even worse, the information could be jumbled or may not be sized correctly for mobile devices. This can contribute to a higher bounce rate and loss of potential traffic. Don’t worry! There are solutions to ensure that your site is visible to everyone, no matter what kind of device they are using to access your site.

Mobile Optimization

Mobile first design means that a website is built from the mobile view first, then the desktop. This is an important concept because it means that the site will always be ready for mobile users. It’s estimated that 75% of the world’s Internet users will do so exclusively from a mobile device by 2025, according to CNBC. Building your site with that in mind is a pretty good idea.

Check and Recheck

One of the easiest ways to check to make sure your site is visible on a mobile device, is to simply go to your site from a mobile device! It seems silly, but many times business owners are accessing their site via desktop only, and never confirming how it looks from a mobile device.

In addition, some platforms require manual changes to a page for mobile viewing. For example, Wix does not automatically translate a page’s layout to a mobile version. Elements may be sorted differently, or may be too large to view on mobile. Be sure to not only check the mobile preview section, but also from an actual mobile device as well.

It’s Good for SEO, Too

Google began considering mobile first design as one of the ranking factors when evaluating a site. These factors play a key roll in search engine return pages – where your site ranks in a query. In addition, mobile optimization is considered to be part of website accessibility. In addition, mobile optimization is considered as part of website accessibility and it’s important that all users are able to access your website.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Wondering if your site is mobile optimized? Or are you thinking it might need some help? Hammersmith Support has you covered. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk through your questions and about how Hammersmith Support can help you and your business.

For many businesses, search engine optimization is the name of the game. Having a more favorable rank on a search engine results page – SERP – means more visitors to your website. While we’ve shared a lot of ways to improve your site’s SEO on any platform, we want to highlight how the WordPress platform can make SEO easy for your site.

Image Optimization

WordPress offers users the ability to complete the image information for each image. Being able to publish images with alt text, descriptions, and titles gives web crawlers more content to evaluate, as well as a description that makes deciphering the image easier.

Blog Categories and Tags

In the same vein as image optimization, being able to categorize each post along with additional tags is great for site evaluation. Quickly and easily digestible information is key – for search engines as well as readers too.

Header Options

In addition to categories and tags, WordPress also offers several heading and subheading options for all of your pages. Not only are headings great for visually breaking up content and calling out important information, but the formatting also makes it easier for web crawlers to evaluate your site.

Pretty Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs for pages and posts on your site. WordPress provides an easy way to customize these so they are readable. This allows for keywords to be added to your links and can also improve your click-through rate.

Paginate

When it comes to comments, too many can also be an issue – even the legitimate ones. The reason is that they can cause pages to load slowly. Pagination allows the blog creator to divide comments on other pages so that they load more quickly.

Plugin Options

We really love a good plugin! WordPress offers a plethora of these bite-sized bits of code. This includes great SEO options for blog posts like Yoast and SmartCrawl. These plugins allow the user to add additional information like metadata to posts, as well as evaluating posts for better SEO.

“No Follow” Link Option

Links are great for SEO, but search engines will pass a small bit of your site’s authority to the other website when you link to an external website. You can opt-out of having a search engine follow the link when setting it up.

Thinking It Might Be Time to Switch Platforms?

Or not even sure where to start? Hammersmith Support has you covered! We’re here to answer your questions about your business website and talk through any challenges and possible solutions too. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation, and let’s talk through your questions.

In today’s digital world, simply having an online presence for your business is not enough. According to research, most Internet users will judge a business by its website. Meaning if your site isn’t making a great impression, there’s a strong possibility that a potential client will move on. We have several areas to consider when evaluating your site and whether it’s making the right first impression.

Impressions Are Fast

How much time do you think the average user spends on a site before making a final judgment? A minute? 30 seconds? It’s more like 1/20th of a SECOND. Yes! It’s that fast! When presented with several options from a search query, Internet searchers move quickly to sort through them all. Evaluating your website design to not only best represent your company but also to appeal to potential customers is key.

Looks Matter

A well-designed site is synonymous with a good business. Because your website is often the first time a potential client is encountering your business, making sure that the site design best represents your business AND is targeted to your customer is huge – don’t miss an opportunity to make that first impression! Knowing what your target market is looking for in a product and how they shop (literally and figuratively) is key to how your site is designed. Think of it this way: a Millennial and a Baby Boomer are likely looking for different products and are attracted to different things. Therefore, color, layout, questionnaires, interaction, etc., are all important aspects of the site’s design.

But It’s More Than Looks, Too

While the look of the website is vital, how it functions can be just as important. Site speed, load times, accessibility, navigability, and security are all crucial to your website. Your site may be stunning to look at, but if it takes too long to load, the chances of a customer sticking around are slim. In addition, if the information the user is looking for is too challenging to find or if pages are missing, a potential customer is likely to move on rather than continuing to search the site.

Don’t Forget About Mobile

With more than half of the world’s 3.9 billion Internet users doing so from a mobile device, not having a mobile presence for your business website is a huge no-no. Responsive website design is not only good for mobile viewing but also for SEO. Google Ranking Factors analyze and rank higher sites that are built with mobile-first design.

Hammersmith Support Has You Covered

If you are thinking now is a great time to redesign your site, if you have questions about our maintenance packages, or if you’re not sure what you need, schedule a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk through your questions.

When it comes to redesigning a website, one of the hesitations we hear from clients is that they don’t want to lose their long-term site SEO. Good news. At Hammersmith Support, we can redesign your site without losing your existing SEO. Here’s how we do it:

Staged Sites

The Hammersmith Support redesign process begins on a staged site. This duplicated site is where all the work takes place and makes it possible for your existing site to stay up and running during the design process. It’s business as usual for your customers and when the new site is complete, it’s simply launched with the established URL.

Assess Pages

Once the site is staged, we perform a full assessment of the site’s analytics. We evaluate each page’s performance and ensure that the highest performing pages’ URLs don’t change. This means that any links back to these pages will always be available, no matter how old they are.

Page Redirects

For any pages where the URL does need to change, a 303 redirect is issued. This allows any old links that may be out on the Internet to be redirected to the new version of the page. The redirect is invisible to the user and keeps long-standing SEO intact.

Consistent Content

By keeping page content the same while working around the information, we’re sure to keep the existing SEO as well. While the rest of the page is redesigned, leaving long-standing keywords on the page is good for maintaining SEO.

Redesign or Refresh

It’s important to remember that not every website needs to be redesigned. Many times a site can be refreshed with new images, logos, color schemes, layouts, and content can be updated to give your site a fresh look without disturbing existing SEO. However, if your site is built on out-of-date infrastructure or isn’t meeting your business needs, it’s likely time to redesign the site.

We would love to answer your questions about your business website and talk through any challenges and possible solutions too. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your questions.

The list of available platforms to build a website on seems endless! While Hammersmith Support has a preferred platform (more on that later), we want to bring you some pros and cons of the available platforms so that you can make the right choice for your business – you can read our post about WordPress v Wix here. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a platform, such as what kind of features you need on your site, how tech-savvy the person building and maintaining the site is, how quickly you expect to grow your business, and or how much help you’ll need in the design process. Knowing the answers to these questions can help guide the decision about which platform makes the most sense for your business.

Squarespace

Pros:

  • All-in-one platform – Widgets, apps, plugins, and even analytics are included with each site.
  • Ease of use – Extremely easy to set up and edit a site.
  • All-inclusive – Website, hosting and security are included with a monthly subscription.
  • Chat and email support are available 24/7.

Cons:

  • Photograph-heavy templates may be challenging to fill for businesses without many images.
  • Squarespace does not provide phone support.
  • Limited SEO makes it less likely that users will find your site organically.
  • Limited flexibility makes personalizing your site more difficult.
  • You cannot move your site to another hosting service.

Takeaway:

Squarespace is a great option for those who are less tech-savvy and yet want to dive into creating their business website. While more expensive than some available options, the all-in-one platform keeps things simple for users.

WordPress

Pros:

  • Portable content – If you change hosting providers, you can move your site and its contents easily.
  • Open-source – Resources are available to create a custom site using CSS code.
  • Built-in SEO – As Google changes its requirements, the built-in SEO settings in WordPress are adapted and updated by developers and users. If you’re looking to delve into your SEO and customize it, WordPress has options.
  • Scalable – No matter what size your business is now, a WordPress site can adapt and grow with your business.
  • Custom Designs – Seemingly endless options for design and customization.
  • E-commerce – WordPress makes it easy to integrate and set up a store using WooCommerce, Shopify or other platforms.
  • Speed – Especially when maintained regularly, websites load faster, which improves Google Search rankings and user experience.
  • Support – WordPress has a vast international community of users who are available to help and support others.

Cons:

  • Somewhat more expensive than other platforms – The framework is free, but you may need to purchase licenses for themes or plugins or pay for development if you’d like more customization.
  • Requires users to be more tech-savvy – WordPress is easier to use if you have more technical know-how.
  • Updates must be performed by the user – Regular maintenance is a must!

Takeaway:

WordPress should be your platform of choice if you need power and flexibility, and are comfortable with technology. A WordPress site is robust and has lots of options. More importantly, it grows and moves as your business evolves. You own your site and are not limited by a proprietary platform.

WordPress Is Hammersmith Support’s Preferred Platform

The ability to use open code to build custom sites on WordPress, along with the large support community that WordPress has fostered, allows Hammersmith Support to build completely custom sites for our clients. Unsure of what you need for your site? We’re here to help! Book a free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk about what Hammersmith Support can do for you and your website.

Hammersmith Support is proud to present the redesigned and rebuilt sites for GT Medical Technologies and GammaTile. This innovative company is working to create more targeted brain tumor therapy that produces less overall damage during treatment. GT Medical Technologies produces the GammaTile to do just that. And when it comes to marketing their product, they have two distinct audiences: the doctors who insert the GammaTile during surgery, and the patients who have the tile implanted. Knowing that their product would need to be marketed in different ways, GT Medical Technologies turned to Hammersmith Support for a website rebuild and redesign strategy.

One Product, Two Audiences

Considering that there are two very distinct groups that need information about the GammaTile, the company has two similar, yet distinct websites. Having two sites is important as a doctor or clinician researching the product would want and need much different information than a patient. Both of the existing sites were in need of being rebuilt and redesigned in order to provide better information in an organized fashion.

From Wix to WordPress

GT Med Tech’s original site was built on the Wix platform. The original site worked well for a time, but as the company grew, the platform could not scale with the business. The two new sites were moved to WordPress for scalability and functionality. Because the same product would be marketed to two audiences and across two websites, redesigning the sites with similar yet distinct colors, logos, and fonts was key to consistency for the brand.

How Design Plays an Important Role

For the GammaTile (patient-focused) site, including infographics was key. All of the design and layout were focused on the audience and remembering that either the reader or someone close to the reader was dealing with the fear of a brain tumor. Giving patients quick and easy-to-digest information in a hope-filled tone was important.

For the GT Medical Technologies main site, the focus was to provide medical information including medical journal citations, along with clinical trial information and results.

On each site, Hammersmith Support created a library section to house videos, articles, blogs, and more for users to be able to sort by topic and media type. This allowed users to find useful information and in a medium that worked best for them. Color coding each medium made each site’s library visually appealing as well as easy to navigate.

Hammersmith Support Can Support Your Business Too

We would love to answer your questions about your business website and talk through any challenges and possible solutions too. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your questions.

We are excited to bring you this client highlight for Root + River! Emily Soccorsy, co-founder of Root + River, is a W Source Scottsdale Arcadia chapter member along with our founder, Heather Locke. It was a fantastic compliment that Root + River reached out to Hammersmith Support when they were ready to rebuild their site to not only change the look and feel, but also to improve the infrastructure of the site.

Root + River

Emily and her co-founder, Justin Foster, created their company out of a deep passion for helping businesses discover and then master their brand. As a brand strategy business, they want their clients to not simply sell a product. In their words, they are “… a brand strategy team. We guide leaders to master intrinsic branding. Intrinsic brands are known by their consistently evocative language, standard-setting experiences and legendary storytelling.” In other words, they aren’t your everyday marketing company! Emily often draws on a board during strategy sessions to help create a visual motion to the work being done – in fact, she created all of the icon graphics on the new site, giving it that personal touch that fits the Root + River brand perfectly.

The Challenge

With the previous Root + River site, there was a lot of information. And rightly so – Root + River’s process and vision is a beautiful story. The look and feel of their site needed to be changed to align with the company’s brand standards. Lastly, the team wanted to update photography as well as color schemes and the overall feel of the site.

The Solution

Hammersmith Support enlisted Jena Gribble of Blush Cactus to create a design that embodied the Root + River brand. The rebuild included streamlining the look and feel of the site by visually breaking it into sections that could be more easily digested. By taking some of the verbiage out of the home page and replacing it with short descriptions and snappy headlines, visitors are now able to get a bird’s eye view of who and what Root + River is before diving in further. Icons, created by Emily, were added in place of and in addition to some descriptions, and the overall colorscape was updated for a look and feel that aligns with the brand’s standards. Lastly, we used new and existing photography but gave each image the same filtered view, which made the site feel cohesive and also gave a visual glimpse into the history of the company.

Now that their site is live, Root + River is continuing as a Hammersmith Support monthly maintenance client. In addition to updates, backups, and lead testing, we will also provide any content updates and development support that the company needs.

Root + River & Hammersmith Support Branding Event

Hammersmith Support is proud to be partnering with Root + River for a branding presentation: “Your Brand Is Not What You Think It Is,” coming up on April 28th at 4pm. Led by Emily Soccorsy, CEO and co-founder of Root + River, the event will focus on what branding is and isn’t and will re-frame brand experience, brand message, and ideal audience. Emily will share insights into how to stand out, and be genuine and original while you do so. She will also dive into a new way to connect with your ideal clients and help you determine how to know if you have a resonant brand message. Emily’s insights make branding less complex and more effective because they are based on brain science, who you really are, and what will most effectively differentiate you in a highly competitive market. Click here to register!

Thinking Your Site Might Be Ready for a Rebuild?

Not every site needs to be completely rebuilt. Often, if the infrastructure of the site is in good shape, visual changes may be all that it needs. Not sure where your site falls on rebuild or refresh? Visit our Calendly page and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

When it comes to building and maintaining your business website, there are lots of options out there! How do you know which platform is right for you and your business? We’ve got the breakdown on some of the differences between WordPress and Wix and who they might work best for. And we’ll tell you Hammersmith Support’s preferred platform and why!

WordPress

Pros:

  • Portable content – If you change hosting providers, you can move your site and its contents easily.
  • Open-source – Want to customize? The resources are there and getting more user-friendly with every release!
  • Built-in SEO – As Google changes its requirements, the built-in SEO settings in WordPress are adapted and updated by developers and users. If you’re looking to delve into your SEO and customize it, WordPress has options.
  • Scalable – Are you running a small business or a large, international company? WordPress works on any scale and grows as your company grows.
  • Custom Designs – Do you have a vision of how you’d like your site to look and function? With WordPress, the design and customization options are endless.
  • E-commerce – WordPress makes it easy to integrate and set up a store using WooCommerce, Shopify or other platforms.
  • Speed – WordPress sites, especially when maintained regularly, load faster, which improves Google Search rankings and user experience.
  • Support – WordPress has a vast international community of users who are available to help and support others.

Cons:

  • Somewhat more expensive than other platforms – The framework is free, but you may need to purchase licenses for themes or plugins or pay for development if you’d like more customization.
  • Requires users to be more tech-savvy – WordPress is easier to use if you’re more technical know-how.
  • Updates must be performed by the user – Regular maintenance is a must!

Takeaway:

WordPress should be your platform of choice if you need power and flexibility, and are comfortable with technology. A WordPress site is robust and has lots of options. More importantly, it grows and moves as your business grows. You own your site and are not limited by a proprietary platform.

Wix

Pros:

  • Inexpensive to start – Wix charges a minimal monthly fee for access to its platform and resources.
  • Easy to manipulate and change – Wix is a simple drag and drop design.
  • All-in-one – A standard site comes with hosting, SSL, domain or CDN – they’re all included in the basic package.
  • SEO – If you’re looking for basic SEO that you don’t need to tinker with, Wix has what you need.
  • Maintenance – Site updates are done automatically by Wix.

Cons:

  • Limited features – Templates are not customizable, so you are limited by the resources available.
  • Speed – Wix sites load more slowly than do WordPress sites and allow for less optimization.
  • Not scalable – If your business grows exponentially and you’d like to add functionality and customization to match your expanded needs, you may find Wix to be too limited.
  • Proprietary – Your data is not easily portable. If you decide to move to another host, you’ll have export your content in XML format and build your new site from scratch.
  • E-commerce – Wix’s options for building an online store are much more limited in terms of customization and integration with the most robust and commonly used platforms.

Takeaway:

If you have a small budget, are not very tech savvy, and don’t need a very robust site, Wix is a great place to start! Another way to think of the differences between the two is that a Wix site could sell a few items, while a WordPress site could launch an entire online store.

Hammersmith Support’s Preferred Platform

You guessed it, WordPress! The platform is scalable, customizable, portable, and if you’re looking to delve into your SEO, the bells and whistles just can’t be beaten. We also appreciate the large support community that WordPress has fostered and the open code format that allows us to build completely custom sites for our clients. Unsure of what you need for your site? We’re here to help! Book a free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk about what Hammersmith Support can do for you and your site.