At Hammersmith Support, we offer a wide range of website-focused services. We love when we get to build a brand for a client – from logo, to website, to site maintenance. We take great pride in creating a finished product that perfectly represents who our clients are to prospective and current clients alike.

This project spotlight focuses on Sandbox Development. As with any client, conveying information through their website is vital, but how that information is displayed and presented is the secret sauce. Here are the aspects we worked on for their site, along with the how and why of the final result.

Branding

Our goal was to create a logo for Sandbox Development that lends itself to their industry, but not in a traditional way. For this, we stayed away from colors of dirt so not to be cliché. Instead, we used warm tones that are reminiscent of the southwest (where Sandbox is headquartered) yet are still in earthy tones. We landed on orange-red, reds, and grays.

In addition, because the company name is playful, we wanted the overall sound of the brand to be friendly and approachable yet still convey professionalism and trustworthiness. We opted for more bullet points for details with comprehensive, yet easy-to-read descriptions.

Site Logistics

We are always working to create responsive websites that are accessible as well. That said, we made sure to create a logo that took all of these facets into account, especially considering Sandbox Development’s long name. We worked to create a more compact square logo that would display well when viewed on any device.

In keeping with our “friendly yet trustworthy” brand, we opted to keep the content short, sweet, and to the point. While there are a lot of details, they are presented in a way that is easy to read and understand.

Added Details

As with a lot of our clients, we can create a beautiful website full of functionality, but if the site lacks images or the images are poor quality, then the rest of the site will be overlooked. We worked with Flying Robot photography to get drone images of Sandbox Development’s projects. Flying Robot was able to provide us with images that are uniform in scale and perspective – not to mention super cool! This is so important as the consistency of the images on the site speaks volumes about the overall look and feel of the site.

Are you ready to get your website out of your head and onto the Internet? Or do you have a site that is need of a little TLC? Drop us a note and let’s get started.

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for your sweetheart! Your website needs some love too this holiday and we’ve got just what the love doctor ordered:

Freshen Up Your Content

Have you looked at your website’s copyright date lately? Is it recent or old (very very old)? If it’s been a while since you updated or added to the content on your site, the time to do it is now. Not only is fresh content vital for your SEO (hello Google Ranking Factors) but customers and potential clients notice it, too. Would you want to do business with a company that never updates their information?

Updates

When was the last time your website was updated? Have you been ignoring your platform’s notifications that an update is available? Stop! Get that update running asap. Updates can be extensive or simple, it all depends on what it’s trying to fix. Oftentimes an update is patching a security hole. Even if your site isn’t taking credit card information, protecting your leads’ information is just as vital. After your update is complete, be sure to check that your lead / sign up forms are working, just to make sure you don’t miss out on any information.

Be Mobile Optimized

Do you visit your website from your laptop or your mobile device? If you’re constantly working from your computer, pull up your site on your mobile device instead. Does it show up correctly? Are all the buttons visible / available? With just over half of Internet users out there doing so from their mobile device, you might be leaving money on the table – or more like customers in the cold – if your site isn’t mobile optimized.

Check for SEO

Are you utilizing all of the available ways to organically boost your SEO? If not, now is the perfect time to start. In addition to fresh content, update or add images to your site. Make sure that all of the “behind the curtain” information is completed like alt text, caption, description and title. Add an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO to ensure that the meta data and keywords on your posts are as good as they can be.

Need a Little Help?

If this list feels a little overwhelming, reach out to Hammersmith Support. Our monthly maintenance packages can help with all of the above and more! Which means we take care of your website, and you get to do what you do best, run your business.

2020 kicks off a shiny new decade and with that comes a lot of speculation about where technology is headed. In addition, the world has had a chance to take stock of the current technology and decide what we’re ready to get rid of. Why do technology trends matter? Because as consumers become more educated about various technology topics, they’re going to be looking to your site to be on trend. If it’s not, you may lose business as a competitor is waiting in the wings to scoop up that customer.

Blockchain Technology

Hammersmith Support preaches about security regularly, because it really is that important! Blockchain technology is the evolution of security on several levels. While somewhat complicated to explain, the concept is revolutionary for not just financial industries but all sensitive information. To break it down, a blockchain is a group of time-stamped, fixed / immutable records managed by a cluster of computers not owned by a single entity. What makes this special is that the process creates a record that cannot be copied because you would have to copy the entire history of the record, which has been bound to other records and transferred from multiple computers.

Beyond security, blockchain technology eliminates the need for a processing fee as any company can use it; it’s not owned by one company or individual. By eliminating the middle man, budgeting for transaction costs changes significantly.

Mobile Optimization

With over half of the world’s 3.9 billion internet users accessing sites from a mobile device, it makes sense that ensuring your website is optimized for mobile viewing is a top priority. So, how do you know if your site is ready for mobile viewing? Simple, open it up on your mobile device! Check each area. Do the menus work? Are the images sized appropriately? Are all the same links visible and easy to click?

5G Networks

Have you utilized a 5G WiFi network? The fifth generation of wireless internet is a lightning fast, cellular-based network that provides faster internet speeds and a simpler set up process. In addition, 5G uses significantly less energy than do older WiFi networks.

Accessibility

Having your business website accessible to all differently-abled users is crucial to business. Not only are 15% of users working with a disability, but more businesses are seeing discrimination lawsuits over the inability for everyone to access a website. Disabilities can be anything from dyslexia to physical disabilities, but simple changes to your site can make it accessible for everyone. Tab navigation, text that is able to be converted, and alt text are all small changes that make your website better for all users.

Now that we’ve talked about some of the new things to look for this year, let’s take a look at a couple of things that are on their way out…

Payment Apps

Payment apps themselves aren’t going anywhere, but the plethora of apps available will be. Consumers are finding it harder to utilize the benefits of the apps such as check splitting, because those features are only available if everyone is using the same app.

Streaming Services

Much like payment apps, consumers are not fans of the abundance of subscription-based streaming services. If a consumer had Netflix ($11.99), Amazon Prime ($12.99), Disney+ ($6.99), and Apple TV ($4.99), the total for streaming services alone (excluding the cost for the internet needed for streaming) would be nearly $40 a month or $480 a year. Look for services to begin bundling to save consumers some coin.

One of the parts we love most about our business is getting to know our clients. Not only does having a relationship help us build a better website for our clients, but we enjoy networking with and learning from our clients too. We’re thrilled today to bring you an interview with Margo Crawford, owner and founder of Wave Productivity. As a Productivity Coach, Margo is charged with training her clients to use tools to improve productivity through organization of their work space, time, and goal setting. Read on to get to know Margo and her “why” with Wave Productivity.

Tell Us a Little About You

I am the founder of Wave Productivity and as a Productivity Coach, I work with Serial Entrepreneurs, C-level professionals, and Small Business Owners to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace.

I have been in the productivity and organizing industry for over 15 years, and I continue to receive training that will enhance the experience my clients have and to continue to evolve in my process. I earned my certification as a Certified Organizer Coach (C.O.C.) and my Specialist Certificate through the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). In 2017, I was a finalist for Tempe Chamber’s Business Woman of the Year and I am member of Leadership Rhode Island Class 2020, Pi II. 

I make my home on the East Coast and I am an avid surfer – I’ve traveled the world searching for perfect waves. When I’m not on the beach, I love to volunteer and hang out with my gorgeous, very fast Whippet.

Talk to Us About Your “Why” and How That Motivated You to Start Wave Productivity.

There are so many business professionals who struggle day to day to keep doing great work. They are overwhelmed and stressed out with email, time and workflow management. There is so much to do and never enough time. I work with people to shift the way they work with productivity tools and techniques that make a difference in their day to day. With Productivity Coaching people increase revenue, gain clarity and most importantly feel more in control and confident.

What Is Unique About Your Style and Product Offering?

As business owners we don’t often get someone who listens to us. My work as a coach is about deep listening. From that, we take brave next steps in changing the way you work for the better.

What Advice Do You Have for Other Entrepreneurs?

Celebrate in your success. As Entrepreneurs we tend to gloss over our wins and milestones because we are on to the next big thing. Taking time to step back and see what went right and how we can replicate it has great learning. Plus, you can always celebrate with a little bubbly! <clink!>

Ready to Get Started? Click Over to Wave Productivity’s Website to Contact Margo:

www.waveproductivity.com

margo@waveproductivity.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waveproductivity/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/crawford-organizing-solutions/about/

Want to Read More Interviews? Click Here for More on the Hammersmith Support Blog

We are so thrilled that our owner and founder, Heather Locke, was selected as one of the panelists for The W Source Scottsdale / Arcadia Chapter discussion, “Marketing Your Business in 2020”!

The event boasted seven members of The W Source, all involved in various aspects of marketing. W Source member Debbie Pontikas moderated the discussion and led the audience down a marketing highway, covering all the cogs of the marketing machine. Each panelist gave her opinion, along with practical examples, about why her branch was a vital part of a business’ strategy. Each panelist gave great advice and all answered audience questions – it was a wonderful collaboration and networking opportunity for all those in attendance!

The esteemed panel was comprised of:

Kelly BohmDriven Relationships – Client & Lead Engagement

Jean Laninga – Photography/Social Media Branding

Heather Locke – Hammersmith Support – Website Development

Robyn Moore – Mack Media Relations – PR

Katrina Oko-Odoi, PhD – ContentWorm – Content Writing

Ashley RichardsE Squared Marketing – Digital Marketing

Emily Soccorsy – Root + River – Brand Strategy

In case you missed it, here are few key take aways from the morning:

  • The old days of beating potential customers over the head with advertising are over! Create your brand that is rooted in your core beliefs as business and market those beliefs instead.
  • Branding photography is much more than just head shots. Getting shots of varying angles, environments, and connections each show a different side of your brand. Also, knowing what you are going to do with the images plays a huge roll in what kind of pictures to capture.
  • The number one thing you can do to boost your search engine optimization is to have a blog. Consistent, fresh, and relevant content gives web crawlers new information to evaluate as well as free content for your clients and potential clients to digest.
  • When it comes to your website, ensuring that your site is secure, mobile optimized, and accessible are keys for success.
  • Tapping into your existing database in search of new leads is an obvious yet wildly overlooked marketing tactic. Using a database to analyze your past customers as well as contacts can generate new business.
  • Text campaigns have a 99% open rate. While that may not be a relevant tactic for your business or marketing, it’s still a staggering enough statistic for anyone to appreciate!

Want to know more about The W Source and their upcoming events? Click over to their site for more information.

Website form and function are designed around a customer profile which takes into account what customers are looking for in a product, how they buy, why they buy…the list goes on and on. But one characteristic that many customer profiles don’t always account for is an online customer who is disabled. The term disabled person includes those who are movement, hearing and or sight impaired. Consumers who are disabled account for 15% of all internet users but that percentage could be higher if your product does or could serve those with disabilities.

So does it make sense for you and your business to have a website that accessible to consumers who are disabled? Read on to find out.

How Do I know If My Site Is Accessible?

There are many companies that offer evaluations and certifications for website accessibility (Hammersmith Support included!). Web Content Accessibility Guidelines certification is the standard that is approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The WCAG ensures that a website meets all the criteria for consumers with varying abilities.

Good news if you’re a Hammersmith Support client – your site is already being evaluated and certified as part of your maintenance package! Not a client yet? Click here.

What Is Included in WCAG Certification?

Having your site accessible to everyone includes the following:

  • Text that is able to be converted to audio, large print, or braille
  • Alt text, captions, and descriptions on all images
  • Avoid images and structure that could cause seizures
  • Tab navigation / all functionality available from keyboard
  • Captions on videos and other content

Why Should My Site Be WCAG Certified?

There are a few reasons that making your website accessible to everyone is so important. Not only is it good business to be able to market to all consumers, but having your site WCAG certified is good for SEO as well. When the functionality of the website includes the above list of WCAG criteria, there is more information for web crawlers to evaluate and use to rank your site. Which is a bonus in addition to being able to market to differently-abled consumers!

Want to read more about WCAG? Click over to the site to read the requirements.

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.

We’ve preached in a number of posts about the need to keep website content fresh. It’s important from an end user perspective to provide quality and value. And fresh content is also important from an SEO standpoint – keeping it fresh allows search engines to re-evaluate and re-rank your site more often. Blogs, both written and video, are usually touted as the most common ways to improve SEO, but there are some alternative ways as well. Here are 3 lesser-known ways to keep website content fresh:

Images

Adding new and relevant images to your site is great not only for your site visitors, but for web crawlers as well. This includes memes, gifs, videos – anything that is related to your business or industry in any multimedia form. Display your social media on your site through a widget or plugin. The big message is to make sure your images are optimized using good “behind-the-scenes” information, including alt text, title, and descriptions. Be sure to have smart and usable captions under images as well. Not only do new images make end users happy, but web crawlers have recent information to analyze and rank.

Testimonials

We often think of testimonials are being important for our marketing to potential customers. And that is true, but adding new and or updated testimonials to your website is – say it with us – fresh content! If you’re utilizing a third party review site like Yelp or Google Reviews, consider putting some of the reviews on your website as well. If you aren’t using a third party, reach out to your business partners / customers and ask for reviews. Ask questions like, “What do you enjoy most about doing business with our company? How has our product worked for you?”. The more personal the relationship with the people you’re contacting, the more in depth the questions can be. For a blanket email to customers, keep it high level. Be sure to ask permission to post responses – and link to their business or website. This is important for validating the testimonials with customers as well as good SEO!

Revive an Older Post

OK, we know we said these would be alternative ideas to blogging, but this one is a little outside the box. If you’re stumped for new material or in a time crunch, opt to update an older blog and then re-post. Do not simply cut and paste into a new post. Instead, create a new introduction that talks about why you are choosing to re-post the information. Also be sure to update any information that may now be out of date.

There has been a lot published lately about micro and macro content. The meaning behind the names isn’t a new concept, but the way it’s categorized is, and that’s for good reason. By defining the type of content you’re working with, it’s easier to know where that content should go. And the right placement for your content can make all the difference.

What Is Macro Content?

Macro is just that, big. It’s the long / detailed version of your content. This includes videos longer than 30 seconds, blog posts, mobile apps, emails, newsletters, podcasts, long form sales pitches, etc. If you can’t digest it in 15 seconds, then it’s macro content. That is important because macro content belongs in a much different place than posts that can be consumed quickly. Have you ever seen a post on social media that went on for several paragraphs? Did you read all the way to the end? Maybe, but most likely you moved on after a few sentences. That’s because the post is too long for social media and belongs with its macro content buddies in a blog post or video.

Having too much information in the wrong place means your potential clients are likely to miss what you’re trying to tell them. Putting it in the right space means a potential customer is likely to digest all of the information because they are prepared to do so. They know when they come to a blog that it’s going to be several paragraphs long. Or if they click on a video that they’re in for a few minutes of time. That mental state is key and tailoring your content to fit that is crucial.

What About Micro Content?

If macro makes sense to you, then micro content will come naturally. Micro content includes quick and easy bites of information: social media posts, memes, graphics, videos shorter than 15 seconds, infographics, etc. As with macro content, putting your micro content in the wrong place is a mistake. Blogs that are too short or images with no caption can leave a reader frustrated and feeling cheated.

Social media is the perfect home for the majority of your micro content. The platforms are designed to digest small bites of information from multiple sources, which is both good and challenging. Keeping information short and sweet but attention-grabbing can be difficult. Before you post, be sure that the majority of your content is “above the break,” meaning a reader will see it without having to expand to read the full piece. Use color and relevant images to grab attention, but be sure to be genuine to the piece.

Working Micro and Macro Together

The beauty of content in either form is that it should all feed each other. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel to create small and large chunks of information. Start with what comes easiest to you; if social media posts are quick and easy, write out as many topics as you can think of. Then expand on each topic to feed your macro content, i.e. blog posts and podcast topics. If large pieces are more natural, start with a blog post and then break it down into small bits. This post is a perfect example; 1 blog post about both micro and macro content can be broken into 2-3 social media posts. One for micro content, one for macro, and one for how to work both together.

Want to read more about content and how it can boost your SEO? Click on over to the Hammersmith Support blog “What is SEO?“.

At Hammersmith Support, we work with many different client needs when it comes to their websites. Some need a refresh of their current site, some need a full rebuild. We also do ground up builds for clients who don’t currently have a website. Each type of client and their needs are unique and making the right recommendation for what exactly a client’s website needs is crucial. So how do you know what your site needs?

What is a Website Refresh?

A website refresh is similar to refreshing a home; it’s mostly cosmetic. In your home you might paint the walls, buy a new rug, bring in new furniture. Refreshing your site is similar in that colors, layout, content, and logos are reworked to create an updated look. Refreshing a site is perfect for businesses that are rebranding and/or updating product offerings – or just need a fresh look for their site. The new look alerts visitors that something has changed with the company and will get attention.

Who Qualifies for a Site Rebuild?

Companies that have an established website that has outdated infrastructure and/or can no longer support the business’ demands would qualify for a full site rebuild. This may include some refreshing visually, but typically will keep the same color scheme and logos to stay on brand. The majority of changes are behind the scenes, updating the site framework to support new business channels such as e-commerce, site security, speed and optimization capabilities.

How Do You Know Which You Need?

Take a look at your business goals and what is limiting those goals when it comes to your website. Are you ready to start selling your products online? Do you need to be able to retain visitor contact information and aren’t able to do so on your current site? Is your site speed fast enough? Does your site look outdated but serve your business well? Knowing the answers to these questions can help point you in which direction to go. And Hammesmith Support is always here to help you work through the best options for you and your business.