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.

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.

We are thrilled to share with you something that has been in the works for quite a while….Hammersmith Support has launched in Nashville, Tennessee! This new location for Hammersmith Support is a huge homecoming for founder Heather Locke. Born and raised in Knoxville, and educated at the University of Tennessee, bringing a branch of her business to her home state is a big part of Heather’s dream for her business and her family. Read on to find out more about this exciting news!

Same Great Service in an Additional Location

Having relocated from Knoxville to Phoenix twenty years ago, Heather always dreamed of being back near her extended family someday. But after starting a family and a business in Arizona, getting back east seemed unreachable. However, with the success of Hammersmith Support, the opportunity to expand the business to her home state started to look like it could actually work. Heather had this to say about why Nashville felt like the ideal location for the expansion:

“There’s a mural in Nashville that says ‘I believe in Nashville.’ I took a picture of my daughter in front of it last summer and I thought, ‘Why not Nashville?’. I started putting the pieces in place to expand my business here so that we could spend more time near family and in the other state I love!”

Meet the Team

Having boots on the ground in Tennessee was a must. The Hammersmith Support team grew by two to now include the Nashville team: Kelly Foster and Kaylie Nordin. Kaylie is the owner of Only1 Marketing and is expertly handling the marketing and launch of Hammersmith Support. Kelly is the administrative assistant for Heather and skillfully manages the inner workings of the office, keeping things moving smoothly.

Schedule Your In-Person Meetings This Summer

We are thrilled to be able to offer in-person meetings in Nashville this summer! And as always, our 30-minute virtual complimentary consultations are always available too. Book your appointment! Learn more about all of the services Hammersmith Support offers. And lastly, if you are hungry for more posts, visit our blog page.

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.

We know that we’ve told our readers a hundred times that website maintenance is important to your website. But really, it’s not that important. As long as your site is up and running, it’s fine! Really. Here are a few reasons why website maintenance just isn’t that important.

Security

If your website doesn’t take credit card information, it doesn’t need any security! Customer information like names, address, and email address wouldn’t be a big risk if they were to be stolen. And who would hack your site anyway?

Speed

Website maintenance can’t make your site run any faster. So it hardly seems worth the time to update your site regularly. Plus, at some point, you can just run a gigantic update all at once and it will get everything up to speed.

Content

If your services and products don’t change, why change anything on your website? Having a maintenance package that offers you 2 – 4 hours of content updates a month is hardly worth it.

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APRIL FOOLS!!😂😂😂

You know us better than that! We would never tell you that website maintenance isn’t important because it really is vital to having your site run safely and smoothly. So, let’s try this again:

Security

Even if your site doesn’t have eCommerce, having a security certificate is vital to your site running safely. Not only is it good business for your customers who can trust that their information is safe with you, but Google Ranking Factors will also rank your site higher because it’s safe for visitors.

Speed

Websites that are not up to date often run slowly. Your site is working much longer to keep up with outdated infrastructure and will take longer to load. Most users won’t stick around for a site to load if it takes longer than 3 seconds, so ensuring that your site loads quickly is imperative. In addition, waiting too long to run an update can cause your site to crash. Consistent maintenance prevents that extra-large update and the risk of it overloading.

Content

Not only is updating website content regularly great for customers, it also improves your SEO. Web crawlers love analyzing new content, and customers enjoy the value of long-form content like blogs, which educate them about your company and products too.

Let Hammersmith Support Help

Our monthly maintenance packages come in two forms to fit your needs. Visit our Calendly page to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and we can talk through your site needs and how we can help.

If you’ve recently downloaded our “Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Web Designer,” you saw that one of the questions is what platform will my site be built on and why? It may seem like a silly question to ask, but it’s important for a lot of reasons! We’re excited to share with you why WordPress is the preferred platform for Hammersmith Support-built websites.

User Friendly 

Open-source (meaning the code for each page is visible and changeable) makes each site customizable, enabling the creation of unique and robust websites.

The WordPress admin panel has also evolved over the years to include a visual builder, which makes it easier to train clients how to add and update pages.

Mobile Friendly

WordPress has created a mobile-friendly structure at its core so that each and every site can be optimized for mobile viewing.

Most themes are already mobile-ready, but in addition, the WordPress editor can also be accessed and used from a phone or tablet.

Built-in SEO and Google Loves It

WordPress automatically creates a page structure with built-in header, footer and structure tags that Google loves. With an easy-to-use plugin like Yoast or SmartCrawl, you can further define page descriptions and titles that produce even better results, ensuring your site is optimized for SEO.

Highly Customizable

In addition to being open source, there are thousands of plugins available to extend WordPress’ core functionality. You can also develop your own plugins and add customization specific to your business.

Built-in Blog

Each site comes with a built-in blog page, making it easy to add content, images, and expand your library, organically boosting your SEO in the process.

Support

Because WordPress is open source, there are knowledgeable developers all over the world as well as endless information online. Generally if you have an issue, you can use Google to find the answer.

Compatible with Many 3rd Party Software Products

WordPress plays well with most providers, making it easy to invite site visitors to sign up for your newsletter, conduct e-commerce business, and integrate marketing strategies. Some great examples of 3rd party software include WooCommerce and Stripe for e-commerce and Mailchimp, Constant Contact and HubSpot for marketing integration.

Why Hammersmith Support

We’re always happy to answer your questions! If you are curious about your own site, or are thinking about a new one, we’re here to help! Schedule a free consultation through our website to talk through your questions.

This week we have some spooktakular stories of websites gone wrong…these chilling stories may seem like urban legends, but we know them to be true. Each of these terrifying things can happen to your site if you’re not careful…so read on – if you dare! Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

THE TALE OF THE LAPSED DOMAIN

This story takes place at the website address: the domain. Elvira bought her domain but didn’t check the email that she used to purchase it all that often. And so she missed the email that let her know it was time to renew her domain, the credit card on file had expired and suddenly…it was GONE! Even worse, someone had snapped up the Elvira domain in the blink of an eye, and she was left in the dark with no domain and no way to get her original URL back.

Don’t be like Elvira! Be sure to stay on top of the emails from your domain provider. If you keep a credit card on file for auto-renewals, make sure that it’s current!

THE UNSECURED SITE

Everyone knows leaving your doors unlocked is dangerous…and the same should be said for your website! Casper thought because he wasn’t collecting any personal information on his site, he didn’t need a Secure Socket Layer. But! The creepy web crawlers combed through Casper’s site and returned a very unfavorable Google Ranking…and then a client tried to link to his page, but it wouldn’t work! Oh no, Casper! He missed out on potential business because he didn’t have an SSL certificate.

Let Casper’s cautionary tale be a lesson to be sure that your SSL certificate is up to date!

THE ALL-BUT-ABANDONED WEBSITE

Freddy Krueger finally got his website up and running! But because he didn’t have a lead magnet or sell products through his site, he never ever touched it again. Until one day when he decided to sell his famous knife-tipped glove through his site. It was then that he had to update his entire site to add e-commerce and *POOF!* The entire site disappeared……

You see, because poor Freddy had never updated his site, it crashed trying to catch up so many updates at one time! And with no backup, Freddy’s gloves never made it to the market.

THE HACKER AND THE UNSUSPECTING WEBSITE

Frank N. Stein thought his website was safe enough – he had an SSL certificate, but he didn’t always update his site. One night, some scary hackers came across Frank’s site and decided to have a little fun. They added malware to the site and suddenly every page was filled with ads for some very “adult” products!

Poor Frank. Don’t leave your website vulnerable – keep your site, as well as your plugins, updated.

THE TERRIBLE HOST SITE

Pennywise the Clown found a free website host. One day a customer told him that he never shopped on his website because it was too slow to load and he hated all of the ads on the page. You see, the trade-off for free hosting was…advertising! And even worse, the host site was down all the time for maintenance, making Pennywise’s site frequently inaccessible.

Don’t let your website go down the storm drain! A good host is worth its weight in gold.

Let Hammersmith Support Help

We hope you enjoyed our spooky website tales! If you’re concerned about any of these topics and would like to talk about how to prevent these issues with regular maintenace and support, we’re here to help. Visit our Calendly link to book your free 30-minute consultation.