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!!πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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 Your site is working much longer to keep up with outdated infrastructure and will take longer to load.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 β€“ 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 β€“ 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 β€“ 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.

If the thought of updating your website is terrifying, or if the word “plugin” gives you the heebie-jeebies, this post is for you! Don’t let the idea of redesigning your website keep you up at night; it’s not as spooky as it may seem!

When you work with Hammersmith Support, we pull from our experience ranging from small businesses to large companies and foundations that have multiple sites. Our goal is to help you and your business by creating a dynamic, unique, functional, well-designed and high-performing site. We do this with our three-step system that ensures we understand your needs and are able to educate you about your site to get the best results possible.

Consult

At Hammersmith Support, our first step with every new client is to consult. We want to learn all about you, your business, what’s working, what’s not working, and any other details that will help us to help you. We want to understand the challenges you and your business face. Using all of that information, we’ll create a plan and then help guide you through our process of creating an amazing, customized website for you.

Create

When it comes to creating your site, we never use a template. All of our sites are unique for each client. We build every site with WordPress because we believe it is a superior, very customizable product with an excellent open-source support network. In addition, the sites we build for our clients are not only functional but are also optimized for search engines, speed, mobile devices, and differently-abled users.

Conquer

Once your site is complete, the sky is the limit! While you’re conquering the business world, Hammersmith Support can maintain your site. Our monthly maintenance packages help take the frustration of updating and maintaining your website off of your plate. Website maintenance packages include content updates, backups, security scans, SEO, site enhancements, site optimization, malware prevention, analytics reporting, performance monitoring, and more. We can make changes to your site such as updating inventory or images – anything that will keep your site up to date and running smoothly and securely.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re hungry for more about website design, click here to download “10 Questions to Ask Your Website Designer!” If you’re ready to talk about your website, schedule your free consultation!

When it comes to building your website, the reason you go to a professional is that you aren’t a web designer, right? But even so, it’s good to ask questions to make sure you are getting not only what you need, but also good value in your site, and someone you feel comfortable working with too.

5 Questions to Ask Your Website Designer

  1. Who will I work with during this process?
  2. What platform will my website be built on? Why?
  3. Do you offer hosting and maintenance?
  4. Do you custom design your websites or use templates?
  5. What if I have a problem down the road, who can I talk to?

Since You Might Be Wondering How We Would Answer These Questions….

At Hammersmith Support, all of our sites are custom-built, not templates, and all are constructed on WordPress. We believe that WordPress is a superior product compared to others on the market, in part because of its customizability and open-source community support. Additionally, we offer WP Engine hosting for all of the sites we build.

We know that all of our clients are unique and therefore their sites need to be as well. We build or refresh every client’s site independently, not from a template. And our full-service approach means we can design for you, or use a design of your choice.

It Can Pay off to Go Small…Business

One of the biggest benefits of working with Hammersmith Support is that we’re a small business – when you hire us, you get us! When you sign up for a maintenance package after your site is done, we’ll help keep your site running smoothly with updates to all aspects of the site including security, as well as make changes you may need to accommodate your business. And the best part? When you call, you’re not waiting on hold to a 1-800 number to talk with someone who has no idea who you are. When you call us, our first-hand knowledge of your site means we’re able to answer your questions efficiently.

Interested in 5 More Questions to Ask a Web Designer?

Download Our 10 Questions to Ask Your Web Designer Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Web Designer

Sign up to receive “10 Questions to Ask Your Web Designer,” including five additional questions to help with your web design process. Or click over to our Calendly link to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation with Hammersmith Support.

Our client highlight this week features the rebuild of the Strunk Insurance Group’s website. Teresa Strunk is a fellow W Source Arcadia / Scottsdale member. She and her husband, Casey, are the owners of Strunk Insurance Group, a full-service employee benefits consulting firm founded by Casey’s father, Greg. They reached out to Hammersmith Support to rebuild and redesign their site from the ground up.

The Website Issues

In order to continue to serve their client base effectively, Strunk Insurance Group had several website issues that they needed help resolving. First, the overall look and feel of their site no longer accurately reflected their organization. Their logo felt out of date and their site copy was no longer fitting.

In addition, a security scare led Strunk Insurance Group to prioritize not only the outward look of their site but also the “behind-the-scenes” maintenance. They needed a more robust foundation in conjunction with regular maintenance to ensure that their site was not only secure but also effectively drawing in and capturing potential leads.

Here’s a peek at the site before:

The Website Solution

Knowing that the content on the website needed to be not only informative but also well organized, they also contracted with Katrina Oko-Odoi of Content Worm (also a W Source Member!). She was able to create fresh copy that more clearly describes their often-complex insurance business and the services they offer. That, combined with a new logo and design, resulted in a fresh and simplified site that effectively communicates who and what the Strunk Insurance Group is.

Behind the scenes, Hammersmith Support built a new, modern theme for the design and developed the site using the built-in WordPress Gutenberg editor, which makes updating the site’s back end easier. Hammersmith Support continues to provide monthly maintenance for the Strunk Insurance Group to ensure that their site remains updated, secure and optimized.

The Final Product

Click to see the new and improved Strunk Insurance Group, and the sneak peek below!

Behind Strunk Insurance Group

Casey Strunk

In addition to highlighting the new website, we’re excited to introduce you to Casey Strunk through our Hammersmith interview. Both Casey and Teresa are very involved in the Phoenix community. Casey is the Board Chair of Phoenix EC70, while Teresa is Chair of the Board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona. They are both active members of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, working as strong fundraisers for the charity.

Casey, what is your β€œwhy” and how did that motivate you to start your business?

“Greg Strunk, my father, started the business almost 40 years ago. We have always been focused on the client and we continue to see today what drove Greg to start the agency in the early 1980s. There is an under-served segment of the business community. Those employers with 25-200 employees do not have a benefit PARTNER that is willing to invest the time and energy they deserve when it comes to their benefits package. We treat our clients like family and they continue to be our ‘why’.”

What is unique about your style and product offering?

“Most employee benefits firms help clients with employee benefits. It turns out it is a lot more complicated than that. We help clients quarterback everything related to their human capital. This includes enrollment technology, compliance, IRS filings, human resources, and retirement plans.

Lastly, what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

“Surround yourself with a great team. This includes my personal board of directors, peer groups, business coaches, other successful leaders, and your employees! I believe that in order to be successful over the long run, you have to constantly be changing and adapting your business.”

Hammersmith Support Is Here to Help

Are you thinking your site may need some updating? Have you had security issues that you are unsure are resolved? Click over to our Calendly link to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and see how Hammersmith Support can help you and your business.

Your business blog posts are great at adding value for your site visitor, and they are essential to your website’s SEO. That SEO is based on several factors including the blog structure, which is why your titles and subheadings are crucial parts of your blog. Not to mention being attention grabbers for your readers. We’ve got the breakdown of how to create and use titles and headers that will draw in your readers and increase your SEO advantage.

Don’t Get Cut Short

Titles

The ideal length for the title of a blog is 60-70 characters. After 70, it’s likely to be cut off in the search engine returned results. While this probably isn’t the end of the world in most cases, if your title reads much differently when a few words are cut off, searchers may be confused and possibly even offended by the part that is displayed!

Subheadings

Subheadings are all the headings within your content (“Don’t Get Cut Short” for example). They are important for a few reasons. First, they allow a reader to quickly scan your post. If they can’t get enough information in a few seconds to make a decision about whether or not they want to read the post, they’ll likely skip it and move on. Second, subheadings should pique a reader’s interest. Keeping a subheading snappy and interesting is key.

Keywords and Numbers and Brackets, Oh My

Titles

Using numbers is a great way to grab attention to your post. Think “3 Ways a Great Title Can Make a Big Difference.” In addition, always making sure that your keywords are part of the title is vital for good SEO – this will also ensure that your title isn’t vague or misleading. Lastly, consider using brackets in order to clarify and add details to the title (such as “Blog Titles Really Are That Important [new statistics]”).

Subheadings

The post subheadings are also a great place to put your keywords for the post. If you’re using a number in your title, be sure that your subheadings are following the same format so readers are not confused.

Formatting Matters

Title

In the Hammersmith Support post “How to Structure Your Blog for the Best SEO,” we talked about how formatting your blog boosts your SEO. For titles, WordPress will automatically make your title an H1 tag. But if you have to do so manually, be sure that only your title has the H1 tag. It will make it easier for readers, as well as search engines, to understand.

Subheadings

This post is a good example of formatting that employs several subheadings. You’ll notice that our main subheadings are formatted as H2, and the additional subheadings are H3. That is not only visually pleasing for readers but also helps search engines more readily crawl and rank the content.

Want More?

Click over to our blog to read more about blogging, website maintenance, and women in tech.

We’re here to help! If you have questions about your website or the design process, we’d love to talk with you. Book a free 30-minute consultation.

This week, Hammersmith Support is showcasing an amazing Girl Scouts Silver Award project spearheaded by two exceptional young women, Hazel and Tillie. The foundation of Hammersmith Support is to foster our community and encourage future women in tech. So we were thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor these two inspiring young ladies in learning how to use WordPress so that they could create a website for tweens that focuses on Internet safety. The site will serve as their submission for the Silver Award with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.

Girl Scouts Silver Award

In addition to being the highest available award for girls grades 6th – 8th, the Silver Award is a national award with national standards. Each project submission should take roughly 50 hours to complete and should focus on a community issue and should benefit 10+ people. Girl Scouts can work as a team or an individual and can recruit help from a few volunteers. The project must also be sustainable rather than a one-time event.

The Website: T-Bex Connections

Tillie & Hazel

Hazel and Tillie worked to create a website that educates other pre-teens about how to safely navigate being online and also provides ideas about things to do when stuck at home while social distancing. Their activities range from recipes to crafts (including homemade face masks!), and includes fun games to play, too. There is also a place where kids can submit questions for Hazel and Tillie to answer, with a little help from their project volunteers.

Future Growth

One of the requirements for a Silver Award is that the project must be sustainable. Because Tillie and Hazel have learned the skills of how to create a website, they’re also able to help T-Bex Connections change and grow as they do. The topics they tackle can evolve to include topics that are interesting to young women their ages.

These young ladies will submit their project to the Girl Scouts of the USA, Cactus-Pine division, later this year. Hammersmith Support will be sure to report the results of the hard work by these talented young women!

Visit https://tbexconnections.com/ to see their (nearly) final product!

This week, we are continuing to highlight local organizations that are doing great things for our community. Hammersmith Support is a member of Local First Arizona, a network for small businesses in Arizona. Local First Arizona is a nonprofit organization that works to create a community, a voice, and a network for small businesses. They offer resources, promotion, and also advocate for a strong and competitive local economy.

What Is Local First Arizona?

Founded in 2003 by Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona’s goal was to create a community for small businesses. By creating this network for small businesses, owners were able to find resources, connect with other companies, find mentors, create collaborations, and more! The result is a vibrant, unique, local, small business economy that brings excitement and diversity to our state.

Our vision is an Arizona economy that is sustainable, resilient, and celebratory of diverse cultures.

Indie Week

Each year, Local First Arizona celebrates Indie Week where individuals and other small businesses are encouraged to purchase from or support a local business. Because 2020 has been quite a different year, Local First Arizona is hosting Indie Week the entire month of September! This year is even more fun because there is a prize associated with your patronage. Complete 5 calls to action in the card below and enter to win a gift card.

Why We are Involved

One of Hammersmith Support’s foundational beliefs is that we need to foster and give back to our community. We do that in several ways, including choosing a local nonprofit for whom we provide pro bono maintenance services. But we also believe that a rising tide lifts all ships and our support for other small businesses is vital to our community and our economy!

Hammersmith Support is Here to Help

While we work with businesses of all sizes, we understand the unique challenges that many small businesses face. Schedule your free consultation today and let’s talk through how we can help you and your business.

This week we’re excited to showcase a Hammersmith Support client, Rancho Feliz, and the amazing work they are doing in our community and across the Mexican border. Rancho Feliz is a nonprofit organization that provides the much-needed services of basic necessities and education for children and families in Agua Prieta, just a four-hour drive from Phoenix. Their philosophy is unique in that their work is thought to change the lives of volunteers at least as much as it does those of the recipients of the services.

Rancho Feliz has been hit hard by the pandemic. The inability to hold in-person fundraisers has lessened the amount of funding available. At the same time, the pandemic has negatively impacted the border towns they serve. Even through adversity, Rancho Feliz is committed to providing for the less fortunate.

Enlightened Self-Interest

Put simply, enlightened self-interest means improving the quality of your own life by serving those not born into the same circumstances. Rancho Feliz’s volunteers travel to Agua Prieta to assist in building and renovating homes for families in need. The process yields a life-changing event in providing reliable and consistent shelter for a family, as well as a life-changing event for the volunteer to fully experience what some live with on a daily basis, simply because they were born into different circumstances.

We don’t believe in welfare. We believe in the dynamic principle of keeping the integrity of the human spirit foremost – and our maverick approach is unlike any other.

Education

Rancho Feliz formed an educational alliance with two fully accredited, private bi-lingual schools in Agua Prieta: Colegio Americano Anais for kindergarten, elementary, and junior high and Colegio Benemerito de Las Americas for high school. Rancho Feliz also provides opportunities to sponsor University students. The schools rely on donations and the funds are meticulously monitored in order to maximize their impact.

Reciprocal Giving

We love this infographic that Rancho Feliz uses to visually explain how their programs work.

Want to Help?

Website: https://ranchofeliz.com/

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

Contact:
7109 E. 2nd Street, #100
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

(602) 538-9192

Hammersmith Support Can Help Your Business or Nonprofit

We helped develop the current Rancho Feliz website and we still maintain it several years later! Thinking it might be time for a website upgrade for your business or organization? Schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and let us tell you how we can support you.