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.

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.

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 tell you often about Hammersmith Support maintenance and how it can benefit your business, so we thought you might enjoy reading about a client’s experience with our maintenance package and how it has worked for their business. We’re excited to introduce you to Debbie Porter of Derma Health Skin & Laser, tell you about the issues she was experiencing with her business website, and how a Hammersmith Support maintenance package solved the problems for her and her business.

First, Some Background

Derma Health Skin & Laser is a Phoenix, Arizona-based full-service medical aesthetics group that has been operating for more than 16 years. Currently, they operate 3 clinics here in the Valley, located in North Phoenix, Chandler, and Gilbert. Their main services include laser skin treatments, microneedling, injectables (Botox & dermal fillers), CoolSculpting & Body Contouring, and aesthetic services. Debbie has served as the Marketing Director of Derma Health for the past three years.

The Challenges

Despite the Derma Health website having been built just prior to Debbie joining the organization, it was quickly becoming out of date and ineffective. As the aesthetic industry was rapidly evolving, Derma Health needed to transform its business model, marketing, and brand strategy to better serve its patients, employees, and the community as well. And their website needed to pivot with them.

The Changes

One of the first projects to be tackled was integrating e-commerce with the existing site. This was a unique challenge in that Derma Health has two e-commerce sites that work independently – one through Allergan and another that they created through Shopify. Because the two sites are integrated, Derma Health needed a solution to help visitors understand how to better navigate the site to find and purchase the products they were looking for without becoming confused by the navigation. In addition, Hammersmith helped Debbie create a microsite landing page for CoolSculpting services, which was a huge success:

“I launched our digital campaign late last year and it has achieved incredible success for us. We are now ranked #1 in the Southwest for CoolSculpting and are ranked #18 in the entire nation for CoolSculpting.”

That’s quite an accomplishment, Debbie!

The Benefits

As a maintenance client, Derma Health enjoys not only the hours of content changes each month but also site, platform, and plugin updates, as well as lead testing, site testing, security scans, a full site backup and hosting, and site optimization too. Debbie also receives a report each month of the findings, information regarding Google Search Console and a Google Analytics report that outlines the most visited pages, where traffic came from, and more.

Here’s what Debbie had to say about the maintenance package and the Hammersmith Support team:

“The team at Hammersmith is talented, responsive, helpful and creative. They listen, respond to requests and help create and execute web solutions quickly. They are also flexible in structuring payments and retainers, which was very helpful during the pandemic when so many of us had to close for a period of time. The team is a pleasure to work with, affordable and does excellent quality work. I highly recommend their services.”

Ready to Get Started?

Click over to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation. We can talk through any questions you have and discuss which maintenance package is right for you and your business.

Did you know that the average user won’t wait more than 3 seconds for a website to load before leaving the site? More commonly known as the bounce rate, this statistic is important to understand because poor site speed can lead to a higher bounce rate. Knowing what could be slowing down your site and how to fix it is crucial to a better-performing website. Read below to find out how to measure and improve your site’s speed.

Set a Baseline

To understand how fast or slow your site is actually running, run the website through Google PageSpeed Insights. This free tool will measure your site’s speed and offer suggestions for how to improve speed. This should be done as a first step, and can be repeated to monitor if any adjustments make a difference in site speed.

Updates

If your platform, plugins, or PHP (the scripting language used in web development) are out of date, the result can be slow site speeds. How do you know if your site is out of date? On your WordPress dashboard, look to the Site Health section. Here you can see which areas of your website need to be updated. In addition, checking the website’s plugins for updates, as well as removing any unused plugins, can help improve site speed.

Images and Cache

If your site has a lot of images or graphics, compressing these files can improve loading times. Better yet, you can install an image optimization plugin that will automatically compress new images and graphics as they are loaded onto your site. In addition, enabling caching can help to improve the site’s speed by temporarily storing files locally so that the site can load more quickly as the user continues to browse. Caching tools are included with WP Engine hosting and other hosts offer caching as an add-on, so check your site settings to know whether caching is enabled.

Upgrade Hosting

Each platform offers different hosting solutions and some are higher quality than others. Moving to a higher-quality host can significantly improve site speed. Hammersmith Support Premium maintenance clients enjoy the quality and speed of WP Engine through Hammersmith’s dedicated server. For some businesses, content delivery network (CDN) may be a good solution. A CDN is a group of servers geographically distributed and linked together via the internet. The servers’ purpose is to improve content delivery performance by using a server closest to the end-user.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Each of our two maintenance packages can help solve many of the issues that come with poor site speed. And our Premium Package includes hosting through WP Engine, a dedicated server just for Hammersmith Support clients. Ready to sign up? Still have questions? Schedule a complimentary 30-minute meeting to get your questions answered.

Hammersmith Support is a proud member of Lead Up for Women and we are excited to introduce you to the founder, Colleen Biggs. In the organization’s own words, Lead Up for Women “… is an elite community of female entrepreneurs that are driven by their passions, support, and promote with a purpose to fuel female voices with power.” This dynamic group accomplishes its mission with events hosted by members, monthly networking “Lunch-n-Learns,” bi-monthly magazines with articles written by members, the Speak Up to Lead Up podcast, and many more impressive and exciting events.

Hammersmith Support loves to support women and women-owned businesses, which is why we are a proud member of Lead Up for Women! Our founder, Heather Locke, will be sponsoring an upcoming Lunch-n-Learn, The One Thing: Success Lists vs. To-Do Lists, on Thursday, May 6th. We hope you’ll join us for this exciting event and we know you’ll enjoy learning more about Lead Up for Women’s Colleen Biggs, too.

Tell us a little about you.

Technically, I’m a corporate drop-out! After serving in Corporate America for over 25 years, I took the leap of faith to Entrepreneurship. I knew for many years that I wanted to find my way and inspire others in building businesses outside of corporate, and after coaching and consulting for over 18 years and launching over 300 businesses, I knew I needed to blaze some trails, especially for women.

Why did you start Lead Up for Women?

Lead Up for Women was born out of the need that all female entrepreneurs have – the need to be seen and heard. It’s so difficult to expand your influence in the current oversaturated social media marketing culture, so I decided to work on the promotion side of the business for women. Lead Up for Women spotlights all females on many different platforms. We host a podcast and provide podcast interviews to our members, as well as publish a bi-monthly magazine that produces articles written by our members. This not only provides credibility but also exposure for each woman to expand her influence and attract more customers. I absolutely believe that each one of us has a superpower that only we can possess. We are here on this earth to provide that unique skill to those that become our customers and need us. I provide the pathway for female entrepreneurs to feel empowered along that journey, to accelerate their business success.

Talk to us about your “why” and how that motivated you to start your business.

Females are strong advocates for many! We fight for others, serve, nurture and control the majority of the global economy, yet, females still tend to step aside or take the back seat when it comes to their families, communities, careers, and starting their own businesses. Getting funding alone is a feat for a female small business owner, much more difficult than their counterpart, the male. I’m drawn to work with females and always have been. After coaching hundreds of CEOs in the past several years, I was able to assist them in uncovering their superpowers. You see, we all have what it takes for us to lead without permission, and soar in anything we decide to take on as females. However, sometimes, we need a tribe of other like-minded women to be there along the journey to support each other, lift each other and provide a safe and nurturing community so we all win! Corporate was riddled with competition and judgment, which I don’t miss! I know that we can change the blueprint of the position of a female in business forever if we all band together and rise!

What is unique about your style and product offering?

Most other organized Women’s Organizations exist to bring women together for collaboration and networking purposes. I think this is phenomenal, and so needed. Lead Up for Women provides this and much, much more! Women Entrepreneurs need spotlights to step into to expand their influence and attract more clients. I take the “hustle” out of the “hunt” and show women how to accelerate their businesses through attracting clients, via authenticity, showing up everywhere, all the time! I’m as transparent as it gets. Do I work hard? Sure, but it’s the hard that pays off exponentially! I teach women in Lead Up how to leverage their time for money, value their time, protect their boundaries and focus on the successes in our businesses, not the time suckers that we all think are needed to “produce results.” I walk the walk and talk the talk, every time. It’s all about priority!

What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Be you, because everybody else is taken. That might seem like a simple phrase, but most aren’t authentic. When you drop the armor and show up as you, every time, everywhere, people really get to know you and others want to do business with people they know, like, and trust! Get to know people, really know them. Show them you care and like them back. Build trust by making the first move to trust them! It’s a simple formula in business that most overlook time and time again. And lastly, don’t be afraid to trust yourself and take the leap of faith to grow to the next level for yourself and your business. Trust me when I say, you are your own safety net!

Get in Touch

Click over to find out more about Lead Up for Women, sign up for membership, join an event, listen to their podcast, read the blog and more!

Join Us for Lunch-N-Learn on Thursday, May 6th!

We’d love to have you join us for the Lunch-n-Learn, The One Thing: Success Lists vs. To-Do Lists, hosted by Hammersmith Support’s Heather Locke on Thursday, May 6th!

Giving back to our community is a core value at Hammersmith Support. We strive to support businesses and nonprofits in an effort to foster vibrant and thriving organizations that are the foundation of a strong community. Each year Hammersmith Support chooses a nonprofit to provide pro bono maintenance services for. Over the course of the year, the nonprofit benefits from monthly updates, lead testing, and security checks. They’re also able to utilize the hours of content updates in the maintenance package to make upgrades and changes to the design, infrastructure, and layout of their site. The result is a site that functions more efficiently, safely, and is more visually appealing.

The Process

We were thrilled with the number of local nonprofits who applied to be our next pro bono client! Hearing each of their stories, their mission, and how they were affected by the pandemic was incredibly inspiring – there are so many organizations out there doing amazing work. When all of the interviews were completed, we had the incredibly difficult task of choosing one nonprofit to work with – each of the applicants was so worthy of this assistance.

Drum Roll, Please….

We are thrilled to announce that our new pro bono client is Phoenix Center for the Arts! PCA has a small but mighty staff dedicated to bringing arts and culture opportunities to our community. PCA utilizes education, programming, and advocacy to further its mission in the Phoenix area. Because nearly all of their work is done in person, Phoenix Center for the Arts has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unable to meet in person, they have shifted nearly all of their programming to a virtual platform, requiring much time and effort from their team to adapt their entire system of work.

Phoenix Center for the Arts

The Work

PCA has pivoted to become a leader in innovating arts education, bringing teaching artists and students together virtually. This has created an urgent need for a more robust virtual footprint. Phoenix Center for the Arts has not only seen a significant increase in traffic to their site, but their website is now used for registration, class listings, membership, and more, making their need for functionality greater than ever.

Learn More

Visit the Phoenix Center for the Arts website to learn more about this amazing non-profit organization. And stay tuned for updates about our work for them!

Thinking your business is in need of a similar solution? Visit our services page to learn more about all of the packages we offer and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation through our Calendly link. We would like to talk with you about your business website and how Hammersmith Support can help.

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.