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.

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.

Have you ever done an online search for a business name and gotten a list of results, along with a quick breakdown of that business on the right side of your screen? That’s Google My Business. Below, we outline several reasons why it’s important and include instructions on how to get started. If you’re already using GMB, read on to find out some additional information that will be useful to you!

SEO

We’ve posted a lot about Google Ranking Factors and Google My Business plays right into that concept. Providing Google with detailed information about what your business is, where it is located, and the types of services that you provide enables your business listing to be up-to-date and informative. In turn, more accurate search results may lead to more potential clients finding your business. Moreover, adding local SEO to your listing means your business information is geographically optimized as well, which is important for many businesses that only serve local customers.

Quick Information

Sometimes a customer doesn’t want to scour your website for information like hours of operation or your address. This is especially important now during COVID restrictions when it may be uncertain if a business is open or closed. In addition, updated information means customers can find your address and directions quickly and easily. There are also Google Reviews that are separate from other review sites like Yelp. These reviews are not able to be sorted by a third party like other reviews sites, meaning you’ll see all the reviews, good and bad.

Because of the visibility of reviews, getting your clients to post Google Reviews is good for business. Make it easy by sending individual notes to each customer, thanking them for their business, and asking them for a review. Be sure to include a link to the Google Review page for your business.

More Places to Post

If you’re already using GMB, did you know that you can post promotions, event information, products, photos, and updates? Quickly get customers in the know and also get some free advertising!

How to Get Started

Ready to get rolling? Click here for the link to begin the process of claiming your business and setting up Google My Business. Once completed, be sure to check in often to keep your information up-to-date. Check out Hammersmith Support’s GMB page too.

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.

How Hammersmith Support Can Help

Do you have a blog tab set up on your site? Let’s talk. Hammersmith Support’s comprehensive monthly maintenance can help get your blog set up, get your site on track, and keep it there with monthly check ups.

The beauty of a great CDN is that you never see it, hear it, or worry about it. But what exactly is it? CDN stands for content delivery network. It’s 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 the end user. In short, a CDN helps your website load more quickly, which may keep visitors around longer.

For example, say your site is hosted in Arizona. A user in the UK visits your site and now the full site must load all the way from Arizona, which could take several seconds. But when using a CDN, the end user loads your site from a proxy server closer to them, allowing the full site to load faster.

Why Is That Important?

Fast loading time for your website is crucial because, well, people are impatient. If your site takes too long to load, there’s a good chance that visitors will bounce rather than stick around to see what finally appears on their screen. This is especially important for businesses that use a lot of graphics, videos, or software downloads that can slow download times. Not to mention that site speed became part of Google Ranking Factors in 2010. Good speed = good SEO.

CDN’s also reduce bandwidth costs, increase content availability and improve redundancy. They provide security for your site through authentication, encryption and data integrity. In particular, they protect against attacks that attempt to overwhelm the network, in addition to those that aim to steal information.

Where Do You Get a CDN?

Many companies offer a CDN service à la carte, but many will bundle a CDN with everything else you need to run your website. Hammersmith Support exclusively works with WP Engine, as it provides not only a fast CDN but also reliable hosting. While you can host a website without a CDN, you cannot have a CDN without a host. The combination of the two creates an efficient hosting environment for even the busiest website.

Want to read more about website hosting? Click on over to the Hammersmith Support blog “Website Hosting 101.”

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 Hammersmith Support is always here to help you work through the best options for you and your business – schedule your free 30-minute consultation to talk through all your website questions.

As the Hammersmith team has created new and exciting websites for our clients, we began to see the growing need for those websites to be maintained and supported. Our clients were thrilled with the site build results, but didn’t have the time or the know how to keep their sites in tip-top shape on their own. And so Hammersmith Support was born to fill a new need for our clients.

What Is Website Maintenance / Support?

Have you ever researched when exactly the internet was started? It’s a mess of answers, depending on what one would consider the actual “internet” (the conception v modern day usage). Some date it back to 1983, some 1990 when it was more widely used. Either way, that is a substantial amount of time. And think of how far the internet has come; from dial up to now being able to DIY your own websites, to social media… the list goes on and on.

Given that timeline, it’s interesting that website support and maintenance is still in a toddler stage of growth. For all the material available on the internet, it’s amazing that many consumers are just now looking to other companies to maintain and support their websites. Many companies have overlooked security updates and patches, ignored malware attempts to corrupt data, and leave site content stale and not updated – all important aspects of website maintenance.

Why Is Maintenance Important?

As the internet continues to evolve, so do the hazards for users. Security breaches and malware being two of the most urgent risks. Each of these can bring down your site, or worse, can steal data and or identifiable information about your customers. This is an increasingly high risk for sites using ecommerce. Even sites that only generate leads are at risk of customer contact information being stolen. The risk of malware corrupting your site and taking it offline is a huge risk, especially those businesses dependent on their site for sales.

On the less scary side, website maintenance and support is crucial for businesses that can’t or don’t want to do the work themselves. Imagine needing to update your product information, pricing, run an update – all while handling the other time sensitive issues of your business. It’s hard to prioritize when everything feels like a top priority.

How Hammersmith Support Solves this Issue

Our goal at Hammersmith Support is to provide comprehensive service through preventative maintenance and client driven content updates. Our preventative maintenance includes site security updates, site backups, optimization and premium site hosting.

This two prong approach ensures that your website not only run efficiently and safely, it’s also up to date with your content changes – a winning combination. Click here to see the Hammersmith Support service packages.

What is website hosting? If you’ve ever built a website, or even needed support for your site, you’ve probably had to answer the question “where is your site hosted?”. To break it down, a website host is a service provider that administers the technologies and services needed for a website to be viewed on the internet. It’s kind of like a rental space for a business – except it’s the virtual space for your website.

Why Does the Site Host Matter?

Where your site is hosted matters for several reasons. First, not all hosts offer the same kind of services. It’s kind of like shopping at a grocery store verses a convenience store. They both sell food, but the quality, variety, and selection vary widely. Each website host is different, offering varying levels of security, plug in applications, reporting, support and more.

And those differences? Can be a deal breaker. Take for example the content delivery network; if a potential client clicks on your URL….and waits….and waits…and the site loads oh-so-slowly, the chances of them sticking around until the site loads are slim to nil. A great CDN will ensure that no matter from where a person visits your site, it will always load quickly and completely. Another potential deal breaker? Security. That all important “s” in “https” is a Secure Socket Layer. It’s the security guard for your site ensuring that your visitor’s information stay safe. Even if you don’t take credit card information, your site is still vulnerable to hackers stealing contact information. Or even general malware that takes your site down. Which is why good security is important for all websites.

Why Hammersmith Uses WP Engine Host

At Hammersmith Support, we exclusively use the WP Engine Hosting. It is the best value for the price by including sturdy basics like Global Edge security, a managed content delivery network and award winning support. For us, WP Engine Hosting is the perfect partnership for us to support our client’s websites because we know we are managing our client’s sites with a top of the line product.

Ready to Get Started?

Click on our link to get started with the best, WP Engine hosting.