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.

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.

We are excited to show you this client highlight for BW Concepts! It’s the perfect example of a small business that created its own website, and then came to Hammersmith Support when ready for something bigger and better. Beth Wand of BW Concepts specializes in creating organic digital content for her clients. Her services range from blog posts, to website content, biographies, and social media content creation and management – which is a lot to explain clearly and succinctly. We were able to accomplish this with the use of icons and visual breaks using color too.

Before

Beth built her previous site herself on WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org). At the time, her goal was to have a place to house links to her publications, contact information, and a contact form. The previous site was not only visually very simple, but it was also lacking in SEO. The entire site laid out more like a blog than a professional’s website.

After

We really love the look and feel of the site now. Not only is it visually pleasing, but the functionality has increased dramatically. Beth provided content updates as well as new photography, and the layout was updated to make BW Concepts services easy to understand. Calls to action, as well as an updated blog layout and services page, were added. The color scheme was updated to visually elevate the site, too.

BW Concepts is also now a Hammersmith Support maintenance client! Beth shared that while she knows she can do a lot of this on her own, it’s so nice to know that maintenance is now one less thing on her to do list.

We’re Here to Help Your Business Too

If you’re thinking it’s time to upgrade your current site, or if you are starting from scratch, we can help. Book a free 30-minute consultation through our Calendly link and let’s talk about your business website needs.

When it comes to building and maintaining your business website, there are lots of options out there! How do you know which platform is right for you and your business? We’ve got the breakdown on some of the differences between WordPress and Wix and who they might work best for. And we’ll tell you Hammersmith Support’s preferred platform and why!

WordPress

Pros:

  • Portable content – If you change hosting providers, you can move your site and its contents easily.
  • Open-source – Want to customize? The resources are there and getting more user-friendly with every release!
  • 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 – Are you running a small business or a large, international company? WordPress works on any scale and grows as your company grows.
  • Custom Designs – Do you have a vision of how you’d like your site to look and function? With WordPress, the design and customization options are endless.
  • E-commerce – WordPress makes it easy to integrate and set up a store using WooCommerce, Shopify or other platforms.
  • Speed – WordPress sites, especially when maintained regularly, 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’re 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 grows. You own your site and are not limited by a proprietary platform.

Wix

Pros:

  • Inexpensive to start – Wix charges a minimal monthly fee for access to its platform and resources.
  • Easy to manipulate and change – Wix is a simple drag and drop design.
  • All-in-one – A standard site comes with hosting, SSL, domain or CDN – they’re all included in the basic package.
  • SEO – If you’re looking for basic SEO that you don’t need to tinker with, Wix has what you need.
  • Maintenance – Site updates are done automatically by Wix.

Cons:

  • Limited features – Templates are not customizable, so you are limited by the resources available.
  • Speed – Wix sites load more slowly than do WordPress sites and allow for less optimization.
  • Not scalable – If your business grows exponentially and you’d like to add functionality and customization to match your expanded needs, you may find Wix to be too limited.
  • Proprietary – Your data is not easily portable. If you decide to move to another host, you’ll have export your content in XML format and build your new site from scratch.
  • E-commerce – Wix’s options for building an online store are much more limited in terms of customization and integration with the most robust and commonly used platforms.

Takeaway:

If you have a small budget, are not very tech savvy, and don’t need a very robust site, Wix is a great place to start! Another way to think of the differences between the two is that a Wix site could sell a few items, while a WordPress site could launch an entire online store.

Hammersmith Support’s Preferred Platform

You guessed it, WordPress! The platform is scalable, customizable, portable, and if you’re looking to delve into your SEO, the bells and whistles just can’t be beaten. We also appreciate the large support community that WordPress has fostered and the open code format that allows us 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 site.

It’s almost Arizona Gives Day! April 6th kicks off 24 hours of online giving to benefit local non-profits, brought you by Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum. AZ Gives.org brings local non-profits and their missions to one online location, making it easy for donors to find and connect with a non-profit that fits their passion. Since its inception in 2013, Arizona Gives Day has raised over $23 million dollars for local non-profits!

Arizona Gives Day is just 24 hours…is your website ready to handle a large influx of traffic? Here are a few things you can do to get ready to make sure every dollar makes it to your bottom line.

Check Your Security

When you type in your URL, does it begin with “https“? If not, your site is not secure. Update your SSL certificate to ensure that:

  • Your site is safe for visitors’ information
  • Visitors can actually make it to your site. Several search engines will block unsecured sites from being viewed
  • Your SEO is the best that it can be! Google Ranking Factors depend heavily on security

Update

Be sure that your site is completely updated. Look for platform as well as plugin updates – all of which are visible from your WordPress dashboard. Even a small, out-of-date section can cause headaches.

Check Hosting

Contact your hosting service to confirm that your site is able to take on a high amount of traffic. The average website takes 3 seconds to load and more than half of visitors will leave if it takes longer. Be sure that your hosting can handle increased traffic and still load quickly.

View on Mobile

Because more than half of internet users view sites on a mobile device, it’s essential that your site loads quickly, completely, and is easy to navigate from a mobile device. Check that all of the menus and contact forms are visible and easy to use and that your images are optimized for mobile.

Test

Check your contact forms to be sure that they are working. It’s as simple as going to your site and filling out the form to make sure that form notifications are getting to your inbox.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

It’s not too late! If you need help with your site, we can help. Visit our Calendly link to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and we can talk through your concerns.

Are You a Member of an Approved 501c3 Organization?

Hammersmith Support is currently accepting applications for our newest pro bono client!

Who Is Eligible?

While we always work to support our local businesses, this project is aimed at those doing the most for our community – nonprofit organizations. Any charitable organization that is an approved 501c3 and has an existing WordPress website is eligible! We know so many organizations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and we want to help you.

How to Apply

We’re excited to learn more about your organization! Click here to complete an application. We will be accepting applications through Sunday, March 28th. We will meet with finalists and select our new client the week of March 29th.

One of the foundational aspects of Hammersmith Support is to give back to our community. In addition to serving with our time and treasure, we also strive to serve with our talent. Each year, Hammersmith Support selects a nonprofit and provides our maintenance services pro bono for the next year. During this time, we’re able to get their website updated not only on the “inside,” but we’re also able to make content changes and add infrastructure that benefits the users as well as the organization in so many ways.

We have enjoyed working with our current pro bono client, #LoveUp Foundation, and we are excited to begin the process of selecting a new nonprofit to work with!

What Our Client Will Receive

Our newest pro bono client will receive 1 year of Hammersmith Support maintenance. This includes:

  • Site backups and live staging copy maintained
  • Security scans and malware prevention
  • Site optimization
  • Full site test each month
  • Submission to Google Search Console
  • 2 hours of content updates monthly – update images, wording, service packages, about us pages, add or update donation forms, etc. This time can also be used to add additional features to your site!

Who Is Eligible?

While we always work to support our local businesses, this project is aimed at those doing the most for our community – nonprofit organizations. Any charitable organization that is an approved 501c3 and has an existing WordPress website is eligible! We know so many organizations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and we want to help you.

How to Apply

We’re excited to learn more about your organization! Click here to complete an application. We will be accepting applications through Sunday, March 28th. We will meet with finalists and select our new client the week of March 29th.

We’ve Got You Covered

Not a nonprofit, don’t worry! Our amazing maintenance packages are available to everyone any time. Connect with us via our Calendly link to book your free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

Last year Hammersmith Support launched our first ever giveaway, 3 months of maintenance for one lucky winner. And that winner was Erica Scott of Civilian Connections! Civilian Connections is a human resources company that works to connect businesses looking to hire with veteran talent.

Did you know that our maintenance packages include not only updates and lead testing, but also either 2 or 4 hours of content updates depending on the service package? After working with Civilian Connections to understand the what sorts of improvements they were looking for, we were able to put those content hours to good use by making additional changes to their site.

Updates + Security

In talking with the team at Civilian Connections, we were able to understand the issues they were having with their site. Our own evaluation showed some additional updates that needed to be made as well as upgrading the security of the site. This included platform as well as plugin updates. Each of the changes was not only important for the functionality of the site but also for usability and SEO.

Content

One of the things that Civilian Connections wanted to update was the overall site content. We were able to rework the home page content and design to make the company’s mission clearer to readers. While the messaging remained consistent and on-brand, we were able to make the wording and layout clearer and more concise to effectively convey that message. We also updated the social media buttons on each page, placing them prominently.

Upgrades

In addition to giving the overall site a good once-over, Hammersmith Support also advised adding some much-needed integrations. We tied Civilian Connections’ email sign-up to their Mailchimp account. So now when someone signs up with email, the email address is automatically loaded into their contacts, making email marketing that much easier. In addition, we added Google Analytics tracking to the site, which enables lead attribution and helps them decide where their marketing dollars will be used most effectively.

Before and After

Check out the site before and after! With some simple image changes (and all with full optimization!) as well as content clarifications, the site now functions better and is visually pleasing.

Civilian Connections website before

And after!

See it for yourself! Click on over Civilian Connections.

Hammersmith Support Can Help You Too!

Does reading this make you think that your site could use this kind of TLC too? Click over to our Calendly page to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

And stay tuned! We are excited to make an announcement next week about our Giving Back program!

The WordPress dashboard provides a great snapshot of the overall health of your website. Located in the Site Health Status section, it highlights the behind-the-scenes aspects of your site that are vital to a smooth-running website. So what should you do if your dashboard looks like this?:

Insert horrifying scream!

Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Let’s break down exactly what you’re looking at and how to fix it.

Site Health

The overall health of your site is evaluated here. It evaluates inactive plugins, areas that need to be updated, security, and more. The area is a comprehensive look at what can and needs to be improved on the site.

Updates

Included as part of site health, there are various areas of your site that need to be updated, including PHP, the language your site is built upon. Some servers will run automatic updates to ensure the safety of the servers, but the result may be that WordPress and PHP are out of date or out of sync, rendering the site slow and possibly malfunctioning.

Plugins

These little bites of software can be used for various aspects of your website. Everything from contact forms and other forms, increasing speed, SEO, and more, plugins are vital to your website functioning correctly. If a plugin is not working properly, it may not be immediately noticeable. For example, a contact form may be displaying as it always has on the website, but the notifications may not be working. If you’re not paying attention, you may just assume that no one is reaching out to you via the form.

Other Things to Consider

Site and domain security are vital to your website’s functionality. Not only are they responsible for keeping it safe and accessible, but they also factor heavily in Google Ranking Factors. Not having a security certificate and or letting a domain expire could be disastrous if someone snaps up your domain name or your site is hacked.

In addition, if your site has never been updated, be sure to make a copy of your site prior to updating it. If a site is wildly out of date, pushing through too many updates can cause it to crash.

Good News! Hammersmith Support Can Help

If you’re realizing your site health is not so great, we can help with that. Our maintenance packages can help get your site up to date safely and quickly. Visit our calendly link to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Do you know that feeling when you need something new? Whether it’s new shoes, a great haircut, or a next-generation computer – you’re just craving something fresh in your routine? Well, that’s how we’ve been feeling about our website. We just needed something new. And so to kick off 2021, we are launching the new and improved Hammersmith Support website! We’re excited to show and tell you about what we’ve done and also to give you some food for thought when it comes to your site.

Design

While maintaining our current branding, we did want to shake up the design of the site. Heather had some new images taken by Karianne Mundstedt and the goal was to capture the very relatable “work from home” style that we’ve all been living in this past year. We also updated the layout and changed icons to improve our product description for potential clients.

Services

We have honed our services over the last year to more accurately serve our clients’ needs. Because of that, we wanted to present more detail on the site around the services we provide. In addition, we added more calls to action, making it easier to get in touch and start the design process. We added more details throughout the site as well that will make it easier for our clients to understand our process.

Click over to see all our changes here!

Food for Thought

If all this talk has you thinking about your website and what improvements or refreshing it may need, we’ve got some ideas for you. Here are a few areas that can be the focus of a site refresh – many of which have far-reaching benefits beyond aesthetics!

  • New Images: updating images and completing all of the descriptive information like alt text is great for the site’s SEO.
  • Adding a Blog: another great SEO win, but blogs are also great value adds for clients and potential clients as well.
  • Content Updates: have your services, “about us” information, and or product offerings changed? Even if they haven’t, it’s worth reviewing the content to see if you can add information, or even delete or edit the content for more concise information.
  • Start a Podcast: much like a blog, a podcast drives great SEO and is beneficial for clients as well.
  • Behind the Curtain: Ensuring that your site is up to date, including plugins, will keep your site rolling smoothly.

We’re Here to Help

At Hammersmith Support, websites are our specialty. We can help with that new year’s business resolution by getting your site on a monthly maintenance package that can include any of the updates we suggested above! Click over to our Calendly page to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and let us know how we can help you.