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.

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.

You likely already know that a Hammersmith Support maintenance package is important for keeping your business website secure, loading quickly, up to date, and backed up too. But did you know that each of our two maintenance packages – Essentials or Premium – also includes content updates? We’re excited to tell you more about what you can do with the 2-4 hours of content updates each month to improve your site.

Hammersmith Support maintenance packages include:

  • Site backups and live staging copy maintained
  • Security scans and malware prevention
  • Site optimization
  • Full site test each month
  • Submission to Google Search Console
  • Premium hosting on a WP Engine dedicated server (premium package)
  • 2-4 hours of content updates each month

Now that you know all the awesomeness that is packed into our maintenance packages, here are some exciting things that the 2-4 hours of content updates can be used for:

Add a Lead Magnet

Build your email list by adding either a free download with email sign up, or creating a simple email pop up to capture more prospective information.

Update Images

Add or change out images on your site as well as update alt text on all images to organically boost SEO.

Content Updates

Stale content is bad for SEO and will affect how your site stacks up to Google Ranking Factors. Use the content time to update your About Us page and or refine product or service information. Add a blog page and finally kick off that business blog to keep your site content fresh.

Add Plugins

Add and utilize plugins – these bites of software provide custom functionality for your site without manually adjusting the site’s code. There are many versions – some of the most popular are SEO improvement, form builders, custom fields, and added security too.

Add Social Follow Buttons

Add or update your social media buttons, or add a feed to your page so that posts from Instagram or Twitter will populate on your website automatically when they are posted to your account.

Industry Specific Updates

Every business is different and has different needs. Content hours can be used to add or improve features specific to your business. For example, real estate agents can add an IDX feed so that current listings automatically populate on the website.

Does This Sound Like Something Your Site Needs?

Hammersmith Support is here to help! Click over to our Calendly page to set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk about your business website needs.

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.

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.