It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are right around the corner! And with the holidays comes Giving Tuesday – this year it will be on November 30th. Started in 2012, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving kicks off five days of giving back to our communities. The movement has evolved to be a promotion for donating to local nonprofits, in addition to volunteering. There are several organizations that compile a list of nonprofits for donors to discover, or nonprofits can accept donations through their own sites. With that said, is your site ready for:

  • An increase in traffic?
  • Smooth, secure transactions?
  • Explaining your mission to appeal to donors?

Here are four areas of your website that can be checked prior to any large influx of traffic to ensure that your site is running smoothly and you are able to complete all transactions too.

Load Time

With more traffic comes increased loading times. On average, a user will not wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. Don’t let potential donors bounce off your site! Prepare for increased traffic by updating your host, adding a Content Delivery Network to your site, and making sure that your site is up to date. This should include plugins and platform updates to ensure that your site is loading quickly enough to keep donors on the page.

Security

Unfortunately, organizations that are out doing good in the world have to worry about the security of their site – hackers don’t discriminate. Keep your site safe from being corrupted and your donors’ information safe from being stolen! Be sure that your security certificate is up to date – if you’re unsure, check your URL. If there is no “s” in “https” or you have a broken padlock in the address bar, then your site isn’t secure. Check with your hosting company to get an SSL certificate added. Next, be sure that your platform and plugins are up to date. Plugins, themes, and the version of WordPress on which your site runs all require regular updates in order to be secure.

*Added bonus – a secure site is great for boosting your SEO!

Testing

It may seem silly, but one of the easiest ways to know if your forms work or how your site looks on a mobile device is to test it out! Go to your website as if you were a visitor. Do you see all of the essential aspects? Fill out the form(s) on your site – do the notifications go to the correct email address or are they ending up in your spam folder? Is the correct confirmation message popping up after submitting? Even go as far as making a test donation to perform an end-to-end test of the donation form, ensuring that the donation processes completely.

Content

Before Giving Tuesday is the best time to take a close look at your content. Have you had any staffing changes that need to be updated? Is your mission and purpose clear to potential donors? Do you have any updated images that can be added? Do all of your images have complete information? These are just all examples of places to start really examining how the content on your site looks. And it might be the perfect time to start that blog! Blogs are a great way to share long-form content, images or videos, and updates about what is coming up for your organization.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

If all of this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry, we can help! Many of these tasks can be fulfilled by one of our website maintenance packages. Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk about your business website needs and how Hammersmith Support can help make this Giving Tuesday one of the best yet for your nonprofit!

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at not only what website analytics are but also how to get actionable analytics on your website through Google Analytics too. One of the big reasons that analytics are helpful is that they can highlight where there might be issues on your website, but they can also inform creating an effective marketing strategy for your business.

We’re excited this week to have an expert – Lyndsay Clements of Ellen Grace marketing – weigh in on the topic of how analytics can and should drive your marketing strategy. Lyndsay is sharing with us how she uses data to help her clients and how you can do it too.

Lyndsay Clements, Ellen Grace Marketing

Take a look at where your marketing is today. Are you getting the results you want? Is your hard work paying off the way you want it to?

If you are tired of spinning your wheels, continuing to do the same things simply will not work. You’ll need to take an inventory of your marketing, determining what is working, what you need to improve, and where to get the help you need. You can do this by looking at your data and analytics. The best marketers, whether it be social media professionals, blog writers, email marketers, or web developers, all use data to make smart decisions that drive leads and sales. The more you can see, the more you can do.

Step 1

First, you’ll need to decide what you are trying to achieve through your marketing. Ideally, you want your customers to perform a certain action once seeing your post or opening your email. Some common things business owners want their customers to do would be to:

  • make a purchase directly from their website
  • make a donation to a cause they support
  • sign up for their email list
  • read through their blog posts
  • make an appointment to meet in person
  • watch a video about their products or services
  • follow them on social media
  • attend an event that they are a part of

If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, you won’t be able to set clear goals or allocate your marketing dollars in the ways that work best for your business.

Step 2

Once you have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, it will be time to set up your conversion goals in Google Analytics. Goals can be set up in one of three ways.

  • You can create your goals from a template
  • You can create custom goals
  • You can use smart goals

Template goals are broken down into 4 categories: Revenue, Acquisition, Inquiry, and Engagement. Goal templates are tailored to the industry of your business. If you haven’t selected an industry in your settings, you may not see any template goals available.

Custom goals allow you pull data regarding almost every aspect of interaction with your potential customers. Custom goals can be one of four types. There are destination goals, duration goals, event goals, and pages/screens per session goals.

Smart goals are set up to measure conversions using Google Ads Conversion Tracking or imported Analytics Ecommerce transactions. Your analytic must meet certain prerequisites before Smart Goals are available. If you have access to Smart Goals, they are a great way to optimize your Google ad performance.

Adding Value To Your Goals…

Other than smart goals, all goals allow you to add a monetary value. For non-monetary measurements, you can add values of your own.  For example, I use $5 for my email subscribers.

Step 3

Now it’s time to measure the channels of traffic that are hitting these goals the most. Your marketing channels are things such as paid, organic, email, direct, and social. You can even break it down to specific platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Do the channels you spend the most time on equate to the results you’re seeing? If one channel is blowing the others out of the water, it would be a good idea for you to invest a bit more time there.

Before spending your time doing any more marketing, it’s a good idea to understand which channels are performing the best so you can focus on these as you continue to grow your business.

Get In Touch

Have more questions about utilizing analytical data to drive your marketing strategy? Get in touch with Lyndsay:

www.ellengracemarketing.com

@ellengracemarketing

You read that right – your website could be invisible to nearly half of the users you’re trying to attract. How could that be? If your site is not mobile optimized, vital sections of your site may not be visible to users. Potentially even worse, the information could be jumbled or may not be sized correctly for mobile devices. This can contribute to a higher bounce rate and loss of potential traffic. Don’t worry! There are solutions to ensure that your site is visible to everyone, no matter what kind of device they are using to access your site.

Mobile Optimization

Mobile first design means that a website is built from the mobile view first, then the desktop. This is an important concept because it means that the site will always be ready for mobile users. It’s estimated that 75% of the world’s Internet users will do so exclusively from a mobile device by 2025, according to CNBC. Building your site with that in mind is a pretty good idea.

Check and Recheck

One of the easiest ways to check to make sure your site is visible on a mobile device, is to simply go to your site from a mobile device! It seems silly, but many times business owners are accessing their site via desktop only, and never confirming how it looks from a mobile device.

In addition, some platforms require manual changes to a page for mobile viewing. For example, Wix does not automatically translate a page’s layout to a mobile version. Elements may be sorted differently, or may be too large to view on mobile. Be sure to not only check the mobile preview section, but also from an actual mobile device as well.

It’s Good for SEO, Too

Google began considering mobile first design as one of the ranking factors when evaluating a site. These factors play a key roll in search engine return pages – where your site ranks in a query. In addition, mobile optimization is considered to be part of website accessibility. In addition, mobile optimization is considered as part of website accessibility and it’s important that all users are able to access your website.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

Wondering if your site is mobile optimized? Or are you thinking it might need some help? Hammersmith Support has you covered. Schedule a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk through your questions and about how Hammersmith Support can help you and your business.

Last month we shared the importance of utilizing your website’s analytics. The measurement of traffic, bounce rates, mobile v desktop visitors, and duration of visits are just a few of the metrics that are tracked by analytical software. Understanding how, when, and why visitors are coming to your website can help shape your marketing strategy, site improvements, and more. So how exactly do you get this analytical information about your website? One of the easiest ways is to enroll in Google Analytics. This free app gives you a comprehensive analysis of your website traffic at any time! Ready to get started? Here’s how to sign up for Google Analytics according to their website:

Process Overview

  1. Get Organized: First, you’ll need a Google Account. If you have a Google email, you already have a Google Account. If you haven’t already, you may want to set up a free Google Business account and use these credentials for your business’ Google Analytics.
  2. Create a Property: Creating a property refers to setting up a code that will track traffic on your website. If you have more than one website you want to enroll, you would have a different property for each of them.
  3. Get a Tracking ID: After your property is created, follow the prompts to correctly identify your site. This includes industry type, time zone, data sharing settings, etc. After it’s complete, your property will be assigned a tracking ID for identification purposes.
  4. Add Your Tracking ID to Your Site: There are many ways to add the tracking ID to your site. A quick search for Google Analytics WordPress plugins results in numerous hits. Choose the one that best fits your needs.
  5. View Reporting: After your Tracking ID has been added to your site, you can begin collecting and reviewing data about how users engage with your site.

All Set Up. Now What?

Once your site is enrolled in Google Analytics and the app is tracking site traffic, reviewing the data will help you to identify any potential issues with your site (bounce rate), how visitors are finding your site (sources like Google, social media platforms, other websites), how they’re engaging with your site (which pages they click and for how long), and also which medium they use to view your site (mobile, desktop, etc.).

Hammersmith Support Can Help

If all of this sounds a bit overwhelming, or if this kind of work just isn’t in the time budget, Hammersmith Support has you covered! Our comprehensive maintenance packages include not only enrollment in Google Analytics but also Google Search Console too. In addition, our maintenance clients enjoy an easy-to-read report each month, along with a brief written summary from our team, including suggestions based on the analytics. Sound interesting? Visit our Calendly page and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

We are thrilled to have Robyn Patterson, founder of Mack Media Relations share with us how public relations can benefit your business. We got to know Robyn first through The W Source – Scottsdale/Arcadia, then as a Hammersmith Support client and had the privilege of building her latest website. We’ve also swapped places and enjoyed Robyn’s expertise in promoting Hammersmith Support. We know firsthand how impactful PR can be for a small business and we know you’ll enjoy learning about it too.

Tell Us About You and Mack Media Relations

“I started Mack Media Relations in 2016. Prior to launching my business, I had worked for a number of top agencies in Phoenix and Los Angeles where I represented and managed local and national brands in a bunch of different industries. This really gave me the experience I needed to go out on my own. I also worked in the media for a year, which gave me valuable experience from the other side of the fence.

Mack Media Relations is a boutique publicity firm with a decade of experience in brand awareness for startups, large corporations, and everything in between. I build and maintain relationships with the media to secure desirable television, magazine, newspaper, radio, and online coverage for local businesses. I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to earned media exposure and always being relevant! That is key to building a business. 

Having previously worked in the media, I provide great insight on both sides of the industry and an integrated approach to PR campaigns. My business is unique in that I do it all. I want to be the one pitching your brand to the media. I see it through and stand next to my clients when they are being interviewed. I live and breathe for my clients and they know it.

Over the past five years, I have had the opportunity to work with and represent some of the best local businesses in the Valley and I am beyond thankful for having these individuals believe in me to get the job done.

How Do You See PR and Marketing Working Together?

“Public relations falls under the marketing umbrella as a branding tool that elevates awareness and drives interest in your business. It is the most efficient way to boost your company’s visibility and image in the marketplace.

Unlike marketing and advertising, PR is all about persuasion. You are trying to convince an audience to promote your idea, purchase your product, support your position, or recognize your accomplishments. And you’re doing this by working with trusted, not paid, sources.

Both are equally important when it comes to promoting you and your business. PR and marketing are similar in their actions and tactics, but their goals are quite different. The main goal of PR is to boost the reputation of your brand and generate media exposure. Focuses on brand awareness and it takes time. The main goal of marketing is to drive sales. Focuses on market trends and revenues, immediate ROI.

Using PR and marketing in tandem drives the best results. Someone connects with your brand as a result of your PR efforts and converts into a customer as a result of your marketing tactics.

How Can PR Benefit a Small Business and Its Marketing? How Does Mack Media Fill that Need?

“I always say you are hiring me to tell your story. PR is a great opportunity to try something new when it comes to getting the word out about your business. I’ve seen it drastically impact businesses of all sizes in ways that money can’t buy. That’s because the perception of PR far exceeds that of any paid media opportunity (advertising). PR is a powerful tool that helps give credibility to a small business without breaking the bank. At Mack Media Relations, we leverage our relationships to help businesses, big and small, get noticed, whether that’s an editorial feature, a podcast interview, working with influencers, or establishing partnerships and participating in community events. We like to work closely with our clients to make sure their marketing and business goals are met.

What’s the Best Advice You Have for a Business Contemplating Hiring a PR Company?

“Just do it! But make sure you are hiring the right person to tell your story. You want to trust them with your brand. Find someone who is authentic, creative, and doesn’t overpromise and underdeliver. I would also say that the best time to hire a PR person is when you are ready for everyone to really see your business. You obviously don’t want to draw attention to a brand if you are not ready for eyes on your website, social media, etc. PR can be an intimidating investment but it’s worth it. I promise!”

Get In Touch

Mack Media Relations

@mackmediarelations

480-269-0140

4500 S Lakeshore Drive
Suite 321
Tempe, Arizona 85282

Robyn@MackMediaRelations.com
Contact@MackMediaRelations.com

At Hammersmith Support, website maintenance is one of our core services. We know that you can build a beautiful and responsive website, but if that site isn’t maintained, it can cause major headaches and be expensive to fix if issues occur. We have five maintenance tips to keep your website running smoothly, and five additional tips in our download in the link below.

Check Credentials

Be sure that all of your contact information on the site platform is correct. Missed renewal emails can spell disaster with loss of security – or even your domain. Regularly check that emails, contact information, and credit card information, including the expiration date, are current.

Update

While it may seem obvious, it is very easy to miss or ignore the need for updates. In addition, it’s important to pay close attention to what you are updating. Plugins, platform, themes, and PHP are all separate areas that need to be updated regularly. Don’t risk the site crashing due to trying to catch up on too many updates – be consistent.

Security

Maintain the integrity of your site, as well as your place in Google search rankings, with a valid security certificate: Security Sockets Layer (SSL). If your domain doesn’t have an “s” after “http” or if it has a broken padlock in the address bar, then your site isn’t secure. Ensure your customers’ information stays safe with a current security certificate. Browsers will check for the SSL automatically and will alert you if it’s not present on the site you’re visiting. A current security certificate will also avoid downtime from the chaos a hacker can cause.

Content Updates

Updated content is not only good for customers, it’s great for SEO as well. Google Ranking Factors look for not only fresh content but also the magnitude of the content update to evaluate. Check your site’s information and make changes and additions, including images too (don’t forget to complete the image information!). Consider starting a business blog to share more detailed information as well.

Enroll in Google Search Console

See your site the way Google sees your site by using Google Search Console. This free and valuable tool will let you know if any parts of your site need work. This can include areas that are not visible on mobile, a page that can’t be indexed, broken links, lack of accessibility, or missing pages. Google Search Console is fantastic for maximizing your SEO and ensuring that your site is functioning.

Want More?

These tips are just the beginning! Click to download our “10 Tips for Website Maintenance to Keep Your Site Running Smoothly” to get five additional ways to maintain your website.

Hammersmith Support is Here to Help

If this sounds like another task on your list that you don’t have time for, don’t worry, we can help! Our monthly maintenance packages cover all of this – and more! Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today and let’s talk through your business needs and find the perfect package for you. 

Lisa Finn, Support Specialist
Lisa Finn, Support Specialist

We’re certain you’ve read all about our Hammersmith Support maintenance packages by now, but are you still curious about exactly how the process works? We asked our own Lisa Finn to break down how she and her team maintain our clients’ sites each month, the reporting provided after maintenance, and what she says every client should do with the information she sends them.

Step 1: Enroll

The first step for every new maintenance client is to enroll the site in Google Search Console and review the Google Analytics account (or add this tracking if it’s not on the site already). Google Search Console allows users to see how search engines are crawling the site and flags anything that requires attention, including flagging broken pages (404 errors), pages that Google isn’t able to index, and other issues as well. Google Search Console also enables users to submit their sitemap, which is especially important when new content is added or outdated pages are updated or removed. Google Analytics provides valuable feedback such as:

  • where site traffic is originating
  • how users are viewing the site (mobile or desktop)
  • when they are visiting
  • what pages they view the most and for how long
  • how quickly they are leaving the site (bounce rate)

Step 2: Update

Before beginning any updates, a backup of the site is made. This is done to protect the integrity of the site should anything “break” during the update process. Next, the site is updated one area at a time and continually checked after each section is complete to ensure that the update was completed and that nothing unexpected occurred. The updated areas include plugins, plugin licenses, the WordPress platform, theme, and PHP – the language the language on which the site is built – as well. Updates are vital for the security of the site. Out-of-date plugins and versions of WordPress can leave security holes unpatched.

Step 3: Test

After the updates are complete, the team tests the site. Each area that was updated is examined and checked. In addition, we test site forms. Everything from contact forms, to sign-ups, and links are reviewed. While sending a test through the signup forms may sound like overkill, it really is a vital part of the process. Email servers may update their spam filters without notice. These spam updates could then block or send to your spam folder a legitimate website submission. Consistent checking and testing can avoid missed site submissions and broken forms/site feeds as well (Instagram feeds, real estate listing feeds, etc.).

Step 4: Report

Once all of the maintenance steps are completed, the client is sent an email with an easy-to-digest summary of the work completed. This includes a request for confirmation that the client received a test email from their website and the Google Analytics report. The email will also include notes with suggestions for minor updates and changes to keep the site healthy over time.

Key Take-Aways

While Hammersmith Support maintenance is convenient and hassle-free for our clients, there are two things we ask of our clients each month. First, be sure to confirm that you received the test email submission. While we can test the form, only the client can confirm that the email was received. Second, read our brief summary of work. Many months the report will be purely informational, but often we call out issues or changes that need to be made to improve the site or address issues.

Get Started

Ready to get started? Set up a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk about your business website needs. In addition to monthly maintenance, Hammersmith Support also provides website redesigns and rebuilds too.

For many businesses, search engine optimization is the name of the game. Having a more favorable rank on a search engine results page – SERP – means more visitors to your website. While we’ve shared a lot of ways to improve your site’s SEO on any platform, we want to highlight how the WordPress platform can make SEO easy for your site.

Image Optimization

WordPress offers users the ability to complete the image information for each image. Being able to publish images with alt text, descriptions, and titles gives web crawlers more content to evaluate, as well as a description that makes deciphering the image easier.

Blog Categories and Tags

In the same vein as image optimization, being able to categorize each post along with additional tags is great for site evaluation. Quickly and easily digestible information is key – for search engines as well as readers too.

Header Options

In addition to categories and tags, WordPress also offers several heading and subheading options for all of your pages. Not only are headings great for visually breaking up content and calling out important information, but the formatting also makes it easier for web crawlers to evaluate your site.

Pretty Permalinks

Permalinks are the URLs for pages and posts on your site. WordPress provides an easy way to customize these so they are readable. This allows for keywords to be added to your links and can also improve your click-through rate.

Paginate

When it comes to comments, too many can also be an issue – even the legitimate ones. The reason is that they can cause pages to load slowly. Pagination allows the blog creator to divide comments on other pages so that they load more quickly.

Plugin Options

We really love a good plugin! WordPress offers a plethora of these bite-sized bits of code. This includes great SEO options for blog posts like Yoast and SmartCrawl. These plugins allow the user to add additional information like metadata to posts, as well as evaluating posts for better SEO.

“No Follow” Link Option

Links are great for SEO, but search engines will pass a small bit of your site’s authority to the other website when you link to an external website. You can opt-out of having a search engine follow the link when setting it up.

Thinking It Might Be Time to Switch Platforms?

Or not even sure where to start? Hammersmith Support has you covered! We’re here 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.

Your new business website has launched – hooray! It’s an exciting time as your clients and potential clients get to see your business’ new digital look and feel. But beware! There are some mistakes that are easy to make and that can cause a lot of issues. Be sure to avoid these three mistakes after your website launches!

Not Promoting

Did you know that on average, it takes consumers being shown the same ad seven times before they even begin to think about it? That means not only do you need to tell your customers, potential customers, and the general public about your site launch, you need to do it more than once. So as not to beat people over the head, consider several different channels like your newsletter, a press release, and social media (personal and business) too. Be sure to keep your message consistent but interesting by highlighting different areas of your new site.

Keeping Stale Content

Not only are customers bored with old content, so are search engines. Engage new and existing customers with updated content and organically boost SEO too. This includes new, high resolution images, complete with alt text, captions, and titles. A site launch is the perfect time to kick off a business blog as well. Blogs are great for business and fantastic for SEO, as a blog post hits several Google Ranking Factors that can help your site gain a more favorable return ranking.

Skipping Maintenance

You wouldn’t skip your first oil change in a new car, so don’t skip maintenance on your new (or existing!) website either. Just like there is a need to tell customers about your new site, you need to let search engines know too. Setting up and testing your Google Analytics as well as submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console will help you track where your site traffic is coming from and find out if a search engine is having problems analyzing parts of your site.

Sound Like a Lot of Work?

Good news! We can help. Hammersmith Support has you covered. Our monthly Maintenance packages include:

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

Ready to Get Started?

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. We can assist with redesigns, full site rebuilds, and cover your monthly maintenance needs!

With summer vacation in full swing, our kids are likely spending more time on the Internet with their additional free time. Whether they are playing games or interacting with friends or family, the reality is that having access to the internet can leave kids vulnerable to hackers, predators, and identity theft. Thankfully there are several ways to help keep kids safe online:

Create an Online Contract

The best line of defense against the scary side of the Internet is your kids themselves. Creating a contract that kids and parents sign together agreeing to various conditions can help kids to think twice about their actions. Define hours and times during which the Internet can be used. List which people your child is allowed to interact with and which games they’re allowed to play. Agree to limit location information and use as little personal information as possible. Decide on appropriate consequences for breach of contract, including complete loss of device privileges. Partnering with your kids to agree on Internet usage rules and the results of not following those rules is an important step in the safety process.

Tech to the Rescue

There are several great apps available today that help keep an eye on our kids. Covering all the devices available to them is key to the apps working properly. Some of our favorites are:

Bark.us

Bark monitors all of the apps and services your kids use on any and all devices. It then sends alerts to parents if inappropriate language or content is viewed or shared. If something is detected, an alert is sent to the parents outlining the issue. There is also a dashboard that keeps track of alerts. Further, parents can control which games and apps can be accessed and when.

Disney Circle

This device is added to your existing Internet connection. It then allows the user to have complete control over who connects to the Internet, what sites and apps they can use, and it records historical data too. It can also turn off the internet to any device at the touch of a button. Touted as being extremely easy to use, Disney Circle takes the complexity out of Internet control.

Apple Family Share

Sign up devices and use parental controls to limit screen time, WiFi, account access and more.

Internet Providers

Check with your current Internet provider. Many offer Internet control options with certain hardware. Features often include protection against dangerous sites, device connection management, and more.

Location Services

Consider turning off location services on games and apps to prevent your child from being tracked by an unwanted source.

Talk It Out

Many times kids can get into a dangerous situation simply because they aren’t aware. Discuss things like fun, game-like ads that ask for personal information in order to play. It’s also important to talk about how people are not always who they appear to be, such as in a game. An adult could pretend to be a child and begin a conversation that seems harmless but could be leading to more dangerous situations. Point out that just because there are safety measures in place, it doesn’t mean they can be careless. Comparing Internet safety to our homes; just because the door is locked, doesn’t mean you don’t need to check to see who is on the other side.

Lastly, it’s important to note to your kids that once something is out on the Internet, it’s almost impossible to remove it completely. Therefore they need to be extra cautious about the images, words, and information that they put out on the Internet.

Take It From a Kid

Did you read our post about helping Hazel and Tillie, two local Girl Scouts who worked to create a website as part of their Silver Award project? These outstanding young ladies have created a page on their site dedicated to Internet safety for kids. You can read their recommendations here.

Speaking of Safety

Have you checked to make sure that your business website is secure from hackers? If you have questions about how to secure your website or any other site questions, we’re here to help. Click over to schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and we can talk through all of your questions.