In today’s digital world, simply having an online presence for your business is not enough. According to research, most Internet users will judge a business by its website. Meaning if your site isn’t making a great impression, there’s a strong possibility that a potential client will move on. We have several areas to consider when evaluating your site and whether it’s making the right first impression.

Impressions Are Fast

How much time do you think the average user spends on a site before making a final judgment? A minute? 30 seconds? It’s more like 1/20th of a SECOND. Yes! It’s that fast! When presented with several options from a search query, Internet searchers move quickly to sort through them all. Evaluating your website design to not only best represent your company but also to appeal to potential customers is key.

Looks Matter

A well-designed site is synonymous with a good business. Because your website is often the first time a potential client is encountering your business, making sure that the site design best represents your business AND is targeted to your customer is huge – don’t miss an opportunity to make that first impression! Knowing what your target market is looking for in a product and how they shop (literally and figuratively) is key to how your site is designed. Think of it this way: a Millennial and a Baby Boomer are likely looking for different products and are attracted to different things. Therefore, color, layout, questionnaires, interaction, etc., are all important aspects of the site’s design.

But It’s More Than Looks, Too

While the look of the website is vital, how it functions can be just as important. Site speed, load times, accessibility, navigability, and security are all crucial to your website. Your site may be stunning to look at, but if it takes too long to load, the chances of a customer sticking around are slim. In addition, if the information the user is looking for is too challenging to find or if pages are missing, a potential customer is likely to move on rather than continuing to search the site.

Don’t Forget About Mobile

With more than half of the world’s 3.9 billion Internet users doing so from a mobile device, not having a mobile presence for your business website is a huge no-no. Responsive website design is not only good for mobile viewing but also for SEO. Google Ranking Factors analyze and rank higher sites that are built with mobile-first design.

Hammersmith Support Has You Covered

If you are thinking now is a great time to redesign your site, if you have questions about our maintenance packages, or if you’re not sure what you need, schedule a complimentary 30-minute meeting and let’s talk through your questions.

When it comes to redesigning a website, one of the hesitations we hear from clients is that they don’t want to lose their long-term site SEO. Good news. At Hammersmith Support, we can redesign your site without losing your existing SEO. Here’s how we do it:

Staged Sites

The Hammersmith Support redesign process begins on a staged site. This duplicated site is where all the work takes place and makes it possible for your existing site to stay up and running during the design process. It’s business as usual for your customers and when the new site is complete, it’s simply launched with the established URL.

Assess Pages

Once the site is staged, we perform a full assessment of the site’s analytics. We evaluate each page’s performance and ensure that the highest performing pages’ URLs don’t change. This means that any links back to these pages will always be available, no matter how old they are.

Page Redirects

For any pages where the URL does need to change, a 303 redirect is issued. This allows any old links that may be out on the Internet to be redirected to the new version of the page. The redirect is invisible to the user and keeps long-standing SEO intact.

Consistent Content

By keeping page content the same while working around the information, we’re sure to keep the existing SEO as well. While the rest of the page is redesigned, leaving long-standing keywords on the page is good for maintaining SEO.

Redesign or Refresh

It’s important to remember that not every website needs to be redesigned. Many times a site can be refreshed with new images, logos, color schemes, layouts, and content can be updated to give your site a fresh look without disturbing existing SEO. However, if your site is built on out-of-date infrastructure or isn’t meeting your business needs, it’s likely time to redesign the site.

We would love to answer your questions about your business website and talk through any challenges and possible solutions too. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your questions.

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.

We are thrilled to share with you something that has been in the works for quite a while….Hammersmith Support has launched in Nashville, Tennessee! This new location for Hammersmith Support is a huge homecoming for founder Heather Locke. Born and raised in Knoxville, and educated at the University of Tennessee, bringing a branch of her business to her home state is a big part of Heather’s dream for her business and her family. Read on to find out more about this exciting news!

Same Great Service in an Additional Location

Having relocated from Knoxville to Phoenix twenty years ago, Heather always dreamed of being back near her extended family someday. But after starting a family and a business in Arizona, getting back east seemed unreachable. However, with the success of Hammersmith Support, the opportunity to expand the business to her home state started to look like it could actually work. Heather had this to say about why Nashville felt like the ideal location for the expansion:

“There’s a mural in Nashville that says ‘I believe in Nashville.’ I took a picture of my daughter in front of it last summer and I thought, ‘Why not Nashville?’. I started putting the pieces in place to expand my business here so that we could spend more time near family and in the other state I love!”

Meet the Team

Having boots on the ground in Tennessee was a must. The Hammersmith Support team grew by two to now include the Nashville team: Kelly Foster and Kaylie Nordin. Kaylie is the owner of Only1 Marketing and is expertly handling the marketing and launch of Hammersmith Support. Kelly is the administrative assistant for Heather and skillfully manages the inner workings of the office, keeping things moving smoothly.

Schedule Your In-Person Meetings This Summer

We are thrilled to be able to offer in-person meetings in Nashville this summer! And as always, our 30-minute virtual complimentary consultations are always available too. Book your appointment! Learn more about all of the services Hammersmith Support offers. And lastly, if you are hungry for more posts, visit our blog page.

The list of available platforms to build a website on seems endless! While Hammersmith Support has a preferred platform (more on that later), we want to bring you some pros and cons of the available platforms so that you can make the right choice for your business – you can read our post about WordPress v Wix here. There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing a platform, such as what kind of features you need on your site, how tech-savvy the person building and maintaining the site is, how quickly you expect to grow your business, and or how much help you’ll need in the design process. Knowing the answers to these questions can help guide the decision about which platform makes the most sense for your business.

Squarespace

Pros:

  • All-in-one platform – Widgets, apps, plugins, and even analytics are included with each site.
  • Ease of use – Extremely easy to set up and edit a site.
  • All-inclusive – Website, hosting and security are included with a monthly subscription.
  • Chat and email support are available 24/7.

Cons:

  • Photograph-heavy templates may be challenging to fill for businesses without many images.
  • Squarespace does not provide phone support.
  • Limited SEO makes it less likely that users will find your site organically.
  • Limited flexibility makes personalizing your site more difficult.
  • You cannot move your site to another hosting service.

Takeaway:

Squarespace is a great option for those who are less tech-savvy and yet want to dive into creating their business website. While more expensive than some available options, the all-in-one platform keeps things simple for users.

WordPress

Pros:

  • Portable content – If you change hosting providers, you can move your site and its contents easily.
  • Open-source – Resources are available to create a custom site using CSS code.
  • Built-in SEO – As Google changes its requirements, the built-in SEO settings in WordPress are adapted and updated by developers and users. If you’re looking to delve into your SEO and customize it, WordPress has options.
  • Scalable – No matter what size your business is now, a WordPress site can adapt and grow with your business.
  • Custom Designs – Seemingly endless options for design and customization.
  • E-commerce – WordPress makes it easy to integrate and set up a store using WooCommerce, Shopify or other platforms.
  • Speed – Especially when maintained regularly, websites load faster, which improves Google Search rankings and user experience.
  • Support – WordPress has a vast international community of users who are available to help and support others.

Cons:

  • Somewhat more expensive than other platforms – The framework is free, but you may need to purchase licenses for themes or plugins or pay for development if you’d like more customization.
  • Requires users to be more tech-savvy – WordPress is easier to use if you have more technical know-how.
  • Updates must be performed by the user – Regular maintenance is a must!

Takeaway:

WordPress should be your platform of choice if you need power and flexibility, and are comfortable with technology. A WordPress site is robust and has lots of options. More importantly, it grows and moves as your business evolves. You own your site and are not limited by a proprietary platform.

WordPress Is Hammersmith Support’s Preferred Platform

The ability to use open code to build custom sites on WordPress, along with the large support community that WordPress has fostered, allows Hammersmith Support to build completely custom sites for our clients. Unsure of what you need for your site? We’re here to help! Book a free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk about what Hammersmith Support can do for you and your website.

Hammersmith Support is proud to present the redesigned and rebuilt sites for GT Medical Technologies and GammaTile. This innovative company is working to create more targeted brain tumor therapy that produces less overall damage during treatment. GT Medical Technologies produces the GammaTile to do just that. And when it comes to marketing their product, they have two distinct audiences: the doctors who insert the GammaTile during surgery, and the patients who have the tile implanted. Knowing that their product would need to be marketed in different ways, GT Medical Technologies turned to Hammersmith Support for a website rebuild and redesign strategy.

One Product, Two Audiences

Considering that there are two very distinct groups that need information about the GammaTile, the company has two similar, yet distinct websites. Having two sites is important as a doctor or clinician researching the product would want and need much different information than a patient. Both of the existing sites were in need of being rebuilt and redesigned in order to provide better information in an organized fashion.

From Wix to WordPress

GT Med Tech’s original site was built on the Wix platform. The original site worked well for a time, but as the company grew, the platform could not scale with the business. The two new sites were moved to WordPress for scalability and functionality. Because the same product would be marketed to two audiences and across two websites, redesigning the sites with similar yet distinct colors, logos, and fonts was key to consistency for the brand.

How Design Plays an Important Role

For the GammaTile (patient-focused) site, including infographics was key. All of the design and layout were focused on the audience and remembering that either the reader or someone close to the reader was dealing with the fear of a brain tumor. Giving patients quick and easy-to-digest information in a hope-filled tone was important.

For the GT Medical Technologies main site, the focus was to provide medical information including medical journal citations, along with clinical trial information and results.

On each site, Hammersmith Support created a library section to house videos, articles, blogs, and more for users to be able to sort by topic and media type. This allowed users to find useful information and in a medium that worked best for them. Color coding each medium made each site’s library visually appealing as well as easy to navigate.

Hammersmith Support Can Support Your Business Too

We would love to answer your questions about your business website and talk through any challenges and possible solutions too. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk through your questions.

Website Maintenance

Have you been putting off creating a lead magnet? Are you unsure of what a lead magnet even is? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Thanks to Melanie Herschorn, founder of VIP Digital Content, we’ve got all the ins, outs, and how-tos of lead magnets. As a leading expert in content marketing, Melanie specializes in helping businesses identify their ideal clients and attracting them with strategic content.

What Is a Lead Magnet?

A lead magnet is a marketing tool that is given away in exchange for contact information. A lead magnet can take many forms. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Checklists
  • Cheat sheets
  • E-books
  • Recipes
  • How-tos
  • Challenges
  • Quizzes

Whatever you choose as the basis of your lead magnet, make sure that it contains real value. Remember, this is often the first interaction you’ll have with this person and if you provide them with something that truly helps, they’re going to want to become part of your community.

Why Use a Lead Magnet?

  • They help you grow your email list
  • They position you as an expert in your field
  • They help nurture your leads

Lead Magnet Best Practices

Here are some guidelines to follow when you sit down to write your next (or first) lead magnet.

Talk about yourself (briefly).

Make sure to include at least a line about who you are. This is likely the first time this person has come across you and now it’s your chance to make a great first impression.

The Challenge

Before you launch into the meat of the lead magnet, it’s a great idea to describe the challenge that your ideal client faces.

Tell them that you understand their struggle on a deeper level and then provide an easy solution.

You’re showing this new lead not only that you are an expert in what you do but also that you understand their plight and can help them achieve results.

A Quick Win

The lead magnet doesn’t have to divulge every way that you help your clients or all your proprietary secrets. It should focus on answering one question or solving one problem that your client avatar faces. The solution you’re providing should also be pretty simple and one that doesn’t take too long to complete.

Call to Action

This is arguably the most important part of your lead magnet. You don’t want to provide amazing info and then slip away…You should always be leading people to the next thing. Whether you ask them to join your Facebook community, follow you on Instagram, connect with you on LinkedIn, or book a call with you, make sure you invite them somewhere to continue along the customer journey with you. And, if possible, make the invitation clickable right from the PDF.

Time Well Spent

Often people wonder if spending valuable time creating a freebie is worthwhile. To me, the answer is an emphatic YES! If you create an opt-in that’s evergreen – meaning that it’s not tied to a specific time or date – you can continue to use it to attract leads for months and even years to come!

Get in Touch

Curious if your content is attracting the right customer? Click over to VIP Digital Content and take the “Winning Content Quiz” to see how your content ranks. And get in touch with Melanie here.

Vipdigitalcontent.com

@vipdigitalcontent

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Check Out Hammersmith Support’s Lead Magnets

Hammersmith Support is pleased to offer our readers two valuable lead magnets:

  • “10 Tips for Website Maintenance.” Download your copy to learn all the steps to keep your website running smoothly.
  • “10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Website Designer.” Download your copy to learn what kind of questions you should ask when looking for a website designer.

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.