There are few things as frustrating as posting an image to your website or social media, only to have it appear blurry in the final product. But with some app size requirements and the overall visual appeal of photos on a website, resizing is a necessary evil. So what’s a poster to do?? Here are three ways you can resize pictures easily with beautiful results.

Canva

If you’re not already using Canva, you should be! This free app will make you look like a pro when it comes to creating just about any kind of graphic. Use their pictures, your own pictures, emojis, color blocks  – you name it. You can literally create anything starting from scratch or using a Canva template.

One of the features we love best about Canva is the image resizing. Simply choose the format of the picture: Instagram post, Facebook banner, website image  – all of the formats you could want are loaded and ready for you. Upload your photo and pop it into the template. Stretch or shrink the image to fit the given size parameter and download. Voilà! You’ve got a crystal-clear image in the perfect size for your project.

iPhoto

If you have a Mac, you already have iPhoto to edit your pictures. It’s particularly nice if your backup is going to your computer so that all your iPhone photos are going automatically to iPhoto!

To resize an image, open iPhoto and click on the image you want to resize. On the right side of the screen, a menu of options will pop up. You’ll be able to enhance colors, add filters and of course, resize your image. Click and drag the bars to crop or change the layout of your picture – or type in the parameters of the photo size. Check out this post from The Social Report to see the current social media photo size requirements.

Windows Editor (for PC)

Similar to iPhoto, your PC comes with photo editing software as well. Start the same way by opening the picture you want to resize. Click either the edit button or the crop logo, both will take you to the photo editor. Using the dots in the corner of the picture, slide to the adjusted shape and size. You can also use “Aspect Ratio” to have the app create a frame for you to then fit your picture into. Simply click and move the picture around inside the frame to get the right position.

Want some more “how-to” tips? Click on over to our post about Google Console and why your website needs it.

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

What Is Website Maintenance / Support?

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

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

Why Is Maintenance Important?

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

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

How Hammersmith Support Solves this Issue

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

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

It’s amazing how many options are available to companies needing to build a website! Professional companies vary widely, as does the cost to build a website. And the do-it-yourself versions? The platforms, hosting, and services are all distinctly different, too. So how does an owner make a decision about which direction to go? Here is some food for thought when it comes to choosing whether you should try to go it on your own or choose a company to build your site.

DIY Websites

There are a few things to consider when it comes to building your own site. The first and most important is how much time and effort you want to put toward building a website yourself. Some questions to consider: are you technologically savvy? A quick learner? Able to work through issues on your own? These are all good questions to ask when evaluating how much time it may take you to build a site on your own.

Next, evaluate which platform to use to build your site. There are many options out there – everything from building with straight code to using templates, some with support, some without….again, the right answer has a lot to do with how much time you are able to dedicate to the build. Things to consider: how much support does the platform offer with your package? Is hosting included? A content delivery network? Security updates? Application plugin availability?

Professionally Built Websites

A professionally built website comes with its own questions, too. Not every company is the right fit for every customer. Some may provide more than a small business needs, others may not provide enough. Questions to ask when looking for the right fit; what exactly do I need my website to do (ecommerce, blog, evolving portfolio)? What are my ongoing needs (maintenance, content updates, security)? What is my budget for both?

Finding the right fit in a website build is crucial to developing and maintaining a successful site. Being open and honest about what you need for your business, along with being realistic about the ongoing services your site needs, should land you in the right place.

At Hammersmith Support, we strive to ensure that our clients are provided with the best combination of listening to their needs and educating them about the areas they are less familiar with in order to develop and maintain the most successful website for their business.

laptop computer and tablet screen all with the Flip Off Game logo on them

No, that’s not a typo! We’re excited to introduce you to one of the most fun projects we’ve worked on: Flip Off Game! When founder, Erik Nelson brought his project to us, we quickly found ourselves in stitches laughing over the video of the game being played. We had a great time building this site and working through content to explain how to play this hilarious competition.

Flip Off! is an exciting and rapidly moving game that combines skill, luck, and teamwork for a race to the finish. Transportable too, Flip Off goes to tailgates, bars, parties – you name it! All you need are some willing participants and a competitive spirit.

How to Play

Flip Off Game combines two favorite drinking games, Flip Cup and Quarters resulting a fast paced, fun hybrid! After defining your team, each player works to flip their disk (looks like a cardboard coaster) onto a red plastic cup. If your disk lands on the “bird” side, pass your cup and disk left. If your disk lands on “tailfeather”, skip the next player. If the other team’s flipper catches up on your right and lands the “bird” before you OR the player two-away from you lands the “tailfeather” side and skips over to you, you are out of the game. The last player remaining wins!

Check out the Flip Off Game video on how to play here. And yes, the game is suitable for all ages, alcohol not required!

Giving Back

One of the parts we love most about the Flip Off Game is that a portion of every sale goes to the American Cancer Society in honor of founder Erik Nelson’s friend, Austin. Austin lost his battle with colon cancers in 2015 and in his fun-loving honor, a donation is made to fight this terrible disease.

Get Your Game On

So, are you ready to get your Flip Off on? Click on over to get your game today!

Want to see more about Hammersmith Support projects? Click on over to our blog page.

At Hammersmith Support, one of our core values is to give back. Every year, we choose a local charity to assist through website support services, pro bono. Our goal is to further their mission by enabling their online presence to be everything it can be.

#LoveUp Foundation

Our current pro bono client is the #LoveUp Foundation. This Phoenix-based charity is a “jack of all trades” when it comes to assisting children in the foster care system. We use that phrase because of all the amazing services #LoveUp Foundation offers to children in foster care. Their services range from entertainment at a Diamondbacks game, to holiday parties complete with an overwhelming amount of gifts for deserving kids, to supporting teenagers as they “age out” of the foster care system. These teenagers are thrust into the real world with little support and the #LoveUp Foundation is happy to help them get the supplies they need for a new home, job opportunities, and more.

Why They’re Needed

The #LoveUp Foundation has an ever-growing population of kids who need help. Why’s that? Because the stats on children in the foster care system are staggering:

  • Over 438,000 children are in the foster care system across the United States
  • 20,000 children annually “age out” of the system at 18 years old
  • 1 in 5 of those children will experience homelessness after the age of 18
  • Fewer than 3% of foster children earn a college degree
  • 1 in 4 children in foster care will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

How You Can Help

It’s hard to read those stats and not wonder how to get involved! #LoveUp Foundation has several ways for us to do so. They’re always in need of monetary donations, but you can also volunteer at an event for the kids. Your business can participate in the Arizona State Corporate Tax Credit, which is a dollar for dollar credit to the donor. And maybe the easiest way to help is to purchase a #LoveUp Foundation t-shirt, the proceeds of which go towards funding the various projects that #LoveUp Foundation is working on. Not only does this help underwrite the costs of the foundation, but it also helps to spread awareness about #LoveUp Foundation, which is critical in supporting this valuable charity.

Want to learn more about our commitment to service in our community? Click on over to our Giving Back page to find out our “why.”

Have you heard of Google Search Console yet? GSC is a free service offered by Google to help monitor, track and troubleshoot your website on Google searches. Basically, it helps you update your site to improve how Google sees your site. Why is that important? Because even if your site is live and being updated, it may not be indexed on Google correctly. Not searchable = lost leads.

Who Needs GSC and Why?

Do you have a business website? Do you know where your traffic is coming from and or how to improve it? If not, GSC is definitely for you. Even if your hosting site offers insights into traffic on your website, it likely does not offer the level of detail that GSC can offer about that traffic. In addition, being able to troubleshoot how your site is viewed by Google is important because even if you think all the right pieces are there for Google to evaluate and index your site, there maybe an issue where the search engine can’t or won’t index your site. GSC help you find those issues, fix them, and get Google crawling your page accurately. Searchable = leads will find you!

Google Search Console is also great way of tracking which sites are linking to your website. It helps to detect some security issues like malware and hacking as well as optimize your ranking on Google.

Let Hammersmith Help

Is all this information a little out of your wheelhouse? Or maybe just one more thing you don’t need on your to do list? No problem. That’s where Hammersmith Support comes in. Our maintenance services offer enrollment in Google Search Console as well as working with the service to maximize your site’s presence on Google. We’ll enroll your site into GSC and monitor changes that need to be made to make sure your site is maximized on Google searches.

The next level of service after a website build should be support. Why? Picture this; you build your dream home with all the beautiful details you’ve always dreamed of: paint colors, finishes, stunning kitchen – the works. You live in the house and love it, but you never change a light bulb. Patch a hole in the wall. Water the plants. Put up security lights. Within a few months, the house is a mess – the lights don’t come on, the plants are dead and someone broke in the back door. Suddenly your dream home is a disaster.

Just like caring for your home keeps it in a beautiful state, so does consistent support for your website. Scheduled checks and scans ensure that your site runs smoothly and securely. At Hammersmith Support, our monthly site maintenance support process encompasses:

  • WordPress core and plugin updates that include the oh-so-important security patches
  • Adding client-generated fresh content
  • Lead testing
  • Analytics review through recording traffic

While each of these is important on its own, the components work together to create a system:

–> Fresh content through blogs and/or updated product information creates new information for search engines to evaluate, which means better SEO

–> That content brings potential leads that are given the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter or submit their email for a free download

–> Analytics and lead testing shows us which option got more of a response, the newsletter or the free download, and changes are made accordingly

–> Lastly, all of these processes are done safely because the site has up-to-date security

The end result is a process that allows the business to more efficiently target customers and achieve higher conversion rates. More customers with less work? That’s a winning combination.

women with auburn hair in a cream sweater in a light room soft smile and looking away from camera

We’re excited to share an interview with Nancy Lynn Miller of Posh Creative. She is a wildly talented photographer and the sole proprietor of Posh Creative. We were thrilled to partner with her on the redesign of Hammersmith Support’s website; Nancy was able to capture the human side of what is typically a faceless industry and we couldn’t be happier with the results.  Nancy’s calm yet extraordinary approach to photography is so appealing – we had to know more about her. We hope you enjoy her story as much as we have.

Tell me a little about you – Where did you grow up? What inspires you?

“I moved a lot growing up. I went to 9 different schools in my 12-year education span. I was always ‘the new kid’, which worked well with my natural sense of autonomy – I didn’t ever want to be boxed in. Which is funny because I like boxing myself in when it comes to my creativity because I enjoy breaking through those set boundaries. That is why I am so fulfilled by in-home lifestyle photography. I walk into a house, and that is what I have to work with. I get a surge of excitement when I’m getting the tour – I love finding and using a spot in the home that isn’t necessarily the most obvious.”

Why did you start Posh Creative?

“In January of 2007, I launched Posh Creative as a boutique graphic design and creative photography business. I added the ‘creative’ in front of photography because, although I loved doing headshots and taking photos for my design clients, I was not the most technically skilled photographer out there. I worked with a wedding photographer as a second shooter and learned a ton from her – including the fact that I didn’t really want to be a wedding photographer!  However, I soon discovered the shoots that felt less like work were the kind of client sessions that lit me up inside. I was already doing newborn sessions in-home, and I could so clearly envision how well it would work for families at any stage in their growth. Years later, I still love it.”

What is unique about your style and product offering?

“I think being a graphic designer, photographer, and a mom serves me well in all areas. I shoot to document the authentic beauty and connection in a family’s everyday life with the storytelling component and editing aesthetic of a magazine editorial. My sessions feel relaxed and easy. No forced poses or smiles. I want to document who the family is now, not how I’ve styled them up to be. I am freezing time and I ultimately believe I am shooting for the family they will be in 10 years. It can feel very intimate but to capture those varied, authentic expressions from a 4-year-old, telling his mom a story as he’s coloring at the kitchen table is priceless to me.”

What advice would you give other women business owners?

“Be you. Don’t compare yourself or your business to others. Seek guidance and get inspired by those who you resonate with – but take it all with a grain of salt. There is no right or wrong way to build your business and establish your brand. The truer you are to yourself and your work, the more ideal clients and customers you will attract. There is more than enough business to go around, and not everything is a good fit for you. It’s OK to say ‘no’ to projects and people that will drain you. This will leave you with the energy to take on the projects and people that lift you up. Know what YOUR personal and professional goals are, not what society conditions you to think you want to pursue.”

Any advice on being a single mom/business owner?

“Honestly, I’m still sorting it out! In some ways having my own business is a plus as a single parent. I have the flexibility to pick my kid up from school at 3 pm, be home with him when he’s sick. On the downside, it’s a challenge when work, childcare, and my own health all require my immediate attention. I’m actively working on establishing boundaries, though. My life mantra has always been, ‘less is more’. This philosophy helps keep our home life calm and manageable. And that is my definition of success.”

Visit Posh Creative at www.poshcreative.com

First, welcome!

We are excited to introduce the reimagined Hammersmith blog. Here, we’ll be diving into the specifics of our business, as well as bringing you our take on industry changes and trends. We’ll also share our mission of supporting our clients’ businesses through their online presence and our community through pro bono work, which is something so important to us.

Now, on to maintenance…

When it comes to small businesses creating their websites, rarely is site maintenance part of that thought process. And why would it be? Getting a site up and running is a huge undertaking and checking it off your ever-growing to do list is a major accomplishment.

But what happens when there is a platform update? A security issue? What if you forget to renew your domain name and the site goes down? Even worse – what if it’s your busy season and you’re left trying to juggle a solution AND run your business?

That’s where website maintenance is essential. It allows you to be confident that your online presence is in good hands and focus on what you do best: running your business. Hammersmith Support provides behind-the-scenes, comprehensive website maintenance that keeps your website running smoothly by performing regular site backups, security and malware protection scans, and site optimization. To help keep your site’s content current and relevant, we submit your site map to the Google Search Console and post content updates as you request them. Our maintenance packages keep your site in good shape. And if something unexpected does happen to your website, instead of panicking, you simply call in the experts who know you and your site, have a real-time back up ready, and are adept problem solvers.

You may use maintenance hours to keep your site’s content fresh and up-to-date. With Hammersmith Support, when you need changes made, you simply send an email to the team. No fussing with remembering how to do it yourself, or worse, making a mistake in the process. Hammersmith Support offers simplicity and peace of mind for your business’s online presence.

If you’re maintaining your own business site, what are your concerns? Functionality, security, SEO…all of the above?