In July, we announced Hammersmith Support’s expansion into Nashville, Tennessee. This growth is especially exciting for our founder Heather as it’s a bit of a homecoming for her. As the Tennessee office continues to develop, so has our Tennesee network. This week we are excited to introduce you to Lucy Miller of Tennessee Women Connect and to let her tell us more about the upcoming event in October (we’ll be there too!).

Lucy Miller TN Women Connect Hammersmith Support

Tell Us a Little About You.

Born and raised here in the Nashville area, I LOVE this city and all that it offers for my family and me. After moving around throughout the first part of our marriage, my husband Knight and I are raising two amazing kids, Will (8) and Reese (6), and couldn’t be happier with the opportunity to do that here in Franklin. We are immersed in life in Franklin with our family, friends, church, and sports! I hate to miss a day at my gym, Burn Bootcamp, and am always excited to help my real estate clients find a home or sell their homes. I am energized every single day by my TN Women Connect events and ladies who are connecting with so many. I’m so excited about what is to come for TN Women Connect!

What Can You Tell Us About the Tennessee Women Connect Event? What Are You Most Excited About?

This TN Women Connect LIVE event is going to be a great day full of information about how to learn and grow our businesses as well as tons of opportunities to connect with other women in business. Our topics include social media, branding, time management tips, and productivity advice. Our keynote speaker, Gigi Butler is speaking about her story of success, trials, and how to be fearless in your business. I am so excited about these things but most of all the opportunity to bring more women together. The magic that happens when real relationships are made is so amazing to see. Every single event shows me this and this LIVE event will be no exception. And, it is going to be so fun too!

Talk to Us About Your “Why” and How That Motivated You to Start TWC.

As a local realtor with Zeitlin Sotheby’s, I was searching for the right kind of networking opportunities for me. Something different and something fun. I started Tennessee Women Connect really just for the opportunity to create a different kind of networking group for myself. I was looking for a group that was made up of women who were wanting more opportunities, more collaboration, ways to learn from each other, and always support. At Tennessee Women Connect we truly strive to have an abundance mindset. We do not cap industries or have exclusive rights for people who do a certain thing. We are for all women excited to connect with others. I am truly passionate about providing these opportunities for women to connect and to comfortably be themselves…going after their dreams. I am thrilled to see what we can do with this group and grow to allow more women around the middle Tennessee area to grow as well.

What Is Unique About Your Style and Product Offering?

We are unique in that not only are our networking events fun and at local businesses, but we are a collaborative group that is truly excited to work together and cheer each other on. Our events range from lunches and happy hours to brunches and one-off meetings to get to know each other more. We have had several speaker events designed to teach skills and a big opportunity for this on October 21st!

What Advice Do You Have for Other Entrepreneurs?

When I started TN Women Connect, I had an idea of what I thought the organization could do (organization loosely…it was just me planning a networking happy hour), but then I let my visions and my goals grow as we did. I let my heart dream of what it could become and I was open to opportunities to grow and ways to pivot. I certainly did not have all of the tools that I would eventually need to grow it but I knew I would figure it out on the way. And I have. The growth we are seeing and the ways we are meeting those needs have been direct results of connections made throughout the last 2 years and the determination I have had to make it happen. My advice is to go for it. Don’t wait until you have it all figured out…get started and figure it out along the way. Make connections with others that will not only lift you up and encourage you but challenge you to go after more, do more, and keep achieving. My circle of influencers and friends/family are one of the most valuable things I could have asked for. Bringing Jenna Griffith and Ashley Fitz in as my leadership team has been the key to our increased success and growth in new areas.

Come and Meet the Hammersmith Support Team!

We are very excited to host a booth at the TN Women Connect LIVE event on October 21st. Come meet the Hammersmith Support team as we would love to get to know all of you too!

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!

Jesse Csincsak Arizona Tree Trimming Hammersmith Support

We’re excited to bring you this client highlight about Arizona Tree Trimming and Removal! Our team enjoyed getting to know owner Jesse Csincsak and learning about his business and where his site needed improvement. Does his name sound familiar? If you’re a fan of The Bachelor, then you just might have been rooting for (or against!) Jesse and DeAnna on season 4.

These days, instead of chopping down his reality show competition, Jesse is cutting up new competitors – landscaping businesses. Jesse wanted to update Arizona Tree Trimming and Removal’s site to include better functionality around Google Maps and Google Reviews, which are a huge source of new business for him. In addition, we worked to update content and the overall look and feel of the site.

Content Updates

Arizona Tree Trimming provides A LOT of services! We worked to sort and organize the services provided, as well as update the content under each of the services. This was important for a few reasons. First, educating the customer is a key element to the services Jesse provides. “Trimming a tree” can mean a lot of different things to different people! Ensuring that his customers would know exactly what to expect from tree trimming services is important.

In addition to content updates throughout the site, a blog page was added. This is a great tool for further education around a variety of topics, including expanding on each type of service available. In addition, blog pages are great for building great SEO.

Color and Fonts

When it came to updating the colors and fonts, we simply modernized the overall feel of the site. While the main color is still green, we chose a brighter version. The fonts were updated to an edgier sans serif version and the layout was changed to highlight more images. The end result is a clean and crisp look, clear details throughout, and updated and interesting images as well.

Reviews and Badges

A huge source of business for Arizona Tree Trimming comes from referrals and reviews. In the website redesign, we added an updating scroll that brings in the most recent Google Reviews. Badges earned from referral companies like Home Advisor were highlighted as well to showcase honors and awards.

Google Maps

A lot of Arizona Tree Trimming’s business comes from Google searches, and more specifically, Google Maps. We were able to refer and also partner with an SEO specialist who focuses on Google Maps. The result was an increase in site traffic from Google Maps and improved SEO as well.

See the finished product!

We’re Here to Help

Even if you’re not a reality show star, we’re still here to help! Whether your site needs to be refreshed or completely rebuilt – or if your site is in need of some maintenance, Hammersmith Support can help. Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk about what your website might need.

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!

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.