Giving back to our community is a core value at Hammersmith Support. We strive to support businesses and nonprofits in an effort to foster vibrant and thriving organizations that are the foundation of a strong community. Each year Hammersmith Support chooses a nonprofit to provide pro bono maintenance services for. Over the course of the year, the nonprofit benefits from monthly updates, lead testing, and security checks. They’re also able to utilize the hours of content updates in the maintenance package to make upgrades and changes to the design, infrastructure, and layout of their site. The result is a site that functions more efficiently, safely, and is more visually appealing.

The Process

We were thrilled with the number of local nonprofits who applied to be our next pro bono client! Hearing each of their stories, their mission, and how they were affected by the pandemic was incredibly inspiring – there are so many organizations out there doing amazing work. When all of the interviews were completed, we had the incredibly difficult task of choosing one nonprofit to work with – each of the applicants was so worthy of this assistance.

Drum Roll, Please….

We are thrilled to announce that our new pro bono client is Phoenix Center for the Arts! PCA has a small but mighty staff dedicated to bringing arts and culture opportunities to our community. PCA utilizes education, programming, and advocacy to further its mission in the Phoenix area. Because nearly all of their work is done in person, Phoenix Center for the Arts has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unable to meet in person, they have shifted nearly all of their programming to a virtual platform, requiring much time and effort from their team to adapt their entire system of work.

Phoenix Center for the Arts

The Work

PCA has pivoted to become a leader in innovating arts education, bringing teaching artists and students together virtually. This has created an urgent need for a more robust virtual footprint. Phoenix Center for the Arts has not only seen a significant increase in traffic to their site, but their website is now used for registration, class listings, membership, and more, making their need for functionality greater than ever.

Learn More

Visit the Phoenix Center for the Arts website to learn more about this amazing non-profit organization. And stay tuned for updates about our work for them!

Thinking your business is in need of a similar solution? Visit our services page to learn more about all of the packages we offer and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation through our Calendly link. We would like to talk with you about your business website and how Hammersmith Support can help.

We are excited to bring you this client highlight for Root + River! Emily Soccorsy, co-founder of Root + River, is a W Source Scottsdale Arcadia chapter member along with our founder, Heather Locke. It was a fantastic compliment that Root + River reached out to Hammersmith Support when they were ready to rebuild their site to not only change the look and feel, but also to improve the infrastructure of the site.

Root + River

Emily and her co-founder, Justin Foster, created their company out of a deep passion for helping businesses discover and then master their brand. As a brand strategy business, they want their clients to not simply sell a product. In their words, they are “… a brand strategy team. We guide leaders to master intrinsic branding. Intrinsic brands are known by their consistently evocative language, standard-setting experiences and legendary storytelling.” In other words, they aren’t your everyday marketing company! Emily often draws on a board during strategy sessions to help create a visual motion to the work being done – in fact, she created all of the icon graphics on the new site, giving it that personal touch that fits the Root + River brand perfectly.

The Challenge

With the previous Root + River site, there was a lot of information. And rightly so – Root + River’s process and vision is a beautiful story. The look and feel of their site needed to be changed to align with the company’s brand standards. Lastly, the team wanted to update photography as well as color schemes and the overall feel of the site.

The Solution

Hammersmith Support enlisted Jena Gribble of Blush Cactus to create a design that embodied the Root + River brand. The rebuild included streamlining the look and feel of the site by visually breaking it into sections that could be more easily digested. By taking some of the verbiage out of the home page and replacing it with short descriptions and snappy headlines, visitors are now able to get a bird’s eye view of who and what Root + River is before diving in further. Icons, created by Emily, were added in place of and in addition to some descriptions, and the overall colorscape was updated for a look and feel that aligns with the brand’s standards. Lastly, we used new and existing photography but gave each image the same filtered view, which made the site feel cohesive and also gave a visual glimpse into the history of the company.

Now that their site is live, Root + River is continuing as a Hammersmith Support monthly maintenance client. In addition to updates, backups, and lead testing, we will also provide any content updates and development support that the company needs.

Root + River & Hammersmith Support Branding Event

Hammersmith Support is proud to be partnering with Root + River for a branding presentation: “Your Brand Is Not What You Think It Is,” coming up on April 28th at 4pm. Led by Emily Soccorsy, CEO and co-founder of Root + River, the event will focus on what branding is and isn’t and will re-frame brand experience, brand message, and ideal audience. Emily will share insights into how to stand out, and be genuine and original while you do so. She will also dive into a new way to connect with your ideal clients and help you determine how to know if you have a resonant brand message. Emily’s insights make branding less complex and more effective because they are based on brain science, who you really are, and what will most effectively differentiate you in a highly competitive market. Click here to register!

Thinking Your Site Might Be Ready for a Rebuild?

Not every site needs to be completely rebuilt. Often, if the infrastructure of the site is in good shape, visual changes may be all that it needs. Not sure where your site falls on rebuild or refresh? Visit our Calendly page and schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

When it comes to building and maintaining your business website, there are lots of options out there! How do you know which platform is right for you and your business? We’ve got the breakdown on some of the differences between WordPress and Wix and who they might work best for. And we’ll tell you Hammersmith Support’s preferred platform and why!

WordPress

Pros:

  • Portable content – If you change hosting providers, you can move your site and its contents easily.
  • Open-source – Want to customize? The resources are there and getting more user-friendly with every release!
  • Built-in SEO – As Google changes its requirements, the built-in SEO settings in WordPress are adapted and updated by developers and users. If you’re looking to delve into your SEO and customize it, WordPress has options.
  • Scalable – Are you running a small business or a large, international company? WordPress works on any scale and grows as your company grows.
  • Custom Designs – Do you have a vision of how you’d like your site to look and function? With WordPress, the design and customization options are endless.
  • E-commerce – WordPress makes it easy to integrate and set up a store using WooCommerce, Shopify or other platforms.
  • Speed – WordPress sites, especially when maintained regularly, load faster, which improves Google Search rankings and user experience.
  • Support – WordPress has a vast international community of users who are available to help and support others.

Cons:

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

Takeaway:

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

Wix

Pros:

  • Inexpensive to start – Wix charges a minimal monthly fee for access to its platform and resources.
  • Easy to manipulate and change – Wix is a simple drag and drop design.
  • All-in-one – A standard site comes with hosting, SSL, domain or CDN – they’re all included in the basic package.
  • SEO – If you’re looking for basic SEO that you don’t need to tinker with, Wix has what you need.
  • Maintenance – Site updates are done automatically by Wix.

Cons:

  • Limited features – Templates are not customizable, so you are limited by the resources available.
  • Speed – Wix sites load more slowly than do WordPress sites and allow for less optimization.
  • Not scalable – If your business grows exponentially and you’d like to add functionality and customization to match your expanded needs, you may find Wix to be too limited.
  • Proprietary – Your data is not easily portable. If you decide to move to another host, you’ll have export your content in XML format and build your new site from scratch.
  • E-commerce – Wix’s options for building an online store are much more limited in terms of customization and integration with the most robust and commonly used platforms.

Takeaway:

If you have a small budget, are not very tech savvy, and don’t need a very robust site, Wix is a great place to start! Another way to think of the differences between the two is that a Wix site could sell a few items, while a WordPress site could launch an entire online store.

Hammersmith Support’s Preferred Platform

You guessed it, WordPress! The platform is scalable, customizable, portable, and if you’re looking to delve into your SEO, the bells and whistles just can’t be beaten. We also appreciate the large support community that WordPress has fostered and the open code format that allows us to build completely custom sites for our clients. Unsure of what you need for your site? We’re here to help! Book a free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk about what Hammersmith Support can do for you and your site.

It’s almost Arizona Gives Day! April 6th kicks off 24 hours of online giving to benefit local non-profits, brought you by Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum. AZ Gives.org brings local non-profits and their missions to one online location, making it easy for donors to find and connect with a non-profit that fits their passion. Since its inception in 2013, Arizona Gives Day has raised over $23 million dollars for local non-profits!

Arizona Gives Day is just 24 hours…is your website ready to handle a large influx of traffic? Here are a few things you can do to get ready to make sure every dollar makes it to your bottom line.

Check Your Security

When you type in your URL, does it begin with “https“? If not, your site is not secure. Update your SSL certificate to ensure that:

  • Your site is safe for visitors’ information
  • Visitors can actually make it to your site. Several search engines will block unsecured sites from being viewed
  • Your SEO is the best that it can be! Google Ranking Factors depend heavily on security

Update

Be sure that your site is completely updated. Look for platform as well as plugin updates – all of which are visible from your WordPress dashboard. Even a small, out-of-date section can cause headaches.

Check Hosting

Contact your hosting service to confirm that your site is able to take on a high amount of traffic. The average website takes 3 seconds to load and more than half of visitors will leave if it takes longer. Be sure that your hosting can handle increased traffic and still load quickly.

View on Mobile

Because more than half of internet users view sites on a mobile device, it’s essential that your site loads quickly, completely, and is easy to navigate from a mobile device. Check that all of the menus and contact forms are visible and easy to use and that your images are optimized for mobile.

Test

Check your contact forms to be sure that they are working. It’s as simple as going to your site and filling out the form to make sure that form notifications are getting to your inbox.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

It’s not too late! If you need help with your site, we can help. Visit our Calendly link to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and we can talk through your concerns.

Are You a Member of an Approved 501c3 Organization?

Hammersmith Support is currently accepting applications for our newest pro bono client!

Who Is Eligible?

While we always work to support our local businesses, this project is aimed at those doing the most for our community – nonprofit organizations. Any charitable organization that is an approved 501c3 and has an existing WordPress website is eligible! We know so many organizations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and we want to help you.

How to Apply

We’re excited to learn more about your organization! Click here to complete an application. We will be accepting applications through Sunday, March 28th. We will meet with finalists and select our new client the week of March 29th.

One of the foundational aspects of Hammersmith Support is to give back to our community. In addition to serving with our time and treasure, we also strive to serve with our talent. Each year, Hammersmith Support selects a nonprofit and provides our maintenance services pro bono for the next year. During this time, we’re able to get their website updated not only on the “inside,” but we’re also able to make content changes and add infrastructure that benefits the users as well as the organization in so many ways.

We have enjoyed working with our current pro bono client, #LoveUp Foundation, and we are excited to begin the process of selecting a new nonprofit to work with!

What Our Client Will Receive

Our newest pro bono client will receive 1 year of Hammersmith Support maintenance. This includes:

  • Site backups and live staging copy maintained
  • Security scans and malware prevention
  • Site optimization
  • Full site test each month
  • Submission to Google Search Console
  • 2 hours of content updates monthly – update images, wording, service packages, about us pages, add or update donation forms, etc. This time can also be used to add additional features to your site!

Who Is Eligible?

While we always work to support our local businesses, this project is aimed at those doing the most for our community – nonprofit organizations. Any charitable organization that is an approved 501c3 and has an existing WordPress website is eligible! We know so many organizations have been negatively impacted by the pandemic, and we want to help you.

How to Apply

We’re excited to learn more about your organization! Click here to complete an application. We will be accepting applications through Sunday, March 28th. We will meet with finalists and select our new client the week of March 29th.

We’ve Got You Covered

Not a nonprofit, don’t worry! Our amazing maintenance packages are available to everyone any time. Connect with us via our Calendly link to book your free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

Last year Hammersmith Support launched our first ever giveaway, 3 months of maintenance for one lucky winner. And that winner was Erica Scott of Civilian Connections! Civilian Connections is a human resources company that works to connect businesses looking to hire with veteran talent.

Did you know that our maintenance packages include not only updates and lead testing, but also either 2 or 4 hours of content updates depending on the service package? After working with Civilian Connections to understand the what sorts of improvements they were looking for, we were able to put those content hours to good use by making additional changes to their site.

Updates + Security

In talking with the team at Civilian Connections, we were able to understand the issues they were having with their site. Our own evaluation showed some additional updates that needed to be made as well as upgrading the security of the site. This included platform as well as plugin updates. Each of the changes was not only important for the functionality of the site but also for usability and SEO.

Content

One of the things that Civilian Connections wanted to update was the overall site content. We were able to rework the home page content and design to make the company’s mission clearer to readers. While the messaging remained consistent and on-brand, we were able to make the wording and layout clearer and more concise to effectively convey that message. We also updated the social media buttons on each page, placing them prominently.

Upgrades

In addition to giving the overall site a good once-over, Hammersmith Support also advised adding some much-needed integrations. We tied Civilian Connections’ email sign-up to their Mailchimp account. So now when someone signs up with email, the email address is automatically loaded into their contacts, making email marketing that much easier. In addition, we added Google Analytics tracking to the site, which enables lead attribution and helps them decide where their marketing dollars will be used most effectively.

Before and After

Check out the site before and after! With some simple image changes (and all with full optimization!) as well as content clarifications, the site now functions better and is visually pleasing.

Civilian Connections website before

And after!

See it for yourself! Click on over Civilian Connections.

Hammersmith Support Can Help You Too!

Does reading this make you think that your site could use this kind of TLC too? Click over to our Calendly page to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and let’s talk.

And stay tuned! We are excited to make an announcement next week about our Giving Back program!

Do you know that feeling when you need something new? Whether it’s new shoes, a great haircut, or a next-generation computer – you’re just craving something fresh in your routine? Well, that’s how we’ve been feeling about our website. We just needed something new. And so to kick off 2021, we are launching the new and improved Hammersmith Support website! We’re excited to show and tell you about what we’ve done and also to give you some food for thought when it comes to your site.

Design

While maintaining our current branding, we did want to shake up the design of the site. Heather had some new images taken by Karianne Mundstedt and the goal was to capture the very relatable “work from home” style that we’ve all been living in this past year. We also updated the layout and changed icons to improve our product description for potential clients.

Services

We have honed our services over the last year to more accurately serve our clients’ needs. Because of that, we wanted to present more detail on the site around the services we provide. In addition, we added more calls to action, making it easier to get in touch and start the design process. We added more details throughout the site as well that will make it easier for our clients to understand our process.

Click over to see all our changes here!

Food for Thought

If all this talk has you thinking about your website and what improvements or refreshing it may need, we’ve got some ideas for you. Here are a few areas that can be the focus of a site refresh – many of which have far-reaching benefits beyond aesthetics!

  • New Images: updating images and completing all of the descriptive information like alt text is great for the site’s SEO.
  • Adding a Blog: another great SEO win, but blogs are also great value adds for clients and potential clients as well.
  • Content Updates: have your services, “about us” information, and or product offerings changed? Even if they haven’t, it’s worth reviewing the content to see if you can add information, or even delete or edit the content for more concise information.
  • Start a Podcast: much like a blog, a podcast drives great SEO and is beneficial for clients as well.
  • Behind the Curtain: Ensuring that your site is up to date, including plugins, will keep your site rolling smoothly.

We’re Here to Help

At Hammersmith Support, websites are our specialty. We can help with that new year’s business resolution by getting your site on a monthly maintenance package that can include any of the updates we suggested above! Click over to our Calendly page to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and let us know how we can help you.

He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice! Gonna find if your site is naughty or nice…

While it may be a lesser-known holiday song, it is true: Santa does put websites on the Naughty List too! Not sure which side of the list your site will be on? We’ve got a list of offenses that will get your site on the Naughty List for sure. But don’t worry, Hammersmith Support can help get it on the Nice List just in time for the holidays!

Naughty: No SSL Certificate

Nice: Updated Certificate

No matter what you use your website for, lead generation only or for full-scale e-commerce, you really need an updated SSL certificate. SSL stands for Secure Socket Layer and it’s the “s” in “https.” Not having an updated certificate can leave your site vulnerable to hackers and malware. An expired SSL certificate will result in some browsers blocking access to your site and displaying a warning that your site is not secure. Lastly, Google Ranking Factors hate unsecured sites. Bad security leads to bad SEO.

Naughty: No Image SEO

Nice: Alt Text, Captions, Descriptions

Web crawlers utilized by Google Ranking Factors just love image information. And including all of the descriptive information in each image – tedious as it may be – is worth it for the boost in SEO. Crawlers are bots and they can only interpret so much from an image. Giving written descriptions helps them return correct information faster, which is a great boost for your SEO.

Naughty: Not Accessible

Nice: 100% Accessible

With nearly 15% of the 4.9 billion internet users in the world being differently-abled (that’s 735,000,000 for those doing the math), it just makes good sense to have your website accessibility certified. While they may seem like minor things to add to your site, these things can make a huge difference for users. Some accessibility requirements include text that’s able to be converted to audio, large print, or braille, tab navigation, and alt text on images.

Naughty: Stale Content

Nice: Fresh Content

There’s nothing a web crawler hates more than a stale website. Google Ranking Factors look at the content on your site from several angles, but age is a major factor. Keep your content fresh and updated by swapping out or adding images, creating blog content or adding testimonials.

Hammersmith Support Can Help

If you’re worried that your site might be on the naughty list this year, Hammersmith Support is here to help! Visit our site to book a free, 30-minute consultation and we’ll talk through your concerns as well as what options are available too.

‘Tis the season for gift giving! And while you’re making your list, we have some things to add to it for your business website…that’s right, your website needs some presents too this holiday season!

A Blog

We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again; your website needs a blog! Not only does a blog add value for your clients and potential clients, but it also is important for good SEO. There are over 200 Google Ranking Factors and a blog can help with a TON of those. Blog posts bring fresh content for your clients, images for web crawlers to analyze, and links, too.

Plugins

Speaking of SEO, utilizing plugins on your site will help to improve user experience as well as your site’s SEO. Yoast SEO will help you by evaluating your blog posts and then optimizing them for the best SEO possible. Smart Crawler is also great for full-page SEO analysis and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will ensure that your site loads quickly on mobile devices.

Site Maintenance

There are two ways to give your site the gift of maintenance. First, you can update the site’s plugins, as well as the theme and WordPress versions. Updates should be done consistently to ensure that the site doesn’t crash due to too many changes / catch up updates being made. Not running updates regularly can also leave your site open to security risks, which are patched by WordPress developers.

The second way is to invest in a monthly maintenance package with Hammersmith Support. Each month, we’ll back up your site to ensure no data is lost. Then we’ll run updates, check lead generators, make any changes or updates that you request, and more to keep your site running smoothly and securely.

A New Website

Make this the year that you invest in a new site! If your current site is more than 5 years old, built on a template, or isn’t performing optimally for your business, it may be time for a new, robust site that can meet all of your business needs.

Hammersmith Support is Here to Help

We are always happy to offer a free 30-minute consultation to talk through your site needs and how Hammersmith Support can help you! Visit our Calendly page to book your time.

If you’ve recently downloaded our “Top Ten Questions to Ask Your Web Designer,” you saw that one of the questions is what platform will my site be built on and why? It may seem like a silly question to ask, but it’s important for a lot of reasons! We’re excited to share with you why WordPress is the preferred platform for Hammersmith Support-built websites.

User Friendly 

Open-source (meaning the code for each page is visible and changeable) makes each site customizable, enabling the creation of unique and robust websites.

The WordPress admin panel has also evolved over the years to include a visual builder, which makes it easier to train clients how to add and update pages.

Mobile Friendly

WordPress has created a mobile-friendly structure at its core so that each and every site can be optimized for mobile viewing.

Most themes are already mobile-ready, but in addition, the WordPress editor can also be accessed and used from a phone or tablet.

Built-in SEO and Google Loves It

WordPress automatically creates a page structure with built-in header, footer and structure tags that Google loves. With an easy-to-use plugin like Yoast or SmartCrawl, you can further define page descriptions and titles that produce even better results, ensuring your site is optimized for SEO.

Highly Customizable

In addition to being open source, there are thousands of plugins available to extend WordPress’ core functionality. You can also develop your own plugins and add customization specific to your business.

Built-in Blog

Each site comes with a built-in blog page, making it easy to add content, images, and expand your library, organically boosting your SEO in the process.

Support

Because WordPress is open source, there are knowledgeable developers all over the world as well as endless information online. Generally if you have an issue, you can use Google to find the answer.

Compatible with Many 3rd Party Software Products

WordPress plays well with most providers, making it easy to invite site visitors to sign up for your newsletter, conduct e-commerce business, and integrate marketing strategies. Some great examples of 3rd party software include WooCommerce and Stripe for e-commerce and Mailchimp, Constant Contact and HubSpot for marketing integration.

Why Hammersmith Support

We’re always happy to answer your questions! If you are curious about your own site, or are thinking about a new one, we’re here to help! Schedule a free consultation through our website to talk through your questions.