A new website for the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce was launched Friday, according to Amanda Griesheimer, marketing director.
Planning for the upgrade began back in November, with Chamber staff assessing the needs and goals of the website.
“While the design is the most obvious change, online visitors will benefit from many other improvements as well,” said Griesheimer.
In addition to representing the local businesses and serving as a resource to them, a Chamber also must serve as a resource for the community, she said, including visitors and those looking to relocate.
“The updated website’s layout makes it easy for both groups to find the information they need,” Griesheimer said.
For businesses, a top menu provides various information, including an overview of the Chamber, business resources, membership information, news and events.
Griesheimer said an updated, searchable member directory will make it easy for visitors to the site to find a Washington area business for whatever they need.
“The best feature for businesses is that members are able to update their own listings and give additional details, like hours of operation, links to social media sites, and representative information,” she said. “They also have the option of posting job openings or events, and offering coupons and special deals.”
For the community, Griesheimer said the website has live, work, play and visit tabs on the left sidebar to serve as gateways to helpful information.
The “live” section provides links to realtors, churches, health care, education, seniors, government, services for those in need, and service organizations.
“Soon, it also will have a link to an updated community profile/relocation guide, which will promote our area and encourage people to relocate to beautiful Washington, Mo.,” Griesheimer said.
The “work” section will include links to the city of Washington’s economic development site, plus an industrial profile and listing of major employers in the area.
“An employment services page will provide information to job-seekers, and job openings posted by Chamber members will also be available,” Griesheimer said.
“The “play” tab showcases all that is fun in the Washington area,” she said. “Links include dining, wineries, shopping, entertainment, special events, sports, and the parks department.”
The “visit” section is still being updated, Griesheimer said, but will eventually be the main resource for tourist information about Washington. For now, visitors are redirected to the existing tourism website.
“The website upgrade has been on the Chamber’s radar for a few years, and it feels great to finally check this one off the list,” said Griesheimer.
The website was created by Jason Oesterly of WashMO Media. The Chamber also enlisted the services of ChamberMaster, a member-management software.
The new program automatically updates the Chamber website with changes made to the business information on file at the Chamber, and updates the Chamber files when a member makes the change themselves by logging into the website.
“In addition to saving time and cutting down the risk of user error, the software also gives members a great opportunity to promote themselves,” Griesheimer stated. “We want to be a first-class Chamber for our members and the community, and the new website finally meets that standard. Of course, we will continue working to keep the information current and make sure the best picture of Washington is presented.”
The Chamber hosted eight training sessions for members to become more familiar with the new website and the ChamberMaster software.
Two more classes have been scheduled: Monday, March 18, at 7 p.m., and Tuesday, March 19, at 4 p.m. Both classes will be held in the Chamber board room in the lower level at 323 W. Main St.
To register, contact Amanda at 636-239-2715, extension 106, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.