Recently I sat in a conference call with the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. As WebLink’s Benji Craig was explaining the importance of SEO to their chamber, it hit me – this really is important.
Before I joined the WebLink team, I knew nothing about chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus or business associations. It was almost embarrassing learning about these organizations and realizing what a great resource I had been missing out on. Whenever my friends or I would plan a trip outside of our community we – like most – started on the internet. Searching for generic terms such as “hotels” or “attractions” often lead us to multiple pages that gave us headaches on our quest to find what we wanted. If only we had known about chamber of commerce websites!
If someone does a generic search such as hotels and attractions in your area, would your chamber’s website come up?
But it’s about more than just SEO – your website needs to not only be appearing high on the results page, but needs to be easy to navigate, esthetically pleasing and informative.
My generation is your chamber’s next major audience to reach, and our reputation of having short attention spans needs to be accepted! Within the first couple of seconds on your website a tone will be set about the professionalism of your organization. In addition, if we cannot find what we want within those same seconds, we’ll turn somewhere else. If possible, reach out to the younger professionals of your organization and have them or their friends audit the accessibility and overall appeal of your website.
If a person wanted to find a hotel or a local business in your area, would they be able to from the homepage – without clicking through many navigation tools? Do you have a search box on your home page? What does your home page say about your organization? Although we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – we do, so make sure your homepage gives visitors the impression you want it to convey.
And, it’s not just about site visitors either. Your community is full of young professionals that may have pre-conceived notions of what a chamber of commerce is. You can show young professionals that your organization is “up with the times” by creating a modern, easy to use website that contains updated and useful information for local businesses and visitors alike.