Chamber of Commerce Website Solutions: 20 Must-Haves
In order for chambers of commerce to remain significant in the technological era we live in today, it’s imperative that their websites are well-designed and provide an intuitive experience. Not only should your chamber website be visually appealing, it should also provide real value to your members. Although there are certain website design elements that all organizations should follow, there are also items particular to a chamber of commerce website. Let’s take a look at 20 chamber website must-haves that help create an informational and professional website that drives membership and traffic.
Great Overall Design
Great overall design is the first chamber website must-have. The design and usability of your website will have an impact on perceived value and trust levels; the better your website design and usability, the more people believe in your credibility.
The key to building an excellent online reputation for your chamber is to provide a good looking website that always functions perfectly. The color scheme should be well-defined, the layout and topography consistent, images clear, and the content easy to read.
Easy-to-Use Content Management Systems
Your content management system (CMS) is the backbone of your design. It needs to be easy to use, search engine friendly, and include the functionality needed to provide your community with everything they need to engage with your website.
Your CMS should include a publishing platform that is easy to use, allowing both your chamber and your members to publish relevant news. It should also have key functionality which includes the ability to categorize content, an easy-to-use directory, event listings, etc.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is another one of the top chamber website must-haves. Research consistently finds that more than 90% of online interactions begin with the use of a search engine. Therefore, you must establish foundational SEO elements throughout the design and development of your website.
Click here to learn more about SEO and its benefits.
Navigable Menu Items
Navigation within your website should be intuitive and allow visitors to easily move from one page to the next. An easy way to test the navigability of your website is to ask someone who didn’t design the website to find out when your next event is and how to join. If they can’t find this out in three minutes or less, this shows your website is difficult to navigate.
These days, websites are accessed as often by mobile as they are by computer. Therefore, it’s essential that your website is mobile-friendly. To ensure that your website looks great and functions flawlessly on any device, the site needs to be built upon a responsive framework.
A search bar option is a must-have for those who prefer to get right to the point versus browsing through menu selections. But remember it’s vital that you get an intuitive search bar that will improve user experience, there’s no point having a search bar of mediocre quality.
Featuring a welcome message from the Board President or other executive member of the chamber enables you to provide readers with absolute and positive reasons to join your chamber. It should also demonstrate exactly how they will benefit from their association with your chamber.
When writing your welcome message, try to avoid fancy words, clichés, and broad statements. Instead state clearly the chamber’s mission in a strong, problem-solution statement.
Potential members who visit your website should encounter a seamless sign-up process that allows them to join at any time 24/7. A clear and concise action button should be included on every page with a link that will take them to the registration form and method of payment. If the sign-up process isn’t seamless or the page easy to find, potential members may be discouraged from signing-up!
All of your contact information should be available on your website so people can easily reach out to you with any questions or queries. This should include a mailing address, email addresses, and phone numbers. It’s equally important that you try to ensure that all contact information elsewhere on the internet is the same so that your chamber is consistently recognized.
Directory with a Map
To drive community engagement, you should offer a document with comprehensive information about businesses and landmarks in the community. This can be done in one of three ways; alphabetically, categorically, or by date of membership. The most user-friendly is to provide the directory in two formats – alphabetically and by category – because this allows users to search by either company name or industry.
It’s imperative that all of your information is up-to-date, whether it’s information from inside or outside of your chamber. This way your website can become an important community-wide resource that informs people of what is happening throughout the community.
Your event page is a chamber website must-have as it can help bring different aspects of the community together. In addition to a community-wide calendar of events, you should showcase the events specific to your chamber as well as highlight the next upcoming event. Once again remember to make sure that your event calendar is kept up-to-date!
Member Profile Page
A member profile page is one of the essential chamber website must-haves. This is because networking within communities is essential to the success of any business. Having a member profile page that includes company names, logos, services or products offered, contact information and a map showing their location will make your website a valuable resource for members and visitors alike.
Having a membership page will help tell the story of your chamber and provide information to drive new membership. This page should include; the history of your chamber, reasons why someone should become a member, member testimonials, and a list of board members.
Although this page may not always be considered essential to a chamber website, it is in fact very important. People like to know who they’re connecting with and this page will add some personality to your website that will encourage new memberships.
Pictures and Videos
This page is most certainly a chamber website must-have! Studies have shown that while people only remember 20% of what they read, they remember 80% of the images they see.
Having photos and videos of your community will bring your chamber and neighborhood to life. But please remember to feature only high-quality images and videos. There’s nothing worse than a blurry photo or video!
A blog page is one of the most important chamber website must-haves! It’s a way for you to both acquire new readers and retain regulars to your site. Moreover, providing high-quality content on a regular basis will have a positive impact on your number of membership leads.
Another bonus of blogging is the increased ability to gain local links that will help you earn rankings with search engines. Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website than those who don’t.
Links to your social media pages are a must-have! The simple act of being able to share and like your chamber’s content will increase community engagement. But only list the social media accounts that you post to regularly. If your link leads to a page that doesn’t have recently added content, people may wonder if you’re still around.
You should include social share buttons on pages such as your event page and blog page. This encourages members to share events they’re attending or blog posts they found interesting.
A FAQ page is crucial as it offers a timely resolution to common questions. It should be a source from which viewers can quickly find out more about your chamber and community.
Tip: use a conversational tone and active voice to create a comfortable forum.
Establishing a way for businesses to advertise on your website is a great way to drive revenue growth for your chamber. You can sell space on your website for banners, sponsored content, and sponsorships for different events.
You can also offer mentions and spotlights of local business members on your social media accounts.
Now it’s Your Turn
Now that you know these 20 chamber website must-haves, check your website, do you have all of the above? If not, add it in! And please never forget how important your website is for encouraging new memberships and retaining old ones!
If you’re having trouble visualizing what the ideal chamber website should look like, have a look at this list of Top Ten Chamber Websites for inspiration.
You may feel that creating a website or modifying your old one would be a time-consuming project, but think again! With our chamber website solution, you no longer need to have difficulty trying to understand what technology to choose, what features to build and who from the team will manage the website. We’ve solved these challenges by creating a solution that can be launched in just 4 days. Learn more about EventBank’s chamber website solution in our blog Get a new website for your chamber in just 4 days with EventBank.