It took more than a year to prepare, but the new website for the is live and online.
The new site, http://www.ncrichamber.com/, is a long-sought evolution of the business group's web presence, President Deb Ramos explained during an interview on Tuesday at the Chamber's Greenville Avenue office.
"We need to keep up with the times — that's how we can improve and grow the Chamber, the membership, and in turn, the small business community — and our first thought was a new website," Ramos said.
Among the features of the new site will be "something that [members] didn't have before — a member log-in," explained Ramos. "They'll also be able to pay for any events and get great advertising rates for the site, they'll also be able to post their own events and promotions that they might be having."
Ramos also pointed out that the new site will continue to host Business Spotlight videos — like this month's JohnstonPatch .
In addition to the "front-end" structure of the site — which also includes a photo montage at the top of the page and scrolling a scrolling calendar of events — Ramos said the new site also has several "back-end" systems.
"It's definitely streamlined a lot of tasks that we have here at the office, from bookkeeping to press releases, so that will be a plus for us internally," explained Ramos. "It should be a huge growth opportunity for us, for the Chamber, for our members and our business community."
The web hosting company, Chambernation.com, "has been great to work with," Ramos noted.
"We've been working on this project for a year and a half and they've been wonderful to work with — they've got every question already covered," she explained. "They will work with the members, as well, once we get this unveiled — and it's all free for the members with their paid Chamber membership."
And, as with all websites, the Chamber's site will develop and evolve over time.
"As we go, we're going to find other things [to include], too, and as Chambernation improves their platform, there will be even more opportunity for our Chamber members," Ramos said, adding the new upgrade is just in time for the North Central Chamber's 30th anniversary. "The timing of this will be perfect, because our actual 30th takes place in the month of October, so we'll all be starting to get our feet wet with the website and it'll be exciting to talk it up at our October Business After Hours, which will be a big celebratory event. The timing is great, couldn't be better."