Englewood chamber rewrites website

ENGLEWOOD — The Englewood-Cape Haze Area Chamber of Commerce has launched a redesigned website, four months in the making, that will allow members to promote themselves and their events on an events calendar.

“Our website had been in place for many years,” said Mary Smith, the chamber’s executive director. “It was time for a refreshing of the website and a new look. We have a new attitude at the chamber, which is to give as much as we can to promote our members, and give them the opportunity to promote themselves.”

The site allows members to self-promote and grow their businesses.

“We are very familiar with chambers, and since we belong to a couple already, we incorporated the functionality we wanted into the new one,” said Wayne Holt, a Port Charlotte resident and owner of Qonex, the company behind the chamber’s website.

One of the new features includes a business directory to which members can upload images, place their own descriptions, utilize map functions to help users locate their businesses, and provide interactivity with customers in a feature called Face Chamber.

“We’re receiving tons of positive feedback about the new look, about how well it works, and the opportunities it gives visitors, tourists and membership in finding what they need out of the Englewood community,” Smith said. “We are fully rounded as far as the availability to folks, community, membership and visitors alike.”

Another feature of the website is the events calendar, to which members can add information about upcoming events, pending chamber approval for view of the public.

“It took a very expensive amount of banter between the chamber committee and us, but we knew from our experience with other chambers that it’s going to need the functionality that comes along with it,” Holt said. “You have to plan for it in both aspects, meaning the public and the chamber members, because if nobody ever goes to it, nobody benefits.”

The process took four months to complete and went through a dozen templates before the final design was selected. Holt said the hardest thing about the process was deciding on an artistic level what the final design would be.

“We built it on a remote site for the board and committees to look at the progress while it was being constructed,” Holt said. “Then from there, we met a couple of times before we decided to go live.”

Holt said the site is not static and will change to incorporate more features as the chamber is ready.

In the works is a texting feature that will communicate to those who sign up, sending reminders of upcoming events, Smith said.

For more information, go to www.englewood chamber.com, or call 941-474-5511.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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