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  • Writer's pictureLori Gagen

Sometimes, a new website is not really a choice

When the Albion Chamber of Commerce could no longer make updates to their website, the choice was easy: Launch a new one!

Catchy Creations LLC was delighted to help! The Albion Chamber's website had been created on a platform provided by Yahoo for small businesses. Sometime in 2017, Verizon purchased Yahoo for $4.5 billion. When the transaction closed in the second half of 2021, Verizon not only moved all of the Yahoo-hosted websites to their own servers, they also announced that support for editing those sites would end on March 31, 2022.

Alas, the Chamber recognized it really had no choice but to start over. Our proposal was accepted in spring 2022 and a new site went live in late June. Our goals:

  1. Establish design and messaging consistency.

  2. Create an online presence that tells the Albion Chamber of Commerce story and encourages engagement.

  3. Generate connections through online interactions to grow an email list of contacts.

  4. Boost traffic and new customer visits through SEO and email marketing.

The tasks at hand included:

  • Design a new logo and branding color palette

  • Transferring existing content

  • Editing and adding relevant new content, based on our discretion

  • Creating a new member directory using dynamic data

  • Providing a user interface for the chamber to add/edit blog posts

  • Enhance user engagement overall with forms and other elements

  • Enhance mobile user interface with updated features and elements

The old site

The "old" site was not responsive; viewing even on a large desktop screen revealed some very tiny type and small images with no options to enlarge. The site was not mobile friendly.

The existing member directory interface was limiting. Members appeared under categories, but searching for a member business by the name was not possible. Contacts for community resources such as government, schools, and churches were found in the member directory, even though many are not members.

These design limitations were based entirely on the lack of options provided by the simple Yahoo website building editor. Chamber leaders were excited to see the updates made possible by designing a new site using, selected for its affordability and advanced features. The new site provides, in addition to an entirely new look and feel, many new features:

The responsive new site features a new logo and branding that pays homage to the Town of Albion's logo and downtown wayfinding signs, but offers a fresh and independent brand for the Albion Chamber. Animations and scroll features provide a fresh, interesting experience to users.

Using dynamic content, which can easily be updated by a volunteer, the member directory is sure to remain up to date and makes it easy for users to locate members, by name (All Members button) or by category (drop-down filter). Among new member services is the option to buy or renew memberships online, as well as update the information on their member profile page.

The dropdown menu allows the member to see what currently appears in the directory. If changes are needed, the button links to a submission form to provide updates. (Updates do not go live until the website administrator makes them.)

Brand new content to help those new to the community has also been developed, connecting with links out to several other local websites. Creating links back and forth between websites helps both sites gain a higher result in searches online. The ability for Catchy Creations LLC to provide editorial updates is made possible by living and working locally for over 50 years! Local companies and organizations place their trust in me over developers who lack any first-hand knowledge of our community.

What I was most excited about for the Chamber, as a result of this project, is the annual cost savings to be recognized by this local non-profit organization. Rather than paying $23.99 per month for hosting services, with no options to update content or design, out-of-pocket costs have been reduced to just $13 per month for a brand new, engaging website that can remain up to date and evolve with Wix.

I look forward to supporting the Chamber in the months and years ahead to help ensure they get the greatest results possible through their digital presence. It was a blast to complete this worthy project!

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