Monday, December 14, 2009

Web Site Building

Many thanks to Lisa from the Winston Salem Journal for her story on our web site building program. We have three sites up and running with three more under way. We have 30+ more in line. This project will not save the economy in Stokes County but it is part of the process. If we are able to put together a plan and find funding to develop a county wide broadband program, implement the web based farm program and continue to grow our tourism economy, I think we will start to see a difference. A more self-reliant, local based economy that depends on growth from within.

Weaving a Web of Business Potential

By Lisa O'Donnell
Published: December 14, 2009
Updated: 12/13/2009 11:25 pm
WALNUT COVE - With its new Web site, Hemlock Golf Club in Walnut Cove has announced its presence to a global audience.
By going online, the staff at the club hopes that folks who are planning to drive to Hanging Rock State Park for a visit will discover that there is a golf course nearby and decide to toss their clubs into the back of their car.
"I had been contemplating for a few years about getting a Web site and never got started with it," said Valencia Robertson, the club's office manager whose husband, Kadren, is one of the co-owners.
The golf club is the first Stokes County business to get a Web site under a new program managed by the county's economic-development commission.
The club's site went up last week. About 30 more businesses, including furniture stores, garages and insurance agencies, will have their own sites within the next few months.
A $15,000 grant from Northwest Piedmont Council of Government's Workforce Development Board is making it possible for the businesses to get on the Internet.
The money was used to build templates and train local interns to build the sites. Once trained, an intern works with a local business person to design the site. The sites are built for free, but businesses must pay for the domain name and a hosting fee, which comes to about $60 a year, said Alan Wood, the director for the economic-development commission.
"If the process works as we hope, it should raise business on several different levels," he said.
Shortly after Wood was hired earlier this year, he noticed that a large number of businesses did not have Web sites.
"One of my primary goals is to assist local businesses and try to help them grow and retain them in the community," he said. "As I started building a Web directory for our Web site, it became apparent how many of our businesses do not have a presence on the Web, so we started talking about it."
For many small-business owners, learning how to build a Web site is costly and time-consuming, he said.
"We took the cost issue out of it," Wood said. "Instead of leaving them to sink or swim, a part of the process is that we will offer our help for six months."
Robertson said that the opportunity was too good to pass up.
"We would've been foolish to ignore it," said Robertson, who started a Facebook page for the golf course a few months ago.
Robertson said that by getting on the Web, she hopes that word will spread about the golf course. The site includes photos, directions and information about each hole. Down the road, she said she would like to add an online pro shop where people could buy clothes and equipment.
Previous to starting its Web site, the club advertised in local publications.
"With the new Web site, we're anxious to see where that takes us," Robertson said.

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