Dara Samuel offers her weekly business advice

Of the things I’m most proud of since taking this position at the last of January this year, is the county website. (www.cleburnecountyar.com)  Designing an effective website may seem like a huge challenge, and it is, unless you have the guidance of a good web designer.   The entire process took around three months to conclude and we continue to add more information as it is requested. 

Getting an idea from my head to the graphic designer, (County Logo) and determining what information is most important to our County’s citizens was the biggest challenge I faced.  The logo was probably the most difficult as I wanted something modern, with clean lines as well as something that identified our beautiful County.  So, I knew I wanted to use colors found in nature, uncluttered, and nothing too busy.  This process took a week or so of going back and forth with the web developer/designer.   Luckily, we have a good mind-reader!

Businesses today really need to consider a website or at least a Facebook page or Twitter account.  I know this all sounds overwhelming to some, but the process is really easy after you determine who you want to work with as a developer.  We have some really good developers in our area and I will list those I am aware of at the bottom of this writing.

If you’re a company considering a website here’s a list of things to consider:

1.     Determine who will use the website, its content, which employee’s will be able to expand the new site or who will use your website internally.  List your clients, partners, vendors, and determine which elements you need to add to your website that will be of service to them.

2.     Photography – Take time to consider the photos for your website.  Will you want them to remain static, rotate, or will you want to add a video? 

3.     Forms- Will you place a “Contact” form, order form, or sign-up form on your website? 

4.     E-Commerce – If you sell merchandise or tickets online you’ll want the ability to collect money as you sell, so be sure to let your web designer know this.  Additional research will need to be done in order to set this up as you need it for your business.

5.     Maps – Don’t overlook maps and the importance of embedding a map of your sites contact page.  Google maps are often recommended for their (search engine optimization) but I know there are others available you might prefer to use.

6.     Special Features- Is your company unique?  Do you want to be able to schedule appointments, do advertising of other products or services on your website?  If so, do your homework by first looking at your competition, do your research and make certain you give proper consideration to any special features.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought of setting up a website – Just do your research, think about how a website can help your business, what features you need, and most importantly, work with someone who is a specialist in the area.

It is not my intention to omit anyone in the web-building business, locally.  I have taken the following information from our local yellow pages.  If you are not listed there, please accept my apologies in advance. 

Jones & Jones Design – Quitman, Arkansas 501-589-5135

PEACH – Josh Varvil – Quitman -501-288-9321

The Computer Guy – Heber Springs 501-206-0098

Hipp & Associates – Heber Springs -501-362-9913

AdTastic Hosting – Greers Ferry – 501-825-6622

Please feel free to come by the office of Economic Development, 300 W. Main St. in Heber Springs or Call 501-362-8402 Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30.

Cleburne County Economic Developer Dara Samuel of Heber Springs writes her “Let’s Talk” column on Fridays.  She can be reached at 300 W. Main in Heber Springs and at 501-362-8402.