AERN and C3 Host Website Workshop
AERN partnered with C3 of Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance to host a Website Design and Marketing workshop in Hamilton on April 25. Area business owners brought laptops and received hands-on instruction on how to design a business website. CIS Financial Services provided WiFi service and a meeting area for the group in their new video conference boardroom at the local office. AERN Director Mary Patterson briefed the audience on AERN resources available at the C3 office, and discussed the basics of building a website such as domain name, using a secure host site and the importance of having a "mobile version" of the website, since over 50 percent of the population are smart phone users, and smart phone usage is projected to be 65 percent by 2015. She also gave tips for choosing a domain name such as keep it short, be simple and obvious, register the name for multiple years, and avoid numerals, underscores and hyphens, if possible.
Amy Strickland, owner of an online shoe store and a consultant for website design, instructed the audience on building a website using Weebly. She showed participants how to publish content and download pictures to various pages of a business website. She taught the participants to "publish" the websites, and showed the business owners how they could see the newly published sites "alive" on the internet. Ms. Strickland also discussed secure payment methods such as Paypal that can be used for online sales of goods or services. In addition, she gave tips on cost-effective shipping methods and customer service tips that would promote good reviews and returning customers.