Dear Member or Visitor,
You may be asking yourself: why did the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce need new websites? Well, here’s our story and how this new site came to be.
In the spring of 2016, the staff at the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center began discussing the possibility of designing and releasing a completely revamped website. Between our staff noticing broken links, repetitious pages, and more, hearing from our members that they were noticing the same issues, and recieving communications from visitors who were struggling with the lack of mobile friendliness in the old site, we knew something had to be done. So, we went through months of careful deliberation with the Marketing Committee and a rough outline of the desired website features, content, and purpose was decided upon. Shortly thereafter, the staff began reaching out to website designers in Page County and the surrounding areas before settling on Immerge Technologies, a company based out of Harrisonburg, VA.
Immerge was founded in 2005 and became part of McClung Printing in 2010. With a history of serving clients in the Shenandoah Valley, DC Metro area, and around Virginia for 10 years, and 50 years of web development and technology service and the backing of 70 years as an established print company through McClung, Immerge seemed like the best choice for the project. Additionally, the main staff has a variety of backgrounds, experience, and skillsets designed to bring together the necessary features of a website. From customer service to web development and design and digital marketing to website support, the team at Immerge Technologies had everything the Chamber staff and Marketing Committee deemed necessary to complete our large project.
How did we meet Immerge? Well, Gina and Katie first met William Roy, Director of Digital Sales of Immerge Technologies, at the annual Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Institute in 2016. The ladies were wowed by the overall knowledge and experience of the staff at Immerge for both website development and digital marketing. And, the business’s experience building both Chamber of Commerce and tourism-related websites, and, despite never having conquered a project combining both styles, we felt Immerge was the best to fulfill the unique needs of our combined entity.
Once we began to get down to the purpose of the revamp, the Chamber staff and the newly-formed Website Committee quickly recognized the need for a redo of not only the main Visit Luray-Page website, but also of the neglected Cabin Capital and Luray-Page Weddings sites as well. Immerge’s suggestion: utilizing a combined platform for all three websites, the staff can go through one login for all and easily add, edit, and change any necessary information in an efficient manner. This ease of access would not only benefit the Chamber staff, but ultimately also benefit our members and the businesses and organizations in Page County by allowing us to transfer information to our visitors as quickly and efficiently as possible. With the new platform, we will be able to recommend the Page Valley and the Shenandoah Valley as a whole even better than before through maintaining updated content, SEO, and keeping up with the backend of the website to make it more user-friendly.
In conjunction with the staff at Immerge Technologies, the Chamber staff, Marketing Committee, and Website Committee decided the goal for the new sites will be to provide information in a consistent manner with limited duplication. Guided by our members’ desire for leads, and ultimately more business, as well as the Page County Board of Supervisors’ interest in increasing the local Tourism Occupancy Tax (TOT) through increased visitors to the area, one of the goals of the sites is a focus on SEO and maintaining and advancing our Google ranking. Moreover, we recognized the need for great imagery highlighting the beauty, adventure, and outdoor recreation found in the Luray and Page County area. A unanimous decision was made to update and change out these images as-necessary to feature the four-season destination appeal. These images will allow us to showcase each season through the eyes of our members. Lastly, we rounded out our goals with the principle that all three sites necessitated a responsive, user-friendly backend to ensure accessibility through easily understood and searchable navigation and categories.
For content, we began by sorting through all 100+ pages of the current Visit Luray-Page website before tackling the Cabin Capital and Luray-Page Weddings sites as well. With the assistance of Immerge and Cobalt Communications, an associate of Immerge Technologies, we research keywords associated with the area and the most visited pages on each site to determine what our audience was most drawn to. We began consolidating copy and content from the old site in an attempt to highlight and provide the information our target audience was looking for in the most direct and convenient way possible.
Utilizing the Chamber staff and Website Committee’s own experience and expectations when vacationing, we decided to segment our tourism-related businesses to create simplified search categories. Therefore, our “Play & Leisure” primary navigation represents outdoor recreation activities with everything in the valley from exploring the Shenandoah National Park on foot or by bike to tubing the Shenandoah River to touring the stalactites and stalagmites in the limestone caverns of the Shenandoah Valley. “See & Do” highlights museums, shops, and arts for those not looking for the next thrill, but rather a cultural experience. “Eat & Drink” allows visitors to choose which type of culinary experience they are looking for and to narrow down their options to fit these expectations. “Rest & Relax” is home to our various lodging and overnight options. As the Cabin Capital of Virginia, the county is home to approximately 500 cabins, cottages, and country homes. “Plan” is for those who have figured out where they’re staying, what activities they’re seeking out, and which restaurants they’re going to be savoring. “Plan” houses our community-wide events calendar, a downloadable map of the county and towns, information on living in Luray-Page, and more. The last navigation tile is “Chamber of Commerce” and this is the portal for our members and prospective members to peruse Chamber events, personnel, membership directory, news, and more.
So, once we had the organization part of it down, it was time to get down to business. Unfortunately, at this point the spring had arrived which meant the Chamber staff’s focus shifted to our established marketing program and preparations for the tourism season. This slowed our progress considerably and set our launch back a bit, but we prevailed and did a big push in the winter after the annual Chamber events in the fall. Our Chamber staff put in extra hours to try to ensure our members and visitors received the same service and dedication they were used to while working to complete the website. We’ve gone through multiple revisions, changed out dozens of pictures, re-read copy over and over again, and are finally ready to share the finished product with you. With that said, we’re more than aware that, as with every good product, this will be a constantly changing entity. A website with new blogs, updating content, and changing SEO to better suit our Chamber members and visitors to Luray-Page. So, after almost two years of meetings, writings, and work, welcome to the new Luray-Page County, Cabin Capital, and Luray-Page Weddings websites!
Katie Long, Communications & Marketing Coordinator