Local chamber of commerce gets a new website

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People familiar with the Black Mountain-Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce's website will a double take when they go online next. 

The new website gives member businesses a more modern presence on the Internet.

Executive director Bob McMurray said the way people access information in this day and age made the upgrade necessary.

"The new website is compatible with mobile phones," he said. "And these days, that's how most people get their information, by pulling out their phones."

The look of the website has changed, but the address remains exploreblackmountain.com. The site receives 800-1,000 unique visitor clicks each day, McMurray said.

"The new site will also use Google Analytics, which is much more sophisticated than what we used in the past," he said. "We know from other studies, like from the (U.S. Chamber of Commerce), the traffic on this one will increase."

Users will find the website considerably quicker too, according to McMurray. The improved performance of the website will allow for additional video content in the coming weeks as well.

"We just shot footage downtown last week," he said. "Videos are one of the main ways that people get information online, so we want to get newer, nicer videos for people to watch."

Upcoming events and music listings in the Swannanoa Valley are prominent on the new website, making it useful to both tourists and residents.

"It's not just for tourists," McMurray said. "There's lots of information on there. Residents can, and do, find it useful as well."

Perhaps the most important aspect of the redesigned website, according to McMurray, is the increased exposure it generates for local businesses.

"We work very hard to promote the businesses in town," he said, "whether it's through the website, networking opportunities, our newsletters, tours or even here at the visitor center."

The visitor center in downtown Black Mountain attracts a steady flow of guests, said McMurray, who estimates around half express an interest in relocating to the Swannanoa Valley.

"I think the visitors really enjoy talking to the volunteers that work in our visitor center," he said. "I think they're always curious to hear why whoever they're talking to came to Black Mountain or what they like about living here."

While the new website is necessary to keep up with the times, the red rocking chair in front of the visitor center remains a popular attraction as well.

"I tell people that's probably the most photographed spot in town," McMurray said. "There's not a day that goes by where two or three people don't have their pictures taken there."

McMurray added that visitor guides remain a popular item with people planning trips to the area.

"Even with all of the information available online, we still five to 10 requests per day for the guides some days," he said.

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