American Independent Business Alliance

Examples of Outstanding Website Functions from Local Business Alliances

Every pro-local business group should develop an attractive website that’s easy to navigate and makes a compelling case for joining. Since we find groups are always eager to see examples from others, we reviewed many of our affiliates’ websites to cull some excelling in certain key functions. If you know of a site (maybe yours?) that excels in an area we haven’t yet noticed, or you have other suggestions, please tell us!

New to AMIBA’s offerings for members is an integrated database and website system (provided by The DataBank) at a large discount. Designed from the ground up with local business coalitions in mind, these tools will save countless hours on member recruitment and management, creating online directories, newsletters and much more while providing you a website template offering all the functions you’ll likely need. These tools also are available separately.

Overall Ease of Use
Stay Local! New Orleans
Cambridge Local First

Visual Appeal
Keep Saint Petersburg Local
Local First Utah

Mobile Usability
Keep Saint Petersburg Local
Stay Local! 
MetroIBA

Examples of Business Search or Business Directories
Portland Buy Local
Local First Arizona
Stay Local! New Orleans

Mapping Member Businesses
Buy Local Scarborough
Local First Milwaukee

Membership Pitch
AMIBA’s template (member login required)
Spokane Metro IBA (tiered benefits structure)
Sustaining Membership options: Stay Local! New Orleans
Rewards program pitch: Sonoma County GoLocal Cooperative

About Us Page
SBN Massachusetts

Event Calendar
Keep Saint Petersburg Local

Highlighting of Programs
Local First Utah

Strong Audience Appeal for Citizens
Stay Local! New Orleans
Portland Buy Local
MetroIBA

Strong Audience Appeal for Businesses
Keep Saint Petersburg Local

Use of Photography and Visuals
Portland Buy Local
Buy Local Twin Cities Metro IBA

Sites of Urban Alliances that “Microbrand” Neighborhoods
Stay Local! New Orleans
Austin Independent Business Alliance

Engaging Volunteers
Local First Arizona
Nominate another!

Enticing Donations distinct from  business memberships)
Urban Conservancy (parent organization of Stay Local! in New Orleans)

 

A few components your website should include:

  • About – Concisely tell why the organization exists, a few accomplishments and the people behind it. Include pictures of your people!
  • Contact – not just a form! Include names of people, an address and phone number
  • Donate – help diversify your group’s funding by accepting individual contributions via your website!  See our tips for building and effective donate page
  • Member Directory – A map, search tool and categorized list are key functions
  • Join/Membership – We strongly urge affiliates to ask us for a review of their language here. Seemingly small choices in wording can make a huge difference in response rates.
  • Events Calendar – Help people learn about all the events you and your members hold (and perhaps others in the community).
  • Get Involved – how can non-business owners engage with you or help support localization?
  • Why Go Local? – Tell stories about beloved local businesses, less-known business’ contributions to the community and profile local scenarios.  Don’t spend time creating pages that list nationally-applicable reasons for buying locally, collect studies or explain the multiplier effect in depth. Focus on concrete local examples and reference/link resources from AMIBA, ILSR and other authoritative sources that regularly update pages. Reasons to go local are most effective when presented individually throughout your web pages, social media and materials. Take advantage of the many “go local” graphics AMIBA provides for this purpose (we can co-brand most with your logo).Google punished websites that merely replicate or paraphrase previously-published material. Focus on writing about your community. The combination of local anecdotes and national sources adds credibility to your work.

Responsiveness: A responsive website means your site readily adapts to whatever device a visitor is using to view your site, whether tablet, smart phone or full-size computer screen.  This now is essential functionality and should be a design priority if not yet implemented.

Build on Others’ Experience!
We’ve developed an integrated database and WordPress website template for local business groups that will transform your operations and free up far more time for you to advance programs and member benefits — and at a fraction of the market cost. The CRM will automatically populate an attractive, searchable and mappable online directory. Users will enjoy fully-integrated email marketing, SMS messaging, invoicing, reporting, and many other tools to boost the capacity and performance of local groups and give local leaders knowledge they can share with small business owners to help them embrace important technology. Learn more!

EXAMPLES:

 

 

StayLocal-web-example

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