Let’s improve our (virtual) curb appeal

Technically Speaking
By Tamara Nicola

Everyone in town is talking about it, so I might as well say it: it looks like we are having a slow season and this could have a negative trickledown effect on the whole community. Is it the price of gas, the weather, or security at our border crossings? Good questions that I will leave to others to surmise.
I’m the local computer geek who is always poking around to check out how we can improve our web image. As I have mentioned before, there is no time like the present to buff up our image. We need a little curb appeal and none more so than on the Internet.
Did you know that during the peak summer season more than 15,000 people every month search for the term “Grand Bend”? It’s true and that is only traffic generated by people using Google to search the net. Add in Yahoo, MSN and a couple a variations in search terms like “Grand Bend Motel” and we are talking big numbers. A recent study released in June by Statistics Canada stated that 19.2 million people are now using the Internet. This is a 68 per cent increase since 2005, when the previous StatsCan survey was conducted. Overall, 66 per cent of Canadians are plugged in and surfing the net. This is a number that is sure to grow.

Millions of Canadians will decide how to spend their vacation dollars this year while surfing the net. We want them here surfing our beautiful shores and there are many ways that everyone can help.

– Create an online photo album of your favourite Grand Bend pictures using Goggles Picasa software. It’s free and you can upload a gigabyte data. http://www.picasa.google.com

– Spruce up your existing website to ensure it grabs attention. Banish those tired old cottage pictures and dead pages. Create a new web site if you don’t already have one. It’s free http://www.weebly.com

– Post your videos to youtube.com – Wal-Mart Canada is now selling the incredibly cool FLIP video camera. If you have not heard of this affordable, easy to use device, you certainly will. http://www.theflip.com

– Start a blog: http://www.blogger.com

– Consider catering to this new computer savvy bunch of visitors by creating a free Internet hotspot at your business location. What the heck, how about making the whole town of Grand Bend one big hotspot; Starbucks coffee not included.

We can all join in by planting a few virtual flowers to improve our curb appeal and ensure that Grand Bend flourishes not only today, but well into the future.