In today’s technology-driven world, having a website for your business is vital for success. Managing Editor Stephanie Harris recently spoke with Christian Faure, president of H2Osites.com, to learn what dealers need to do to create a useful website and what Web-development benefits are available to Water Quality Association (WQA) members.
Stephanie Harris: Why is it important for water dealers to have a website for their business?
Christian Faure: Every business in this day and age should have an online presence in order to provide information about their company to the general public. This applies across all industries. Customers have become technologically savvy—especially the younger generation—and tend to flock to search engines and the Web in order to find out more information about a particular company, the services offered, location and other key information.
Without a website, a water dealer is missing out on many potential leads and customers.
Harris: Can the average water dealer, who may not be familiar with HTML or websites in general, create and maintain a working site for their business?
Faure: Yes, the tools offered by H2Osites.com are all browser-based and require no knowledge of HTML or website development. It does help to have some experience browsing the Web and understanding search engines and search engine optimization; however, it is not required to begin building a basic Web presence on the Internet.
Harris: What is some basic information dealers will need in order to create an effective website?
Faure: Dealers should prepare design elements that match their letterhead and business cards in order to create continuity between their website and everyday printed business materials.
Also important is information about the dealer’s company, such as the year it was founded, number of years in business, areas of specialty, etc.
One issue can be that a lot of smaller dealers may not have the resources to have marketing materials readily available to port over to a web presence, so they will need to start working on gathering logos and preparing text for use on the website.
A website basically consists of information, so dealers need to be aware that content must be provided by the dealers themselves about their business, but we can always work with a dealer to help them create the necessary marketing information needed for their Web presence.
Harris: How can you help dealers create a website for their business?
Faure: H2osites.com offers a simple, browser-based tool for creating and updating each dealer website. We offer design templates that can be changed with a click of a mouse. All site content, images, links and other related materials can be edited by the dealer at any time, provided that they have Internet access.
H2Osites.com also offers custom website design and development, which could include anything from a simple, informational-based site to a more complex and dynamic database-driven e-commerce website.
Harris: What services do you provide to WQA members?
Faure: H2Osites.com is an ancillary service for WQA members that enables them to create and maintain their own websites. Once a WQA member has a website (and has notified the WQA), it will appear in the “Find a Water Professional” and the “Diagnose Your Water” sections of the WQA’s website.
The general public has access to these search features on the WQA’s website, and www.wqa.org  tracks the number of times a member’s listing or website link is clicked, increasing the number of potential customers that are interested in that particular dealer.
Harris: How long does it take to create a website for a dealership?
Faure: Typically the browser-based website can be set up in a matter of a day or two. Custom websites are quoted and depend on the features that are requested.
Harris: What if a dealer wants to make updates to their site at a later date?
Faure: The Web-based websites can be updated and maintained by the dealer at any time from a computer with Internet access.
Custom websites may have certain pages that could be updated via the browser, but the rest is typically custom code that would need to be edited by someone with a good knowledge of HTML and website protocols.
For more information, contact Christian Faure at 630.968.7424 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .