Montague WebWorks 2018 in Review
Local web firm looks back on its best year yet
2018 was a busy year for Montague WebWorks, with many new customers, software upgrades, life changes, and expansions. Here are some of the highlights.
New Customers and Markets
Last year we added 53 new websites, four of which were e-commerce, and three of which were official Town websites. Once those sites were completed, we bought the domain name TownWebsites.com, and so we have now officially moved into the official town website hosting market. Working with the nine towns we now serve has underscored the need for simple workflow software for small towns, such as the new RFP Procurement Module we've been working on.
We have also come close to perfecting our new MLS Real Estate Module for RocketFusion. Realtor customers can simply enter in their AgentID or OfficeID and have their site automatically populated with all their properties, categorized and filtered in a variety of ways.
Working with Farms
Thanks to partnerships with the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture (MDAR) and Community Involved in Sustainable Agriculture (CISA), Montague WebWorks was able to assist a number of farms in creating new websites or overhauling existing ones in 2018.
The state-funded Farm Viability Enhancement Program supported three projects this year, all of them in Western Mass. The year kicked off with a new website for Paul's Sugarhouse in Williamsburg in January, followed shortly thereafter by Kelley Organic Farm in Conway, growers of Asian specialty produce. In the fall we worked with DAR-Ridge Farm in Colrain to promote their fundraising efforts after a microburst ruined their mostly completed hog barn.
When we moved into our new offices in August we were excited to be contacted by CISA regarding some local farmers they wished to support. As a result of our collaboration, we were able to assit Open Palm Farm in Deerfield in developing a site for their specialty salad greens, and Pine Hill Orchards of Colrain with a redesign and update of thier site. The final site of the year, Graves Glenn Farm of Shelburne, will be completed in early 2019.
Additionally, we were contracted by Nora Owens of NODPA, the Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance, to redo their decade-old static HTML website. With over 800 news articles and hundreds of PDF files and images, it was quite an enormous task to wrangle all that content into a simple, clean, user-friendly layout and workflow everyone could be happy with. We wrote a bunch of new code to make Nora's job easier, and will soon be adding a Banner Ad Module to make the task of creating and maintaining banner ads easier for her, as well as our other RocketFusion customers. The NODPA site will be launched in mid-January.
Life Changes / New Offices / Franklin Favorites
The biggest news of 2018, for us at least, was the marriage of Mik and Donna on July 7, who had been together for over six years by the time they tied the knot. It was a beautiful day, attended by 100 friends and relatives.
While they were on honeymoon they looked at rental properties and dropped a deposit on a nice suite of offices in the NESEA building at 50 Miles Street, Greenfield, right down at the Energy Park.
And so, three weeks after the wedding, Mik and Donna opened up their new offices, and quickly hired Joey Lawson. (Read the news article about it.) Four weeks later, he was working full time, and having a blast. Joey now creates all the new website templates and performs all Bootstrap upgrades for older sites.
And then, in November, we won the first-ever category of Web Design & Hosting in the Greenfield Recorder's Franklin Favorites contest! What a nice surprise, to cap off a wonderful year.
The 2018 Edition of our Book
During all this time, we noticed we were running out of copies of the 2017 edition of our little black Tips and Tricks book, so in November, Mik put everything aside for two weeks to write several new articles, edit all reprinted articles, reformat the customer classified ads into categories, and with Lynne Rudie's expert help, create our biggest, most up-to-date edition yet.
Coming in at 142 total pages, with 46 articles about search engine optimization, using social media, and generally how to maximize your website's return on investment; 320 business website classified listings; and 16 paid display ads to offset the cost of printing, this book is bursting with useful information for every small business, and we are very proud of it.
What's Coming In 2019
2019 will be our busiest year yet, we think. Here's a quick breakdown of our plans:
- Complete the upgrade of every RocketFusion website from Bootstrap 4 to Bootstrap 4. This paves the way for continued development of the platform, with a pallet of new tools to help the user interface.
- Complete the RFP Procurement Module and make a solid push into the local small town market.
- Mail 2400 postcards to every small to medium sized contractor business in Berkshire, Hampden, Hampsire, Franklin, Windham and Cheshire Counties. If you're in the business, expect one in the mail the last week of January.
- Create a low price-point package for local realestate agents to have their own websites, based on the MLS property database.
- Create a Banner Ad / Fundraising Module in RocketFusion for non-profits who need a simple way to raise funds for their organization.
- Upgrade our ancient Community Corkboard website platform (ie; MontagueMA.net, GreenfieldMA.net, etc) to Bootstrap 4 and add in features people have become accustomed to from the likes of Facebook and Twitter. We will launch a campaign in late summer, calling people to Make Your Social Medial Local! With the nearly weekly news of Facebook hacks and security failures, and the prevalance of web tracking, we feel people need a safe place to chat amongst themselves without being linked to advertising or big data. This will all coincide with the 20th anniversary of the MontagueMA.net website, which was launched in October of 1999. Oh how time flies.
- We also plan to make upgrades to our OnePageQuickie platform, and open it up for the public to create their websites on their own. No setup fee, and only $10/mo hosting!
- The One Page Quickie will also feature built-in simple ecommerce, and, along with RocketFusion's built-in ecommerce capabilities, will be embedded in Google's ecom workflow, as well as a new store that will aggregate all customers' products into one online shop. More news on that later in the year.
- Montague WebWorks has also taken ownership of the Family Shopper Gift Books, and plans to integrate that into a new Deals Shopper website platform for Franklin County.
- And lastly, as if that all wasn't enough, we want to bring back the Soapbox Derbies, starting in Turners Falls, and expanding to other towns in 2020.
Montague WebWorks is on fire, and we look forward to getting more businesses online, and working with the community to help us all succeed in the coming years.
We are all in this together, after all.
Posted: to WebWorks News on Wed, Jan 2, 2019
Updated: Sat, Jan 19, 2019