One Business to Win ‘Extreme Website Makeover’

SpringfieldExtremeWebMakeover-logoThere was a time when companies could reach their full potential without an effective website, but those days are long gone.

Unfortunately, website design — done correctly, anyway — costs money, and it takes time and talent to build a marketing or sales strategy around a web presence. For many small but growing businesses in Greater Springfield, extra money and time aren’t easy to come by.

However, one fortunate business or nonprofit will get a major helping hand from the Greater Springfield Extreme Website Makeover, a promotion sponsored by BusinessWest and DIF Design.

“The idea came to me last year,” said Peter Ellis, president of DIF Design, a web-development company based in the City of Homes. “We do a good amount of pro-bono work and in-kind work, especially for nonprofits. I know, through networking connections in the area, that many companies do a good share of that. So I’m always thinking of new ideas — how can we pull together our creativity and make a bigger splash?”

The result is a contest that will grant one winner — both for-profit businesses and nonprofits are eligible — $25,000 worth of web-design and marketing services from DIF Design and four co-sponsors: the Creative Strategy Agency, Christine Parizo Communications, Hadley Printing, and viz-bang! The goal is to help a deserving enterprise raise its online presence and help usher it to the next level.

“The idea is similar to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, in that we’re pulling together resources,” Ellis said, noting that the companies involved in the project will provide services ranging from copywriting and printing to videography and social-media strategy.

“It’s a collaboration of creative minds in the area,” he added. “So if you can’t afford a website or the services involved, all these people will get a whole project finalized for you; it’s not just designing a website.”

Any business or nonprofit may be nominated, as long as it’s located in the Greater Springfield region and has fewer than 15 employees. In addition, nominees must either have no website, or a site that has not been updated for at least two years.

The nomination form may be found at the contest website, springfieldmakeover.com. The deadine for submissions is Sept. 23.

All nominations will be judged by a panel of independent judges working in different creative and business fields, Ellis explained. “One might have a marketing background, or a website background, or a technological background, and so forth, and some will have business backgrounds. The goal is to announce the winner at the Western Mass. Business Expo in November.”

That event, scheduled for Nov. 6 at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, is BusinessWest’s premier business-to-business event. The third annual event will feature more than 100 exhibitors, seminars on timely issues, breakfast and lunch programs, and a event-capping networking social.

Ellis noted that he’s pleased to help organize a contest that brings together talent from different fields to benefit a deserving business or nonprofit.

“Collectively, I know we can make a bigger impact,” he said. “The hope is to do this annually — not only to promote collaboration between local creative businesses, but to give back to the community by giving someone an opportunity they might not otherwise have.”


— Joseph Bednar